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
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
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
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!