Minggu, 13 Maret 2011

How to Make Bread Quick and Easy

Learning how to make bread may be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. While it isn't necessary to learn to make bread, since any type of bread can be conveniently bought at bakeries and groceries, a slice of freshly baked loaf of bread, hot out of the oven and covered with a honey-butter spread...yum!

For centuries, men have been baking and eating bread. Whether one eats bread as a snack, or as a part of a feast, it is easily considered as one of the most satisfying food that has ever been created. The Egyptians were said to be the first ones to learn how to make bread using a crude oven. They were also the first to discover leavening agents to use with baking. The Greeks, however, were the first to make use of flour and improve the baking process.

Bread come in different shapes, sizes, filling and flavor. Depending on the kind of dough used, one can make bread as part of a daily diet or as something that may only be prepared during special holidays and occasions. This food is made by basically mixing water and dough together to make a batter, and then by adding baking soda and yeast to improve its consistency. As it is, all bread start out the same way before baking. But when bakers put ingredients like nuts, raisins, cheese, meat and other fillings, then the bread becomes a lot more special. In other countries, breads are not only baked, but they may also be steamed or deep fried in a skillet.

The quality of freshly baked bread is dependent on its texture, aroma and taste. Some dishes, however, taste better when complemented with toasted bread.

Below are a few terms that will be helpful if you are learning how to make bread: 
  • KNEADING - the process of kneading ensures that the yeast is evenly distributed in the dough. Kneading helps with structure and texture of the bread. It rids it of air bubbles that build up when mixing water and flour. To knead the dough, both hands must be pressed to the bread firmly. Turning and folding the dough is done several times, until this becomes smoother. The dough should spring back ever so lightly when pressed with fingers.
  • PUNCHING - As with kneading, punching the dough repeatedly clears any air pockets that may have developed while mixing all the ingredients.
  • PROOFING - When the dough is ready, it must be placed in a bowl that is lined with grease, covered with a warm cloth or towel and then set aside at room temperature to allow the dough to rise. This process is known as proofing, which is very important to baking bread.

Kneading, punching and proofing the dough is done at least twice per batch of baked bread.

Basic Bread Recipe 
These are the ingredients and procedure to baking bread: 
  • 2 tbsp yeast
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 5 cups of bread flour
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil (or butter)
  • a loaf pan
  • a bowl
  • a timer and thermometer

Combine the yeast, flour and sugar in a bowl. Follow it up with salt and then make a well at the center. Add water and oil, and then mix this using a spatula or wooden spoon until dough is formed. 

In a floured flat surface, you can start kneading and punching this dough for about 10 minutes and then set this aside for about 30 minutes inside the proofing bowl. Don't forget to cover this with a damp cloth or towel. 
Knead, punch and proof the dough as necessary. When the dough is ready, place this in the loaf pan for baking. The oven must be preheated at 375 degrees.

Take note of the following when learning how to make bread: 
  • Use bread flour and not regular flour.
  • The water must be at the right temperature. At best, it must be between 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. If the milk is too hot, the dough will not rise. If the milk is too cold, it will work the opposite way.
  • Add the salt only after the yeast has been properly blended with the flour. Adding it before that and the dough will not rise.

Once you've learn how to make bread and tasted that first warm, yeasty bite, you might have a difficult time going back to that plastic, flavorless bread you get in the store.

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