Bread baking pleasure – After attending a bread and jam making session with chef Anise at Hive; I am humming a very famous song of Beatles – “Loaf is all you knead” (Just changed a bit from “love is all you need”). I was happy to see a skilled chef at his craft and experience the making of French Baguette, Brioche, and Fougasse at the hands of The Master Baker. Along with the strawberry and pear homemade jam. Awesome and yummmmm, time.
Jam making was easy and was super delicious (I will share the recipes soon)
Bread baking is one of the oldest culinary arts in the world. Chef Anise shared many more tricks and techniques of bread making, lucky me. But how can I miss sharing with you all the Bread Making Basics –
All those how’s and why’s about breads were answered patiently, and I carried the bliss of knowledge with me to share.
1. Flour – the soul of the bread – Flour is the the main ingredient in making of a bread, It is responsible for the body, texture, appearance, flavor and quality of the bread. One major difference between the kinds of wheat flours available is protein content, which affects gluten formation (those stretchy strands in dough that ultimately form the bread’s interior crumb); the more protein in the flour, the more easily gluten forms.
One very interesting fact I came to know today is that locally (Mumbai) available flours like (maida or all purpose flour) are very low in Gluten, hence it is difficult to make a good quality bread using these. One easy way is to use a small amount of—–
a. Gluten which is like a super-powered flour that is all gluten and very little starch. It’s not technically flour itself, but it’s made from wheat flour that has been hydrated to activate the gluten and then processed to remove everything but that gluten. It’s then dried and ground back into a powder. Because it’s almost pure gluten, a little goes a long way to improving the elasticity and rise of the raw dough and the crumb and chewiness in the final loaves.
b. Bread improvers which will simplify the work, will smooth out the dough quickly, boost the tolerance of the dough. And worry not -these two – Gluten Flour and Bread Improvers – are easily available in Crawford Market/at your local stores and you can even buy them online.
2. Yeast – The main purpose of yeast is fermentation, which is very important in bread baking. Yeast feeds on sugar and produces carbon dioxide and slowly rises the bread. It forms thousands of balloon like bubbles in the dough. You can use fresh yeast but it has a very little shelf life and the quality may differ – depending on the place you buy it from.
Buying active dry yeast is a good idea- Ideally it is used in half the quantity of the required fresh yeast in any recipe.
One very interesting idea – If you want to have your own sour dough stater and are not successful making it yet. ( Just like me ) You can have traditional methods for creating starters called Poolish. Interestingly it gives the same texture and flavor to the bread as the Sour dough starter.
For Poolish making- Just take 200gm of flour and 200 ml of water with 5 gm of yeast. Mix these all in a container and leave over night at room temperature. Next morning, it will be all ready to give you a fine bread.
Fat– In bread making; fat provides flavor and, more importantly, lubricates the dough. Fat that is incorporated in bread dough will inhibit gluten formation. The resulting loaf will not rise quite as high as a loaf made without fat. On the positive side, fats, especially butter and olive oil, add a lot of flavor to the finished product.
For brioche-like breads with a lot of butter in them, you can manipulate the texture of the resulting bread by changing when the butter is added. If the fat is added at the beginning, before the dough has been kneaded, the texture will be more cake-like. If the gluten is allowed to develop before the butter is added, the texture will be more bread-like.
Salt – Salt’s primary purpose in bread is to evoke and enhance the bread’s flavor. Salt also slows the rising process, of a yeast bread dough. Slowing the rising period gives the gluten in the dough time to strengthen and develop, resulting in a better crumb and a better crust. But it is very important to use right amount of salt in the recipe. If you use salted butter instead of unsalted butter as mentioned in the recipe- Make sure you reduce the amount of the salt that goes in while making of the dough.
In bread baking the percentage of salt added that is considered normal, ranges from 1.8% to 2.2% by weight of the total amount of flour, depending on the recipe and personal preference.
I know these breads look very tempting and I will share the recipes very soon. Want to bake so much and share.
Sugar – Yeast will feast on sugar. And It is very important to add the right amount. More than 2 tablespoons of sugar per cup of flour will slow yeast down to the point where you can’t make a nicely risen loaf. Or if the recipe calls for more amount of sugar, you will have to increase the quantity of yeast as well.
It does makes the bread taste yummy.
There is so much more that I want to share with you all; but don’t want to clutter the minds with so much. Bread making is an art, which requires precision and patience and most important practice. The three “P” . Lets keep in touch ask me your doubts and I will be happy to answer.