Bread – Potato Flour, Millet, Amaranth

Bread Making Kit

Bread Making Kit

This is my basic “bread making kit”. I’ll decant that large bag of flour into 1/2 gallon jars for storage. I tend to keep things in jars as they are just about “everything proof”. Often they are also free (so you will notice some of the jars and lids look remarkably like what is used for pasta sauce.)

The odd measuring spoon came with the bread maker. It has a tablespoon end, and the other end comes in what I think are 1/2 and whole teaspoons (that also have 1/2 full markings inside). I typically use my regular measuring spoons instead. The large spoon is used for scooping flour. To the right are the digital scale and a very light weight plastic bowl for measuring flour. From left to right, the middle row has a sugar bowl, a small jar with salt in it, a large jar with a ‘variety flour’ in it, and the jar of dried yeast.

The very large blue funnel (inside the measuring bowl) is a ‘canning funnel’. Sold at local hardware and cooking stores for cheap. Typically I’ll make “jars of bread” in advance. A one pint jar nicely holds one ‘loaf’ of bread dry ingredients. By setting up a half dozen jars, the whole process is very efficient.

Small spoon salt in each jar (1 tsp / 5 ml). 2 Large spoons sugar (1 Tablespoon / 15 ml each). Measure 8 1/2 ounces / 240 grams of flour, pour down the funnel into the jar. Lid on, to the shelf. Repeat. (Really I do all the salts, all the sugars, all the flours, then all the lids and store). When it’s time to ‘make a loaf’, it’s just dump the dry goods in the mixer (sugar and salt end up on top, as they are in the bottom of the jar). Mix water (3/4 cup / 180 ml) with yeast ( 1/2 to 1 tsp / 2.5-5 ml) and a bit of sugar ( 1/2 tsp / 2.5 ml). After it sits and hydrates for a few minutes, dump on top. (If you start the yeast soaking first, setting up the bread maker can just about take enough time ;-)

I’ve been working on making decent home made bread for a while. Lately, I ramped it up a bit more as the price of a crappy loaf of bread is now over $2 and a decent loaf runs up to $4. As I can make it at home for less than $1/2 a loaf, and it’s better, well….

But I’d always had a problem with the “crumb”. Crumb is a term of art in baking that talks about the texture of the bread, the stiffness and overall impression. I’d gone down a “sourdough” road for a few months, eventually got pretty good at it, but was still left with the basic problem that the crumb was rather stiff. In fact, even more so than my regular bread. That regular bread was good on the first day, even the second, but by the third or fourth would be getting a bit stale and prone to mold ( if I didn’t wrap it well, or was a bit too damp, or someone didn’t wash their hands before cutting the bread). That wasn’t much of a problem, as it rarely sat more than the second day. (Often, then, only because I’d bake at night when most folks were going to bed, so it was ready for breakfast).

My “issue” wasn’t with the bread, AS bread. It was with the toast. Having bread with a stiffer crumb is nice when you are having bread and butter, or jam sandwiches, or whatever. No, the problem is that when it is toasted, it becomes a bit stiff and the texture is just more rough than I like for morning toast.

After yet more experimenting (including a disastrous trial of Durham / Papadum flour that gives things a very odd taste…) I’ve finally found the solution: Potato Flour.

The basic loaf I make is usually made with 8 1/2 ounces of flour ( 240 grams for folks who are fraction challenged ;-) so what I did was to substitute 1/8 of that flour with potato flour ( one ounce or 30 grams). It was described as softening the crumb of bread, and it does. The result has a much smoother and softer texture. Not quite “Wonderbread Foam”, but a nice bread that makes ‘soft enough’ toast. ( I could use more potato flour if I wanted it even softer).

A similar trial with Amaranth flour didn’t soften the crumb very much, but it did give a very interesting tasty bread. Using up to 3 ounces (85 grams) of Amaranth flour still had a decent gluten build in the bread ( using Millet Flour it starts to get way too loose at 3 ounces, more like a batter). I suspect that Amaranth has it’s own protein gluey bits that might make it a good ingredient for ‘wheat free’ breads. I’ll be trying that on another day. Rather like a simple very light Rye bread (minus the caraway or other seasoning seed flavors) but better, less heavy. That flour clearly needs more experimentation, but that will be for later. As it was more flavored, and my goal was a ‘white fluffy’ bread, it was noted as having potential, but not for this experiment.

The Recipe

This is a basic bread recipe derived from one that came with my bread maker. I mix and first rise the dough in the machine, but never liked the over large square slices you get from the machine bucket. Picking out the little stirring rod from the bottom and sometimes just getting the loaf out of the pan can be a PITA too. So I put the dough into a traditional loaf pan for baking. Sometimes I’ll divide the dough in half and use miniature loaf pans. The larger pan I bake at 325 F to 350 F ( 163 C to 177 C ) . Small pans for 25 minutes, the larger one for 35 to 40 minutes.

I’ve tried just putting the dry yeast directly into the bread maker pan, as the directions for the bread maker said. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much. After a lot of trials, I’ve ‘gone back to the old way’. Warm water goes into a cup with a bit of sugar and the dry yeast sprinkled on top. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then stir the hydrating yeast granules into the water. (If you try to stir them in while still dry, you get glops of them on the spoon…) This recipe uses 3/4 cup (180 ml) of water. Lukewarm is “body temperature”. That means it does NOT feel warm… If the water feels warm, it is warmer than you are. You want the water where you have trouble deciding if it is warm, or not. Peripheral temperature is a bit lower than core temp, so just tiny bit of ‘yeah, it’s not cold…and maybe a touch warm’. If you have water that FEELS warm, it can be too warm for the yeast. I put 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) of sugar into the water, stir, and then sprinkle on 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) of yeast granules.

Let it sit aside while measuring the rest. 5 minutes is ‘enough’, but if you let it get going really well, it will be a bit foamy. I’ve used it barely rehydrated and it seems to work fine, so you don’t need to see a load of foam.

FWIW, I did a study once of ‘cost of a loaf’. THE major cost item was those small individual packets of “active dry yeast”. VERY pricy. Instead I go to COSTCO (or similar bulk discounter) and buy a 1 lb package of yeast. That’s typically sold MUCH cheaper. The problem is it takes a LONG time to use it all. You need to do something to keep the yeast alive for the year ( or more?) it takes to use it. I pour it into 1 cup (250 ml) jars and put them in the freezer. I’ve got some a couple of years old that still work fine. So I take one out of the freezer and move it to the fridge. Then when I need yeast, that’s the jar I use. Keeps months in the fridge. I don’t know how many as I use it up ;-) Adjust the jar size you use to your typical usage rate. 4 ounce jars would likely be better for most folks.

Doing that, the major cost item became flour, a much more reasonable thing…

OK, we’ve got our yeast going in the water, and we’ve got the mixed flours measured.

