Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Homemade Bread Failures

My latest project has been homemade bread. In September, we made a few dozen jars of apple butter (click here to view my tutorial), and store bought bread simply does not do the apple butter justice.

Last month, Mr. Handsome and I made a few batches of bread using different recipes, and they didn't turn out well at all. One of the loaves was so dense that it sounded like someone was knocking at the door when we whacked it on the side of the counter. Yikes.

This afternoon, I tried a new recipe. It turned out much better than the others, but it's still not as light and fluffy as I would like it to be. The loaf rose up to the rim of the pan, but then it flattened just before I put it in the oven to bake.

Do you have any recipes or tips to share? We prefer bread that is at least half whole wheat, so that makes the job quite a bit more difficult.

I'm also curious where you put your dough to rise. Previously, I was putting it in the oven on the "Warm" setting, but I think that was too hot. (Our "Warm" setting could probably roast marshmallows.) This time, I left the oven door open, and that seemed to work better, although that's not ideal.

Any advice would be much appreciated! 

94 comments:

  1. On top of the fridge works well. Or in a corner by a radiator. Also, make sure your yeast is in date and the water you're using to activate it is between 100 and 105

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    1. Good to know. The top of my fridge is completely full with cereal, crackers, canned goods, onions, and plastic cups/forks, but I'm glad you mentioned the temp and making sure the yeast is in date. Thank you!

      Ellie

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  2. My husband is the bread baker in our family and he baked many loaves that sounded like a brick. He got this book by Lori Viets
    "No More Bricks! Successful Whole Grain Bread Made Quick & Easy" . It's on amazon and a very easy read. Bread making still remains more of an art than science but this book helped a lot.

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    1. What a sweet husband you must have, Marisa. I'll look up that book. Thanks!

      Ellie

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  3. Anonymous11/29/2016

    I've been experimenting with different bread recipes the past few years, and have found this one to be the very best for wheat bread: http://kitchenfailure.blogspot.com/2014/02/wheat-bread.html

    It's light, fluffy, and so very delicious! My tip for getting a good rise is to place the bread dough on a heating pad with a low setting. Works every time!

    The best bread I've ever made in my life, is a white bread. Here's the recipe: http://kitchenfailure.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-best-white-bread.html

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    1. Thank you. A heating pad is a great idea. I noticed that recipe lists bread flour. Do you use actual bread flour, or could you substitute regular flour?

      Ellie

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  4. Something that my great grandmother used to do to help her bread rise was to heat the oven to about 200 degrees and then turn it off. She then put the bread in the oven and let it rise. I think she let it rise til it doubled in size. I can't remember if she would punch it down and let it rise again or not (She did that with her rolls). The oven was warm enough, but would cool off as time passed.

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    1. That sounds wise. Thank you, Lizzie!

      Ellie

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  5. Anonymous11/29/2016

    Turn the oven to warm, let it heat then turn it off. Once the oven isn't too hot, then you'll get a good rise. My oven is finicky too and this works for me.

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    1. Thank you for the tip! Have a great day. :)

      Ellie

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  6. I let my bread rise in the oven with just the lightbulb turned on. Sometimes I'll turn the oven on for about 2 minutes to warm up, but turn it off before putting the dough in to rise.
    Have you tried English muffin bread? It would be so delicious with apple butter!!!

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    1. Thanks for the tips, Sarah. I have eaten store bought English muffins, but I haven't tried making them. I agree that they would be great with apple butter. Maybe I'll have to try that next. :)

      Ellie

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  7. Anonymous11/29/2016

    I set the oven at 200 and when it reaches that temperature, turn it off and stick the bowl of dough in the oven for an hour or until the dough has doubled in volume.

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    1. Good idea. Thanks! Have a wonderful day.

      Ellie

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  8. Anonymous11/29/2016

    Definitely use a thermometer (like an instant-read meat thermometer) to test the temperature of your ingredients. Follow the directions on the yeast package for temp. range. Cold milk, butter, and eggs can all slow down yeast.

