Questions about kneading, baking, storing, and culinary use of any kind of bread.

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32
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3answers
1k views

Theoretical: why there's no gradient of doneness in bread?

I was always wondering, why there's no gradient of doneness visible on the cuts of bigger breads. For example: This one was made in the baking form, it has a thin visible crust, but after that the ...
22
votes
10answers
9k views

Is there anything I can add to homemade bread to preserve it?

I love making our own bread - we rarely buy shop bought, but it tends to go off very quickly. Part of the appeal is that it doesn't have any "junk" in it - artificial preservatives - which I'm sure ...
22
votes
4answers
3k views

Does resting the dough for a long time reduce the need to knead the bread?

In this article by Chef Michael Smith, he mentions a recipe where leaving the dough to rest for 18 hours removes the need to knead the bread. Is this a viable alternative? I've tried the recipe and ...
22
votes
10answers
3k views

How do I make soft chapattis?

I have been trying to make chapattis (an Indian flat unleavened bread, somewhat like a wheat tortilla), using the following recipe for the dough: 300ml water, 250g whole wheat flour, 250g white wheat ...
21
votes
10answers
13k views

What are the pros and cons of storing bread in various locations?

Why should/shouldn't I store my bread in the fridge/freezer/breadbox/plastic bag/etc?
21
votes
5answers
52k views

Why let dough rise twice?

I'm just wondering, what's the point of letting dough rise twice? I've seen a bunch of recipes in the form: Mix dough together and knead Let it rise Knead again Let it rise again Why do they do ...
20
votes
8answers
20k views

How warm must dough be in order to rise?

While making some focaccia this afternoon, my wife said, "sure the house is 'warm'; it'll be fine." One hour later, no rising. It may be worth noting that our house is 66F. So we stuck it in a warm ...
19
votes
9answers
17k views

Techniques to get a nice golden-brown crust on bread

How do I make sure the crust of a baguette, etc. turns out a nice golden-brown when baking?
18
votes
1answer
2k views

How much salt can I safely add to bread dough?

I recently made ciabatta, which turned out very well, with a good crust and nice open crumb. However, I felt it could use more salt to give extra flavour. I'm aware that salt and yeast do not make ...
17
votes
5answers
433 views

How can I avoid my knife from “dragging” across my unbaked bread when making slashes to let steam escape while baking?

My slashes seem to be OK (not great) before I put the bread in the oven but never really open up during baking. I'm thinking the slashes aren't deep enough but since I use a no knead method, I'm ...
17
votes
8answers
2k views

Naan without tandoor?

I miss Indian food and especially good naan bread. I haven't really tried it, but I wanted to test if it's possible to make naan without a tandoor? Has anyone tried this, do you have some good tips ...
17
votes
3answers
6k views

What job is the fat doing when I prepare bread dough, and what to expect if I use the wrong amount?

I've been baking bread for years and no longer really measure the ingredients. But I'm no expert on the science of what I'm doing. I add fat (lard) because I've always added fat. What job does the ...
16
votes
3answers
7k views

How long will a sourdough starter last between feedings?

I'm using a sourdough starter from the recipe in Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day and I have gone through several of the rebuilding cycles with it. It's been working fairly well for me and I ...
16
votes
3answers
6k views

What makes a bread either close or open crumbed/textured?

What causes the texture of bread to be open, ie with lots of large holes, or close, ie a regular, uniform tender crumb with no large holes? How can I achieve either?
15
votes
7answers
7k views

How did people make bread before sugar was 'discovered'

Modern recipes (as far as I know) for bread includes sugar. Sugar gives the yeast a food source, which supports it growth and allows yeast to give bread many of its qualities. It hit me the other ...
15
votes
12answers
21k views

How do you raise your dough in cold seasons?

It is winter down here in Australia and I find it challenging to find a warm spot to raise my bread dough. What I have been doing is placing the dough in the oven (not switched on) with a pot of hot ...
15
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the purpose of sugar in baking plain bread?

My recipe says 1 tablespoon of sugar per loaf. This seems like too small an amount for flavor. The recipe is as follows: 3 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons active-dry yeast 1 tablespoon ...
14
votes
10answers
31k views

How can I get my bread to be more fluffy and less dense?

I've been making bread for a while now, but I can never get it to rise enough. The bread comes out really dense, so it's not very useful for sandwiches. I give it ten minutes after kneading, bash it ...
14
votes
8answers
10k views

Why does leftover pizza dough make terrible bread?

I like to make my own pizza dough. Usually I end up with some leftover dough, which I stick in the fridge and then try to make into buns or something for breakfast the next morning. It never turns ...
14
votes
8answers
3k views

Is it important to warm the flour before making bread?

When I was taught to bake bread one of the tips I was given was to warm the flour first. It's a step I often skip as I haven't really found a quick way to warm it through evenly (but gently) and I ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

How does commercial whole grain bread stay fresh for so long?

Every recipe I have tried the bread turns very hard within an hour of baking, and I'd like something I could eat over the course of a couple days (breakfast toast and such). The 100% whole wheat bread ...
14
votes
2answers
12k views

Is it safe to eat mouldy bread?

Is it safe to eat mouldy bread, even after cutting away the moulded parts? And how can you tell if the mould is harmless or toxic?
14
votes
4answers
10k views

Why does my bread collapse in my bread machine?

I have a bread machine and when I follow the recipes in the included booklet that came with the machine, the bread rises for about an hour, but the collapses back on itself and comes out rock hard ...
14
votes
1answer
4k views

Why don't dry bread crumbs spoil, when bread does?

Why don't store-bought bread crumbs spoil? Can you make your own bread crumbs and save them for later use? Will homemade breadcrumbs mold?
14
votes
5answers
1k views

How to get threads in a yeast dough?