In the bottom of the mixer I put about a Tablespoon (15 ml) of “oil”. Mostly I like Palm Oil (that is a great solid shortening in general). Lately I’ve been using Coconut Oil. It gives a very nice flavor and is very healthful. It’s solid at cool room temperature, and melts at just a bit above that. I’ve also used butter, but don’t like it as much. Plain old “vegetable oil” works, but something is better with the solid fats. It can be left out entirely if desired and you get a less ‘moist’ and more ‘french bread’ like crumb.

FWIW, coconut oil has a nice taste all on it’s own. After greasing the pan, I’ll just lick it off the fingers… (then WASH again before touching the dough – or anything else…) With a bit of salt sprinkled on, it’s even better ;-) (I’m pretty sure a decent butter substitute could be made from salted coconut oil with just enough palm oil added to keep it solid at warm room temperature). In any case, it’s is MUCH tastier than regular old shortening or bland old vegetable oil.

Next I dump in the flour. That way the granular things, like salt and sugar, are not in a position to act like abrasives on the bottom right off the bat. Put them on top. Pour on the yeast solution (that dissolves some of the granular parts). Set the machine on ‘rise’ and push start. In 1:20 it’s ready to ‘punch down’ and put in the pan.

Typically I’ll ‘grease up’ with some coconut oil for this step to keep the dough from sticking to me too much. I coat the pan, too. The dough can be turned out onto a floured surface, or just directly folded in the hands. I like to stretch the top toward the bottom and push it up into the middle. Repeat. That makes a smooth top. I’ll ‘wallow’ it around in the pan to oil the top if it starts to be sticky on the fingers. Once shaped, into the pan (smoothest side up) and let rest / rise in a warm place. ( I warm the oven to about 104 F / 40 C and it usually takes about 20 to 40 minutes to rise – I’m not that precise on the temp and time, so it varies… When over the top of the pan, it’s ready to bake).

The ingredient ratio here gives a somewhat wet loose dough. Not a lot of ‘second kneading’ involved and a very fluffy bread. As the amount of atmospheric water absorbed into flour varies, if the dough is too loose, turn it out onto a pile of flour (just a couple of Tbs / 30 ml). Turn and fold. The dough will become less sticky and easier to handle. If the dough is too loose, it will overflow the top of the loaf pan on rising and ‘flop’ down the sides. If too stiff, it doesn’t rise as well and is a tougher crumb and more dense bread. When soft and pliable, but not sticking to your hands, it makes a very nice pizza crust. (Had some last night!) Just break off about 1/4 of the loaf of dough, make a ball, let it rest few minutes, and on a floured surface gently start squashing the middle with your finger tips. Working it out to a ring / circle. Let rise about 20 minutes, top, bake at 400 F to 450 F for about 12 to 15 minutes (depending on topping load ;-)

With only one or two ounces of millet flour, the bread gets a very nice added flavor, but can also be a bit loose, so you may need to cut back the water a little, or do that flour on a surface thing… At 3 ounces it’s starting to be a batter, but can make an OK flat bread ;-)

While a lot of folks get all fussy about preheating the oven, with my electric oven it warms quickly and without too much of a radiative heating problem, so I just turn it on and start counting the time when it hits 300 F. For pizza, I’ll preheat the oven.

Take the pan out when done. Mostly I just wait for the “smell of bread” to become noticeable. It’s a distinctive moment in baking and is fairly accurate. I also watch for color and time. I like the cooler temp of 325 F for a light brown. I’ve seen folks saying to use 375F and even 400F. Makes too dark a crust for my tastes. Time varies with the pan size, so if you make a full sized loaf, cook longer. I’ve also let the dough rise as a ’round’ on a cookie sheet and that works well too (but the wrong shape for toast… which is the goal of this effort…)

When done, let it rest for about 20 minutes in the pan, then it’s easier to get out. Then let it cool on a rack for another hour or so. Enjoy!

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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41 Responses to Bread – Potato Flour, Millet, Amaranth

  1. At times I get the urge to make bread again, but it’s just too damned easy to buy nice bread here. There’s a baker in Nogaro who advertises 130 different types of bread, if I really want to try something different. Spoilt….

    In the UK, it seems that a lot of bread has soya flour as the additive to get that “soft crumb”. You can tell by what they say the ingredients are – if the ingredient is “flour” it could be anything, but if it’s “wheat flour” then it really has to be just wheat. The “flour” is bought in with premixed additives, which is how the labelling rules are bent. Often Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid, but I can’t remember the E-number) is added as an “improver”, but I wouldn’t complain about that. Maybe if you added lemon juice to the mix (or a crushed Vitamin C tablet?) you’d get a better crumb?

  2. Zeke says:

    That is incredible that you can freeze yeast! How exciting to know that for a rainy day.

    There is a lot you can do with homemade bread that did not get eaten right away, or with crusts, or heals. Cut in cubes, and
    1. mixed with a stick of melted butter, cubed, with seasoning it makes croutons
    2. mixed with 6 eggs, 1 cup of sugar, some milk, vanilla and apple pie spice, and soaked over night, it makes a good french toast.
    3. get hens, they are sweet animals

    Just don’t throw it away. :)

    Gold Medal has a good flour that is only for bread machines. Durum flour is for pasta, silly. lol :D

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve added a picture up top.

    Yes, acid can soften the crumb. IIRC the recommendation was something like 1/2 tsp or 1 tsp of either vinegar or lemon juice. I have ascorbic acid powder (sold at beer / wine making supply stores) and could try it, too. Not fond of using soy flour (though nice to know about). 2 reasons: It’s hard to get non-GMO soy in America now. The niece has an ‘issue’ with soy, so we generally have been trained to avoid using it ;-) As it has some fair amount of estrogen analog in it anyway (phytoestrogens) I’m not all that interested. Not a big deal, and I’ll eat bread with soy in it, and don’t mind tofu in my oriental dinners; just not much interest in it. YMMV.

    I’ll likely go on to trying the ‘acid conditioners’ next, now that I have something I like for daily use. Potato flour is available and cheap, so not an ‘issue’. IIRC, some years back I saw someone using instant potato flakes for bread adjunct; so, as they are nearly nothing for a giant tub, I’ll likely try that, too. Now that I know the mass to use.

    Might also try soda or beer as the liquid, just because they are slightly acid. Depends on how bored I am, and what’s aging in the fridge one day ;-)

    There’s a certain advantage to the adjunct being dry goods, instead of wet. Easier to make the pre-mix in a jar… “Just add water” ;-) Then again, there’s usually something in a bottle in the fridge…

    I’ve gotten rather fond of “variety breads” and like to sometimes do a ‘change up’ just to see what happens. A little 4 hour experiment, from start to ‘butter side up’ ;-) If it’s a flop, it’s all of 1/2 buck or less, and in 4 hours more you have ‘the usual’ bread…. Mostly I was just frustrated at too much ‘variety’ and not enough ‘consistently smooth’. Now I’ve got a ‘daily baker’ for toast and sandwiches; so the ‘variety bread’ is a nice change up.

