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

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6
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4answers
11k views

does bread have alcohol in it?

According to wikipedia, the byproducts of yeast fermenting (like done in baking it says) are carbon dioxide and alcohol (not necessarily ethanol -- the kind you can get drunk on). If that's the case, ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How should I clean, or care for, a banneton (brotform, proofing basket)?

How should I care for a rattan (cane) banneton? It would seem that washing it in water would eventually warp or ruin the basket since the wood can easily absorb moisture. I've seen people suggest ...
4
votes
2answers
246 views

Maximum time for rising in a breadmaker

I have a Panasonic SD253 breadmaker. The function chart shows 2hr 55min - 4hr 10min rising times available for the French Bake program. How do I make sure it rises for the full 4hr 10 mins?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the best way to catch wild yeast for sourdough?

What is the best way to catch yeast? I just heard you can do this and I had no idea that you can do this. Do you grow and catch or just catch? This is to make sour dough bread.
5
votes
2answers
4k views

How can you know that your bread is done?

Most bread recipes give an estimate to how long that bread must bake. However, I find it hard to check whether it's done or not. I don't have a thermometer, and I don't think the toothpick trick works ...
3
votes
2answers
889 views

Are Non-Stick Bread Pans Destined to Fail?

Bought a pair of generic non-stick bread pans (Ecko or Good-Chef or some such). After 100 to 150 loaves, and gentle care, they're now more prone to sticking bread than the non-coated pans they were ...
3
votes
1answer
142 views

Does the direction matter in the Stretch and Fold method?

I am currently making Poolish Ciabatta bread from the recipe in Bread Bakers Apprentice. Within the recipe, one of the methods used to shape and work the dough is the "Stretch and Fold" method. ...
4
votes
3answers
6k views

How much “alternative” flour can I substitute for white wheat flour?

Most of the bread and bagel recipes I use (such as no-knead bread) call for only white wheat flour. I'd like to integrate other flours (such as whole wheat, flaxseed, and buckwheat) into the recipes. ...
6
votes
3answers
422 views

What's the difference in baking bread in a loaf pan vs. in a Dutch oven?

When I bake bread, I always use my loaf pan (something like this). Recently, I've seen some people who bake bread in a Dutch oven (or something similar). Why is this? What are the differences between ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I keep the paddle of a bread machine from damaging the bread upon removal?

I love my bread machine. However when the bread is done baking, removing it from the machine breaks the bread where the paddle is. I know the paddle is embedded in the bread and it will break the ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Why does bread with filling separate and how do I prevent it?

Sometimes when I make sausage kolaches or cinnamon rolls the bread layers pull away from the sausage or the filling and leave an open space inside. The separation is cosmetically unattractive, and can ...
4
votes
1answer
657 views

How do I get Nooks and Crannies in my English muffins?

I have tried making English muffins a few times. Each time the flavor was good but I didn't end up with the open interior texture that I expect from storebought English muffins. I let them proof for ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the difference between quick bread and cake?

Quick breads, like banana or zucchini breads, seem to be assembled in an identical method and with similar ingredients as cake. Many recipes have comparable quantities of fat and sugar. So what is ...
2
votes
1answer
331 views

Should I preheat my bread baking containers?

I have read that artisan breads turn out better when they are baked in a container that can trap the steam. Examples I have read are baking bread in a dutch oven, a ceramic, lidded bowl, or even a ...
4
votes
1answer
388 views

Can I make my own malt?

The malt that I found in the store is barley malt. I have a bread recipe that calls for rye malt. I have whole rye grain. What do I have to do to make rye malt? Would it be the same with any malted ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Why add malt to bread?

Several bread recipes that I have been looking at recently call for rye malt. I know that malt is sweet but what other effect will malt have on a bread recipe?
11
votes
2answers
607 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

Why stretch and fold vs traditional kneading of bread dough?

Many recent recipes I'm seeing for bread, this one for example, are using a strech and fold technique rather than a traditional knead. Whats the advantage here? It sure seems to work, but I'm not ...
5
votes
2answers
401 views

Why do some recipes recommend a short rest after mixing but before kneading the bread?

Some recipes I see for bread dough recommend a short rest between the mixing (just enough to make the ingredients homogeneous) and kneading stage - often 10 to 30 minutes. The dough seems to be a ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Why does my bread keep 'blowing out'?

Instead of swelling as a whole loaf, my loaf will often expand in the oven off to the side or the bottom - looking 'blown out', a big tear. This results in a loaf that leans to one side, doesn't rise ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Why baste bread with cornstarch?

In this sourdough recipe, it suggests basting the bread with a cornstarch slurry. I would assume this is meant to promote crust development, but how does that work? I usually see such a slurry used to ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I prevent dough from wrapping around a dough hook?

I have a 5.5qt KitchenAid stand mixer with the burnished spiral ("pigtail") dough hook. This is not the C-hook. When I make a small amount (for example, using 250g of flour or approximately 2 cups) of ...
3
votes
2answers
363 views

How can I warm bread making ingredients to room temperature?

My room temperature is 65°F (18°C). The recipe calls for the ingredients (milk, egg, butter, etc.) to be at room temperature, 75-90°F (24-32°C). How should I warm them? Can I use the microwave, or ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

What can I do to keep high hydration dough from sticking to my hands?

