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Food & Wine Ground >> bread - who makes it?


3/24/08 9:09 AM
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cbgrappler
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Edited: 24-Mar-08 09:18 AM
Member Since: 11/09/2005
Posts: 480
 
After making some killer french bread this weekend, I have decided that I'm going to attempt to bake some type of bread once a week ...

So give me some fodder - Post your bread baking tips and recipes here ...



3/25/08 11:14 AM
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alpo
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 33764
French bread is by far the easiest and a good way to get your feet wet. You might try sourdough next. It is basically the same as French bread, but you add a "starter" which is basically a soup of fermented flour and water with bacteria and yeast. lol It takes a few days for the starter to develop (you don't have to do anything but wait), but the rest of the process is basically the same as French bread. Whole grain wheat bread is pretty easy, as is Italian. If you can make Italian, you can make pizza crust and breadsticks. Italian is strong and elastic enough that it can be stuffed. For example, when you make French bread, it has to be pressed flat, then you rolled up to form the loaf. If you want to stuff Italian, you simply roll it out flat the same way, then put your stuffing across it in a line, then roll it up. (like rolling a joint) Whatever you put in it should already be cooked; don't put raw meat in there. It won't be cooked to temperature by the time the bread is finished. An easy thing to use is mozzarella and pepperoni. That's only one step away from a kolache too. Instead of a solid line of stuffing all the way across, drop it in little piles. Then roll it up and the "loaf" should be warped enough on the outside that you can see where the piles are. Just cut the dough in between the piles and kind of wrap the edges underneath so it looks nice and round. Bake as normal. Try Italian sausage, mushrooms and sourkrout. Viola, kolaches. Baking bread is as much of an artform as it is a science. You can't always follow recipes 100% because there are so many x-factors. Try to follow as best you can, but you've got to get a feel for what dough should feel like and what it should look like as it proofs and cooks. It's just experience and repetition. You can't learn it all from a book. Respect your yeast and bacteria; they are living organisms and you have to give them what they need or they will die. This means food and correct temperature. On that note, different brands of yeast also work differently, so you may get better results following the directions on the package than the directions in a cookbook or you may have to wing it and create some sort of hybrid method. The good news is yeast is cheap, so don't be afraid to try 3 or 4 different methods at the same time if you have to.. then use the one that is the most foamy.
3/25/08 7:15 PM
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cbgrappler
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
Member Since: 11/09/2005
Posts: 482
alpo,

I already got my starter going for some sourdough ... I can't wait to get a batch of that on the go.

Brioche is another bread that really interests me ... theres something appealing about all those eggs & butter it takes to make it :-)


3/25/08 7:37 PM
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alpo
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 33791
Just don't get discouraged if you ruin your bread a bunch of times. Like I said, it is kind of an artform and it takes a keen touch and a keen eye. If you want to get really good at it, you are going to fuck it up countless times. Think of it like learning to play guitar or ride a skateboard. The amount of intuitive decisions you have to make, due to varying conditions, is very high.. much more so than most other types of cooking. FWIW, the last thing you want to do is entertain guests with something you haven't already made numerous times. It's not unlike BBQing, in that regard.
3/25/08 7:39 PM
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alpo
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
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After sourdough, you should try wheat. It handles pretty much the same, even though the ingredients are not that similar. It is pretty forgiving and it can be used in additional ways, like making sandwiches. Unlike French, which is basically eaten by itself or along side a dish.
3/29/08 12:42 PM
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cbgrappler
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Edited: 29-Mar-08
Member Since: 11/09/2005
Posts: 484
my starter has developed a pretty strong apple cider smell ... I believe this is a good thing ...

I think finally got the start of some foam on top as well ... I hope so, I want to stick that puppy in the fridge as I'm heading out of town soon.

Can you stick a starter in the fridge before it fully foams?

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