The bakers' thread

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by glasgowcyclist, 19 Dec 2017.

  1. benb

    benb Evidence based cyclist

    Location:
    Epsom
    OK, what would I be looking for to know the optimum state to put it in the oven?
     
  2. Reynard

    Reynard Veteran

    Location:
    Cambridgeshire, UK
    Hard to say - it's a "feel" that comes with experience. But certainly you don't want it to quite double in volume for the final proof. You can also do the "poke test" - you want the dough to indent and spring back slowly.

    But better to underprove a loaf slightly than to go the other way. At least a burst loaf is better than a frisbee...
     
  3. CarlP

    CarlP Boing!

    Got one very similar to that too, make about two loaves a week, plus other stuff, a marvellous bit of kit.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    glasgowcyclist

    glasgowcyclist Charming but somewhat feckless

    Location:
    Scotland
    As you say, great recipes and tutorials. The one thing that drives me bonkers about it is the volume measurements. How much is a cup of flour? What size of cup? A stick of butter? Grrr! Give me proper weights every time, I don't care whether they're metric or imperial.
     
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  5. Reynard

    Reynard Veteran

    Location:
    Cambridgeshire, UK
    It *is* an American site... :blush:

    But once you start delving below the surface, most of the recipes in the threads and blogs are given in bakers' percentages, which assumes weight, and with 100% being the weight of the flour used.
     
    glasgowcyclist likes this.
  6. OP
    OP
    glasgowcyclist

    glasgowcyclist Charming but somewhat feckless

    Location:
    Scotland
    Are you using a tin?

    I generally make my bread in a 2lb tin and when the dough is shaped and placed in the tin, it is usually around half to two-thirds the height of the tin. I cover that with an oiled sheet of clingfilm and it's ready to bake when the dough has crested the top of the tin and the clingfilm has started to bow upwards.

    As has already been said, you'll get a feel for it the more you bake. Timings in recipes are just a rough guide as people's kitchen environments can vary enormously.
     
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  7. Reynard

    Reynard Veteran

    Location:
    Cambridgeshire, UK
    And it can vary day to day as well, depending on temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity...

    +1 for using a tin as it's easy to see where you're at in terms of volume. Otherwise, break off a bit of the dough when shaping the loaf, put it in a straight-sided glass, pop an elastic band where the top of the dough is, another at double that, and voila - instant visual guide to how your dough is behaving.
     
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  8. Asa Post

    Asa Post Small lungs, weak legs

    Location:
    Sheffield
    Not just a pretty face, are you? :okay:
     
    Reynard likes this.
  9. Reynard

    Reynard Veteran

    Location:
    Cambridgeshire, UK
    I have my moments :biggrin:
     
  10. benb

    benb Evidence based cyclist

    Location:
    Epsom
    Perfect, thanks.
    Yes, using a tin at the moment - might try one not in a tin some time soon.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    glasgowcyclist

    glasgowcyclist Charming but somewhat feckless

    Location:
    Scotland
  12. benb

    benb Evidence based cyclist

    Location:
    Epsom
    Thanks. I get so annoyed with recipes in cups, and oven temperatures in F.
     
  13. Dave7

    Dave7 Guru

    Location:
    Cheshire
    I am sure its been said several time (probably by me :blush:) but I prefer to use a bread maker/machine thingy. Throw the ingredients in, choose the setting & loaf size, press the start button and 3 hours later I have a nice loaf.
    The only times I have problems is when I allow some of the ingredients to get 'too old'.
    I am sure your artisan loafs are better but I am not a good chef and the machine is (mostly) fool proof.
     
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  14. OP
    OP
    glasgowcyclist

    glasgowcyclist Charming but somewhat feckless

    Location:
    Scotland
    Nowt wrong with the machine, I've still got mine and it turns out a bloody good loaf.

    There are two things about doing it freehand that I prefer and those are; I can vary my loaf ingredients and styles more, and my bread doesn't have that annoying void in the bottom where the kneading paddle sits.

    Actually there's a further reason and that is the buzz I get from making a successful loaf by hand; it's therapeutic and uplifting, particularly if other stuff has got me down during the week. I can't wait for Sundays!
     
    CarlP, Poacher, Dave7 and 1 other person like this.
  15. benb

    benb Evidence based cyclist

    Location:
    Epsom
    Nothing wrong with using a bread machine, but there are 2 annoyances which make it preferable to bake bread "properly" for me:
    1. As @glasgowcyclist says, with a machine you get a hollow where the blade was. Or worse, on mine, it would frequently come out of the tin and stay stuck in the bottom of the loaf and I'd have to dig it out with a knife.
    2. Because you only get heat on 5 of the 6 sides, you don't get as nice a crust.

    Maybe those are both issues with the machine I was using, but as I can knead the dough in my mixer, which is the hardest part, there isn't an advantage to using a machine for me.
     
    CarlP and Poacher like this.
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