    Never dump salt directly onto yeast. It will kill it. Mix the salt thoroughly with the other dry ingredients before adding your yeast mixture.

    Don't skip the "proofing" of the yeast step, if the recipe calls for it. Use the correct temperature liquid and let it sit the required time. Usually you add a little sugar to feed the yeast. If there is no foamy head on your yeast mixture after the proofing time, it may be old yeast. Start with fresh.

    Be sure to allow plenty of time for the dough to rise, be punched down, rest, and rise again. Don't rush breadmaking.

    For a rising chamber, I put two 13 x 9 pans of very hot water on the bottom rack of my oven, then the covered yeast bowl on the rack right above that. Close the oven door and let everything sit. This makes a nice warm "sauna" for the dough. Be sure to remove the water pans before you heat the oven. I wipe down the drippy oven walls, too. (I use an electric oven.) I never EVER turn my oven on, even to low, to make a rising chamber. You can make everything too hot and kill your yeast.

    You can make the same set-up with pans of water on the table, cake rack(s) set up on canned goods, and the bowl of dough on that rack (over the hot water). Put a big cardboard box upside-down over everything and let it get nice and warm in there.

    Think "nice warm summer day" or where you'd be comfy in shorts for a rising chamber temp. for the dough. Don't "bake" the yeast while rising or you'll kill it! Watch that temp. range on the yeast packet.

    The King Arthur Flour Co. sells (online & catalog) ingredients for helping you make successful loaves, even whole wheat. They have recipes, tips, and a baker's hotline. Check their website.

    Good luck. Making bread is like taking care of a baby. Keep it warm, keep it fed, and burp it occasionally. :)

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    1. Wow, you must be a bread expert. Those are great tips. Thank you. :)

      Ellie

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  9. I don't have a wheat recipe. I usually make white sourdough. But I have a great rising tip. Boil some water and then put it in a baking dish in the bottom of the oven. Put your dough in to rise. The hot water warms the oven and you don't have to move the bread dough and risk it falling. Just take the water pan out and turn the oven on.

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    1. I've never heard that before, Katie. I'll give it a try. Thank you!

      Ellie

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  10. Anonymous11/29/2016

    Are you kneading by hand for the full time? You need to let the dough develop those nice long strands within itself that make a good texture. When properly kneaded, bread dough is smooth and elastic and you can usually see little "blisters" under the surface. Julia Child taught me (via TV) how to knead in the 70's. Her method still works. I'll bet it's on YouTube somewhere. Don't over-handle the dough when kneading, but don't skimp on that step, either.

    Before putting the dough ball in the greased bowl to rise, I gently work the top surface of the ball to the underside, stretching as I go, as if I were stretching a cover over the ball. Give some good surface tension to the top of the ball before letting it rise.

    If you're letting a stand mixer do the kneading, you may not get the same results as kneading by hand. Hands can feel and eyes can see when the dough is properly kneaded. Dough hooks can't do that.

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    1. I tried kneading with my KitchenAid mixer, but it didn't work very well, so I started doing it by hand. I could definitely use a lesson in proper kneading technique though. I'll see if I can find her video on YouTube. Thank you!

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous12/04/2016

      Here's one of her early episodes on bread making:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iH3hjDUhWw

      I don't slap my dough quite the way she does, but you get the idea. Also, I wish she had mentioned seeing tiny blisters in the dough when it's good and kneaded. Blisters (or little air pockets) are a good sign that you have the gluten making nice texture.

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    3. Thank you! I had heard of Julia Child, but I had never seen her in action. She's quite entertaining, and she's clearly an expert on bread.

      Ellie

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  11. Anonymous11/29/2016

    My grandma taught me how to bake bread without a recipe. She just went by what looked and felt right, so I had to follow her around a long time before I learned. It's definitely a lot of work. Our bread was white and had sugar in it. I'm sure it wasn't very healthy, but it sure was yummy. My grandma is gone now, but whenever I bake bread around the holidays I always think of her.

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    1. Oh my. I would have loved to have the honor of learning from your grandma. She must have been a pro to be able to make bread without a recipe!

