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anyone baking bread?
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 07, 2008 08:04PM
I am tired of paying $4.29 for a decent loaf of bread that's gone in 2 days, and anything cheaper is inedible. I had once a bread-making machine, but that was long time ago. I am thinking about picking up a new one, but I am not very interested in baking the bread in that machine, I think I would like to mix and "make" the dough and then bake it in an electric oven.

Any thoughts on which brands to look for and which to avoid? also, is there a dough-making machine rather than a bread-making machine? as I said, I will bake it in the oven, so maybe for the same price I get a better (more robust) dough machine.

finally, which flour and yeast to you recommend?

thanks (and Bon Appetite)
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: Stephanie
Date: November 07, 2008 08:20PM
Dough making machine?? [www.google.com]

Why not an old fashioned stand mixer with a dough hook? A multi-purpose machine!
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 07, 2008 08:22PM
yeah, I didn't think of a mixer... so they come with dough hooks, huh?
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: OWC Jamie
Date: November 07, 2008 08:23PM
We have this one:

Zojirushi Bread Machine

It's 4 years old now, and is used 4 times a month, frequently in the winter 6 or 7 times a month. From basic bread, pizza dough, rolls, etc.

Flour is either Pillsbury's Best for Bread white or wheat. Yeast is Red Star. No complaints out of any of them. The Zojirushi is great, well worth the $.



Good Luck!
Jamie Dresser
Other World Computing
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 07, 2008 08:26PM
thanks Jamie
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: testcase
Date: November 07, 2008 08:36PM
Is anyone here making gluten free bread? I was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue disease two years ago and, have to avoid wheat, barley, rye and oats. The commercial ones if found so far are pretty sorry excuses for bread.
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: clay
Date: November 07, 2008 08:58PM
I bake a lot of bread. I have this kitchen aid mixer [www.kitchenaid.com] I use a lot of different flours--unbleached white as my main base flour, and then lots of others--soy, wheat, rye, etc.

Have fun--making bread is one of those very cool hobbies that is healthy for you and a way to save money. And I really enjoy experimenting with different combinations of flours and methods.
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: OWC Jamie
Date: November 07, 2008 09:04PM
I can tell you this, it's awesome to set up the time delay on the machine on a Saturday night, and wake up to the smell of fresh bread to start the day smiling smiley

Try that with a kitchenaid mixer ;) Have one of those too, can't go wrong with one of those that's for sure, durable as you can get.



Good Luck!
Jamie Dresser
Other World Computing
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: November 07, 2008 09:12PM
I think you may be able to use some of the tile from Home Depot to make oven stone. Measure your oven and see if they will cut them to fit.

[fficial&client=firefox-a" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">www.google.com]
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: November 07, 2008 09:13PM
A stand mixer is a must if you want to bake your own bread.

King Arthur Flour is a good, and inexpensive place to buy yeast. Make sure you buy instant yeast and not active dry yeast. Instant dry yeast has a much higher percentage of live yeast to dead yeast than active dry yeast. Additionally, it's much easier to convert professional recipes, which use fresh yeast, to a recipe with instant yeast. If a recipe calls for 3/4 ounce of fresh yeast, you use 1/4 ounce of instant dry, and then you add 1/2 ounce of liquid to your recipe. Another benefit of instant yeast is that it can be directly added to the flour - no liquid is needed.

Anyhow, you can get a POUND of bread yeast for $5.50

[www.kingarthurflour.com]

They also sell yeast for high fat/high sugar/acid doughs for $6.95

[www.kingarthurflour.com]
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: davester
Date: November 07, 2008 09:30PM
If you just want to try out breadmaking again, there's no need for a bread machine or a mixer. Kneading enough bread to do two loaves by hand is not that much work. I used to do that pretty often. Maybe you should do that for a few loaves just to get back into the swing of things. Although my old yorkshire auntie Janie used to do it this way by hand every single day, I do think it'd get old fast, so a mixer or bread machine would be a good idea. I think the entire purpose of the machine is to provide fresh bread when you wake up.

