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Question to Good Bread Bakers

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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby Detritus » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:50 pm

kurt_w wrote:Detritus, that's cool that you've been making your own soymilk. I don't drink it, but others in my family do. Got a recipe, or a pointer to a good one somewhere online?

You can buy a soymilk maker if you like, but if you have a Cuisinart, a stockpot, and a good steel sieve you don't need it and it will taste better anyway. A couple of things to remember:

* Always use steel, ceramic, and glass utensils. Heated soybeans are a great source of plastic, which you will never get off plastic implements, so if you store soymilk in a plastic jug, make sure it's completely cool first.

* Soybeans need to be fully cooked and/or fermented to be digested. The longer you boil soymilk the more the long protein chains break down, which is a good thing for your digestion.

Here's what I do:

1. In the evening, wash a cup of dried soybeans in two changes of water and then soak them in a pyrex measuring cup with about 4 cups of hot water. I get the beans in bulk from the coop; 1 cup of beans will produce nearly a gallon of soymilk.

2. In the morning, rinse off the beans in the sieve and then whip them around in the Cuisinart. Start just with the beans, then gradually add water. You'll end up with bean whip, something between hummus and whipped cream in consistency.

3. Put the sieve over the stock put and turn the bean whip into the sieve. Slowly pour enough fresh, cold water over the whip to turn it into a suspension. Stir it a bit while pouring the water--the goal is to get an even suspension of the bean bits, much like you would do with coffee grounds.

4. When the liquid has mostly drained into the stockpot, run another batch of water through the beans, and keep going until the whip part is gone, and what you have left is the mass of ground beans.

5. Set the sieve aside and put the stockpot on the stove on high heat. You'll need to skim foam off the top, probably even before it heats up--if you don't do that the pot will boil over and that is very, very messy. I use a flat spoon and the pyrex measuring cup I soaked the beans in. Anyway, carefully bring the bean liquid to a boil and then let it boil gently for at least 15 minutes, skimming it occasionally to keep it from boiling over. The longer you boil it, the thicker it gets and the better it tastes.

6. Done! It will keep in the fridge for several days. I always heat it up servings before drinking them--I always bring it to a boil. It's normally drunk either salty or sweet, so try it with either a pinch of salt or a spoon of sugar (or honey) per cup. The result should taste like you're drinking sweet, roasted beans--not liquid chalk, which is what the commercial stuff tastes like to me.

The leftover bean grindings ("okara") are high in protein but have absolutely no flavor--and in any case they have to be cooked to be edible. You can steam okara with flavorings to get a sort of grain-like rice substitute, but I think most Americans prefer to spread it out on a cookie sheet and bake it. When it's nicely brown you can regrind it in the Cuisinart or a coffee grinder, giving you soy protein powder. Or you can compost it if you don't need soy protein powder.
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby kurt_w » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:23 pm

Hey, thanks a lot for the very detailed explanation. I'll give it a try...
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby msnflyer » Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:03 pm

I find the oven with the light turned on makes a good home proof box.

City2country: it took me 30 years to kill my first Kitchenaid mixer. I dislike the high pitched whine that the motor on the new one makes.
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby WestSideYuppie » Sat Oct 08, 2011 4:51 pm

Just a note that oily ingredients such as some kinds of seeds will interfere with rising. If you expect the bread to be more dense, then a smaller pan is handy to have. If it's too small to make a nice sandwich, then make two sandwiches. :mrgreen:

I'm not organized enough, and don't have a consistent enough schedule, to do it exactly the same every time. Also, sometimes you get it to the point where you know that it's not going to work right. My "plan b" is to turn it into rolls or baguettes, both of which are more forgiving than loaves.
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby Lily » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:36 pm

I'm using a Kitchenaide Mixer but thanks for the suggestion of warming up the bowl before letting the yeast bloom. Since I make my bread on weekend mornings it's not interfering with work or other commitments. I think part of the problem is I'm adding ground flax seed and dry oatmeal to a whole wheat bread recipe that only requires 1/2 t dry instant yeast so I'll gradually increase my yeast to allow for the heavier ingredients. Thanks for the tip Westsideyuppie about oily ingredients, like seeds, interfering with raising. I think I'm going to upgrade my flour to King Arthur as was suggested by kurt_w and all the other wonderful suggestions he made. Thanks. Just makes sense that a better flour makes a better bread. Thanks for the Mollie Katzen bread suggestion. City2coundtrygal, yes the pizza crust has wonderful bubbles. I use the same yeast, stored in a plastic baggie and in the fridge for the bread and pizza crust. The crust for the pizza works like a dream so I suspect the villain is not the yeast but my lack of bread baking skills. I sift my flour before mixing it with the other bread ingredients because it helps lighten the flour which may have settled in the bag. As I experiment with these recipes I'll share my success with you, complete with recipe and the extra's that made it work. Later.
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby Lily » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:46 pm

As promised here's a bread recipe that turned out great! I got the recipe from Food Network online but changed a few things. The changes are in the recipe. Takes some time but very easy. No bread machine or mixer necessary.

