Breadmaking made simpler...
Breadmaking, a VERY Short Course. I have history...
First, buy yourself from your local Thrift Store someone's totally unused wedding-present-to-be Breadman, Zojirushi, Cuisinart etc. 5-20 bucks, if you pay over 10 bux I'd be very surprised. "Not a mover" as they say.
Take it home, open the box and remove all the paper, plastic and other miscellany. Read the manual enough to know how to put the damned thing into DOUGH making mode. Plug it in. The rest is Science and Craft.
Now, here's a working 1.5lb loaf recipe, known good recipe that works every time as long as you do your part in measuring somewhat accurately.
You need the following INGREDIENTS:
Bread Flour 3 Cups
Salt 1/2 Tablespoon
A Sugar substance, real, not phoney diet crap. 2 Tablespoons
Butter or a similar substitute, something oily. 2 Tablespoons
Warm Water, 12 oz is CLOSE...350ml is VERY Close. 11.8349079 oz is very close too.
Put all this in the machine. Set to dough cycle. START. Go read, bicycle, make love, feed the cat, sew or put stuff on eBay or Etsy.
Upon return, grab a cookie sheet or a bread pan. Sprinkle with a light drift of flour. Place completed dough on sheet or in pan. Shape to rough potato shape. With a very sharp knife...slash diagonally a few times, use a very sharp, clean knife. I do do it thrice. 3 slashes...4 ok. 5?? Sure. Lengthwise? Sure. Whatever...
Now some HINTS!
Hint #1. Little less salt. Not a full Tablespoon, 1/2 of that instead. Kills off less yeast, better overall rise.
Hint #2. Less yeast. 1/2 teaspoon will do the trick.
Hint #3. “The Trick” Autolyse the batch. “Oh shit, do what?!” Ok, into the bread container in your machine put in 1 C of your flour, 1/2 tsp yeast, both Tablespoons of sugar and all of the warm (115 degree) water. Stir this up and shut the lid for 1 hour. When open it should be quite a foamy slurry of slimy stuff. Then add the rest of the flour (2 cups), the 1/2 Tablespoon of salt and then 2 Tablespoons, oil, bacon fat, lard, butter, margarine, axel grease. Turn on the bread machine, allow machine to do it’s thing to completion. Now...
Hint #4. Pie pan of 1/2” water into the bottom of your oven, PREHEAT oven to 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Insert shaped bread (dust with flour now) in bread pans or on cookie sheet. Diagonal slice the top please w/clean very sharp knife.
Hint #5. Set time for 30 minutes. Go read or drink.
Hint #6. MOST of the flavor you love in bread is developed through the mailard reaction of the sugars in the crust when it’s baked VERY DARK! Crust = Flavor...it should be damned dark when you pull it! Almost burned looking. If it isn’t then leave it in for another 10 minutes or so. Get it dark! Real dark!
Hint #7. The “Hardest Thing”...turn it out of the pan or cookie sheet onto a kitchen towel, lay it on it’s SIDE please after a few minutes cooking to evaporate some of the early water from the bottom of the loaf. Let sit 1/2 an hour. Right side up now, cover with kitchen towel allow to rest OVERNIGHT! YES..that is correct...OVER NIGHT. The crust will inflict flavor into the loaf, the crumb will stabilize into tasty, hole filled, goodness and you will have the best damned loaf you ever attempted.
Good Luck my Beauties!
Bread, Scallops and Sweet Black Rice
Food...I LOVE cooking and we love food...of all kinds, Asian, Middle Eastern, French, Italian, Cuban, Mexican etc. etc. Thai is also a favorite. It's all about Flavor, how it tastes. The textures, the heat, the piquancy, the manner of cooking, the flavor profiles of a culture of food. We love grocery stores and open-air markets and incidental sales of spices and flavorings. Proteins, the meats...the vegetables and legumes, potatoes, cabbages, tomatoes, oh tomatoes! Love it all, all! To be able to access all of this is a dream come true. Bread, the staff of Life, wheat, barley, the darkened crust carrying all those dark, caramelized flavors. I've learned so very much and I dearly love the tasks that food bring to me.
A long time ago we bought a bread machine, it was interesting but not used in the manner in which it was supposed to. Only to do the effort required to turn the flour, salt, sugar and water...and, of course yeast, into the dough needed to make bread. So, with those slight limitations I began the "baking experiment". My first awful results were the production of hockey pucks, bricks and door stops. This phase lasted for many, many sessions. Flour in, rocks and bricks out. Not enough knowledge and damned little experience. There are whole encyclopedic discussions of the theory of baking, how an oven works, temperatures, flours, salts, sugars, water...all of it. One could spend a lifetime READING about baking and never actually doing it. I had those feelings in the early days of my baking knowledge. Once I got something that worked to make something vaguely akin to real bread I was pleased somewhat. The science took over. You NEED science when baking, recipes are nearly exact. They are tight to the needs of the flour, salt, sugar and water in various couplings. Science!
In these latter days my breads have become almost wonderful, damned good at least...and best of all eatable! Oh the darkened crust, all that flavor in that thin, crispy wonderfulness. Today and yesterday were high points in baking for me, 4 loaves yesterday, three to my neighbors and today 2 more that will be delivered to our renters and to our next door neighbors. I wilkl find pictures for your enjoyment and disgust. Yes, I'm a show off!