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

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7
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3answers
3k views

What is the secret to baking bread with a very fine crumb?

I've noticed bread purchased from the local baker always has a very fine crumb. How is this achieved??
4
votes
1answer
605 views

Why proof a baguette seam side up

Why do i need to proof the bread seam up if i pinch the fold? Most of the recipes say to do this on the couche and then roll over and slash . I don't see any difference in the finished bread. As long ...
2
votes
2answers
811 views

Why is yeast used in bread making?

This question arose today at lunch, and we tried to explain it in various ways: It gives the soft (spongy) consistency; It improves the nutritional content; It makes bread more digestible; It ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is butter incorporated into the dough last when making Brioche?

I made Brioche for the first time tonight using the Rich Man's Brioche recipe from Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. The recipe basically leaves out the butter until the very end when the dough is ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why didn't my brioche rise?

This weekend I attempted to make this recipe for brioche. I did the first step and combined the the milk, yeast, 1 egg and 1 cup of flour which caused very big clumps and then I added the sugar. I ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

What makes bread mold grow; light, air or both?

I'm building a breadbox that will hold multiple loaves of bread. I was wondering if it would be a good idea to put a gasket around the lid to reduce air infiltration but I don't know what is more ...
8
votes
3answers
13k views

Can I let my bread dough rise in the mixer bowl?

When I bake bread, I often let the dough rise in the metal mixer bowl. I was wondering if this is a good idea, as the metal is probably colder than a regular bowl and may inhibit rising. Would it be ...
2
votes
5answers
591 views

What are some alternative uses for bread heels?

I often buy bread loaves at the store and use them for sandwiches, french toast, etc. I don't particularly like using the heels for those purposes though, because of the texture and taste - heels ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Does adding oil and fats affect bread crust development?

I had recently started baking bread and I have read up a lot on developing a great crust. Generally it involves steam in the oven at the beginning of the baking process, high even heat and etc. I ...
11
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1answer
1k 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
7k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

How can you tell whether bread dough is ready for baking?

I've tried to make a special bread for making 'torrijas', the Spanish version of French toast. Very popular during easter, here. Twice, the bread didn't rise correctly in the oven, even after ...
5
votes
1answer
612 views

Safety of room-temperature soaker from Reinhart's *Whole Grain Breads*

One of the “tricks” used in Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads is to soak various whole grains in water, at room temperature, for 12–24 hours. For example, in his “Multigrain Stuan” formula, he calls ...
6
votes
5answers
15k views

What's the secret to making good turkish bread? (pide)

I mean the flat but thick bread you get at turkish restaurants. I've tried it twice now, with two difference recipes, and each time it's come out hard and crunchy, more like a thick pizza crust. ...
1
vote
1answer
209 views

Bread - Liquid proportion in french toast

Torrijas are a Spanish version of French toast (as seen in Kramer vs Kramer). Very popular here during easter. The trick is to get the torrijas very moist without the bread falling apart. If they ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between a poolish and a biga?

Both poolish and biga are pre-ferments. Poolish is a French name, biga an Italian term. What other differences are there between the two? Just to give some direction: are there differences in making ...
4
votes
3answers
442 views

Can I use the juice from pickles to make bread?

I finished a jar of pickles the other day and was trying to figure out what to do with the half a jar of pickle juice that was left behind so I didn't have to just pour it down the drain. I thought ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Dry milk in bread: purpose, and substitutions

I've been looking for a good 100% whole grain bread recipe that I like, and came across one that looks promising in the book Home Grown Whole Grains (pp. 152): 1 package active dry yeast 1 ...
7
votes
4answers
12k 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, ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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
251 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
983 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
152 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. ...
5
votes
3answers
7k 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
469 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
2k 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
698 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
7k 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
346 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
407 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
8k 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
681 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 ...
10
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
450 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
4k 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
3k 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
396 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
4k 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, ...
8
votes
5answers
8k 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
787 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
338 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
987 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
907 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
337 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
52k 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 ...