Home Bread-Bakers v006.n059.6

bread-bakers digest V6 #57

smile@ridgecrest.ca.us (Mary Ash)
Sun, 14 Jan 1996 13:36:05 -0800
The following bread baking tips are for Debbie Bier in Concord, MA and 
Bonnie Pollack.

First for Debbie:

I have had good luck using straight bread flour for all my sweet dough type 
recipes. You can cheat and use high gluten flour with all purpose flour. 
Check the high gluten flour package directions for the amount to use. Using 
a good hard flour will produce nice tender coffee cakes, etc. Remember to 
keep the dough soft, almost sticky but you should be able to knead it to a 
smooth dough, and you'll always have good sweet dough.

For Bonnie:

1) You can use all purpose flour if you add high gluten flour to the bread 
dough. Substitute a portion of the high gluten flour for the all purpose 
flour. Check the high gluten flour package for directions. 

2)  Gluten flour is sold at health food stores (where I buy mine) or you 
could probably order it from King Arthur's Flour catalog.

3)  You need sugar in order to feed the yeast. Yeast is a living creature 
that needs to be fed. Feed it sugar to help with growth. No sugar, no 
growth. As to salt, it helps improve the flavor of the bread product but 
bread can be made without it. Check the rising times and they'll usually 
have to be cut in half. Be sure when using the bread maker to follow the 
manufacturer's directions on using yeast. For my bread machine I always 
place the salt separately from the yeast when adding ingredients. This is 
very important when allowing the ingredients to sit  awhile. The salt will 
kill the yeast if placed too close together.

4)  Proofing the yeast is checking it to make sure the critters are still 
alive. This usually translates to placing the yeast in the appropriate 
temperature of water with a little sugar and the yeast. If the yeast, water, 
sugar mixture begins to bubble and smelly yeasty the yeast is alive and will 
work in your recipe. If not, try another batch of yeast. Today most modern 
recipes do not require proofing the yeast, but if in doubt of the viability 
of the yeast, test a batch of yeast by doing the above method. Most recipes 
today, including breadmaker recipes, just have the bread baker mix dry 
ingredients together and then add liquid ingredients. 

5)  Bread baking is never exact in most phases of baking except when it 
comes to salt, sugar, yeast and temperature. Too much salt and temperature 
will kill the yeast. Too much yeast will leave the bread tasting yeasty and 
will rise too much and collapse after baking. Adding too much sugar won't 
hurt too much but it will slow the rising times. Adding flour and liquids 
are a little less critical since they are dependent on the flour dryness and 
type. In the end, all kneaded yeast doughs should end up being soft, satiny 
and smooth after kneading.

Happy baking!

Mary Ash