    In the last couple of weeks, while working on this, I’ve gotten rather spoiled. The store bought stuff, or even ‘yesterdays bread’ are just not anywhere near as good a ‘fresh baked’ ;-) So I learned from the “making pizza” research that the dough balls can be in the fridge over night. This morning I took one of the ‘left over’ dough balls (about 3 ounces) from last night (folks got full of pizza before I ran out of dough ;-) and let it rise about 1/2 hour in a warm oven. Had a very nice personal sized “round loaf” of bread for breakfast ;-) Just let the more or less hemispherical lump rise and spread out a bit. I could get REALLY used to that. Took about an hour, all told, from “put on cake pan” through rise and bake, to ready to eat. As it takes me about that long to be awake enough to want breakfast, it’s a very good match…

    So now I’m keeping 1/2 pound to 1 pound of dough in a bowl in the fridge “just in case” ;-)

  4. EM – the idea of adding something a bit acidic to the bread to improve it made me wonder about adding wine instead (I have a few cubic metres of it) which might make an interesting flavour/texture. I’ll try it when I get back from the UK.

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @Zeke:

    I used the Durham flour as an adjunct, not the main load. As I like papadum, I thought it might make an interesting flavor. It didn’t… This was indian processed flour, so likely not exactly the same as Durham for pasta. Makes good papadum ;-)

    I found I’m very fond of the unbleached unbrominated flour. Mum used to make raisin scones with it. I kept trying and trying to ‘get them right’ and never could. One Christmas, a few years out of college, I’m visiting, having scones, and complain that I just can’t get it right. Next day, I “help” Mum making another batch. Every size and act is The Same. Frustrated I lament. She says “Do you use unbleached flour dear?…” Just has a bit more flavor and more interesting texture. It’s a subtle thing…

    Somewhere along the line I got interested in “mixed flours”. (Likely the couple of years spent working on gluten free pizza crust for the wheat intolerant friend… if anyone wants wheat free recipes, just holler…) It makes for interesting subtle changes in flavor and texture. Adds some better balance of nutrients too.

    Per heels:

    1) From way back when, I grew up eating “Pobs”. That’s just bread cubes in warm milk with sugar sprinkled on. 1 cup of milk, warmed to just below hot. Add bread cubes. Sprinkle with sugar. Just love it. Probably because it was what Mum would feed me when my stomach was upset ;-)

    2) Back in the restaurant we had a ‘bread box’ on top of the fridge. As we went through a LOT of bread for sandwiches and nobody wants a heel, they got tosses in the ‘bread box’. In a warm kitchen, they dry in a day or two. Every couple of days, the dry slices were take out and either cut into cubes for stuffing (for the 2 turkeys / day we roasted) or just crushed into crumbs (for breading all the breaded things we had, like ‘chicken fried steak’ and chicken). Nothing needs be wasted… I have a tub on top of the fridge for heels… but somehow few make it past the Pobs station ;-)

    I’d love to have a few hens, just for the fresh eggs (the stuff in stores is just not at all close…), but being in the city, they are ‘not allowed’ as they are not ‘pet animals’… and the crowing gives away the rooster… ( I suppose I could just have hens, but then you need to keep buying chicks, and the local place that used to sell chicks went out of business some years back as the farms turned to silicon fabs… ) Now IF I could just get the spouse to agree to ’10 acres and a toy tractor’…

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @SImon:

    Pink bread! I like it! ;-)

    Ought to work, too. Though normally I’d think it a waste of wine… I don’t have it by the cubic meter…. Do you need a house guest to help with it? ;-)

  7. EM – Only occasional years have been good, and this year wasn’t. There is a LOT of older wine that visitors can try until they fall over. I have green grapes (Bacco Blanc) that make what is officially white wine but is actually a rather nice amber colour. Since my druthers are also red wine, I macerate a couple of weeks, which gives it a nice edge (when the weather’s been OK). It’ll probably go in the post.

  8. dearieme says:

    Our staple is a very good Farmhouse Loaf for about 2USD; they also bake a whole variety of others.

    http://www.maskellsbakery.co.uk/

  9. Jon B. says:

    Long time lurker, here. Many interests in common, from climate to history to barbeque, Linux (bailed on Ubuntu for Mint/Cinnamon), to bread??!! Are we related somehow? Do have a second cousin in CA, but he’s a bit of a jerk…

    Anyway, you can use sourdough starter to be an acidic dough conditioner; that’s what I do. Also, if you’re short on dry yeast (say the End of Times has lasted a bit longer than the Costco Membership) there is enough live yeast there to rise the dough. Can take a little longer, but it’ll work. If you’re making a couple of loaves a week, store it covered on the counter. In the fridge if the turnover is slower. Brewers recycle their yeasties all the time.

    Cheers –
    …back to lurking…

  10. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; If you need a few gallons of wine. I made 25 gallons of a nice rose 2 years ago. You are welcome to a few gallons if you want to bottle it from the carboys. Last years wine was poor so I removed its’ spirit for brandy and the bears got this years grapes. I rarely drink wine so there is plenty. pg

  11. Zeke says:

    The most filling ingredient of course is love.

    My brother visited and his daughter had a way of skipping meals and then saying she was hungry as soon as they were near a convenience store. This picky eating went on for days, and finally, she just sat down and ate my homemade chicken soup like a prisoner, celery, onions, tomatoes and all! (:

    Crust–>Croutons–>Breading, worked magic on potatoes here this evening. Very good results.

  12. John F. Hultquist says:

    Mom’s bread always hung out over the sides of the pan. I grew up thinking that was the way everyone made bread. Maybe we were too poor to have extra pans so as to have “normal” loafs. Anyway, the problem with homemade bread is that it is so easy to overeat. Same with chocolate chip and nut cookies. And making wine at home, too. The only sane thing to do is to make lots, eat the ones that don’t look so good, and give the best ones away. Taste is the same, less to eat, friends think you are an amazing cook.

    Zeke says “incredible that you can freeze yeast!”
    And usually it is sold to you dried.
    Pun intended here: Life is tough.

  13. Power Grab says:

    I made up a batch of bierocks one time that called for mashed potatoes as part of the starch. It made the most amazing risen bread product I have ever made! It was tender, it had great flavor, it baked up beautifully, and it was easy to work with.

    A long time ago I worked in an office that was next door to a Spudnuts shop. Their raised products do have potato in them. I worked there for over a year, eating a Sputnut most days, and didn’t gain weight until I bought my first car. Before that, I got around on a bicycle.

