Home Bread-Bakers v006.n061.1

advice needed from the experts here!

Angela Fox <bford12@indiana.edu>
Tue, 23 Jan 1996 13:04:41 -0500 (EST)

I am very new to this list and to bread baking!  I have always envied 
people who could bake real yeast bread.  My mother loaned me her old 
Welbilt 1# bread machine and it sat untouched in my basement for about 6 
months.  Finally over the holidays, I was watching the video that came 
with my new Vita-Mix contemplating making bread dough with the Vita-Mix.  
I pulled out the bread machine instead and decided I would give it a 
try.  I could 
not believe how easy it was - I was amazed at the small amount of mess and 
clean up - I had been baking quick breads and cookies like crazy and this 
was a dream come true.  I rushed out and bought a bigger machine - The 
Breadman Plus - I haven't stopped baking bread and buying bread machine 
cookbooks.  When I am not reading cookbooks (studying), I am baking bread 
- - well I do have other responsibilities which have taken second place to 
the study of bread baking.

I am so excited to see that some of the authors I am reading are also on 
this list and here live in person (almost) answering questions.  I have a 
million questions!  I hope you will be patient with me!!!!!  Oh -btw - I 
know now I have to have a programable machine which must be the Zo - 

I have learned so  much, but have many more questions.  My favorite way 
to do bread is to remove the dough and bake it in the oven in some 
fashion.  I can't believe how fun it is to make pizza - great pizza!  I 
had a new pizza stone waiting to be used for months too that is being put 
to great use.

Okay - here goes:

1.  I will never put any oil/butter/fat etc. in anything I bake or cook.  
So I have been using subs like minced prunes 1:1, baby food prunes 1/2:1, 
Oatrim gel 1:1 (King Arthur), honey (experimenting).  What advice do 
others have on this subject or results?  I notice Reggie uses Wonderslim 
1/2:1 - is this really comparable to using baby food prune (Gerber 1st in 
tiny jars - no tapioca)?.  I have been using Oatrim gel when I don't want 
a color change in the dough - it seems to work fine and I end up with a 
really moist loaf.

2.  Yeast - I have been using Fleischman's Gold Instant Yeast from King 
Arthur.  I get good results using exactly what is called for in all 
recipes.  Once I used Red Star regular yeast.  I noticed it was very slow 
to rise in comparison to the other loaves I have made with it.  However, 
I only tried it once so don't have much scientific evidence to say that 
it was the yeast.  The people at King Arthur told me not to decrease the 
yeast in a recipe when using the Instant yeast.  What are other people's 
experiences with this instant yeast?  Some cookbooks say that instant 
yeast is double fast - but King Arthur says this one is not??????  I 
guess I should try a couple loaves with Red Star regular again.

3.  There should be a warning about ignoring the addition of extra flour 
to a very wet sticky mixture in the machine when the recipe has rolled 
oats - it takes much more time for the oats to absorb the liquids.  Btw - 
the recipe Jenka shared - Honey Oatmeal Bread was fantastic - I guessed 
right and resisted adding extra flour to the wet mess in my bread machine 
pan.  After about 15 minutes the mixture had formed a perfect nice smooth 
ball and baked up perfectly!  All the BM cookbooks I have read that 
describe how to assess the dough ball do not mention waiting longer if 
there are oats in the mixture!

4.  What are some expert hints for finding a nice warm spot for rising of 
dough?  I have been using my oven warmed for exactly one minute on the 
lowest temp - is this what others do?

5.  All purpose flour - I totally understand the gluten thing.  My 
question is why do so many recipes (esp German's book The Bread Machine 
Cookbook VI - Hand Shaped Breads From The Dough Cycle) call for all 
purpose flour?  Is this because they do not need to rise as much and this 
is an okay sacrifice to have a more tender bread????????