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous12/02/2016

      Like with any other food, if you make it often enough, you don't need a recipe any more.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous12/06/2016

      That is true that most people don't need a recipe after a while. However, my grandma learned how to bake bread from her mother who didn't have a recipe for the bread.

      Delete
  12. Anonymous11/29/2016

    I make a "proofer" to allow the bread to rise in. Simply put your dough that needs to rise, covered with a tea towel, in the oven along with a bowl filled with just boiled water. This makes a warm, moist environment for the bread to rise in. Also, try using milk instead of water, or adding in a few tablespoons of milk powder to your water (making sure the milk is warm so it doesn't hinder the yeast). I would encourage you to just keep trying. I've been making homemade bread for our family for several years, but it took lots of perseverance.

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    1. Thank you for those tips. I agree, it takes a lot of perseverance, but I do think it's worth it. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

      Ellie

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  13. Anonymous11/29/2016

    I've found that putting the dough in a greased bowl, covering it and just putting it on the stove works best. The oven can be off, or for a bot of warmth, you can preheat the oven while it rises. In our loaves we put in two cups of wheat flour. Any more, and the bread gets dense. Hope this helps!

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    1. That is very helpful. Thank you! Have a blessed day.

      Ellie

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  14. My friend does bread tutorials and I've made it at home. It's always amazing. I don't grind my own flour like she does.http://mommysapron.com/homemade-whole-wheat-bread-tutorial/

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    1. Thank you, Anneka. I looked at your friend's tutorial, and I'm going to have to give it a try. :)

      Ellie

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  15. Hi Ellie
    We use an adaptation of the Duggars recipe from one of their books.
    2 cups whole wheat flour, 2 cups bakers flour or self raising, 1 1/2 cups tepid water, 1 teaspoon yeast, 1 teaspoon bread improver, pinch salt, 1-2 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon oil we put all if this in the bread maker on basic bread function. Enjoy!

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    1. I hadn't even thought about using the Duggars' recipe. Lol. Thanks for posting that. And I'm curious, do you have any daughters, or just 7 sons? You must be busy with that many boys!

      Ellie

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  16. Anonymous11/30/2016

    Turn your oven to warm then turn it off while making the dough. It should be slightly warm when you put the dough in. The water or milk in the recipe should just be slightly warm. When you cover the dough to rise, use oiled saran wrap so it doesn't pull on the loaf and cause it to deflate right before you bake it.

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    1. Thank you for the tips. Using oiled seran wrap hadn't even crossed my mind.

      Have a blessed day.
      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous12/04/2016

      I spray Pam cooking spray on the Saran before I cover my dough bowl or loaves. Haven't had the plastic ever stick and tear or deflate the dough.

      Do you grease your bowl for rising? And turn your dough over in the bowl once so the top also gets greased? I use Crisco shortening in the bowl. I wash out the bowl I mixed the dough in. When it's clean and dried, I grease it and put the kneaded dough ball in, turning it over one time to get the top greased. Then I put on the Pam'ed Saran and it's good to go, even with the weight of a towel then over the Saran.

      Delete
  17. Turn your oven on low, then put the dough ON TOP of the stove. It will "feel" the heat, but on actually "cook"

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    1. Great idea, Alicia. Thank you! I'm blessed to have you as a reader.

      Ellie

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  18. I'm not really the "bread winner" of the family, but my sister has experimented and found some good bread recipes that have worked really well. You can find her at http://freetimemom.blogspot.com/2016/11/homemade-rustic-bread.html, and ask her if she has any tips. :) I hope you can find what works!

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    1. That looks like a tasty loaf of bread. Thanks, B!

      Ellie

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  19. Anonymous11/30/2016

    One of the easiest way to make great bread is to try the "no knead bread". My favourite recipe is not in English, but I found this one with good instructions. http://www.simplysogood.com/2013/03/artisan-no-knead-bread.html I add seeds and other stuff to my bread to add nutritional value. You can propably google a whole wheat recipe too.

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    1. Thank you! I really appreciate it. :) What other language do you speak?

