I just mixed up a "biga" starter to make Italian bread/French baguettes. Over the years have found this works well for me.
The "biga" sits on the counter for 18-24 hours and then 1/2 of it is used to make a batch of dough with only another teaspoon of yeast added.
I use method taught at cooking school to work with dough and form the loaves. Great results if you enjoy Euro style crusty bread.
I snapped the lid on the Tupperware bowl the biga is in and it's already popped off, that only took 7 minutes!
Making bread is so satisfying!
Yes! I love making my own bread...and the bread is so much better than store bought!!!
I like Martha's artisan bread recipe best...crusty and dense. It makes the best "gourmet" style sandwiches! DH actually prefers store-bought white bread. Go figure. I might buy a couple of loaves of bread a year.
My DH likes the store bought white bread too but that was what he was raised on! But he does like really good bread as well -- but give him store white bread if he's going to make a bologna or peanut butter sandwich!
Home made bread was one of the things I lost in the divorce...sigh. Both my in-laws made the BEST bread. And this was back before machines! One of these days I'll try my hand at it.
I don't have a bread machine but I do use the mixer to do the initial long kneading. It does make it easier! For I am an impatient cook and unless it says "50 times" I don't do it enough if it just says "knead until elastic" -- my "elastic" really isn't "elastic"! LOL!
Do try and there are a lot of no knead breads out there that are good as well.
Yes, my husband was raised on white bread. So was I. But one of us developed "taste."
My first husband called store bought bread "wasp nest." He was raised on it too, but when I started baking bread shortly after our marriage he was extremely pleased and bragged about it. I loved to bake and was quickly dubbed the "Betty Crocker" of our group. LOL I did not know at first, but one of the other wives let it slip. I looked at her and she apologized but said, "Don't change!" Seems they enjoyed my baking too. This message has been edited. Last edited by: KeepYouInStitches,
Sherry -- nowadays it would be Martha Stewart not Betty Crocker!!! Love that!
I grew up on bakery store bread -- the store was Cake Box (which have since closed) and another Jewish bakery that was open on sunday (we would stop on the way home from church and get rye bread there).
To me, there isn't anything like really good bread. Alas, we live in a town that has none -- I do buy it when we go to the city -- but we don't go that often so we make it ourselves!
I worked with a woman who wasn't afraid to try anything and she was good at everything. We called her Martha Jill Stewart.
I don't have a bread machine. Many people I know have one. We Do have a wheat grinder. LOVE, love, LOVE the fresh ground wheat, what a difference! We have a Kitchen Aide with dough hook; however, we learned about the Bosch mixer which can handle everything we can throw at it. Now, I can double the baking with these two appliances.
For those of you without bread machines, where do you put your dough to rise?
I turn my oven on and let the bread sit on top of the stove. I turn it fairly low. Cover, of course, with a dish towel. Works really well.
I mix my bread and yeast roll doughs in the food processor. A few of them I let rise in that. Some rise in a wooden dough trough. Another rises in the Tupperware large mixing bowl as it is an overnight refrigerator dough.
This French bread recipe I got out the Tupperware fix & mix bowl as it's alot of dough.
I let it rise on the counter over the dishwasher while it's running or on stovetop if I'm doing other baking. Otherwise just let it rest on the kitchen counter under one of the flood lights. I get out the electric blanket and fold it up into a small square, set it on the DR table and turn it on, that works great when you're doing sheet pans of dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, buns, etc.
If I had a bread machine, I'd probably use my own recipes in it anyway.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Lurah,
Mixed up the first half of the biga into wheat dough last night, using all King Arthur brand: 3 cups bread flour, 2 cups white wheat flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour. It came out fine. This was my first steaming oven bread baking since I got the new range and it turned out just as I had hoped.
Just made last half of biga into a white dough, used 6 cups KA bread flour.
Biga: 1 cup water, 1 Tablespoon yeast, 3 cups flour to make a very stiff mixture. Let rest on counter, covered for 18 to 24 hours.
Use 1 1/2 cup biga to start your batch of bread dough mixing in these ingredients in this order:
2 1/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
6-7 cups flour
1 Tablespoon salt (add salt between the 5 & 6 cups of flour to the dough)
Let rise til double, punch down, divide into 3 -1# balls and let rest, covered for 30 minutes.
Slam out the air from each ball by throwing it hard onto the bread board 10 - 12 times. Repeat with each dough ball and let rest 5 minutes more.
Flatten each ball and remove air bubbles, rolling & shaping into long thin loaves or as desired.
Place in well greased triple baguette pan, cover and let rise another hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Set a broiler pan bottom on lowest oven rack or on floor of electic range with covered elements. Position baking rack to middle of oven. Pour 2 cups boiling or very hot water into broiler pan, allow to steam for 10 minutes before adding bread to bake.
Meanwhile, brush top with 1 egg white beaten to foamy being certain not to let the egg wash run down to touch the pan.
With very sharp knife or blade, slash loaf tops diagonally 3 - 5 times each.
Bake for 35 minutes.
I generally just let mine rise on the counter - covered of course. But I have put some water in the microwave and run it for a minute or so. Then take the water out, put the covered dough in the microwave and close the door.
Oh, to have an Aga . . . that would make the perfect bread rising stove!
When I actually do make bread, I turn the oven on as low as it'll go for a minute or two and then turn it off. Put my covered dough in. Can leave the door open if its too warm.
Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
I have a proofing setting in one of my double ovens which works very well. On a humid day, I just let it rise on the countertop. One of our local supermarkets carries bread with a great crust that I can't replicate, so I usually buy that.
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