Episode 72 Let’s Make Bread
Bread in its most simple form is Flour, Water, Salt and Yeast. There are many ways to change the ratios of the ingredients and add other ingredients to change the outcome.
Growing up my mother made bread frequently and I learned from a young age that bread is very forgiving. Many recipes will have you measure precisely to the gram and if you follow those recipes you will end up with amazing bread. But you can make delicious bread without all the stress of precision.
Flour- I like to use white whole wheat flour and add vital wheat gluten to help improve the texture of the bread.
Water- You can use water or milk. Some recipes add eggs and/or fat making them enriched doughs. My Food Processor Bread Dough adds eggs and fat.
Yeast- There are two common types of yeast. Active Dry Yeast and Instant (or Rapid Rise) yeast. I like to buy yeast in bulk and keep it in the freezer. If a recipe calls for 1 packet of yeast, that is 2 ¼ teaspoons of bulk yeast. Active Dry yeast requires the step of “blooming.” You sprinkle the yeast over warm water or milk to activate the yeast. It will start to foam and bubble. Instant yeast lets you skip this step and you mix it with the other dry ingredients.
Salt- It is best to add the salt just before kneading the dough. You want to let the flour hydrate and the yeast to activate for at least 5 minutes before adding the salt. This is called autolyse.
One of my favorite ways to make bread is to mix and shape it at night, let it rise slowly in the refrigerator overnight and bake it in the morning. This works well with cinnamon rolls and monkey bread.