Making Bread at Home


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Making your own bread can be very rewarding and provide you with more options than you could ever find from a supermarket or bakery. Once you’ve baked your first experimental breads you can refine your baking formulas and record your favorite recipes for future reference.

To get started it helps to know a little about the core ingredients. Flour is made from grains like barley, maize and rye. Wheat flour is the most commonly used flour for breads giving protein and starch to the resulting product. You can also try your hand at making whole wheat bread and rye bread with wholemeal rye flour.

When flour mixes with water, the water-soluble proteins dissolve and trigger gliadin and glutenin to create the structure of the remaining dough.

Whole wheat flour will need one-half cup less flour compared to white flour.

The quantity of flour and water is important, since the measures change the crumb (the soft part inside) and texture and quality of the bread. Bakers use a system of percentages called “Bakers” percentage when following recipes. They measure ingredients by weight instead of volume making it more accurate and consistent to volume measuring.

For home bread making volume measuring will be just fine. As a rule of thumb, one pound of flour will result in one regular loaf or two French loaves.

You will normally need a leavening agent like yeast or baking soda to expand the dough when baking. The crust of the bread is created from exposed dough during the cooking procedure. It is browned and hardened from caramelization of the proteins and sugars formed from the intense heat at the surface of the bread.

You can however make soda bread, corn bread, tortilla wraps, Irish wheaten bread, pizza dough and Welsh tea bread without the need for yeast.

Salt, leavening agents and fat like baking soda and yeast are basic ingredients. Bread may also have other ingredients like egg, sugar, milk, spice, raisins, nuts, seeds and even vegetables like onion. Choosing the right ingredients will result to delicious bread with good form that can keep for several days.

As you put higher quality ingredients into the mix you’ll be creating higher quality bread with better flavour, texture and shelf life.

Homemade bread is convenient, easy and cheap. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and remember to enjoy the experience.

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