    Have you ever made popcorn the old-fashioned way, in a tall saucepan, in coconut oil, and topped with real melted butter and salt? Even my kid’s friends, who grew up on microwave popcorn, enjoy my old-fashioned popcorn.

  14. Graeme No.3 says:

    “As papadums are an important part of Indian cuisine, recipes vary from region to region and family to family. They are typically made from flour or paste derived from either lentils, chickpeas, black gram (urad flour), rice, or potato”.

    Looks like you got either besan (ground chickpeas) or lentil flour (gram = lentil) or a mixture when you experimented. Neither would have softened your loaf.

    In southern India they use fermented lentil flour with rice flour to make a soft bun, but I think that is straying very far from what you are looking for. (best eaten fresh).

  15. Gary Turner says:

    See Shreddably soft bread

    For a soft crumb that doesn’t get all crumbly, you must have fully developed gluten. Three things get you there:
    1) A preferment. This is a slow fermentation of a portion of the flour. While this is happening, enzymes, alpha and beta amylases begin breaking down the starch to simple sugars, and the gluten components hook up to form gluten strands. There is some lowering of the pH, which improves dough extensibility. If you use a sourdough mother in place of commercial yeast, the acidification will be intensified through the enzymatic actions and by-products of the aceto- and lacto-bacilli.

    2) Autolysis. This is a misnamed (imo) process, as no self digestion is going on. What does happen is the mix of wet and dry ingredients is given a rest to allow full and even hydration. Gluten forms from the component aminos.

    3) Kneading. This is where the gluten is stretched and organized. The dough becomes stronger, to the point that you should be able to stretch a portion to form a thinnish membrane that is very translucent. If you can press a finger into the back of the membrane and make out that you have fingerprints, you’re there.

    You use sugar, and that’s common in bread machine recipes. Sugar is hygroscopic and helps maintain moisture in the loaf. It also adds a bit of sweetness that is otherwise missing from a direct proces bread, that is one without a preferment to allow for enzymes to boost the flavor. Other than mold (acid will hold that off, which is a good reason to go with sourdough), bread staling is the shelf life limiter. Staling is not about drying out. When bread is baked, the starch is gelated. When it cools, the reversion to its natural crystaline structure begins. The lower the temp, the faster it stales, down to freezing.

    Staling can be held off, or at least disguised by dough conditioners. I’m not talking about big bakery stuff. Primary conditioners are sugar, milk, fat and eggs. Sugar, I’ve mentioned already. Eggs act as emulsifiers, milk emulsifies and softens the bread (milk proteins also add to the Maillard reaction that gives bread that wonderful smell and sweet crust), and fat softens the bread and shortens the gluten strands. For my own day-to-day sandwich bread, I use all but the eggs.

    Your base hydration level is awfully high for a sandwich loaf. That is one reason you get batter when using some portion of a less absorbent flour, e.g. millet. It would also mean a well risen loaf in the pan will fall over. The final proof with the right anount of dough for the pan will be 1in above the pan’s top. Oven spring will lift it another ¾in or so.

    Here is my suggestion for a shreddably soft sandwich loaf.

    300gr flour
    180gr water with 18gr dry milk solids (powdered milk) or simply use 180gr milk or buttermilk or yoghurt or kefir, etc.
    6gr salt
    3gr instant dry yeast or breadmachine yeast (same stuff) _not_ active dry yeast
    15gr sugar, honey, mollasses etc
    30gr fat: saturated or monounsaturated fat e.g. lard, butter, olive oil or your palm/coconut oils — not Crisco, margarine, vegetable or corn oil, and canola oil is just foul. To explain why, saturated and monounsaturated fats are polar lipids. As they’re added to dough, they displace the protein (gluten) film that encapsulates the gas bubbles. The polar lipid film is stronger, thus helps to increase loaf volume. Non-polar lipids (the unsaturated and poly unsaturated fats) actually reduce loaf volume. Let’s just say they make a leaky film.

    Start by mixing 60gr of flour, a scant pinch of yeast, and 60gr of whatever milk you’re using. Cover and put aside.

    Make a roux with 12gr of flour and 60gr of boiling water. Cover and set aside. Substitue potato flakes for flour if you like. Subtract the flakes’ weight from the total flour.

    Go do something else for 12 to 16 hours.

    You’re mixing in the bread machine? Excepting the fat, add the remaining liquids, the poolish (preferment), and the roux to the bucket. Add the dry ingredients and start. After 3 minutes of mixing, pause the machine and let rest 10–15 minutes. Start the knead cycle, and add the fat. At the end of the knead cycle, try to pull a thin membrane. If it tears before you get it very thin, knead another 5 minutes or so.

    Now shape, proof, and bake. Use a temp of 350–360℉ for 30–45 minutes, depending on your pans and oven temp. Look for an internal temperature of 205–210℉.

    Whew! Got carried away there. ☺

  16. pauline emmerson says:

    Great article, when I have boiled potatoes, I save the water from them and use it to make bread. I sometimes vary my basic receipe and add stuff that needs using up such as cheese etc Brioche is a great way of using up eggs and milk.

  17. j ferguson says:

    E.M.
    Dad’s father was in the grain business in Minneapolis. He baked 12 loaves of bread every Saturday. He had a route and gave them to a short list of his friends.

    Perturbed by inconsistency of results despite great care, he suspected problems with the flour, XXX’s Best. His circle included a senior person at the millers. He asked.

    “What size sacks do you buy it in?”
    “Varies, but mostly the 10 lb ones.”
    “That’s it. We don’t sell the really good stuff in smaller than 25 lb sacks. The smaller ones end up in gravy, and what baking is done with them is by people who don’t do enough to have developed sufficiently constant methods where the inconsistency of the flour would be discovered.”

    This story dates to the late ’50s.

  18. Chuckles says:

    E.M.
    Bakers will usually talk about ‘hydration’ in relation to crumb, i.e. the percentage of water in the recipe vs the other ingredients e.g. 500g flour 300g water, 60% hydration. A fine crumb like a bagel, is usually about 50% hydration.

    That said, I doubt it’s the complete story. The flour protein content also affects crumb, and i’d guess the QC is a lot better for the bakery size sacks of flour than the ones in the local store.

