Friday, October 11, 2013

BREAD MAKING 101 Tips and things you should know.

Agave Coconut White Bread
Have you attempted to make yeast breads to have them fail?  There are some basics that you should know.

These are tips for using Rapid Rise dry yeast, refrigerating, and freezing dough.

Liquids need to be warm, not hot or cold.  Rather than getting caught up trying to find, or use, a thermometer.  Use the "inside of the wrist" test method.  The liquids should be just warm to the touch when run on the inside of your wrist.  If it is too hot for your arm it is too hot for the yeast.  Like testing baby bottle milk.  If you must get technical to practice, the liquid temperature should be between 105°F-115°F.    (130°F) is thermal death for yeast)

Eggs in your recipe?  They are sure they are room temperature.  Never use them directly from the fridge.  To accelerate bringing your eggs up to temperature, submerge them in hot tap water while you are preparing your other ingredients.  Don't use boiling water because you will start to cook your eggs.  But in this case you want pretty hot water, not the warm, feels good to your wrist temperature.

Did you know salt will kill the yeast.  But in most recipes salt is an ingredient.  Which means following recipe sequence instructions is important.  You can mix the salt with the dry ingredients (except for the yeast).  Then mix the dry yeast with the warm liquids. 

Or you can mix the dry yeast with the flour, then dissolve the salt in the liquid before combining everything.

Never dissolve the yeast and salt together in the liquid, at the same time...or your yeast will die and your dough will not raise...or not raise well.

We get the best results mixing the yeast with the flour. 

When rising, coat the dough first with vegetable oil, olive oil, or melted butter.  Place in a warm place covered with a towel.  For better results use a pan of very hot water placed on the bottom of your oven (oven off), and the dough on a rack above.  This moist, warm, closed, environment is ideal.  Another method is using a cooler/ice chest.  Elevate a wire rack with glasses or a pot.  Pour hot water in the bottom, place your covered dough on the rack or a elevated pot, and close the cooler lid.  Again...warm, moist, and closed.  We use 2 full size stainless steel steamer trays.  One in the upright position with an elevated rack.  Pour in very hot water.  Don't submerge the rack (it only takes a quarter inch or so of hot water).  Place your covered dough, or loaf pans if in that stage on the rack.  Then cover with the second steamer tray, placed upside down as a domed lid (great for raising pizza dough on cookie sheets).  This goes on top of the stove which you should have the oven on preheating for the bake cycle....again that warm, moist, closed environment.  

To store yeast dough in the refrigerator to use later; punch raised dough down.  Lightly coat with oil.  Place in a large zip lock bag.  Seal tightly.  Place in fridge.  Punch down 3 or 4 times the first 2 hours in the fridge.  Continue to punch down every 24 hrs while in the fridge.   To use; remove from fridge and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, then mold into your baking shape.   Let it raise covered in a warm place.  Then bake.  Best to use this dough within 48 hrs (It may rise beyond 48 hrs but the yeast will start dying off)  This is great for use on camping trips or cookoff's.  Make it ahead and save the mess in the field.

To freeze dough (Use active Dry only-Not Rapid Rise), then double the yeast in your recipe. Coat with oil and cover.  Let it raise one time in a warm place.  Punch down and shape into loaves.  Place the shaped dough into greased bread pans.  Cover with greased plastic wrap.  Freeze in the pans overnight.  Remove the frozen dough from the bread pans, wrap in plastic wrap, then in a sealed plastic bag.  Date them.  Immediately return the frozen dough to the freezer.  They must be used within 4 weeks.   To use; remove the loaves from the freezer the night before.  Keep the loaves wrapped in the plastic and let thaw in the refrigerator overnight.  Once thawed place in greased loaf pans and let rise in a warm place.  Bake per your recipe.

We often use a bread machine that is programmable to set to "quick bread" and "Dough"  It's fast, consistent, and allows you to do other things.  We always use the machine when testing or experimenting with a new recipe.  We use Rapid rise yeast for the most part.   Beginning with the mixing, to the end of the first rise cycle, it happens in our machine.  It takes 45 minutes.  We set the machine and start it.  There is a warming cycle that we have down to a science of mixing everything else in before the mix cycle starts.
The Flour goes in the machine heaped like a volcano, the dry yeast spooned into a depression at its peak.
In a bowl or cup we put hot tap water in and submerge the raw eggs (Still in shells) to warm them up quickly
In another bowl we place the warm liquids and whisk in the salt and sugars until dissolved.
We crack the warmed raw eggs and whisk them into the warm liquids
If butter is in the recipe it is melted and whisked into the warm liquids (Oil or Shortening added here too)
Now pour the warm liquids around the base of the flour heap in your machine...don't get the yeast wet.
Close the bread machine and let it cycle through warm, mix, knead, and first rise.
Punch down and turn the dough out on to a floured pastry board.
Roll the dough out in a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.  Width of the rectangle should be wider than pan.
Roll the dough up like a log, then pinch the seam shut running from end to end.
Tuck the two ends under the dough loaf, coat with oil, then place into greased loaf pans.
Cover and let raise (Second rise) in a warm place.
Bake per recipe.
Once you get your recipe down, using the machine allows you to start a batch relatively quickly, then go about doing other things.  Your dough will be ready in normally 45 minutes.  Our recipe takes another 45 minutes on the second rise.   Then 25 minutes bake time.

Crescent Roll Dough Recipe 
Agave Coconut Old Fashioned tasting White Bread

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