knead to know bread making tips

 


“She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants.” Proverbs 31:15


As Intentional Homemakers, we have the opportunity to provide great tasting healthy foods for our family. One of the ways we can do that is learning just HOW we can do that.

I have been blessed with a mother who is amazing, and her bread making skills are just as amazing as she is. I only hope to one day be able to master her bread making skills just as well.

I understand that many women today have grown up {or are growing up} whom haven’t had the opportunity of having a mother take the time to pass down the arts of homemaking. If you are one of these women, know this – it’s NEVER TOO LATE TO LEARN!

I have a 9 year old daughter, whom I am training to be a homemaker. My little homemaker in training is learning how to cook – and bread making is included in that. Smile

I believe bread making is becoming a lost art. Not to mention cooking from scratch!
{But, that is for another post and another time.} 😉

So what are the bread making tips we knead Winking smile to know?!
The number 1 secret to bread-baking is:
  • practice, practice, practice….

The Flour

The kind of flour you use, really depends on what kind of bread you want.
  • All-purpose flour is a mix of hard and soft wheat flours. The flour is most suitable for yeast breads as well as for any quick breads or cakes.
  • Whole-Wheat Flour – is healthier and more nutritious than white flour. Store your whole-wheat flour in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent it from going bad.
  • Freshly Ground Whole-Wheat Flour – Is even better for you. You must attain a grinder for this. Wheat berries freshly ground are best used right away. Many of the nutrients in the berries are lost the longer it sits. {I was given a Nutrimill Grain Mill several months ago. But, just before that I had bought 25lbs of whole wheat in bulk.} So, before I can purchase wheat berries, I’m using up my already ground whole wheat flour. I’m looking forward to using my grain mill! :yahoo!:
  • Bread Flour – Has a high protein content. It gives your bread a better volume. However, dough made with this flour must be kneaded longer than dough made from other flours, to achieve a smooth texture.

The Yeast
  • Yeast MUST be ‘proofed’ to make sure it is alive. Dissolve your yeast in lukewarm water and sugar, {the yeast feeds on the sugar, allowing it to grow.} and wait until it becomes foamy or frothy. If your yeast fails to become foamy or frothy your yeast is bad – throw it out, and buy more. 
Picture of yeast that is proofed. Foamy & Frothy.

  • Using too hot of water can kill your yeast. Make sure you use only lukewarm water. If water is cold it will not allow the yeast to “grow.”

  • Never add your salt to the yeast. {It will kill it and not allow it to grow.} Add your salt when you add your other dry ingredients.

  • Be sure to have all your ingredients at room temperature. This includes your eggs! It will mess with your yeast.

The Texture
  • If you are wanting a rich flavor and want a healthy golden glow to your bread, add eggs to the dough, and salt and sugar to taste.

  • The liquid you choose for your dough will choose the outcome of your texture. When using water, your outcome will be a more dense loaf with a crusty top. When using milk, your outcome will be a more tenderer more rich texture, with a softer crust.

  • When you can, add 1/2 to 1 cup of mashed potatoes to your bread recipe or, in place of regular water, use water you have used to cook your potatoes in.  Yeast loves potatoes and the more it eats, the bigger it grows, making the bread fluffier and lighter.

  • Don’t add all the flour at once. Just add to your dough a little at a time. Leaving your dough slightly sticky, {even though a recipe states otherwise.} Leave out about the last 1/2 cup or so of flour – putting it on your kneading or rolling surface. Add just enough flour to keep your dough from sticking to your fingers but where dough is VERY soft & stretchy. If you get too much flour in the recipe, it makes the bread dough tough, and your bread will be very dry.

The Rising
  • When kneading with a mixer, it allows plenty of air to enter your dough. Allowing you to skip that first rising! {Yes, you heard me right! This little trick I learned a couple years after I married and I LOVE it! This is where it saves me so much time!}  
  • Roll out dough in rectangle form. Roll up like a cinnamon roll and tuck the ends under loaf. Place in greased bread pans.
  • Place the prepared bread loaves seam side down into the prepared pan.
  • Place a damp dish towel over dough and let dough rise until doubled.
  • For dough to rise quicker, place on stove top while oven is preheating. {Or place in a slightly heated dishwasher.} 😉

The Baking
  • Place loaves in the center of the oven, to allow for even baking.
  • Remove each loaf periodically and tap the bottom to check if they’re done. When it sounds hollow, your bread is done! Remove bread from pans immediately, and place loaves on a cooling rack.

Little Challenge!

Make at least 2 loaves of homemade bread for your family this week. {Even if you have never given bread making a try, I encourage you to use these helpful tips and practice, practice, practice!}


Here’s a recipe to get you started: Honey Wheat Bread!

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