    I’ve also heard the claim that some of the more exotic flour for artisanal type breads benefit from ‘slow fermentation’.as noted by Gary above, and I can attest that it certainly seems to work,and work well.
    I’ve made the following recipe a number of times, and it’s a good example of the idea. At first read, it sounds like it will never ever work, but it produces beautiful bread, which to me was amazing, considering the almost total lack of any kneading. –

    Light Rye Farmhouse Loaf
    1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
    100g rye flour
    200g strong unbleached white flour
    1 tsp salt
    100g cold water
    100g milk (Or replace with water, if you prefer)
    50g unsalted butter – melted (Or olive oil if you prefer)

    Late at night, put yeast, rye flour, white flour and salt in a bowl. Mix water milk and stir in melted butter and pour into the dry ingredients.
    Mix by hand to a soft sticky dough. Do NOT knead it , just mix with the fingers.
    Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. (For at LEAST 8 hours, but no more than 14.)
    Next morning remove from the bowl, knead on a lightly floured surface for 10-15 SECONDS, replace in the bowl and leave for 15 min or so at room temp.
    Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. then pat out on a lightly floured surface to an oval, long axis 10-20cm left to right, max 15cm short axis.
    Lift the edge nearest to you, and roll the dough up VERY tightly to end up with a 20cm or so scroll.
    Then roll this backwards and forwards firmly on your work surface, pressing down on the ends so they taper slightly.
    Place on the parchment, and rub and cover with oil, e.g. olive, or to taste. SAE30 not recommended.
    If available, place in a large plastic bag or similar to keep moist, and let rise at room temp for 2 1/2 hours or so till doubled in height.
    Heat oven to 220C 430F, fan the same,
    Dust the top of the loaf with flour, and cut a 1cm deep slash along 1 side.
    Bake for 35-40mins till golden brown and light.
    Cool on a wire rack.

  19. Evan Highlander says:

    Okay oKay,,,,,,,, Hmmm and Mmmmm! very interesting!
    Yes , Inconsistency of Quality….always such a sore point yet crops up so often. Once Politicians and Market makers etc get their Paws in something – Look out! I had o=an issue once, and required and required LegalServices: to demonstrated a / THE Point, I had my Dear Wifr bake me 2 Loaves in the BReadmaker – One with the proper Breadmaking flour, the other with cheapest Plain Flour, Guess what ! – you couldn’t tell the difference!.
    Now after much frustration with different Flours and Yeasts, we make adequately good Bread using our own Sour Dough yeast Starter and “Strong White Bread Flour ” . As I write, I am munching through the Heel of a freshly baked Wholemeal Loaf whilst almost choking on the Revelations on BBC2 Scotland’s Documetary ” You’ve been Trumped ” …
    Well, I’ve said something for a First posting here – – enjoy reading your articles, long may they continue..

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    @Evan Highlander:

    Welcome! So, do you have a recipe for that “Wholemeal Loaf”? ;-)

    @Chuckles:

    Thanks for the recipe! It’s on me “to try” list ( I’ve already got a bag of Rye flour in the cupboard, but wanted to get ‘plain white’ working well before going too far down that path. I think I’m ready now…)

    I’ve seen some other ‘slow rise’ methods like that. IMHO it ought to give a fluffier bread. The commercial “wonder bread” like crumb comes in part from faster processing in a more sponge like process.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chorleywood_Bread_Process

    People often confuse the Chorleywood Bread Process with the process of Industrialised Bread Production. The CBP is only a method of producing quick-ripened bread dough. Industrial scale bread making (automated shaping, proving, baking, cooling and wrapping of bread) pre-dates the CBP by several decades.

    Flour, water, yeast, salt, fat, a chemical antioxidant such as ascorbic acid, and minor ingredients such as emulsifiers and enzymes are mechanically mixed for about three minutes. Emulsifiers and enzymes are neither essential nor exclusive to the CBP but are widely used in the recipe to increase softness and shelf life particularly in soft bread varieties.

    The high shear mixing generates high temperatures in the dough, which is cooled in some advanced mixers using a cooling jacket. Chilled water or ice may also be used to counteract the temperature rise during high speed mixing. Air pressure in the mixer headspace can be controlled to control the gas bubbles to the desired size and number. Typical operating regimes are pressure followed by vacuum and atmospheric followed by vacuum. The pressure control during mixing affects the fineness of crumb texture in the finished bread.

    In typical industrial bread production the dough is cut (divided) into individual pieces and allowed to “recover” for 5-8 minutes (Intermediate proofing). Each piece of dough is then shaped (moulded), placed in a baking tin and moved to the humidity- and temperature-controlled proofing chamber, where it sits for about 45-50 minutes. It is now ready to be baked. Baking takes 17-25 minutes at 450°F (about 230°C). After baking the loaves are removed from the baking tin (de-panning) and then go to the cooler, where, about two hours later, they are sliced, packaged and ready for despatch

    So a very fast blender process that really whips up a sponge. Then put in a pan to rise and bake it. About 2 hours from start to baked, and 4 hours to in the package and shipped…

    Note that this was invented in the UK to use lower protein flours (that they grew). This also makes for that fluffy white foam character… which is part of why it is hard to get in the higher protein flours used for artisan breads…

    In theory, using lower protein flour and doing less kneading to ‘develop the gluten’ ought to get closer to ‘sponge white’… but I don’t know if it ends up flopping for other reasons ;-)

    @J. Ferguson:

    Hmmm…. That would tend to explain why my results were more consistent when I was buying 25 lb sacks of flour…. Though that specialty flour in the picture has been very consistent. It is shipped in a plastic bag not those paper things, so I’d figured it was just the moisture control was better…

    @pauline emmerson:

    Sounds nummy! So, any Brioche pointers / recipes? I’ve never made it (just getting ‘white bread’ under control…) so knowing that the recipe is one known to work would be a big help…

    I’ve been thinking of making some ‘bread wrapped meals’ (it’s a LARGE category…) and have no idea where to start. Figured I’d just start with some ‘meat in gravy’ and fold it into a ‘pizza like’ flat, folded over and crimped with a fork… (poke holes in the top so it doesn’t explode…)

    I’ve made a decent analog of the biscuits at Red Lobster. (Add a fair amount of hard shortening, lard works though I like Palm Oil along with a lot of cheese ;-) but had not thought of adding cheese to bread… Hmmm…..

    @Simon Derricutt:

    We’ve a couple of local vintners that make an ‘amber’ white. Some of them are quite nice at room temperature. (Only in the last decade or two have I learned to get away from a compulsory refrigerating of whites ;-)

    I’d also suggest an idea I’ve pondered from time to time…. IFF you have some red and white grapes ripening about the same time, use some of the red skins in the white maceration…. Ought to make an interesting pink… Purists will never try it, but I’ve got to think it has potential. A ‘less tannic’ red as it spends less time on fewer skins, stems and seeds; along with a white with a bit more character….