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous12/03/2016

      I'm from Finland and I speak Finnish as my native language, but being a small nation we learn other languages in school, so I'm also pretty fluent in English, I speak tolerable Swedish, terrible French and very badly Russian and Spanish. But I can order my self a cup of coffee pretty much anywhere in Europe :D

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    3. That's quite impressive. The lack of emphasis of foreign language education is definitely a downside of living in the U.S. I have cousins in Germany, and I'm always amazed by their knowledge of English and other languages. I would love to hear more about life in Finland!

      Ellie

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  20. Anonymous11/30/2016

    You have to make sure the water you use for the yeast is not too warm, or it will kill the yeast.

    When I want to rise dough, I put it in the oven, with only the oven light on. It is warm enough, in my case. I don't bake bread often, but I have an amazing honey cinnamon rolls receipe.

    Josée

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    1. Thank you, Josée. Did you find your honey cinnamon rolls recipe online?

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous12/05/2016

      Yes I did. https://www.ricardocuisine.com/en/recipes/6924-honey-sticky-buns

      I used my stand mixer with the dough hook, wich is identical to yours, and it worked out perfectly. It takes quite some time to prepare, but it is definitly worth the effort!

      Delete
    3. Oh my! Those look absolutely amazing! I doubt mine would turn out as perfect as the picture, but I'm sure they would still taste good (How can you go wrong with honey, cinnamon, and butter? Lol) I really like that it uses honey instead of sugar.

      Ellie

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  21. Anonymous11/30/2016

    I like these ideas, but if I were to do these I think I would want a thermometer of some kind and to know what are the temperature ranges that the bread should be rising at. How long does the mild warm temperature have to be maintained?

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    1. Anonymous11/30/2016

      A thermometer is really only crucial for measuring the temp of the liquid ingredients. Other than that, shoot for at least an 80 degree environment for the dough to rise, up to about "body temperature." Most houses are kept cooler than that in both winter and summer, so you need to find a place for the dough to rise that's warmer and protected. (A cooler room means you'll have to let the dough rise longer.) Proofing in the closed oven (turned off) with the hot water beside or under it is great. So is the box on the table with the hot water and dough in it. Think "sweaty arm pit" temperature. :) Maintain that temp the whole time the dough is rising either in the bowl or in the pans, when formed into loaves before baking. Dough has a good life...gets to loaf around in the warmth for hours. ;)

      Delete
  22. Anonymous11/30/2016

    Where does a person get the above mentioned type of thermometer?

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    1. Anonymous11/30/2016

      Any kitchen store or kitchen dept. of a "five and dime" (Wal-Mart, Target) should have an instant-read thermometer. You can get them both digital and analog. I like an analog one with a dial. No batteries to worry about. The thermometer will be a long metal "skewer" with the dial on top. They aren't expensive. This is a good investment because you can use it other ways when cooking. You should always test meat with an instant-read thermometer to know when it's done and safe to consume, for starters. Reminder: You CAN'T use a metal thermometer in the microwave! Warm up your liquid for the bread recipe first and then test it while it's on the counter. Don't try warming it up in the microwave WITH the thermometer in the cup! It will be like the 4th of July inside your microwave...

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11/30/2016

      I've gotten mine in out local grocery store. In the aisle with the baking pan items, etc. you can also get at Target or Walmart.

      Delete
  23. Hi Ellie,

    I sell homemade bread and so I feel slightly worthy to comment:)

    I make 100% whole wheat bread with (gulp) no dairy products or oil!
    I use a Bosch machine with the dough hook for mixing.
    Customers love it and I have never heard of anyone who doesn't.

