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Bread info Free Tips and Information

Bread info Free and tips will help you in your cooking and food preparation.These are very useful and quite interesting information that you learn once and then apply at any time you need it.

bread info
delia smith

Small high street and village bakers struggle to produce quality but it gets harder and harder as they cant possibly compete on price with the larger commercial factories who can always undercut price for quality. Thus in buying cheaper bread we may well be richer by the money saved but in truth we are infinitely poorer because if you think about it few people could deny that having really good bread on a daily basis would instantly and inexpensively improve the quality of life.
Instead the majority choose the dull option; perhaps its because we dont value ourselves enough to feel we deserve the best who knows? All I know is that `that which is not bread ie the average packed and sliced loaf (although there are of course exceptions) compared with what bread should be is extremely dull and poor quality; a flat pappy tasteless kind of blotting paper. Take a dose look at a slice: it will be slightly damp and clammy; if you squeeze it in your hands it will emerge looking like an elongated piece of rough dough with the indentations of your fingers all along it. Do you really want to consume it?
Its a kind of downward spiral of `how low can you go? Millers mill their flour to provide for larger factories that bake massproduced bread. Retailers sell it then large retailers get involved in price wars. Something has to give in order to cut prices so quality is what has to give. The factory cant afford to provide quality if the retailer cant afford to pay for it because he has to keep his prices competitive. So quality cutting goes back to the factory then to the miller and even the farmer. And what do we get?

I once heard modern bread given a sort of job description by a flour miller who said that it was merely required to be a carrier. Isnt that a sad statement? In other words its what goes in or on the bread thats more important. If I can achieve anything at all in this whole How To Cook project it will be to persuade the younger generation to make and taste some real bread just so they know what its really like.

That which is bread
That which is bread is both astoundingly simple (after all the main ingredients are merely flour and water) but at the same time gloriously luxurious because of its rarity. Its a strange paradox here we are a nation that spends a fortune on food and restaurants (you could say on the food experience) yet give anyone at all a slice of real homemade bread and you might as well be giving them the moon. When we were filming the bread programme for the television series that accompanies this book absolutely everyone was drooling so enthusiastic and so appreciative and forever wanting just one more slice. So why is it that homemade bread has so much going for it?
I would put flavour as number one on the list the real pure natural flavour of the wheat which is somewhat enhanced and intensified by the yeast which also adds its own subtle flavour. Number two on my list would be texture: in a white loaf this is very soft aerated and silky fine. Number three is the crust which is very crisp and crunchy but at the same time light and a wellbaked crust is always fairly dark as this darkness creates extra flavour. Freshly baked white bread and good butter is one of the simplest pleasures in life. I love eating it with softboiled eggs (see page 16).

Wholemeal bread
This is not as delicate as white bread but has other charms. Here we have all the flavour of whole ripe wheat berries crushed so the germ and the bran are present. It therefore has a more gutsy and robust flavour. It also has a crisp and crunchy crust on the outside and is moist and mealy within.

But how can busy people find time to make bread?
Im afraid its a myth that breadmaking takes time. True the bread itself needs its own time but it will take only about 6 to 10 minutes of your actual time. I have come to the conclusion that it takes me less time than travelling to a really good baker and back. It is also a myth that breadmaking is difficult. One of the joys of making bread is that it needs so few ingredients; in fact for a straightforward loaf only four are required.

1 Flour
What the cook needs to know is that there are three types of wheat grain hard medium and soft and the flour they yield will contain something called gluten. In order not to get too technical gluten can be described as something like chewing gum. Soft grains produce ordinary chewing gum which will stick somewhat but hard grains produce something more like bubble gum which means air can be incorporated and the gluten will stretch and expand into bubbles. Thus when it comes to baking pastry biscuits or cakes what you need are very lighttextured soft grains containing the chewinggum.variety but in bread when the action of the yeast needs to rise the dough you need hard wheat the bubblegum variety.
In our country plain flour is always made from soft grains so this is the one for cakes pastry and so on whilst the one labelled strong flour which has a high gluten content is the one needed for most types of bread although for something like a pizza dough where you dont need the dough to rise as much a soft ordinary plain flour is I think better. So just think chewing gum or bubble gum and youve got your gluten sorted.

Flour milling
What happens here is the wheat grains are crushed and ground either between traditional milling stones or modern automatic rollers but its the human skill of the miller not the method that determines the quality of the flour. A grain of wheat is made up of three components: the protective layers of outer casing called brats the white starchy endosperm and the germ which contains oils vitamins and protein.

