Home Bread-Bakers v096.n068.4

Larry's questions

bredlady@softdisk.com (G Nuttall)
Mon, 16 Dec 1996 08:26:41 -0600 (CST)
>To all you manual (non-machine) bakers out there:

>I use a Kitchen Aid to mix and knead dough.  My problem is that when
>baking French or Italian loaves, they both come out about the same.
>That is, not too high and very dense with a very chewy crust.

Larry, you may be using too much flour.  It has been my experience that
Italian bread dough is not quite as dense as French.  Italian dough had
less salt so, it should rise higher and have more holes in it.  Try holding
out the last 1 to 1 1/2 cups of flour and mix in just enough to make the
dough pull away from the edges.  Then take the dough and hand knead it on a
floured surface and add just enough flour to make it elastic and not stick
to the surface.  It's always better to have your dough slightly sticky (
not real sticky) than to have it too dense.

Also, check the date on your yeast to insure freshness.  It takes a larger
quantity of old yeast to do what fresh yeast will do to the dough.  I do
not recommend using outdated yeast.  There is no consistency.

>I have been trying to get results that are more traditional - large
>holes in a light crumb with a crispy crust.

A lighter crumb will result if you punch the dough down and repeat rising.
The more times you puch down and rise the dough the lighter the crumb (
with fewer holes).  I do not know what the max number of times you can
punch down and rise off of one packet of yeast, but I've gotten away with
about 3-4 in my baking.

 For french dough here is my routine.  Mix it, knead it, rise until almost
double :
 (for boules/round loaves) Punch down/Shape loaves, rise, score, bake.
(for baguettes) punch down/shape into rounds, rise, shape into baguettes,
rise, score, bake.

For Italian: Mix it, knead it, rise until almost double.  Punch down/shape
into rounds, rise, shape into loaves, rise, score, bake.

>I use a dark cookie sheet and I do place a pan of water in the bottom of
>the oven to get steam.

Steam is essential to my baking these types of bread!

>I also have a pizza stone, but haven't used it for bread as yet.

Use the stone ( make sure to season it first).  The stone will even out the
heat inside your oven, so anytime you use your oven put the stone in there
( even if you are not using it directly).  My stone stays in my oven all
the time!

>Anyone have suggestions?

Hope this helps

"when you're a trifle odd you can get away with all sorts of things...makes
you sorry for ordinary folks".

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