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Megan Inspired me...

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Megan Inspired me...

Post  middlemamma on 11/22/2010, 10:00 pm

to try making bread. And I did. Over the weekend I made bread that called for yeast, kneading and rising! It was very exciting...because before Saturday if a recipe called for yeast...I skipped it immediatly...that was just too complicated and hard for me.

Well in my desire to learn a little more I stumbled across this beginners article that I thought MAYBE someone else might benefit from and I thought I would share.

Bread for Beginners

Smile

Jen
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Re: Megan Inspired me...

Post  camprn on 11/22/2010, 10:04 pm

Hooray! cheers
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Re: Megan Inspired me...

Post  Megan on 11/22/2010, 10:50 pm

Yay Jen! you rock Your first loaf looked amazing!!! Hope it is the first of many more to come. Very Happy

I'd like to add a few things to that great link you supplied. I didn't have any help learning yeast breads, so I found these out the hard way:

Before you buy (AND use) your yeast, make sure it is within date. (Same goes for baking powder and baking soda.)

I buy jars of yeast now, instead of the packets, as it's much cheaper. And I keep the jar in the freezer. You don't need to let it thaw before using it. 2-1/4 teaspoon equals one packet. (You can also buy bags of yeast at places like Costco, which is an even better deal, if you want to go hardcore. If you get a bag of yeast I would definitely say freeze it unless you are baking commercially.)

If you have the time, a big enough bowl, and the fridge space, your bread crumb can be greatly improved most of the time by letting it rise overnight in the fridge. It will rise much more slowly but the end product is better. If you're not sure your bowl is big enough, though, put a tray under it... and be sure there is nothing hanging out in your fridge that could impart an off odor to the dough.

Punching down: It's just a term. DON'T punch it. What did it ever do to you, after all? Smile Just turn it over and work it gently, pressing your fingers for a few seconds until it deflates a little. Smile

Likewise, kneading. You do not have to beat the heck out of your dough. Just flip it over and give it a little press, scoop it together and pane it into a ball, rinse and repeat. Otherwise your arms will be hurting after 10 minutes! Pretend you're about 8 years old and giving it a gentle press. Eventually you will find a rhythm that works for you.

I try to start with a little less flour than I think I need, just in case. If the dough is wet or the day is very humid, it will soak up more flour while being kneaded. (I find it much easier to add flour to a wet dough, than to add water to a dry dough.)




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Yay, Jennie!

Post  ander217 on 11/23/2010, 8:56 am

Once again, you've made me proud. I used to love baking bread. There's something about it that is so soulful. We could make a meal from whole wheat bread and a glass of milk.

Alas, kneading and myasthenia gravis don't mix well, so my bread making these days is limited to cornbread, biscuits, and quick breads unless hubby is around and willing to do the kneading.

I hope this is just the beginning of your bread baking, Jennie. Keep us posted.
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Re: Megan Inspired me...

Post  middlemamma on 11/23/2010, 12:40 pm

*beaming* thanks Ander!!!

I will definitely be continuing. It WAS soulful. I felt that release of stress when I was kneading...and it just clicked somewhere deep inside. As I have thought many times in my short adulthood thus far, I thought again how much we have lost in this day and age due to our lack of "basics". It's neat to rediscover this stuff for myself.

I have wanted to make cinnamon rolls for years...but always shied away due to the "yeast" ingredient.

Well this Saturday I am going to try them! And if they come out good they will be a new Christmas morning tradition!

I love you Me
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Re: Megan Inspired me...

Post  LaFee on 11/23/2010, 12:58 pm

Too late! I was going to warn you that you'll like making bread!

I always have found the smell of the yeast and the satiny texture of the bread to be very therapeutic. Hubby would occasionally come home and find me kneading something, and KNEW better than to talk to me...weeknight bread meant I was exorcising some demon from my day.

I do still make bread from time to time, but I have to confess that having SEVEN bakeries within walking distance (and they all produce heavenly baguettes, and a gorgeous multigrain with flaxseed and sesame and oatmeal, and hearty whole grain, and sourdough and...and...and I haven't even mentioned the croissants and things) that my motivation tends to not get ramped up enough to make my own!

I did go with a girlfriend last spring to a 17th century watermill for a bread workshop they were hosting. We made bread with the flour milled on the premises (unfortunately they don't make enough of it to sell!) and baked it in a wood-fired oven. Yum.

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Re: Megan Inspired me...

Post  PNG_Grandma on 11/23/2010, 1:00 pm

@middlemamma wrote:*beaming* And if they come out good they will be a new Christmas morning tradition! I love you Me
I started my Christmas Bread tradition when my kids were about 3 & 4. I would make two loaves of bread each day, beginning on Dec 1st, and by the 22nd or 23rd I had enough to give to my wonderful neighbors and special friends, and of course all my family. We would alway eat at least one loaf during each week, but that was OK, there were more being baked. The smell each afternoon as that bread was in the oven was just about Heaven!! As I would knead the dough earlier in the day I thought of the good things in my life, and just daydreamed...somehow the kids seemed to know this was Mommy's alone time. Through the years I've continued my little tradition and now my grandsons look forward to what the oldest calls my "Grandma bread". If anyone wants the recipe please PM me. Oh, yeah...my kids are now 41 & 42 but still love to come into my kitchen during December!
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Re: Megan Inspired me...

Post  camprn on 11/23/2010, 1:32 pm

@LaFee wrote: I have to confess that having SEVEN bakeries within walking distance (and they all produce heavenly baguettes, and a gorgeous multigrain with flaxseed and sesame and oatmeal, and hearty whole grain, and sourdough and...and...and I haven't even mentioned the croissants and things) that my motivation tends to not get ramped up enough to make my own!
I No am absolutely green with envy!!!! That sounds heavenly!

@LaFee wrote:I did go with a girlfriend last spring to a 17th century watermill for a bread workshop they were hosting. We made bread with the flour milled on the premises (unfortunately they don't make enough of it to sell!) and baked it in a wood-fired oven. Yum.
That sounds like a lot of fun!!! Very Happy
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Re: Megan Inspired me...

Post  LaFee on 11/23/2010, 4:01 pm

It was terrific fun -- the young couple that runs it lives on the property, and it's pretty obvious that they can't believe that they actually get PAID to live in this old mill and make it run.

It was fabulous to be in the old mill that day -- early spring, with lots of sunshine and just beginning to get warm, tadpoles by the kajillions in the millpond - and when you were inside, you could feel the grumble of the water wheel rumbling through the wooden floor (the floor was completely replaced just before the mill was reopened a couple of years ago)...

That's one thing that France does incredibly well -- preserving the past, tying it to the present and the future, and making it accessible and REAL to everyone.

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