Creating That Perfect Loaf, Understanding Your Ingredients

Posted on June 27th, 2011 by Bread making machines in Bread Making Resources

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I bet that you are always looking to make that perfect loaf right?  Me too, it is not that hard but you have to know your ingredients.  Let’s take a look at a few.

1. Yeast – As you already know, yeast is a living organism and it requires certain conditions in order to multiply and bread loaf
grow.  It feeds off of the ingredients in your dough producing carbon dioxide gases.  It is these gases that helps your bread to rise.  In order to provide the proper environment for yeast, the following factors should be considered:

Yeast and temperature - Yeast can be very sensitive when it comes to temperature.  A ten degree difference in your temperatures can mean the difference between good active yeast and dead yeast.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Vagabond Shutterbug

Yeast grows best at temperatures around 78 degrees.  Adding warm water (temperatures between 105 to 115 degrees) to cool to room temperature ingredients tends to create dough that is roughly close to 78 degrees.  Consider using a cooler temperature of water for bread making machines as you are working with a closed environment.

Yeast and the proper quantities – Using the correct amount of yeast in your recipe is extremely important.  For the most part, you shouldn’t tamper with the quantity.  However, if you should find that you are baking in a cool environment and you are a little concerned, consider increasing the yeast quantity just slightly.  Consider reducing the quantity of yeast if the environment is a little warm.

2. Quantity of Water – Your dough must be allowed to rise properly.  In order to accomplish this, it must be flexible and soft. Water helps to accomplish this goal.  In general, when adding water, error on the side of a little too much water.  When using your bread making machine, if your dough is not flexible and soft, adjust by adding an extra tablespoon of water.

3.  Salt – You almost never want to add too much salt. Salt kills your yeast.  Dough that is too salty tends to impede yeast growth.  It is extremely important to measure your salt carefully.  If you are looking to speed up the rate that your dough rises, reduce the amount of salt added by ½ teaspoon.  Looking to slow the rise, increase the amount of salt added by ½ teaspoon.

All and all, the rate that your bread rises is very important.  Why?  It is the very same gases causing your bread to rise, that also helps to give it great flavor.  Pull out those bread making machines and let’s experiment.  Happy baking.

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Related posts:

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  3. Baker’s Yeast
  4. Why We Need Gluten In Baking?
  5. The Health Benefits of Brown Bread

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