No-Knead Peasant Bread
2.5 cups unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoons salt
1.5 cups warm water
All-purpose flour, for dusting

Directions
Combine the bread flour, whole-wheat flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add 1.5 cups warm water (about 100 degrees F) and
mix with a spoon just until the dough comes together (it will be wet and sticky). Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 12 to 24 hours; this is not necessary but will improve the flavor of the bread.

Let the dough rise, covered, at room temperature for 12-18 hours; this rise is necessary whether you refrigerate the dough first or not. The surface will be bubbly after rising.

Generously dust a work surface with all-purpose flour. Turn the dough out onto the flour, then sprinkle flour on top. Fold the top and bottom of the dough into the center, then fold in the sides to make a free-form square. Use a dough scraper or a spatula to turn the dough over, then tuck the corners under to form a ball.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and generously dust with flour. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, seam-side down, and sprinkle with more flour. Cover with a cotton kitchen towel (do not use terry cloth) and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and place a 2- or 4-quart cast-iron or enameled Dutch oven without the lid on the rack. (I don't have cast-iron so I used a deep dish corning ware oval casserole dish lightly sprayed with canola oil.)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F for at least 30 minutes. When the dough has doubled, carefully transfer the hot pot to a heatproof surface. Uncover the dough, lift up the parchment and quickly invert the dough into the pot. Shake the pot to center the dough, if necessary. Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until brown and crusty, 15 to 30 more minutes. Turn out onto a rack to cool.
Note: my oven runs hot so I turned it down to 425 and the uncovered baking took only 15 minutes.
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby city2countrygal » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:52 pm

Thanks for sharing your recipe Lily! I will attempt this one sometime this winter.
Lily wrote:Refrigerate 12 to 24 hours; this is not necessary but will improve the flavor of the bread.

This refrigerating of the dough is what the pizza places and bakeries do to make their dough so good, a slow rise. If I'm lucky enough to make my pizza dough in advance and can do this step, I always get the bubbles I'm looking for! Good tip, Lily!
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby Lily » Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:39 pm

Glad to contribute and hope it turns out good and tasty. When I first read about the refrigeration part I thought the yeast would die before doing it's best, but it's pretty hearty stuff. Will have to try the slow rising in the fridge for my next pizza dough now with your tip. Thanks!

Is there anything better than bread? Okay, beer but that's just liquid bread. And cheese? Well, lets just combine all three!! Yum.
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby Rosemary » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:12 am

Did you know that you can make a simple cheese very easily at home, Lily? May as well complete the triumvirate. :D

Heat a gallon of milk to about 180, then gently stir in a few tablespoons of acid -- vinegar or lemon juice or lime juice. Turn off the heat and let the curds and whey separate. Pour through a colander lined with cheesecloth and let drain for an hour or so. Then, pull up the corners and tie up the bag to drain for another couple hours. Turn it out and mash in some salt to taste. Fresh herbs are nice, too, as are chopped olives and the like. (This is also the same method for paneer, the Indian cheese, except that you'll add a step in pressing the cheesecloth-drained cheese between weighted plates for a few hours before slicing it and cooking with it.)

I don't make bread often, since we don't always exercise moderation around good, fresh bread, but I first learned to make bread in 4-H when I was about 11 or 12. It's one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen, one of my favorite ways to play with food. Some of my personal ways:

I never proof yeast; it's just not necessary, unless you have reason to be concerned about its viability. It's always refrigerated, so I simply stir it in with most of the dry ingredients. Also, less is more. Use less yeast and make it work longer to get more complex flavors (and a schedule that you can more easily work around).

I consider recipes for bread, usually, to be more suggestions than hard-and-fast proscriptions. In particular, flour amounts will vary based on the season: I need less flour in dry, cold weather.

I use a method I picked up from bread lady Beatrice Ojakangas: I beat a small portion of flour with the liquid ingredients (and the yeast) for a few minutes first, then let it rest for 10-15 minutes before I return to add the last big batch of flour. It absorbs easier.

I use the windowpane method to determine when I can stop kneading.

I don't "punch down" dough after a first rise; I just turn it out onto the counter and shape as necessary.

I will say that if you want to learn more about the whys and hows of bread, Peter Reinhart, Bernard Clayton, Rose Levy Beranbaum, and Beatrice Ojakangas have been immensely helpful to me over the years.

Happy bread-making! It's a natural process. Have fun with it.
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby Lily » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:38 pm

Thanks again to kurt_w for mentioning King Arthur Flour. You have got to check out all the bread recipes on their site. In particular, I'm going to be working my way through their section on Whole Grain/Whole Wheat bread:
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/ ... ole-wheat-

Also, I see this site has a couple of baking blogs and free online baking classes.