    If you want the recipe here it is:

    Yield:4 loaves
    1/2 cup demerara cane sugar
    3 T and 1 t yeast
    1/2 cup honey(I actually use blackstrap molasses, no one notices:))
    1/2 cup prunespread(sounds gross but its just prunes blended with just enough water)I promise no one ever notices it. (It replaces the oil/fat)
    2 T salt
    5 C water (100 -105 degrees- my baker grandpa says it's fairly hard to kill the yeast)
    4 heaping tablespoons of gluten flour
    5 lbs 2 ounces of hard red wheat berries( we like Bob's Red Mill; I haven't tried bread with Whole Wheat flour from a bag. You could though)

    Instructions:
    In Bosch; put 1/2 cup sugar, 3 T & 1 t yeast, and 2 C of the water. Let sit until fairly bubbly.
    Meanwhile, grind the wheat berries in a grain mill(we have a Wonder Mill, you might could use a Vitamix blender)it will probably take 2 sessions as the mill only holds so much:)

    When yeast is done, add 1/2 C prunespread, 1/2 C honey or molasses,and the other 3 C water. Mix for 10 seconds on "1". Then add about 3/4 of the flour and let it mix on "2" for 7 min. Then add the rest of the flour, the salt, and the gluten flour. Mix for 7 more min.
    Scrape out of mixer and divide in 4; weigh on kitchen scale and shape into loaves. My favorite way is to shape it into a rectangle as wide as your pan is long; then roll up the rectangle, seal the seam, and put the seam on the bottom in the bread pan.
    For rising, I literally let it rise once*gasps*. In the pans. (as opposed to in a bowl) As far as temperature goes, (bear with me here), when you start weighing out the loaves, turn on the oven to the lowest temp. (mine is 140 deg.)When about 2 of the loaves are done in the pans, turn it OFF.Then when you're done with the other two, put all four in the oven and let rise! Mine usually takes about 40 min., and by then its HUGE!!
    Take out bread and preheat oven to 350, then bake for 33 min. Oh, and I do oil the pans, but that's the only oil.

    Whew! Congrats if you read this whole thing! If you have any questions about this procedure, ask me! btw I am 15. My dad taught me breadmaking.

    I read your blog but have never commented( and when I finally did, it was a marathon comment,lol)

    You seem like a sweet person, Ellie, and I hope you try this recipe. Oh, and the bread sometimes takes longer or shorter than 40 min. to rise.

    God bless,
    Holly

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    1. Anonymous11/30/2016

      You can definitely mess up yeast if you heat it too much or give it too much salt. Salt is the moderator for yeast activity. Too much slows the rising way down.

      Delete
    2. I'm sorry, I know that. I should have mentioned that the context he told me that in was I had too cool of water.

      Holly

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    3. Anonymous12/01/2016

      All you do with cool water is slow down the yeast action. Some recipes purposely have you use cool water or rest the dough in the fridge overnight for a long, slow rise. For novice bread bakers, it's always best to follow the recipe directions to the letter. A well-written recipe leaves no room for doubt.

      Delete
    4. You're right about following the recipe. The funny thing is in my case, I don't even remember how we got our recipe! I just do what works:)
      Our bread is supposed to be fast rising. Thanks for the advice!

      Delete
    5. Thank you so much, Holly. I love the prunespread idea. I am impressed that you are only 15 years old and already selling your own bread. Do you sell at your local farmers' markets?

      Ellie

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    6. Hi Ellie,
      You're welcome! We do have a farmers market, but since I'm busy with school(homeschool) and music practice and chores, I only sell 4 loaves a week(1 batch). I have a list of people that buy it, and just try to balance who needs it, who is on vacation, etc.
      My sister (she is 12) makes the same bread just for our family.
      So my dad taught me, and I taught her!

      Holly

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    7. Well I'm very impressed by your initiative! If you're already selling bread at age 15, I can only imagine what you will be doing by age 25. :)

      Ellie

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    8. Well thanks, you're so sweet:)

      Delete
  24. Oh my goodness, I just wrote out a huge comment and realized I wasn't on Blogger. Now I have to rewrite it. Ellie, it's coming!
    Holly

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    1. Never mind, my comment appeared!!!! I am so relieved.
      haha

      Delete
  25. Anonymous11/30/2016

    The bread looks good.

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    1. Thank you. :) With all these helpful comments, I'm hoping to make some that looks even better. Lol.

      Ellie

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  26. Anonymous11/30/2016

    Try "Homestead Blessing's" recipe "Bread Beckers" recipe. My family has used both and have had success with both.