I have a good bread-making story. While I was at a 10 week field class (camping in the high desert), I started talking about making bread, something I did at home every week). One of my classmates bet me several six packs of beer that I couldn't do it in the field. The next day, I produced 8 loaves of bread, cooked with great difficulty in metal box stoves (just boxes with thermometers attached) on top of our coleman camping stoves. I won the bet, but I think my classmate really won because he got an entire loaf to himself (the rest was shared with the class).



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: Marc Anthony
Date: November 07, 2008 09:59PM
Another site I visit has a great recipe for no-knead bread. Do you own a Dutch oven?

[www.thekitchn.com]



Le poète doit vivre beaucoup, vivre dans tous les sens. - Verlaine
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: volcs0
Date: November 07, 2008 10:16PM
We make a loaf of machine bread every day except Friday, when my wife makes bread by hand. We have four kids, so we go through one loaf a day - mostly for their lunches.

We got a Panasonic bread machine for our wedding. That lasted 10 years, and we bought another one when that finally died, and this one has been going strong for 5 years now. We usually set it the night before to be ready in the morning.
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: dmann
Date: November 07, 2008 11:03PM
Ok, you all have inspired me to pull out my bread machine and dig out my recipes!

Guess I know what I'll be doing (in addition to my freelance job) this weekend! smiling smiley

DM
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: Mac-A-Matic
Date: November 07, 2008 11:19PM
Lots of great thoughts...

But really, you don't need much more than flour, salt and starter (yeast). My friends prefer using a starter that they keep fermenting in a little tub. Everyday, they just use it and add more water and flour to keep it going.

But if you're paying $4.29 for nice artisanal bread and you're interested in keeping that level of quality then you're gonna need to figure out just what kind of bread you want to make and go for it.

I'm with the non-bread machine camp but I certainly can see the ease and accessibility of using one.

The one piece of advice I can offer: when you figure out which recipe you like best, convert the quantities of each ingredient into grams (weight). You'll find that you're bread will be consistent day-in and day-out because of it.

Good luck!
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: MacArtist
Date: November 07, 2008 11:29PM
Quote
testcase
Is anyone here making gluten free bread? I was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue disease two years ago and, have to avoid wheat, barley, rye and oats. The commercial ones if found so far are pretty sorry excuses for bread.

I was diagnosed 23 years ago.

Making gluten free bread is a challenge. We buy Kinnikinnick brand. My picky daughters like it.

[secure.kinnikinnick.com]

Here are some mixes that are very, very good. We make pizza crust from their mix.

[www.amazon.com]



I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making
him carry me, and yet assure myself and others
that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his
lot by all possible means — except by getting off
his back. - Leo Tolstoy, novelist and Philosopher
(1828-1910)





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/2008 11:33PM by MacArtist.
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: Mike Johnson
Date: November 08, 2008 12:10AM
I bake bread once or twice a week, have for about five years now. I use a KitchenAid Classic mixer. Some people say you need the big Artisan model, but the one I have is plenty powerful for mixing doughs with up to maybe 5 cups of flour. 3 1/2 cups is the typical amount of flour for a home baked loaf.

There is no way I would go to the trouble if I had to knead it by hand from start to finish.

Don't expect your first ten or twenty loaves to be great. Some won't even be edible. There is a learning curve.

If you want to make sandwich bread, it's easy enough if you use milk and maybe a little sugar. You can add in a preservative to keep the loaf longer than a day.

For artisanal breads, get a good pizza stone, some parchment paper, a razor, and a spray bottle. Shape the loaf on the parchment so it'll be easier to transfer to the hot stone. Mist the inside of the oven. Use the razor to slice open the bread just as it's going in. Mist again once or twice. It's easy to make a rustic boule or ciabatta.

Unless I'm making something like a brioche, I don't weigh my ingredients, or even measure carefully. I can tell whether a rustic dough needs more water or flour by how well it clears the bowl when it's mixing. There is no foolproof recipe: there are way too many variables from the humidity in your kitchen to the age of your yeast cultures.

I buy King Arthur bread flour most of the time, just because I like the company. But the Gold Medal bread flour works just as well, in my opinion.

