Home Bread-Bakers v006.n064.2

Re: advice needed from the experts here!

Wed, 31 Jan 96 13:10:16 EST

     I don't have a bread machine.  The following selective answers are 
     based on my perspective from making breads strictly by-hand.

     1.  Using minced prunes or baby-food prunes instead of oil in bread.
     I haven't done it but it sounds unappetizing to me unless one wants 
     prune-flavored breads.  It may be great as a fat substitute in 
     chocolate cake, but for me, for bread, no way!

     But really, there are many wonderful breads, e.g., classic French 
     bread and sourdough rye that are made without oil, etc.  Why not just 
     stick to those?

     10. Bannetons.  I've never used the real thing, that is, straw baskets 
     that leave their pattern on the bread.  How does one clean the things? 
     I use mock-bannetons: well-floured paper towels placed inside metal 
     mixing bowls.  Cost?  Practically nothing.  It produces a really neat 
     rustic look to the loaves with flour on the surface.

     When it's time to bake, I just invert the mock-bannetons onto my 
     baking stone in the oven (hot and messy) or better yet, onto my 
     floured peel.  And no, it won't kill the loaves unless you 
     specifically then punch them down or drop them on the floor or 

     12.  Slashing the tops.  I'd be more afraid of slashing myself.  Use a 
     good sharp knife if you've got one or a box-cutter/utility knife.  You 
     can also buy real cheaply (in hardware/paint stores) single-edged 
     razor blades.  Don't be scared to death of killing the loaf.  You 
     won't collapse it.  

     Don't be so nervous.  Bread seems to be able to take a fair amount of 
     abuse and come out just fine.  I do it as a mental health activity.  
     If you want something to worry about try switching to baking pastries.

     Hope this helps,

     Mark Judman     (Mark_Judman@colpal.com)