Top Ten Tips for making bread?

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by nicko, Apr 17, 2000.

  1. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Hi M,

    I have always been a little mystified by the making of bread. Not just any bread, but I mean the really great bread. Several years back I spent about eight months in Geneve Switzerland learning my way around a pastry shop. It was very eye opening, and I was really blown away by how seriously they took their bread.

    I would love to hear your top ten tips for what I need to be carefull of when I am making bread so that I am sure to get the very best product.

    By the way, you are an awesome moderator, thanks for all of your great comments.
     
  2. m brown

    m brown

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    Okay, I'll start with a few and see where that leads us.

    1. Have fresh yeast on hand, compressed or dried. Test before you begin by adding a little yeast to a little warm water, if it bubbles after a few moments, you are good to go.
    2. Be ready to make a little mess.
    3. Get a great recipe. Look in No Need to Knead or the Bread Bible.
    4. Use an unbleached bread or all purpose flour. once again, fresh for flavor.
    5. Be sure to knead the dough enough to develop the gluten or protein web to hold the bread together during fermentation. Hint: the dough will become satiny and smooth and clean the sides of the bowl while developing.
    6. Allow the bread time to proof or rise. this gives the dough flavor and allows the yeast to do it's thing.
    7. Pre heat your oven. Nothing sadder than a ready bread in a cold oven.
    8.Try to use a mixer or food processor or your hands. I am not fond of the bread machine.

    that's all i can come up with for now!
     
  3. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Which do you generally prefer, fresh yeast compressed or the dry?
     
  4. m brown

    m brown

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    have to say i like instant dry yeast because fresh goes bad so quickly and i don't use enough of it. both are wonderful, maybe earthier flavor with the fresh.
    try making bagels this week if you're not celebrating passover - as yeast is a big no no. it's really fun.
     
  5. m brown

    m brown

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    had the pleasure of going back to the kitchen this week and baked brioche. a wonderful rich, almost cake like bread. for a kick i add ancho chile powder, white, black and red pepper flakes and a southwestern dry rub to the dough. great for making killer sandwiches or toasted with foie gras or a savory brioche pudding.
    the trick to making this bread is time and patience. it is a most pleasurable bread to bake and the aroma is beyond, beyond......

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    Thank You,
    mb
     
  6. m brown

    m brown

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    welcome eli and thank you for the information.
    i agree, sponges make a great product! i start many of my doughs with one.
    i have a question for you, how do you store and feed a sponge long term not frozen? should you always name it?
    (some folks keep em as pets.)


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    Thank You,
    mb