I prefer Fleishman's Rapid Rise yeast. I buy it in the jar. I generally use about 1/2 tsp per pound of flour. Maybe more, maybe less. If you use less yeast, you just need to let the dough rise longer, is all. You can go up to 2 1/2 tsp of yeast if you're in a hurry -- that's about how much is one of those little foil packets. The less yeast you use, the better your loaf will taste. It's all up to you. Plus, you can hurry a rise by putting the dough in a warm spot, or retard it by putting it in the fridge.

When you get a feel for how much the dough needs to rise, and how to tell when it's ready for the next step, you can divide a batch of dough. You can make a bigger batch, put a third in the fridge, and a third in the freezer, and bake the other third. If you're like me, you'll end up throwing out old batches of frozen dough to make room for new ones.

I love baking bread. It does take time, though. You can boss it around only so much -- for the most part, it'll decide when it's ready to be baked. If you're okay with that, it's a rewarding hobby. And at holidays, it pays off when you make the best rolls anybody has ever tasted. (Hint: lots and lots of butter.)
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 08, 2008 12:40AM
great advice everyone, will look into all options this weekend and hope to decide which way to go soon. will report back in a couple of weeks once I make the first few loafs.

thanks
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: steve...
Date: November 08, 2008 12:56AM
Now I'm all excited about making bread when all I wanted was a deal on an iMac. I'm always amazed at the things I learn here, I'll be watching for the update.









Northern California Coast
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: volcs0
Date: November 08, 2008 02:14AM
Our standard bread machine recipe - been making this one for 15 years now:

2-1/4 cups flour (Gold Medal Better for Bread - Yellow bag)
[www.realbakingwithrose.com]
1-3/4 Tbls sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2-3 tbls olive oil
1 cup water
1 tsp yeast

Here is the machine we have:
[www.amazon.com]
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: voodoopenguin
Date: November 08, 2008 04:56AM
We use both a Panasonic bread machine for the quick and easy loaf and a mixer for more specialised loaves. Before the bread machine we used the Kenwood Chef given to us as a wedding present over 30 years ago. The dough hook is excellent and the machine itself is still going strong. In fact my two daughters each have a Kenwood Chef and they were inherited, one from my mother and one from my mother-in-law. They both have to be over 40 years old and work perfectly.

This is what the modern Chef looks like.
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: samintx
Date: November 08, 2008 08:09AM
Quote
OWC Jamie
We have this one:

Zojirushi Bread Machine

It's 4 years old now, and is used 4 times a month, frequently in the winter 6 or 7 times a month. From basic bread, pizza dough, rolls, etc.

Flour is either Pillsbury's Best for Bread white or wheat. Yeast is Red Star. No complaints out of any of them. The Zojirushi is great, well worth the $.

I also have one. I have the machine MIX the bread, then I take it out and bake in a bread pan or make cinnamon rolls whatever. I agree worth the price. I have tried them all and I like it best.

Yep, bread is so high. I make a pig of homemade cheeze bread toasted. I can't make it often or I'd be as big as the side of a barn!
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: testcase
Date: November 08, 2008 09:19AM
"when you figure out which recipe you like best, convert the quantities of each ingredient into grams (weight). You'll find that you're bread will be consistent day-in and day-out because of it."

Why would using equivalent weight in grams make a difference?

Thanks for the links MacArtist smiling smiley .
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: November 08, 2008 10:52AM
Quote
testcase
"when you figure out which recipe you like best, convert the quantities of each ingredient into grams (weight). You'll find that you're bread will be consistent day-in and day-out because of it."

Why would using equivalent weight in grams make a difference?

Thanks for the links MacArtist smiling smiley .

Flour is especially hard to get consistent quantities when measured by volume, though some of the other ingredients have similar issues. So doing the recipe by weight will be much more consistent in results. Volume is still used in the US more compared to other countries when recipes are created. But given that some recipes call for sifted flour to be measured, and others unsifted, it can make quite a difference in the measures.



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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 08, 2008 11:01AM
I guess his questions was why use grams instead of ounces, but grams work for me smiling smiley
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: November 08, 2008 11:10AM
Quote
JoeH

Flour is especially hard to get consistent quantities when measured by volume, though some of the other ingredients have similar issues. So doing the recipe by weight will be much more consistent in results. Volume is still used in the US more compared to other countries when recipes are created. But given that some recipes call for sifted flour to be measured, and others unsifted, it can make quite a difference in the measures.

