Am I doing it right [Baking Bread]

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Hi all. I am a bit of a bread baking novice. I've baked a few loaves
over the past few weeks - generally following the recipes on the flour
packet.

Although the loafs I am producing are tasty and have risen the
appropriate amount in the tin (i.e. the dough has doubled in size)
they are much denser than loaves one might buy at the bakers.

The 2lb loaf tins I have produce loaves that are similar in size to
the small loaves from the supermarket.

I baked a white loaf the other day using one of my 2lb loaf tins - the
dough doubled in size but this meant it kind of spilled over the edges
of the tin and while delicious - it looks a bit odd. But it is still
quite dense in texture.

Any advice on how a properly baked wholemeal or white loaf should look/
feel and what texture one should expect - would be greatly appreciated.


Re: Am I doing it right [Baking Bread]
@k79g2000hse.googlegroups.com:

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First off, if you're serious about baking bread at home, drop the volume
(cups) measures you'll find on the bags of flour and get a scale.  Then
check out the alt.bread.recipes newsgroup.  The FAQ for that group at
http://www.abrfaq.info/ has helpful info and links as well.

Re: Am I doing it right [Baking Bread]
wrote:

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Although I heartily endorse alt.bread.recipes and its wonderful FAQ,
as well as Barry's site and Carl's for sourdough (links below) try to
remember that people have been baking bread without scales for a long,
long time. Although weight  or even measuring cups are interesting and
often simple ways to convey proportions, the flours and grains one
uses can also affect the results quite a bit, as can temperature in
the kitchen, temp of the mixed dough and a huge number of other
variables..

http://www.barryharmon.com /
http://home.att.net/~carlsfriends /

Measuring by weight is fun for some,  necessary for others and in
usual in most commercial bakeries, but it is by no means the only way
to bake bread.

The bread in this picture was baked without the use of scales or
measuring devices. I am a big believer in getting to know which
ingredients, dough hydrations, fermentations and baking time, temp and
method will produce the loaves one seeks. Does it take practice? Of
course it does, and this is true whether or not one uses scales.

http://i2.tinypic.com/ra2cdv.jpg

In answer to the original poster, how a loaf should look and what
texture it  should have are up to you. If you seek a crispy crust and
a fine crumb there are techniques and ingredients that will help you
achieve it, just as there are some to achieve an "artisan" style crust
and holey inner texture, or a soft outside and inside.

What is it you seek in your breads?

Boron

Re: Am I doing it right [Baking Bread]

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Yeah, I don't measure either, but for someone starting out, I think it's
best to measure to get a feel for how things work, and weight is the best
way to ensure consistancy.  That's they only reason I weigh out the
ingredients for the pizza dough we make @ church now, is for consistancy.

As to temperature, King Arthur Flour has a document about how to guage the
temperatures and calculate the best temp for the water.

Re: Am I doing it right [Baking Bread]
wrote:

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Cooking for large groups falls into the commercial end of it, even if
there is no money involved.
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One of the nice things to do is watch a whole bunch of pros (either
advanced home bakers or "real" ones) baking. Each will have a
different technique, but there is still a lot to learn  after seeing
them, and then reading books such as Reinhart's or similar will make
more sense.

I recommend these videos, using "bread" as a search term. Lots of fun
to watch. I recommend them to beginners or to seasoned bakers.

http://www.pbs.org/juliachild/video.html

Boron

Re: Am I doing it right [Baking Bread]

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Are they related to the "Baking w/ Julia" book?

Re: Am I doing it right [Baking Bread]
wrote:

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I have never tagged them back to the series, so I do not know. There
are a lot of videos that cover much more than baking on that site.

Boron

Re: Am I doing it right [Baking Bread]

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I answered my own question, they are.  The "Baking With Julia" cookbook was
written at the same time the baking portions of what is on that site were
made, the book is kinda like a companion to the show they were from.  I
think there was a general cooking book as well.

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