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10 Tips for Crusty Homemade Bread

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
aka The Gipper

Joined: 10 June 2003
Location: Chinook Montana
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    Posted: 22 September 2009 at 06:55

10 Tips for Crusty Homemade Bread

  1. Beware of bread recipes that call for more than 1 tablespoon of instant yeast per pound of flour: your bread will surely taste like yeast, not bread, with that much yeast. Less yeast and a longer, cooler rise result in tastier bread with much more character.
  2. Use high-protein flour for chewier, crustier bread.
  3. If the recipe calls for any fat (oil, butter, and so on), add it only after some of the liquid has already been added to the flour; otherwise the fat will coat the proteins and prevent gluten from forming as easily as it should.
  4. Don't add hot liquid to the dough; anything above 115 degrees might kill the yeast.
  5. Knead the dough vigorously and slap it onto the counter a few times during kneading to develop the gluten; the more gluten develops in the dough, the better the dough will rise and the airier the bread will be.
  6. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a moist towel as it rises; this prevents a fine skin from forming on its surface. The skin not only mars the final texture of the bread, it also inhibits rising.
  7. Slash shaped loaves with a sharp razor blade immediately before baking; this prevents them from bursting at the seams as they expand dramatically in the oven. Make slashes about 1/4-inch deep on a diagonal with a swift, sure motion, not a sawing motion.
  8. Bake bread directly on a heated baking stone for an extra-crisp crust and chewy texture. If you don't have a baking stone, heat 2 baking sheets in the oven for 30 minutes instead.
  9. Spray the bread with water from a spray bottle 3 times during the first 10 minutes of baking; the steam prevents the crust from forming too early, which in turn would prevent the bread from rising to its full potential in the oven. As the bread bakes, the humidity from the steam will eventually make the crust crisper.
  10. Cool bread on a rack to keep the crust nice and crisp; if the air doesn't circulate, the crust will become soggy.
TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rivet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 September 2009 at 08:19
Excellent post, but make sure folks understand the difference between INSTANT YEAST and Regular Yeast.

Instant yeast is the newer "fast rise" modern stuff. Stay away from it unless you are using a bread machine.

Look for the old fashioned yeast in a packet or jar, (Hogdson's Mill, Fleischmann's) that doesn't say "instant". You can use two or three TBSP of that in a recipe and there will be no yeasty taste.

As a food-manufacturing-professional-cooking-as-a-hobby-novice I have no idea why this is, but I know it is true from experimentaion and ruining many loaves.

Don't forget the age-old truth....a long slow rise in a toasty warm kitchen is best for fluffy bread. That means that all my bread comes out better in the middle of winter!!

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