There is also a difference between sifted flour and flour sifted.

An order of operations thing...

sad smiley
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: November 08, 2008 12:32PM
Quote
space-time
I guess his questions was why use grams instead of ounces, but grams work for me smiling smiley

Oh, well looked at that way, in grams all the measures are powers of ten. Makes doubling and halving much easier. So is keeping track of other quantities, especially if you have a tare weight scale.



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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: testcase
Date: November 08, 2008 02:36PM
No, my question wasn't one of grams vs ounces (although that is a good point) but why there would be a benefit of changing volume to weight. Not being a baker, I hadn't considered how volume could be inconsistant. I appreciate the explanation and, Ive learned something today! Thanks to all who helped smiling smiley
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: wurm
Date: November 08, 2008 06:24PM
Okay, here's a question. I love bread, especially the ryes and sourdoughs and ciabattas, etc. But I'm also really trying to keep my weight in check after dropping 30+ lbs a couple of years ago. I would think someone would make a fortune if they could come up with a recipe for bread that would actually burn calories just by eating it, rather than pack them on. I'd probably buy a bread machine if such a recipe existed. So, does it?
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: November 08, 2008 06:39PM
I don't bake, but I have heard people compare it to "rocket science".
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: Fritz
Date: November 08, 2008 07:01PM
I had a DAK bread machine, killed it making bread every week.
Then a Zo that I still have in storage. I made the dough in it but baked in the oven. Better spring, crust and crumb.
Now I have a Bosch beast mixer since I bake lots of stuff.

My fave bread is a sourdough multigrain. I made the starter from organic grapes, Silverton style.
It goes quick around here. The no-knead concept is pretty good too.
I've been bread baking for 15 years or so. I've still to master the Brooklyn/Bronx style round loaf or ciabatta, but I'm getting better.
If I could retire and make a living with a bread bakery, I'd do it.

For flour I use KA and Hodgsons. Yeast I buy in bulk at CostCo, Red Star, by the pound.

Great forums and info:
[www.theartisan.net] their pizza dough recipe is perfect and simple.
[www.thefreshloaf.com]
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: November 08, 2008 07:10PM
What is it with this no-knead bread?

How do you develop the gluten without kneading?
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: Fritz
Date: November 08, 2008 07:30PM
it's a simple still then a long ferment and rise. Works well.

[www.nytimes.com]
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Re: anyone baking bread?
Posted by: simonm
Date: November 17, 2008 03:18AM
A late addition.

We made bread for years. Mainly a wholemeal yeast bread. We used the "John Seymour" "swill" method. If you are a slightly post-hippy generation from the UK you will recognise the name.

This may be easiest, quickest bread method on the planet. Takes longer to explain than to do.

Get some flour (no need to measure quantity) salt, yeast and warm water, and optionally a drop of oil. If the weather is cold/heating not very good you can add a teaspoon of sugar to speed up the yeast.

Put a quantity of warm water (blood temperature or a little warmer - baby feed temperature - stick you finger in without burning it warm) that is about 1/2 the volume of the baking form you will put the dough in. (I am assuming traditional loaf tin). Mix in the salt and yeast. Stir in enough flour to make a mixture with a consistency of "pig swill" or "thick porridge." (Total time so far - 3 minutes?) Cover the bowl and let it the mixture rise for as long as you feel like. Anything from an hour or two to overnight or from the morning when you get up till the evening when it is convenient to bake.
When you have the time, mix in enough flour so that you get a kneadable mixture. Knead for 2-3 mins and put in a tray, let it rise for 20/30 mins and bake. You can knead as much or a little as you like. The trick is that the relatively long, relatively wet "swill" period opens up the starch for the yeast to work on thereby reducing the requirement for kneading. You can let it rise a second time if you like. We always used the same mixture for bread and thick pizza bases. I now prefer thin pizza but we use the same method. if you leave it too long, you get sour dough - which may be good or bad depending on your preferences.
Be careful to avoid flour that already has a raising agent in it. In some countries almost all four is a self-raising type despite the various names. You have to carefully check the ingredients list. All four is not created equal and you will really notice the difference when making bread.
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