I think I may make some traditional food for Easter this year. What I love most is a type of rich sweet bread called kozunak. The perfect kozunak is defined by many qualities, but what I find hardest ...
13
votes
12answers
949 views

Uses for stale bread?

Community wiki question. I'd like to compile an index of uses for stale bread. Here's a couple off the top of my head. Feel free to just go ahead and edit this list: Panzanella salad (with tomatoes, ...
13
votes
8answers
3k views

Baking bread … without crust?

My fiancee doesn't like to eat the crust of bread. I like to bake bread. But she ends up cutting off like half of each piece in the process of de-crust-ifying it. What are some suggestions to make ...
13
votes
5answers
16k views

What's the purpose of a bread box?

For some reason I always thought bread boxes were supposed to be wood, and that some property of wood helped keep bread fresh. Like a cigar box, perhaps. But after looking for a bread box, I see ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I grow my own yeast (sourdough starter)?

I would like to always have my own culture of yeast (sourdough starter) in my fridge at home. Does anyone know how to grow yeast and keep it alive?
13
votes
2answers
800 views

What effect do different slash patterns have on bread oven spring?

Slashes in bread loaves are designed to promote oven spring but there are many different patterns. Some running the length of a loaf, some in a checkered pattern. I've been told this is to promote ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Storing bread dough before baking

I'm looking to make a start in the world of baking bread, and have a quick question: Once my dough is kneaded, proved and ready to go in the oven (i.e. in the tin) - does it need to be baked ...
12
votes
4answers
5k views

why is my bread too tough?

trying to get the hang of making good artisan bread, and my last loaf tasted great. But it stayed flatter than previous efforts, and was very tough. I am doing my best to understand the science as ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Cookbook says to store dough in fridge overnight, why can't I just bake it already?

I've been reading "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" and all the sourdough bread recipes call for overnight storage in the fridge. Is this really necessary? Can I just leave it out at room temperature and ...
12
votes
2answers
561 views

Devising a first-scratch bread recipe

I have some cracked wheat, some bran flakes, wheat germ, bread flour, and whole wheat flour (among other various things). How could I, using those ingredients and whatever basic principles (what I'm ...
12
votes
4answers
66k views

baking bread with all-purpose flour

I'm a bread-baking novice and have acquired a vast quantity of all-purpose flour. If I follow a typical bread recipe, for example one of these, but use all-purpose flour instead of the recommended ...
12
votes
3answers
437 views

Good breads for evening cooking?

Are there good bread styles or techniques for baking bread in the evening after a day at work? Specifically, there's a couple of us who have taken to bringing food for a meeting every couple of ...
12
votes
1answer
5k views

Why do microwave ovens make bread rubbery?

Why does heating bread (cinnamon buns) in a microwave give it a rubbery texture, when a regular oven doesn't? What are the chemical or structural changes?
11
votes
7answers
42k views

What should I cover bread dough with while it's rising?

If you let (bread) dough rise, the recipe always asks to cover it. Years ago, I read to cover it with a wet towel. Nowadays, I see more and more recipes that ask for plastic wrap (aka saran or cling ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

How to make hot dog buns or sandwich rolls with a soft crust?

Whenever I make sandwich rolls, the crust ends up too thick and too crispy. I've tried a few things, such as a moister dough, but I can't seem to get a combination of a hearty bread and a soft crust. ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

Crusty french bread

The crust on my french bread never turns out "crusty" like it does in restaurants, what am I doing wrong?
11
votes
2answers
8k views

Why should I let bread cool before slicing and eating?

Many recipes for bread and such suggest that bread should be fully cooled (like 2 hours or so) before eating. It's sooooo tasty right out of the oven - why wait? Does something important happen in ...
11
votes
3answers
852 views

Thick, moist, fluffy, flavorful pitas

Are there tricks for baking thick and fluffy pita bread? The ones I make come out fine, with an even puff and nice pockets, but they are on the thin side. I would really love to be able to make ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

What kind of beer for beer bread?

Beer bread is bread wherein beer is used for liquid and leavening. I tend to use a basic pilsner, but I'm a beer snob, and I've taken to wondering what would happen if I substituted something a little ...
11
votes
2answers
582 views

How can I make whole grains stick to the top of bread?

I want to bake bread or bagels that have whole grains like poppy seeds, cumin, caraway, etc. stuck to the top. I have tried just pressing them to the top but they fall off during or shortly after ...
11
votes
1answer
922 views

What takes over the functions of gluten in gluten-free bread mixes?

Gluten has many effects on bread doughs, as explained in this beautiful answer. I think the main effects for bread doughs are the first three mentioned there: Provide elasticity, presumably because ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

Are there any negative effects to kneading bread dough longer?

Is there such a thing as over-kneading bread dough. From what I understand, kneading the bread dough is what allows the gluten strands to align and form the beautiful gluten networks that create bread ...
10
votes
6answers
10k views

Why is there vinegar in the bread recipe?

Yesterday I made bread based on a recipe I found on the flour bag. It contained both rye and wheat flour but also three tablespoons of vinegar. I've never seen it used in bread before, why is it ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

How to tell if it is real sourdough?

I have a very simple question, but difficult for me.. How to tell if a sourdough is a real / traditional Sourdough? A lot of times I wonder if the sourdough I have in cafes or those ones I buy from ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

How much warm is warm water?

I'm following a recipe for making dough for a challah recipe, and the recipe calls for warm water. How warm should the water be (in degrees)? Do I need to heat it, or is room-temperature good enough? ...
10
votes
2answers
874 views

In reference to baking bread, what is a “mother culture”?

I saw this question entitled "How can I bake bread using a mother culture?", but I have no idea what a "mother culture" is. Can someone explain what the term "mother culture" means?