How do I make bread?

The whole reason for the selfsufficientish website was to offer a place where anyone can ask, HOW DO I...? So who knows why it has taken us so long to have a HOW DO I? section, but here it is. So if you want to know how to do anything selfsufficientish then here is the place to ask.
grahamhobbs
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Re: How do I make bread?

Post: # 180231Post grahamhobbs
Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:24 pm

Bread is certainly addictive, it's my most favourite food - if it's made properly. How anyone can eat usual supermarket bread I do not know. And great bread is so easy to make, a few minutes each day and you can have delicious fresh naturally leavened bread all the time. The most demanding thing for me is watching TV with the digital clock showing on the screen to know when to turn the oven down and when the bread will be ready.

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contadina
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Re: How do I make bread?

Post: # 180302Post contadina
Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:49 am

grahamhobbs wrote:Hi Contadina, it is great to hear that you get a good rise in the fridge. Can you let us know what quantity/proportion of yeast you use?

Sorry I've only just spotted this. I don't actually weigh the yeast but probably use about 30g for every kilo of flour.

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Re: How do I make bread?

Post: # 180315Post grahamhobbs
Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:37 pm

Hi Contadina, is that 30g of fresh yeast and how long does it take to rise in the fridge? Do you rise it in the fridge because it is convenient or you have found the long cool fermentation gives better flavours to the bread.

I am now experimenting with naturally leaved dough, fermented partly in the fridge and partly out. I make and bake bread on a two day cycle, such that the various stages fit in to my 12 hours/day work patterns, a few minutes before work and a few after. It is creating some amazingly flavoursome breads.

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Re: How do I make bread?

Post: # 180325Post contadina
Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:30 pm

This is fresh yeast. I started doing a long first rise in the fridge for pizza dough as it improves elasticity but have found that it improves the flavour and texture of bread. sometimes I leave for a few hours, other times overnight, I've even left it for a couple of days in the fridge and it always turns out good.

Please share some of your levening experiences GH. I add a starter from the previous dough to produce a better crumb and flavour.

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Re: How do I make bread?

Post: # 180647Post grahamhobbs
Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:07 pm

I work for 12 hours a day, so my bread making has to fit around this. Previously I made bread very fast ( I could get wholemeal rolls on the table in under an hour), this was in the days when you could only buy commercial bread or wholemeal loaves from health food shops that were like bricks. So the hot bread of an evening after work seemed great.
Later, my OH started to experiment with sourdough. Sometimes the results were spectacular, sometimes not so good. It seemed quite variable and enourmously complicated, feeding the starter, and you needed to be at home during the day to meet the timings. Well after a while she got fed up with it, producing bread regularly restricted her life too much. But I had realised that real bread had real flavour.
I then went back to yeasted bread but utilising a long fermentation by using tiny amounts of yeast, cold water and putting the dough in a cold place (not the fridge). At this time I didn't really realise you could put dough in the fridge. For a 1000g of flour I used about 1/4 teaspoon of dried yeast. This gave a fermentation time of 18 - 24 hours. It develops wonderful flavours but was a bit hit and miss because of the variability of the timing depending on the ambient temperature, varing quite a bit from summer to winter (our flat does not have central heating).
Recently I have started using a sourdough starter. I use 100g starter to 600g flour 400g water (total 1100g, giving 1kg baked loaf). I knead and put the dough in the fridge overnight, taking it out before I go to work. By the evening it has risen and I can shape, prove and bake.
You can double or treble the amount of starter if you want it to rise more quickly once out of the fridge. You can play around with the proportions to suit your timescale, it doesn't affect the taste significantly. The degree of sourness is more dependant on the starter and how long before it was last replenished. If you don't want a strong sour flavour but want the bread to rise quickly, you can add ordinary yeast alongside the sourdough starter.
Actually I usually mix the flour and water (without salt or starter) in the morning before work. Then in the evening I mix with the starter and salt and knead. This pre-mixing makes hand kneading much easier as well as probably adding to the flavours developed.
This is a two day cycle. I also work the starter to suit this 2 day cycle. When I mix the dough, I replenish the starter by the same amount that I have taken out, ususally half and half, half out, half in (100g starter = 60g flour 40g water). The starter remains out of the fridge when the dough goes in overnight and when the dough comes out in the morning the starter goes in. (This gives the time for the starter to build up again before being put virtually into suspended animation in the fridge)
We usually eat wholemeal bread or a mix of wholemeal and white, sometimes small amounts of rye.
The starter I maintain is wholemeal, though this can be quickly converted to say rye, by replenishing or feeding with rye flour, (this can be done rapidly in a couple of stages within a day) if we want say a 100% rye loaf.
Starting the starter is very easy. Forget all the wierd and wonderful recipes you see people describe. Mix 100g flour with 100g warm water (can be boiled first to remove chlorine, although I haven't found this a problem) in a jar and leave with loose fitting lid in a warm place. Within 2 days it will have started fermenting. Add another 100g flour and 100g warm water. After another couple of days add another 100g of flour (no water), this will give you a starter of dough like consistancy (basically 2/3 water to flour. or in baker's terms 100% flour 66% water). The starter is now ready to start baking with.
I bake bread every 2 days, but the starter will sit happily in the fridge for up to a week without getting too sour. But it will need replenishing then. If you are not baking, then you will need to throw half the starter away and replenish with a half of new flour and water. The frequency of replenishing will affect the sourness of the starter and therefore the final taste of the bread.
I love naturally leavened bread, but as a change a slow fermented yeasted bread can be nice. So I'm going back to experiment with yeasted doughs partially risen in the fridge and partially out to see if I can produce some good breads with more predictable results.
Mixing a bit of 'old dough' in improves the flavour of bread as you say, although I think really long cool fermentations achieve similar results.

