Canada Kicks Ass
Baking bread


Blue_Nose @ Sat May 30, 2009 2:22 pm

I'd been talking about starting baking bread for a while and my girlfriend bought me a pretty fancy bread book - it's obviously geared toward the serious baker, as all the recipes are for batches of several dozen loaves, though thankfully it also includes "home" recipes. Almost all the recipes call for a preferment as well, which is basically a portion of the bread dough that's made 12-16 hours beforehand and is mixed in with the rest, which apparently gives the bread more flavour.

After making pretzels a few times, I finally decided to give some real bread a go... I don't have a mixer of any sort that would handle bread dough, so I do all the mixing and kneading by hand, which I quite enjoy anyway. I'm starting to get a feel for how much mixing and kneading needs to be done, as too much or too little makes a big difference.

Anyway, some of the results are below - I've always been pretty happy with how the pretzels turn out, and I wasn't disappointed with the bread, either, but it could have gone a little smoother. I'm still working on shaping the dough properly, as it seems like subtle differences in how you shape it beforehand have large impacts on how the loaf turns out in the end...

Anyway, I'm being nagged to start supper, so I'll have to continue later! Anyone else have any experience/tips on baking bread?

bread1.jpg [ 57.88 KiB | Viewed 587 times ] pretzels.jpg
pretzels.jpg [ 52.08 KiB | Viewed 591 times ]


martin14 @ Sat May 30, 2009 2:38 pm

I have had a breadmaker for several years now.

Had to smuggle it in from Austria, as for a while, importation
of electronic products privately into Slovakia was illegal,
and no store would carry them.

I find filtered room temp water works better than straight from the tap :)

Can you elaborate on this preferment idea ?
might try it to see if it can work with a machine as well.


Blue_Nose @ Sat May 30, 2009 3:04 pm

martin14 martin14:
I find filtered room temp water works better than straight from the tap :)
Actually, this is something I found as well - chlorinated water can kill the yeast, so it's better to boil it or let it sit out for 24 hours. The book also talks extensively about temperatures, and one major point is not to use cold water, as this also affects the rising.

martin14 martin14:
Can you elaborate on this preferment idea ?
might try it to see if it can work with a machine as well.
It's an optional thing, obviously, and the book indicates that it's not always necessary. I made plain "country white" bread, so it works for that. Basically, it seems to be approximately half of the ingredients of the total recipe with just a pinch of the yeast, and that's mixed up and left overnight... the extra fermentation increases the acidity of the dough, which improves structure, flavour, and keeping quality. You mix up the remaining ingredients separately and add the preferment gradually, then you let the whole thing rise, fold and shape as normal.

Next time I'm going to try doing them same bread without the preferment to see how much of a difference it makes, because it's a pain getting the kitchen covered in flour twice.


martin14 @ Sat May 30, 2009 3:25 pm

Interesting, please let us know how much of a difference it really makes.

kitchen covered in flour :)
wife does that when she tries to bake; me, I just get the hell out of the way
those days :D


sandorski @ Sat May 30, 2009 8:44 pm

Nice. Bought a Bread Machine a year back and have been making my own ever since. The only thing I buy now are Hot Dog/Hamburger Buns, tried making them but failed miserably. I go to whenever I want something new as they have a very large collection of Bread Machine recipes.


raydan @ Sat May 30, 2009 8:52 pm

I'm lazy and have a bread machine.
We only go through maybe 2 a week so making them by hand is a waste of time.

The machine is great for making pizza dough too, I make seafood pizza and bake them on the BBQ on a ceramic plate.
Tried making bagel dough once but it was more trouble than it was worth for 8 bagels.

I make a mean rye bread and also a pesto bread. [drool]


wildrosegirl @ Sat May 30, 2009 8:54 pm

I used to make all of my own bread, buns, cinnamon buns, etc., when my kids were little. I gave it up when they both hit their teens. I couldn't keep up. :lol:

Looks awesome BN. Obviously you have the touch.