    @Jon B;

    I tried the sourdough route for a while. I just wasn’t consistent enough about maintenance of the starter. ( I was spending too much time ‘experimenting’ and not enough time just doing what was known to work. Only later did I realize that the ‘use or throw out a cup a day’ was for the purpose of keeping the Lactobacillus / Yeast ratio right. I was ‘trying things’ that let the L.B. take over too much… so got loaves that were a bit dense and with too much starch converted, so stiff crumb.) Now that I can make a decent daily loaf, I’ll likely go back to trying sourdough… but with faster ‘starter’ cycling so it’s more yeast rich and with more frequent baking…

    It’s a different art…

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    You have a deal! Sometime next warm season, I’ll arrange a visit. I have bottling equipment (capper and bottles) if needed.

    @Zeke:

    I’ve had kids ‘resistant’ to trying some of the home made stuff. Usually after the first meal, they become converts ;-)

    @John F. Hultquist:

    It ‘hangs over the sides’ if you are a bit slow to catch the right ‘ris enough’ point ;-) or the dough is too wet…

    @Power Grab:

    What’s a “bierocks”? ( I know, I’m a philistine…) And got a recipe for that bread? ….

    When I was a kid, we only made popcorn in a cast iron skillet…. Yes, it’s much better ;-)

    @Graeme No.3 :

    The bag said it was Durham, so I think it was all wheat, but might have had something added or maybe just ground with some more of the germ in it…

    Don’t think it had any beans in it.

    @Gary Turner:

    Thanks! I’ll give that a try…

  21. j ferguson says:

    In case anyone wondered what Simon’s cubic meters of wine might look like:

  22. j ferguson says:

    Oops, should have just done the url. sorry.

  23. p.g.sharrow says:

    Durham wheat is a high protein verity normally used to make pasta. The wheat berries are hard and is a reddish brown color. It is also known as a hard spring wheat. pg

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    I’d expected the more protein, and even maybe a bit more color (the flour is more yellowish). What surprised me was the significantly different flavor. (Noodles don’t have it.). Not sure where it came from. Different milling than that used for noodles? Different varieties? Some special “Indian” process? Didn’t care enough to find out (as I didn’t like the flavor effect). The stronger slightly bitter overtones work well in with spicy Indian food, not so well in toast ;-)

    I think, having looked into it, that I have the name wrong and it wasn’t “Papadum” flour, but this stuff:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atta_flour

    That has a list of Indian breads made with it:

    Atta is the flour used to make most South Asian flatbreads, such as chapati, roti, naan and puri. Most atta is milled from the semi-hard wheat varieties, also known as durum wheat, that comprise 90% of the Indian wheat crop, and is more precisely called durum atta.

    Not being particularly good with Indian food terms, it looks like I used the one “south Asian flat bread” made from non-Atta flour . Takes some skill to do that ;-)

    Two other bits of info:

    “Atta Flour – Mixture of Endosperm and Bran”

    Traditionally, atta is made by stone grinding, a process that imparts a characteristic aroma and taste to the bread. The high bran content of wholemeal atta makes it a fiber-rich food. This may help to regulate blood sugar as well have other health benefits. The temperatures attained in a chakki (mill or grinder, traditionally from stone), produced by friction, are of the order of 110-125 deg C. At such high temperatures, the carotenes present in the bran tend to exude the characteristic roasty smell, and contribute to the sweetness of the atta.

    I think it’s the mixture of more flavor rich parts of the grain with the higher temperature grinding process, that “characteristic aroma and taste”, which was not what I was looking for in the loaf…

    So apologies for confusion on having lousy Indian food terminology… I usually get it from a buffet and don’t need to know how to say it ;-)

  25. p.g.sharrow says:

    “Atta Flour – Mixture of Endosperm and Bran”
    When wheat is milled for flour, the starch is separated from the endosperm and bran. The starch (flour) is nearly inert and will “keep” for a long time. The endosperm and bran are the living part of the berries (grain) and will go bad as the damaged cells die and the exposed oils go rancid as they oxidize. The endosperm “germ” is rich in vitamins and oils but must be used quickly before they degrade. pg

  26. A long time back I modified an old coffee mill – added a geared motor (I’m lazy) and ground my own flour. This made very nice bread. Freshly-milled grain tastes nice. As pg says, a wholemeal flour doesn’t really keep well – why the white flour was invented, I think, to make storage easier. That grinder could be something to resurrect – it’s still around somewhere after a lot of housemoves.

  27. Wayne Job says:

    Once had a friend that worked in a flour mill he called me when ever he had a shipment of exceptional wheat. Once I got two 112lb bags of 34% protein wheat for twenty dollars. I had a small powered stone face wheat grinder. Grinding the flour and making bread immediately the flour was warm almost hot, yeast we kept alive for years and just kept breeding more. Putting the yeast and other ingredients into the warm flour made the rising a natural thing, just cover and place in a warm place near the stove. This bread may not be your white fluffy stuff but it tasted good and was high octane food.

  28. p.g.sharrow says:

    Newly ground wheat makes excellent porridge. Grind to about 1/3 the fineness of flour and cook 20 minuets and add butter. :-) pg

  29. Pascvaks says:

    FWIW – Not much of a baker, something about yeast and flour and the ‘dark magic’ of it all, or some other ‘terrible’ childhood memory (maybe I trashed the kitchen when I was in my terrible-twos), whatever, I find the subject facinating but the ‘doing’ has no appeal whatsoever. I read the post and comments and found myself thinking back and back (my wife did buy me a bread-maker some years ago but I was so “off” to the I idea that we took it back and I got something else for Christmas;-), and I kept going back even farther.

    Pita bread came to mind and thought, “Yea, that stuff tastes pritty good!” And then I went looking after primative ovens to make it… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pita

    Then the talk of different flours got me to thinking about all the stuff that we make into flour and the wiki on ‘flour’ had a pritty good list of all those things… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flour

    It’s all fascinating! Thanks for the all the great info!

  30. Pascvaks says:

    It’s amazing the things you pick up at EM’s General Store around the old pot-belly stove, whittleing and chewing the fat: Peas used to make flour, that’s used to make porridge (see flour link above), that was what the old nursery rhyme was talking about and I thought when I learned it that it was “Please porridge Hot, please porridge Cold..” but the correct rhyme was “Pease porridge Hot, Pease porridge Cold..” — they weren’t saying PLEASE they were talking about PEAS! Yukkkkk!!!!

    Wonder what else I got wrong all these years?

  31. Chuckles says:

    /Pedant mode on –
    it’s ‘durum’ wheat, not ‘Durham’, (from ‘durum’ Latin – ‘hard’, Durham is where the Pink Panther comes from)
    /pedant mode off

    @Pascvaks, pease porrige or pease pudding, is erbsensuppe, split-pea soup, one of the great staples of Germanic food. Ventilates the system no end.

    @E.M. Received wisdom has it that you can’t make brioche in a bread machine, as it’s a choux pastry like recipe. But since we’re ignorant, and don’t know that, have a look here –

    http://kitchenencounters.typepad.com/blog/2010/09/-bread-machine-basics-broiche-.html

    Most palatable it is.