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    1. I'll look those up. Thank you!

      Ellie

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  27. Anonymous12/01/2016

    You can spend $138 for a fancy electric bread proofing box:

    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/bread-proofing-box

    Or you can make one yourself with a big plastic storage box with a towel over it and some containers of hot water inside! Guess which one I use.

    You can also use your empty dishwasher as a proofing chamber. Any condensation drips from containers of hot water won't matter there. I used to use the dishwasher as a place to park my frozen food while I was defrosting the freezer, in that weird era about 40 years ago when most people had dishwashers but not all freezers were self-defrosting yet.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I love DIY projects, especially when they save $138. Those are clever ways to use a dishwasher. I've never heard it used for anything buy washing dishes. Lol. How often did you have to defrost your freezer?

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous12/02/2016

      I had many a freezer that was not self-defrosting. The small "ice box" section would need it whenever the ice built up to about 1/4"...although I will admit to letting it go longer and get thicker, like 1/2". How fast it did this depended on how much you opened the door. Humid summers (no a/c) meant it could accumulate fast. Larger chest freezers or upright freezers didn't get opened so much, so they usually only needed to be defrosted twice a year or so. It was a messy job! You had to remove all the food (keeping it frozen), turn off the fridge, then put pans of hot water in the freezer and wait for the drip drip drip, like icicles in March. Sometimes you could start chipping at the ice with something like a plastic spatula (didn't want to hurt the interior of the freezer). Then you had to clean up all that watery mess, put the food back in, and turn the fridge back on. It was not fun! I remember my mother having newspapers spread all over the kitchen floor while doing it. Everything got sopping wet. Some people in the 1970's started using hair dryers to speed up the process, when the hand-held models came out. But you sure didn't want to drip water into one of those.

      You really can't appreciate how easy you have it now unless you've washed clothes in a wringer washer, hung the wet clothes on the line to dry (wearing your clothespin apron), used a mangle to iron (look it up), pushed an all-metal vacuum around that weighed as much as a tank, and defrosted your freezer manually! Things to do while the bread was rising, LOL!

      Delete
    3. Wow, that sounds like a lot of work! I remember my parents having to defrost an old freezer of ours when I was young, but I don't remember the details. Thanks for the explanation. :) We definitely have it very good these days.

      Ellie

      Delete
  28. I think it's cool that you make your own bread. :) A few years ago I made some, my first attempt didn't rise! lol. But the second one was better.

    I'm actually planning to make One Hour Dinner Bread from the site A Treat's Affair. It doesn't have any yeast in it, so it doesn't take as long.

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    1. Hi Moon Sparkle,

      Now I don't feel so bad, hearing that your first one didn't rise either. :) I'll have to take a look at that recipe. Thanks!

      Ellie

      Delete
  29. Anonymous12/01/2016

    It is surprising that you use a harsh, judgemental word to frame your well intentioned efforts at learning to bake bread. I am proud of you and your first loaves are treasures to remember. Be sure to eat them with gratitude. Some might say that is what pigeons are for but I say that is what a greatful heart is for.

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement. We ate most of the mistake bread. :)

      Ellie

      Delete
  30. Anonymous12/01/2016

    You don't need to heat the oven to raise the dough. Just let it sit in a hot spot (near/on top of a heater, close to the stove or something like that).

    Whole grain dough needs a good kneading to get juicy and good. Roll up you sleeves and knead for 10 minutes or so.

    Lastly if you use a recipe for overnight "rising" , it's easy to make good bread. Just use a lot less yeast and leave it in a semi-cold spot. Knead a little bit before putting it into the form, and then bake.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thank you! That's very helpful. :)

      Ellie

      Delete
  31. Anonymous12/01/2016

    Thank you so much, Ellie, for having this page! I've had the same problems and find it very helpful and interesting to read over the responses! Gives me hope to try again!:) thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's my pleasure. I'm glad the responses have been useful to you. They've been a great help to me, as well. Keep trying! I'm sure both of us will get the hang of bread making soon. :)

      Ellie

      Delete
  32. "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking
    Book by Carol Lee Flinders and Laurel Robertson" is an excellent book on the science of bread baking. Maybe you can source it from your library :)

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    1. Wonderful! Thank you, K!

