So many have written me that they’re wanting to make bread; some have ordered the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book; some will try recipes they’ve tried before.
I know that bread making isn’t for everyone so this is not a “My bread is better than your bread” type post . . just some encouraging words for those wanting to try.
My best advice is: If you have a recipe from someone you trust (someone who has made the bread before and you know it works), keep trying til you get it right. Don’t jump from one recipe to another. Perfect one and then move on to another. Different flours, different waters, differences in altitude, differences in mixing/kneading and I’m sure other things too . . all make a difference in the outcome of your bread.
I love to hand knead my regular bread but I do not like sticky bread . . not at all. I hate for anything to get under my fingernails. Whole wheat dough is really sticky. It needs to be sticky and I don’t like to touch it . . not one bit. So, I let the mixer do all the kneading. When I first got the Bosch, it mixed the dough so much quicker than did my old Kitchen Aid, that even though I was using the same recipe I’d used forever, the bread was crumbly and would fall apart in the toaster. I learned that I needed to let the mixer continue kneading the dough for 7 – 10 minutes, even though the dough was mixed completely after just a minute or two. This extra time is needed for the gluten to develop. As soon as I let the mixer knead the dough longer, we had perfect bread again. Who would have thought that just changing the mixer would have made such a difference?
There are a lot of variables and it may take you a few tries to get a perfect loaf but don’t give up . . keep trying. If I can do it, you can do it too.
I mentioned yesterday that I use patent flour. This is an excellent article about flour. For years I made bread with plain old all purpose flour. I don’t even remember bread flour being in the stores 12 or more years ago but I guess it was. At some point I did switch to bread flour; then I began using King Arthur flour. Their flour is excellent and many grocery stores now carry it. Kroger/Dillons carries it (the closest one to me is 70 miles away). I started using patent flour simply because I was in an Amish store not far from here and I asked what flour they use. The lady explained to me why they use patent flour. I began using the patent flour and love the results. I get it in 50 pound bags from the Amish store but have not seen patent flour in the stores. I haven’t really looked so I don’t know if it’s there or whether it might be called something else.
On the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day website, the book authors answer questions and here they talk about using more or less water, depending on the flour you’re using. These authors are fantastic about answering questions left on the website. Unlike the author of that Nine Patch Extravaganza book! 🙂
So, if you’re wanting to make bread . . get out your supplies . . today! Stop procrastinating and do it. Homemade bread is so good!