  32. Judy F. says:

    @Pascvaks: EM’s General Store- Love it!
    EM,

    I have found that I really like this yeast for my baking now. It is mixed in the dry ingredients and then the liquid is added. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/saf-red-instant-yeast-16-oz

    My mother-in-law made bread for her family and gave me her recipe. I made bread for years when all the kids were home. I use a dedicated plastic dish pan, which I have been using for almost 40 years now, when I mix up the dough. When I proof my bread ( any of my recipes) I let it rise in my microwave. First I put in a cup or mug filled with water and heat it until it is almost boiling. Then I put in my bowl of bread and let it rise. The hot water makes a nice warm environment and the microwave is just the right size for a proofing box.

    This is a nice sandwich type loaf, which is fairly soft. I have used honey in place of the sugar and have thrown in 2 cups of whole wheat flour when I got to the “add 10 cups of flour”, reducing the white flour to 8 cups.

    Grandma Pat’s Sponge Bread Recipe. Makes 4 regular size loaves.

    Measure in a large bowl 3 cups lukewarm water and 4 Tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle in 2 packages of yeast. Let stand until dissolved, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir.

    Add 4 cups of regular flour and beat until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place until it is light and spongey, about 1 hour. Scald 2 cups milk. Add 4 Tablespoons sugar, 2 Tablespoons salt and 6 Tablespoons butter to the milk and let cool to lukewarm. ( I use dried milk in water and heat it in the microwave). Add the milk mixture to the sponge mixture and beat until smooth. Add in about 10 cups sifted flour and stir until mostly mixed. ( I add 5 cups and beat well, then add the additional 5 cups) . Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Lightly grease the surface of the bread, put it back into a bowl and allow it to rise again, until doubled, about one hour. Punch dough down and divide it into 4 equal portions. Shape into loaves and place into greased bread pans. Cover lightly, and allow to rise again, about one hour. Bake in a moderate oven ( the recipe calls for 400 degrees, I would bake at 375) for about 50 minutes. when loaves are done ( they are done when nicely browned and sound hollow when you rap your knuckles on the loaves) remove them from the pans and allow them to cool on racks.

    These make nice sandwich loaves- nice texture and a “softer” bread.

    One of my favorite catalogs is the King Arthur Flour catalog. My local grocery store doesn’t carry many “specialty flours” and I can get all kinds of wonderful flours and other ingredients from this catalog. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/
    Their recipe section is great, and includes a really nice no-knead white bread recipe that is wonderful. I love it if you need a crusty, chewy bread to go with soup or something, but it is not as good the second day. You might as well eat it all at one sitting. It is cooked on a bread or pizza stone. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/no-knead-crusty-white-bread-recipe

    If you want information about flours, this section explains about the diffrent kinds of flours and what they are used for. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/flours/

  33. Judy F. says:

    @EM

    “Bread wrapped meals”. This is a very regional recipe- I had never heard of it until I moved here. They are known as Cabbage Pockets, or Runza’s or Cabbage Rolls.

    Cabbage Pockets.
    One cup warm water.
    1 package yeast
    1/4 cup sugar
    3/4 tsp salt
    one egg
    1/8 cup butter
    3 1/4 cups flour.Mix altogether. I like to knead it for a while, but the recipe doesn’t actually call for kneading. Put into greased bowl and refrigerate for about 4 hours. ( I have made it on occasion and not refrigerated it for that long).
    Brown 1 1/2 pounds ground beef and 1/2 cup chopped onion (drain off grease) . Add 3 cups shredded cabbage, 1/2 cup water and salt and pepper. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Cool. (I have hurried the cooling part too ie: it has still been pretty warm. It just makes the dough harder to handle)

    Divide the dough in half and roll one piece into an oblong shape. cut the dough into 8 squares. Put a spoonful of the meat mixture into the middle of the dough square. Fold up the corners to cover the meat mixture and press together the edges. Place seams side down onto greased cookie sheet. Roll out the other piece of dough and repeat the process. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

    Dissolve yeast in water. Add other liquids. Add

  34. Judy F. says:

    oops. I see there was an editing problem with the cabbage pockets recipe. Insert “dissolve yeast in water. Add other liquids. Add ” after the 1/8 cups butter and before the 3 1/4 cups flour. Sorry about that. :(

  35. E.M.Smith says:

    @Chuckles:

    Ooops! Sorry. Lived near a town named Durham and it’s just coded into the fingers to type it that way. Like an Apple iPad “correcting” your spelling… even when it was a different word you wanted. Only built into the cranium.

    I understand that “Carling Sunday” was followed by, er, “breezy” Monday ;-)

    http://asmallholding.blogspot.com/2011/04/carling-sunday.html

    @Judy F:

    At least I’m not the only one ;-)

    There’s a huge variety of ‘bread wrapped stuff’ and I’ve only ever made fruit turnovers… So planning to slowly work into all sorts of ‘pocket’ meals…

    Cabbage Pockets look like a nice one to start with as cabbage is cheaper to make than lamb stew, so if you ‘blow it’ on the first try it’s not as big a loss ;-) Besides, I’ve got some cabbage family greens growing in the garden…

    When first reading proofing ‘in the microwave’ I momentarily jumped to “Oh No! Not Microwaved YEAST!!!”… but the warm water idea makes a lot of sense… nice idea. I have an oven with a digital readout, but they did NOT let it have a ‘warm’ setting. It bottoms at 176 F or some such (probably to avoid lawsuits for bacterial growth temperatures…). So I can’t just set it at 100 F and proof… or make yogurt… (I miss the old gas pilot light oven that held that temp all the time…)

    Instead I turn it on for about 20 seconds, then wait a couple of minutes. Repeat with 10 seconds. Then 5. Eventually it stabilizes at a nice warm. In goes the bread. When the display is below 100, it shows 100… so when it shows 100, I give it another 5 seconds… This is a regular electric oven, not the microwave… Just do it enough to read a touch over 100 F… Works well, but a bit ‘fiddly’. The water in the MicroWave would be less fuss…

    @Pascvaks:

    Nursery rhymes are about some of the oddest things… ;-)

    FWIW, I really like split pea soup… so don’t take my “peas porridge” away!

    BTW, there are also metal “flours” and even some explosive “flours”… it’s just a degree of grind…

    I’ve made “nitrostarch” out of nitric acid (in a way that doesn’t need real nitric acid… not for publication…but commonly available materials…) and it’s not hard to do. There is a story (don’t know if true..) that during W.W.II the French made what looked like loaves of bread out of nitrostarch. Just add detonator and it blows… Can’t stop every Frenchman on a bike with a baguette ;-) I think it would work, too, just don’t bake in a hot oven ;-)

    @P.G.Sharrow & Simon:

    Out in the garage is the flour mill I bought to grind all the wheat in cans in the “emergency supply”… Next on my “to do” list is to use both. It’s time to ‘turn over the inventory’. As one of my favorite meals is various kinds of cooked grains, with milk butter and sugar; I’ll likely try some wheat too. Barley is quite good, as is ‘mixed grains’ with wheat, barley, rye, oats, etc.