Flours and meals
Originally the whole wheat berries were ground into the flour which more correctly should be called meal hence wholemeal. Flour is the fine white powdery part that has had the bran layers and germ removed. Wholefood enthusiasts will say that white flour having much of the goodness removed is a refined produce and not a socalled healthy whole one.
However in my opinion we need both types and thankfully the socalled healthy brown era with its heavy brown pastries cakes pizzas et al has thankfully moved on and given way to a more balanced view on what is or isnt healthy. So now both can be enjoyed equally and combined at times in certain recipes to give the required flavour and texture.

Selfraising flour
This is simply a term used to describe soft flour to which raising agents have been added by the manufacturer.

This word comes from the italian meaning semi milled and it is as you can see in the photograph not ground to fine flour meaning the grains are coarser. Semolina is what is used for traditionally made pasta milled from hard wheat grain to a texture specified by the pasta maker so that the finished product will be roughtextured to enable the sauce to cling sufficiently (see page 216). Semolina from softer wheat has also played a part in British cuisine where it has been used in puddings and cakes and durum semolina gives a lovely texture to shortbread but is now sadly not widely available.

2 Liquid
This is usually water though milk and buttermilk are sometimes used. The water should always be handhot meaning you can hold your finger in it without discomfort. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast.

3 Yeast
For beginners this is now blissfully simple because its powdered into something called easyblend dried: no mixing no waiting for frothy heads and so on. All you do is sprinkle it in with the flour and thats all. Dont forget to inspect the date stamps though because if its too old it wont do its work.

4 Salt
Salt is an important ingredient in bread but dont use too much as it slows down the rising. But if you like a little more than I have included in my recipes then allow a little extra rising time.

There are two schools of thought on this: one is `what a bore because 3 minutes is a long time in a busy life. Alternatively some people find the whole operation extremely therapeutic. I am in both camps here: resentful if fm short of time but it also has to be said that kneading and daydreaming are a pleasant occupation if time permits.

Kneading in a processor
On busy days its all perfectly simple. If you use a processor with a dough hook attached the whole thing mixing and kneading really is very little trouble.

how to knead dough

For bread dough that has to be kneaded simply place it on a flat work surface then stretch it away from you using the heel of one hand to push from the middle and the clenched knuckles of your other hand to pull the other half of the dough towards you (both hands should move simultaneously to stretch out the dough). Then lift the edges over and back to the middle. Give it a quarter turn and repeat the process. It soon becomes a rather rhythmic operation and the dough will then start to become very elastic. What happens here is you begin to feel the magic the dough literally begins to spring into life as you push it away and it defiantly springs back to challenge you. When its become very smooth springy and begins to appear blistery on the surface which takes about 3 minutes its then ready to rise.


We dont need to go into the science of breadmaking but when flour water and yeast are introduced to each other lets say something magical occurs and the mixture (which started out being a heavy lump of dough) if given the correct amount of time will stretch and expand to twice its original volume. This process can be speeded up if the dough is put in a warm place but the longer you leave it to rise naturally at room temperature the better the bread. I now prefer to just leave it to rise naturally. One point though: bread will also rise at a cold temperature so if its more convenient pop it in the lowest part of the fridge and let it rise overnight ready to bake in the morning.

What is knocking back and proving?
White bread dough is better if it has a second rise as this gives a more even texture. So now what happens is you punch or knock out all the air using your fist shape the dough place it in a tin and give it a second rise which will be much quicker. The word `prove refers to this second rise because youre actually testing or proving that the yeast is still (we hope) alive and kicking.

Bread tins and cooling trays
Good oldfashioned bread tins with pleated corners are thankfully still available in 2 lb/900 g (7/s x 4Vz x 3/z inches/ 18.5 x 11.5 x 9 cm) and 1 lb/450 g (6 x 33/4 x 23A inches/15 x 9.5 x 7 cm) sizes. Grease them well with butter first. Then when the bread is cooked its most important to remove it from the tin to cool on a wire cooling tray. If you leave it in the tin or place it on a flat surface it will become steamy and soggy. A cooling tray allows the air to circulate and ensures the crust stays crisp and crunchy.

Is it cooked?
The way to test this is to turn the loaf out holding it in a cloth then give the underneath a sharp tap with your knuckles: if its cooked it will sound hollow and not dense. Remember its always better to overbake rather than underbake bread. Because I like an extra crunchy crust I always put the loaf back in the oven without its tin for 5 to 10 minutes to crisp up the underneath and sides so if you do this it will ensure the loaf is cooked through.


We truly hope you will like these Bread info Free tips, and make a great use of Bread info Free.
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