      Ellie

      Delete
  33. Anonymous12/02/2016

    Most bread recipes in big-name cookbooks work well. Go back to the older Betty Crocker or Good Housekeeping cookbooks from the 60's and 70's and look for a basic wheat bread recipe. Someone in your family is bound to have those types of cookbooks. I'm hesitant to recommend Joy of Cooking because during that era, they tended to get overly-fancy with their recipes and explanations. You don't need that much detail. Trust Betty Crocker from back then. Old Pillsbury booklets are good, too, if you can find them. They always published recipe booklets and sold them at supermarket checkouts, especially after each year's baking contest. The baked goods in those booklets were excellent, and some are now classics. ("Tunnel of Fudge" cake, anyone?) The winning Bake-Off recipes should be on the Pillsbury website.

    Speaking of Pillsbury, I've found I get better results with their flour, not Gold Medal. I don't know what it is, but about 15 years ago, the quality of Gold Medal seemed to change. Cookies I'd been making since I was a toddler suddenly didn't come out the same. I switched to Pillsbury and things were OK again.

    Some people like King Arthur flour. I don't think it's worth the extra cost. I don't even use bread flour for all my yeast bread recipes. I've found that the texture is lighter if I use all-purpose flour. As others have stated, follow what the recipe says! If it calls for bread flour, use that. If it doesn't specify, then all-purpose should be OK.

    When you get proficient with yeast dough, try this recipe for Cinnabon "clone" cinnamon buns. They are excellent!

    http://www.copykat.com/2009/02/06/cinnabons-buns-from-heaven/

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    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge. It is so helpful to hear from bread baking veterans! And that cinnamon bun recipe looks mighty tasty. I've never had Cinnabons, but I've heard they're great. I'll have something to work up to. :)

      Have a great day.
      Ellie

      Delete
  34. Anonymous12/03/2016

    Has anyone recommended this site:

    http://www.make-your-own-bread.com/kneading.html
    The pictures of what dough should look like when properly kneaded are good. Look at those gluten strands holding everything together and giving the bread dough good smooth "springy" texture.

    A heads-up... I burned up (literally - it smoked) an expensive food processor motor by making pie crust dough, so I am done with asking machines to do what hands should be doing. I would not use a food processor to handle heavy, sticky bread dough! You will develop good upper arm strength from kneading. It really helps, if you're short, to stand on a small stool (maybe a foot high) while kneading, to give you some height and some leverage on the dough. Much easier on the arms than having them bent at counter height. If you're on a stool, your arms can be straighter and you can knead better. Try it and see.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for those tips. Readers have made some great recommendations, but not that particular site. Thank you! Sorry to hear about your food processor. :'(

      Ellie

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  35. Anonymous12/03/2016

    Ellie! Have you ever made Orange Bread? It's really good my Mom made it all the time.
    Let me know if you like the recipe and I'l email it to you.

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    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      I haven't! Does it have orange peel in it? That sounds tasty! I would love to get the recipe.

      Ellie

      Delete
  36. Wow Ellie you sure got a lot of great tips! Looking forward to hear what you come up with. You could also try this Irish Soda bread as a change from yeast bread http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/irishsodabread_67445

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Annie! I'll have to give that a try. :)

      Ellie

      Delete
  37. don't worry we just had a bread failure today. my mother doubled the resipe everything that is for the flour. she thought that it looked a little wet she put it in the pan... then she relized she forgot the flout

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    Replies
    1. Oh my. I have done things like that before. The other day I put cornstarch in my sugar cookies instead of baking powder. :O

      I'm glad I'm not the only one! :)
      Ellie

      Delete
  38. Anonymous12/11/2016

    This bread marking site is fun, biblical and very helpful!

    http://www.thebreadbeliever.com/?s=Simple

    ReplyDelete