Home Bread-Bakers v006.n069.5

Yeast, flour, and the Cuisinart

"Jack W. McKee" <jmckee@TSO.Cin.IX.net>
Thu, 8 Feb 1996 18:16:08 -0500
Hello. New to the list, and thrilled. It's great to see so many people all
over who are taking a stand for the good things bread-baking brings to your

After browsing the list for a couple weeks, I find I have a few comments on
various questions.

1. Yeast: After years of being a Fleishmann's guy (I live in CIncnnati, where
the company was founded and therefore I was being a tad parochial), I have
switched this year. I found that Hodgson Mill, the flour folks, were making
packaged dry yeast. I tried it, and was very pleased with the results; it was
a quicker rise, without sacrificing texture  and also without giving the bread
an undue "yeasty" flavor. I became a convert; keep it in the fridge.

2. Flour: I think a lot of cookbooks specify "all-purpose" flour because they
may not know any better <G>. I've always used unbleached, except for a couple
of recipes from cookbooks I trust that specify all-purpose. Again, I like
Hodgson Mill. Does anybody prefer King Arthur or any of the others? I'd be
interested in your thoughts.....

3. Nancy asked about "food processor bread recipes." My wife gave me a
Cuisinart for Christmas 1994, and I am probably the only person in the world
(certainly among *our* friends) who wanted one specifically for the dough
blade, rather than the cutting blade. It was a revelation. 

I learned to use the food processor with Julia Child's French bread recipe in
"The Way To Cook." That recipe is designed specifically with the food
processor method in mind. AFter I'd made that four or five times successfully,
I began to branch out and adopt other recipes to the food processor method.
THe key is to get the *technique* down; once you've done that, you don't
*need* special recipes. I strongly recommend trying Child's method and then
trying to adapt others on your own. I've even done sweet, eggy breads such as
"Elizabeth Chowning's Divine Bread" from Camille Glenn's "Heritage of Southern
Cooking: -- a truly heavenly loaf, rich with eggs and studded wtih chopped
glazed apricots.

Herewith, a few pointers for using the Cuisinart.

Put your dry ingredients in; be aware of your processor's capacity, so you'll
know if you have to make the dough in batches. (My machine has a capacity of 4
cups flour for regular bread, 3 cups for egg or sweet breads; Nancy said her's
has an 8 cup capacity......). With the machine running (dough blade, not steel
unless the recipe specifically calls for it), add the liquid ingredients in a
thin stream until the dough holds together and forms a ball on top of the
blade. Let it make ten revolutions, then stop the machine. Feel the dough; if
it's still too sticky, add a tablespoon or so of flour and let it revolve a
bit more. If it doesn't ball, add water (or milk or whatever....) a tablespoon
at a time until it does. Let it rest and cool off; you don't want to kill the
yeast, and you want the flour to absorb the liquids. Turn it back on and let
it go 'round about 30 times. Stop, turn the dough out on the floured surface.
If you made it in batches, combine and knead a few times, including a couple
of turns this way: Flatten it out into a long rectangle, then fold it in
thirds from each end (like folding a letter); this ensures even distribution
of the yeast. Do a final hand kneading and proceed....

4. BOoks: I like "The Italian Baker" by Carol Field and "English Bread & Yeast
Cookery." Other than that, I don't have many exclusively-bread books, but lots
of my cookbooks have wonderful bread sections (Ms. Glenn's book above most

This list is *so much fun!* Glad I found it.....

Jack McKee
Cincinnati, OH