Oh - also many of those recipes (BM Ckbk VI by German) call for Rapid or 
quick yeast - why???? 
and the book does not tell (I don't think - or it was not clear to me) 
how much to use if you use regular yeast - any 
advice??  The book "Electric Bread" always gives the alternative which is 
1/2 as much rapid yeast as regular - but that does not seem to make sense 
given the amount of rapid yeast called for in German's books.  Any 

6.  Does this list offer a bibliography of great bread baking books and a 
review?  If not, that would be a wonderful thing to make available.  I 
have always collected and read cookbooks - only recently bread 
baking/machine bread baking cookbooks.  I feel I could write comments 
about all the ones I have been studying.

7.  What is the best advice for making a 4 ounce thick chewy pita (like 
Father Sam's Pita (no fat added) if anyone knows of them) that is soft 
and has no added 
fat?  I have read so many ideas for baking pita and all are different!  I 
am afraid to try another method - the first attempt resulted in a small, 
thin, hard, crispy, no pocket pita!

8.  What are people's favorite methods for shaping bagels - using a bagel 
cutter, shaping a ball and punching a hole in middle with thumb and 
shaping, rolling a snake and joining the ends???  Also - any successful 
bagel making tips or secrets?  I have the book "The Best Bagels Are Made 
At Home"

9.  Weight of a cup of flour!  What a wide range of answers to that 
question!  Of course weather can change this I suppose?  King Arthur 
Flour Company states that their all purpose and white whole wheat multi 
purpose flour should weigh 4 ounces per cup.  No matter how much I 
practice fluffing and carefully spoon sprinkling and leveling without 
tapping the container my cups weigh 4.5 ounces on my scale - which I 
think is pretty accurate????  I get the same weight for both kinds of 
flour.  I ground my own flour in my Vita-Mix (wonderful results btw) and 
those cups of flour weighed 4.5-4.75 ounces per cup - closer to 4.5 
ounces.  I weighed a cup of Arrowhead Mills whole wheat flour and it 
weighed 4.75 ounces.  Because I have been under such an intense study of 
all this I was wondering what the experts on this list say?  I finally 
just quit weighing stuff all the time.  I am really consistent with my 
measuring - I think.  There is a BM ckbk that came with my Breadman Plus 
that gives the weights of the ingredients as well as the measures - 
assume that a cup of flour weighs 5 or more ounces per cup (whole wheat) 
- - if I put the weight of flour in that this book calls for, my bread 
would be doorstops!  Shouldn't flour weigh a little less in the winter?

9.  Is there a place somewhere that reviews bread machines?  I know this 
list is trying to put together something like that.  I'd love to hear 
from people who have a Breadman Plus.  Even though I am sure I will also 
be ordering the Zo!

10.  Is there a way to make a Banneton at home rather than pay $50 for 
one?  Do they yield wonderful looking loaves?  How do you get the risen 
dough onto the peel and onto the hot baking stone without killing it?

11.  What are some hints for shaping a pizza dough and then getting it 
onto the pizza peel without ruining it and putting on the toppings then 
into the oven onto the hot pizza stone successfully?  Where should the 
pizza stone 
be placed in the oven?  I have mine on the lower rack to keep it out of the 
way.  It is big - 16" and heavy, so I don't want to have to move it all 
the time.  Will having the stone in the oven cause it to preheat (the 
oven) more slowly?  My husband  was cooking a frozen entre like he always 
does once a week and for the first time using the same temp and bake time 
the food was still cold.  I was wondering if it was due to the stone in 
the oven?  I read somewhere that everything will bake better with a 
baking stone in your oven????

12.  Slashing the tops of loaves - Yikes!  I am scared to death to do 
this for 
fear of killing the loaf!  Should I use a straight edge sharp razor?  Any 

I have more questions and will develop more questions!  But, I will stop 
for now as not to overload everyone!  Thanks sooooooooooooo much in 
advance for any advice!

I really appreciate the owners of this list for making it available!

Angie Fox
Bloomington, IN