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first loaf of bread was a success!
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 20, 2008 11:39AM
I got the Panasonic breadmaker on Tuesday but I was too tired to test it. Last night at 6 PM (after dinner) I started the simplest recipe in the book: French bread. Flour, salt, water, yeast and some butter. I didn't expect it to take 6 hours, so I looked a little bit confused when it started, but then I check the book, yes, 6 hours is the right time, so we watched a couple of movies till midnight to taste the fresh bread. Mmm, mmm, mmm. Good stuff.

The only trouble is the shape of the loaf is a little bit inconvenient for slicing and serving, but I plan to move the baking to the oven at some point and keep the baking in the machine option only for emergencies or when the oven is busy with holiday meals for example.

I also want to shape the loafs in baguette style, since we like the crust and I can get more crust that way.

EDIT: I've done a quick math and I think the price of one 2lb loaf will come in at around $1 (I added about 15 cents for electricity, I doubt it uses 1 kWh), and I bought the flour and yeast at full price form a very expensive store, If I shop around and buy in bulk I should be able to bake a bread for 50 cents I think, with quality ingredients and no preservatives. I used to pay $2-4 for a similar bread, and at least I know what goes in it. it takes less than 2 minutes to set it up and a similar time to clean up.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/2008 11:46AM by space-time.
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Re: first loaf of bread was a success!
Posted by: clay
Date: November 20, 2008 11:41AM
great job!

that's always been my biggest beef with bread machines--it's never in quite the shape that I want. Enjoy your new-found hobby!
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Re: first loaf of bread was a success!
Posted by: Fritz
Date: November 20, 2008 11:41AM
I moved from the machine to he oven quickly for exactly the shape reason. Breads turned out better too in a somewhat steamed oven.
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Re: first loaf of bread was a success!
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 20, 2008 11:48AM
Quote
Fritz
I moved from the machine to he oven quickly for exactly the shape reason. Breads turned out better too in a somewhat steamed oven.

what do you mean steamed oven? I have an electric oven, and I will get a pizza stone. Do I throw some water in there when I put the bread in?
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Re: first loaf of bread was a success!
Posted by: kj4btkljv
Date: November 20, 2008 11:52AM
Maybe this?

[www.wisegeek.com]

I haven't heard of it before.

Jeff
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Re: first loaf of bread was a success!
Posted by: dad@home
Date: November 20, 2008 11:56AM
Quote
space-time

what do you mean steamed oven? I have an electric oven, and I will get a pizza stone. Do I throw some water in there when I put the bread in?

I use two racks in the oven. I place a metal pan (doesn't have to be large) on the bottom rack. Preheat the oven. Place the loaf on the top rack and at the same time throw a 1/2 cup of water on the hot metal pan beneath. The steam gives the bread a wonderful chewy texture. Julia Child recommends in one of her books to throw the water directly in the bottom of oven but I can't make myself do that to an electric element.

Dad
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Re: first loaf of bread was a success!
Posted by: clay
Date: November 20, 2008 12:05PM
you can use the broiler pan, too. Or even a pyrex with a couple inches of water (do not "shock" the pyrex, just put in the dish with water and it'll warm up just fine). It gives you a nice crusty crust and chewy inside.
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Re: first loaf of bread was a success!
Posted by: Fritz
Date: November 20, 2008 12:15PM
what they said.

I use the "unshocked" pyrex method for both proof and bake.

My oven has a proof cycle of 100º (actually higher then I'd like, but better than nuthin').
I transfer the dough to the pan and place in the already heated 100º oven with a pyrex pan of boiled water on the bottom shelf.

After 20 to 30 minutes of rise, depending, I put the dough on the counter while the oven heads to bake temp. I leave the water in the pan.

When the oven comes to temp I put the dough in for bake and add boiling water to the pyrex.
After 10 minutes I remove the pyrex pan. I get a hard crust and fast spring, which I find helps the overall of my multigrain bread or "no-knead" type ciabatta.
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Re: first loaf of bread was a success!
Posted by: freeradical
Date: November 20, 2008 12:46PM
Making French bread with butter is a felony in France, but it's only a misdemeanor in the United States.
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Re: first loaf of bread was a success!
Posted by: Psurfer
Date: November 20, 2008 01:48PM
I also made my first bread the other day -like Fritz, also a "no-knead" type ciabatta. Cooked in the oven in a heavy lidded pot, so creates its own self-contained steam.
Came out great, and cost ~50¢, vs Whole Foods' $5 version.

Once I figure out how long I can keep pre-mixed post-risen dough in fridge or frozen (so can bake another bread on short notice), the bakeries won't see me around much anymore. Adieu!
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Re: first loaf of bread was a success!
Posted by: simonm
Date: November 20, 2008 03:57PM
Quote
Fritz
Breads turned out better too in a somewhat steamed oven.

It always strikes me as funny how lots of "traditional" things are recent inventions. The nice French Baguette is just marginally more traditional than a good Italian espresso.

Baguettes became doable with the advent of widely available steam ovens after WWI. Before that French bread would have look very different. Espresso as we know it today is really a post WWII thing as thats when they finally got the machines right. (I'll admit the first machines are also probably early 1900s).
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Re: first loaf of bread was a success!
Posted by: Gutenberg
Date: November 20, 2008 04:22PM
Steam in your oven makes a nice crispy crust. Use an old brownie pan, or any kind of cheap metal pan. Put it on the floor of the oven if you have a gas oven; put it on a rack at the lowest level if you have electric. When you open the oven door to put in the dough to bake, throw half a tray of ice cubes into the pan, then put the dough in the oven. Steam galore!

Don't buy a lot of stuff unless you are sure you will keep making bread. You don't need most of it anyway.

Buy a pound of yeast for six bucks at [www.kingarthurflour.com] and you can make lots and lots of really good cheap bread. Use the bread machine for kneading, and bake in the oven. You can bake on a stone once you get the hang of it, or just invert a jelly roll pan and bake on that.

For a little extra nutrition substitute a cup of whole wheat flour for a cup of white flour in your recipe.

A couple of really useful baking sites:

[www.thefreshloaf.com]

and [www.bakingcircle.com]

Also check [www.kingarthurflour.com]

and [www.kingarthurflour.com]

You will be the most popular man around if you bake the buttermilk cluster rolls at thefreshloaf.com for Thanksgiving.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/2008 04:23PM by Gutenberg.
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