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Re: How do I make bread?

Post: # 180655Post contadina
Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:43 pm

Brilliant starter tip - I've been nervous owing to the variety of instructions out there.

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Re: How do I make bread?

Post: # 180738Post grahamhobbs
Thu Dec 17, 2009 1:11 pm

Contadina I was exactly the same. It pisses me off that so many people want to keep things to themselves or make themselves seem so knowledgeable and important, by making everything sound so complicated.

Once you get into keeping a starter, it is little different to what you doing already, keeping back some dough to add to the next loaf. The only difference is you don't use all the starter in the next loaf, but keep a bit back and then re-bulk up the starter seperately. And although you can keep it in the fridge, you must remember that it is alive and needs feeding occaisionally.

Good luck with it. Let us know how you get on with it.

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Re: How do I make bread?

Post: # 181217Post Cheezy
Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:36 pm

I'm planning to do a starter this xmas, when I have some time. I do large batches of bread and freeze so I probably only bake once a month, enough for the whole month. I use a part ferment part yeast technique as per Richard Bertinet's Pain de Champaign. I take 200g of dough and leave in the fridge, (it's a spelt/rye mix) Every week I add 4 tablespoons flour (of choice) and 2 tablespoons of water. This gives a stiff mix which is slower to ferment. I don't chuck any of it away, I just keep adding until I need to use it. It all goes in to the mix then I remove 200g. So it's a blend of wild and natural yeasts, but the flavour has developed and is slightly sour.
My plan is to add an unadulterated natural ferment.
In Bertinet's second book he goes into description about drying ferment that you are about to disgard. That way you end up with dried crumb which will store, and can be rehydrated the night before you need it. Sour dough with out all the faf of feeding it. I may try this , I'll let you know how I get on.
It's not easy being Cheezy
So you know how great Salsify is as a veg, what about Cavero Nero,great leaves all through the winter , then in Spring sprouting broccolli like flowers! Takes up half as much room as broccolli

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Re: How do I make bread?

Post: # 181230Post grahamhobbs
Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:13 pm

Cheezy - not wishing to buy another bread book, can I ask how do you dry the ferment?

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