    I’m slowly working my up to Graham Crackers ;-)

    @Wayne Job:

    I’ve made up 2 jars of “Rye”. Now that I CAN make “white fluffy” on demand, I’m going back to my “variety breads” as a ‘change up’. It just bothered me that I’d make bread; but the family would go buy a loaf of white foam for toast… Now they don’t do that ;-)

    Yeah, a rich hearty bread, covered in stew or buttered next to fried chicken… YUM! And very filling too!

    I do have to give another “plug” for the “Millet Bread” here. Swapping an ounce or two for millet flour gives a mild bread, but with a rich deepness to it that’s satisfying… I’ve made a “Millet Bread” that was a corn bread analog. Direct swap of millet flour for corn flour. It’s an OK substitute, but has a slightly bitter aftertaste. As I can’t eat corn, it lets me have a “Corn Bread substitute” that’s OK, but not quite the same. Using it at 1/8 to 1/4 of the flour in a regular yeast bread does not have the “corn bread” like nature, but also doesn’t have that ‘odd’ taste. It’s just really good!

  36. E.M.Smith says:

    Tried swapping 2 ounces of Rye flour for wheat (so 2 oz rye, 6.5 +/- 0.2 wheat). A VERY nice bread! Soft and tender crumb, mild yet interesting flavor. ( I didn’t put in the various seeds / seasonings that people think of as ‘rye’ but are not… so no fennel or caraway seeds…) Made it as a ’round’ and could barely stop at 2 large center slices (!); need to leave some for the family ;-)

    I’ll be making more of it, a lot more, and likely try a ‘regular’ squarish loaf for toast.

    Eventually I’m going to work up to more like 50/50% rye / wheat and add some of the spices. As we’re not really fond of the strongly flavored rye breads, I’ll likely use 1/3 or 1/4 the usual amount. It looks like I can make a light, fluffy, and mildly spiced rye. Something I’ve wished for for a long time. ( I do like the ‘typical’ caraway / fennel flavor of regular rye breads, just want it backed off a bit so I can taste the bread and filling too. ;-)

    Next stop, 3 ounces rye to 5.5 wheat, and 1/4 the “usual” level of caraway / fennel / other spices. Probably going to try backing down the sugar, too. See if I can keep the yeast happy and the loft good with less sweetness in the loaf… Didn’t put any potato flour in this loaf, and it didn’t need any. A ‘future experiment’ would be to try 1 Tbs potato flour in place of wheat. At some point it becomes too soft and doesn’t hold a rise well, but “we’ll see” where that point is…

    This is all remarkably good fun. Much more rewarding than hacking Linux or herding stocks in a portfolio ;-) (But I need to do all of them… and the others are rewarding, just not as immediate as a slice of warm buttery bread fresh from the oven ;-)

  37. Pascvaks says:

    Just curious… anyone add a little liquid coffee to their ‘batch’ of batter to make a flavored and darker bread?

  38. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith I have the same feeling about my Blackberry brandy. A lot of time used to pick wild berries and the destroy them for the juice. Remove the spirit from wine and honey from the bees. But the brandy is so delightful that my wife begs for her own glass for “Burnt Offering” services ;-) and she rarely imbibes. pg

  39. Tim Clark says:

    My mother was the original hippie chick. Had her own stone grinder in the 60’s (I wonder if she’ll will that to me or if my sisters already cabbaged on to it?). As you can imagine, whole stone ground wheat comes out of the oven like a brick. She never used sugar except in a non-purified form, i.e. honey, dried ground up fruit juice like cranberry or strawberries of grape. It took her several years doing what you are doing to get it right. I think she had to resort to using a some unbleached white flour (along with spelt, millet, ground fruit pits-usually apple, cherry, etc.-dried vegetables like carrots, cabbage, and yams for christmas). No two loaves ever tasted the same. Also, she let it pre-rise in a warm oven for what seemed a long time. That seemed to make a lighter texture, but with “holes”. I’ll see if she’ll send her recipes to me. Going to come in handy soon.

  40. E.M.Smith says:

    @Pascvaks:

    Well, looks like nobody has tried it. Over to you! Whomp up a batch and let us know how ‘coffee bread’ works! ;-)

    @P.G.Sharrow:

    I’m working my way up to ‘fortified’ stuff. So far all I’ve done is ‘freeze concentration’ of home made beer. Makes for an interesting drink, but I’m hard pressed to not just drink the ‘raw material’ ;-)

    Just did the ‘1/2 spice’ level on Rye. Love it. Just love it. 1 1/2 tsp of fennel and caraway per 1 lb loaf. Just enough flavor to be interesting, not so much as to dominate a bologna sandwich! Makes it a ‘nice and interesting’ instead of an ‘over the top in your face’ flavor. Makes interesting toast, too. (And I don’t need to take my glasses to the store and spend 10 minutes reading labels ;-)

    @Tim Clark:

    Some breads work, some are, um, ‘ingredients’ for other things ;-)

    It’s an interesting art that is simultaneously very easy, and very hard to master. (You can easily get ‘something OK’ and spend forever getting ‘something just right each time’.) I’d likely go with sourdough for home ground wheat, just because I think the ‘bugs’ will break down some of the ‘heavy stuff’… but I’ve not tried it…

    A long slow rising helps. “Holes” often just mean that the “punch down” was not complete. (You will often / always get one or two ‘holes’, but more than that is a technique issue, at least for the regular flour breads I’ve done.) First rise gets things going, then you ‘punch down’ the dough to break up the bigger bubbles and prevent them being big holes. The better you do that ‘mix’ on the punch down, the more you break up those early larger bubbles. The ‘ones you miss’ become ‘holes’ on the second rise. So missing one is common. Getting ALL of them is harder…

    Personally, I don’t mind the holes (much) so only do a perfunctory ‘punch down’ that gets most of them most of the time. (about 1 smallish ‘hole’ per loaf, typically).

    How long it takes to rise is proportional to sugar in the loaf and temperature. As I add sugar (so the yeast feeds well and fast) and rise at about 105 F, so goes fast. Don’t know how that changes “holes” ;-)

    I’ve become fond of the Amaranth Bread that has 2 ounces of Amaranth flour substituted for wheat. Also the Millet. On the ‘todo’ list is to try a mix of both ;-) Adding “variety adjuncts” like other grains, beans, fruits, etc. can add a lot of useful nutrients…

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