I wasn't aware that King Arthur Flour company 100% employee owned as stated on their web site:
"As an employee-owned company, we’re not beholden to outside shareholders who care only about the bottom line; we have the freedom to emphasize other values, too, like social and environmental responsibility, and the wellness and satisfaction of our employees as whole people. The ability to live these values, through the hard work and dedication of our employee-owners, is an important part of our culture and our ongoing success."

Mmm. Too bad these guys are in Vermont and not Wisconsin. You can also sign up to get e-newsletters with recipes and special offers. I suppose a lot of companies offer e-newsletters but I was impressed with this as well:

"King Arthur Flour’s workplace practices have been widely recognized as among the best through both local and national award programs. We have been named one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont every year since the award’s inception, including receiving the top award in 2006. In 2008, King Arthur Flour was tapped as one of the 15 Top Small Workplaces in North America by the Wall Street Journal and Winning Workplaces; we were also named one of WorldBlu’s Most Democratic Workplaces worldwide. We were also honored by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility with the Terry Ehrich Large Company Leader Award in 2008, and the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Vermont Business Award from Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce in 2006.

We take pride in our efforts to make King Arthur Flour a great place to work, and we’re deeply honored to be recognized as a leader in workplace practices. It’s all the more incentive to continue doing our best for our employees."

Since my wages have been shrinking for the last few years I think it's important to spend my hard-earned dollar on companies that promote community well being and a high quality product, rather than just their bottom line.
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby Rosemary » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:56 pm

I love that about King Arthur, too. I look at their job openings on a regular basis.

I use KA's white whole wheat flour for damn near everything. Note: Hodgson Mill white whole wheat is NOT the same. It's almost as coarse as traditional whole wheat flour, and my baked goods don't turn out as they should. When this is gone, I'm going back to KA.

Oh, and about KA's blog: I've never had a flop from their recipes. If you prefer to pore over recipes in book form, their big baking book is just wonderful and quite educational.
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby msnflyer » Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:01 pm

Used my new-to-me sourdough starter today. Pancakes for breakfast and a loaf of plain bread. Should have baked the loaf a bit longer, it will make great garlic toast. Can cut the pancake recipe by 2/3, 2 people can't eat 12-5" cakes (not these 2 anyway.) Starter is fed and bubbling away ready for use later this week.
Used the 1 pound recipe for French bread on the machine, removed, shaped, and baked the loaf on a sheet pan. It made great sandwiches for lunch, rare roast beef, Havarti, and sprouts.
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby Lily » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:06 pm

Rosemary wrote:"...I use a method I picked up from bread lady Beatrice Ojakangas: I beat a small portion of flour with the liquid ingredients (and the yeast) for a few minutes first, then let it rest for 10-15 minutes before I return to add the last big batch of flour. It absorbs easier.

...I will say that if you want to learn more about the whys and hows of bread, Peter Reinhart, Bernard Clayton, Rose Levy Beranbaum, and Beatrice Ojakangas have been immensely helpful to me over the years.

Happy bread-making! It's a natural process. Have fun with it.


Thank you for the great advice Rosemary. I will try the above method and look up the bakers you mentioned. I find I really enjoy making the bread and the husband loves eating it. What a team! It's also good to know that what I make may be a little less expensive than store bought BUT the fact I control what goes into it AND it tastes light-years better is well worth the time. One of my earlier experiments for whole wheat bread sticks came out so heavy I could probably use them for batting practice. Not really, but being frugal (or is that cheap?) I wrapped them up individually and put them in the freezer. I plan to use them, one at a time and torn into smaller bits, to supplement my stuffing recipes. Don't want all my bread to turn out like that but this way it's better than tossing it. :mrgreen:
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby Lily » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:18 pm

Here's a bread recipe I made last week. It's fantastic and this recipe makes 2 loaves. One for now and wrap and freeze the other for later. This is an excellent recipe. I didn't have any maple syrup so I substituted dark brown sugar and I did not add the cinnamon. Very easy to make and a wonderful flavor. I plan to make the exact recipe sometime in the future but I just wanted to use stuff I had on hand in my pantry. It's probably even better using the higher grade flour but all I have at home right now is Pillsbury and it still turned out great.

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/ ... ead-recipe
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Re: Question to Good Bread Bakers

Postby Lily » Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:11 pm

You know, I've got a ton of excellent advice on bread baking from this forum and I've found one recipe I'm keeping for my entire life.
Thank you!!

Does it make a difference if you use a pyrex glass bread baking pan, which I use, or is it better to use the non-stick aluminum pan?
Thoughts?

I like the glass so I can see if my bread is being pushed in the right spots but opinions welcome.
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