Whenever I try to knead (by hand) or move after kneading, a high hydration dough like ciabatta, it sticks to my hands terribly and often seems ruin any shaping I try. I've tried flour on my hands, ...
7
votes
5answers
7k views

How can I create steam in a normal oven to promote bread oven spring?

Oven spring and a crisp crust on bread are largely due to high heat and high humidity. Commercial bakery ovens have steam injectors. How can I replicate this high humidity environment in my home ...
8
votes
2answers
722 views

How do you get 'ears' when baking bread?

When slashing bread, how can I produce crusty 'ears' on the places where the slash opens up? Most of the time they open up, but just end up flush with the rest of the crust.
7
votes
4answers
326 views

How should I incorporate oil into focaccia?

Last weekend, I tried making focaccia for the first time. I tried two recipes at once, the one from The Bread Baker's Apprentice and a traditional Genovese focaccia recipe modified for quick-rise (I ...
4
votes
1answer
900 views

Why didn't my 100% whole wheat bread proof?

After enjoying many of the recipes out of The Bread Baker's Apprentice I moved on to Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads to learn about how to make hearth-style 100% whole grain bread. Unfortunately ...
7
votes
3answers
869 views

What type of flour should I feed my starter with?

Different sites recommend different flours for the feeding of my established starter, so I suspect it depends on the purpose, but I can't find a definitive answer. Should I be using the flour I plan ...
2
votes
3answers
336 views

How to convert between flours?

As we've seen in previous questions, certain flours have different gluten contents. Time and time again, I find reviews of King Arthur Flour recipes indicating that I really must use their flour if I ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

How do I make authentic Russian black bread?

I am interested in making the dense pungent black bread that is traditional in Russia. Recipes for black bread are varied and seem to disagree with one another. Too many of them make spongy, ...
11
votes
7answers
46k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
803 views

How can I reduce the amount of hooch my sourdough starter is making?

Sometimes my sourdough starter goes hooch (the brown liquid, alcohol) nuts and produces a ton. Other times it goes days and produces very little. I've never been able to isolate what causes this. ...
11
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What defines a bread as 'artisan'?

'Artisan' is a term thrown around a lot right now in the bread world. What defines something as an 'artisan' bread? Is it a function of the recipe, the technique, or the person? Note, I'm not ...
6
votes
5answers
765 views

How to get uniform slices from bread?

We make bread for sandwiches a few times a week, but slicing them is always a pain. The pieces just don't come out uniform. I end up with angled pieces as the knife doesn't end up going straight ...
7
votes
2answers
957 views

How careful do you have to be with adding flour for kneading?

When you're working a dough (kneading or rolling out), instructions often say to flour the surface you're working on and your rolling pin or hands. This helps the dough to stick less. However, I ...
4
votes
1answer
521 views

How do I fix my flat sourdough loaf?

I have made sourdough bread several times using roughly the same technique that I use when I make artisan bread. I let it ferment several times folding between them. I have found that when the dough ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What the advantage of a 'bakers couche' for proofing bread and is it safe?

A bakers couch is just floured fabric, whats the advantage to using it? King Arthur's site says that it promotes chewy, crunchy crust - how's that? If I'm just keeping it floured and not washed all ...
3
votes
3answers
896 views

What kind of flour keeps bread dough from sticking in a proofing basket?

When proofing down in a bread basket (not just a smooth bowl), what kind of flour keeps the dough from actually sticking? Is there a technique that works? Normal wheat flour seems to be to readily ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What happens during a cold fermentation that makes bread taste so good?

Many techniques for bread highlight a long cold fermentation. I've read that this gives enzymes more time to work and it contributes to a more 'complex' flavor. What do the enzymes do and why don't ...
13
votes
2answers
825 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 ...
19
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Does resting kneaded dough for few hours change the taste/texture/softness of parathas?

We use the kneaded dough for making parathas. Does resting kneaded dough for few hours (covered, on shelf) change the taste/texture/softness of the final outcome? P.S. After kneading the dough, all ...
6
votes
2answers
8k views

Why do you need to refrigerate bread dough overnight?

I'm making a no-knead bread (actually my very first time making bread!) and right after mixing the dry ingredients with water, it's supposed to sit for a couple hours to rise and then be placed in the ...
3
votes
1answer
410 views

Sourdough teacakes/hot cross buns?

I've made sourdough before and I'm just making my sponge and I wondered if it was possible to make sourdough hot cross buns/tea cakes? Would it be to heavy too rise or would it not taste right? ...
6
votes
2answers
682 views

Can I bake bread with long-life milk?

My normal breadmaker recipe uses milk as the main liquid ingredient. Normally I use fresh semi-skimmed milk for this and get great results. However, at the moment I only have "long-life" (UHT ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

Egg replacer for bread dough?

I've been reading (most) questions and answers (here) about baking bread (which I love) and how to replace eggs in many recipes (which I wish I didn't need). Turns out, I too have egg allergy (not too ...
3
votes
2answers
221 views

Should you freeze pastry lukewarm? If so, why?

I have a book about baking in general. In the chapter 'Preserving pastry in the freezer' is the following sentence (I translated it for practical reasons): Pastry should be frozen as fresh as ...
6
votes
2answers
562 views

Baker's Math Formula System - Why Isn't the Flour Mass in Corn Bread Formula 100%?

I am currently in the middle of a challenge to bake every formula in the Bread Baker's Apprentice book (BBA). This book describes a principal called the Baker's Math Formula System where all ...