Lazy J Bar C

Lazy J Bar C

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bread Making Tips

For something a little different today, I thought I would share some of the tips and tricks I've learned baking bread for the last several years for the Farmer's Market. If my loyal, repeat customers are any indication, I must be doing something right! :)
I do have to admit to another reason for doing this. Last week, I was checking some settings on my blog for a fellow blogger and happened to look at my blog's stats. It isn't something I normally do but it is sometimes interesting to see where people are "coming from" when they visit my blog. One of the traffic sources was Pinterest. I don't do Pinterest because I have a hard enough time keeping up with all the blogs I follow and, yeah, I know there is a LOT of really good "stuff" on there that I'm probably missing out on! Anyway, someone made a comment on a "Pin" of my Buttermilk Wheat Dinner Rolls that the dry/wet ratio seemed a little off. That got me to thinking of all the variables encountered when making bread: quality of ingredients, moisture content in butter, type of liquid used, humidity, altitude, temperature in the house, etc., so I thought I would do a post.


I use King Arthur Flour for all my baking. I have found it to be high quality and it produces consistent results. I also believe it helps make my baked goods just a little better than the competition so it's worth the extra money to me. If I was baking just for Jerry and I, I would use organic King Arthur flour or grind my own but that is cost/time prohibitive for my little business. The brand, and consequently the protein content, of the flour used can make a huge difference in how your bread turns out. Even something as simple as the moisture content in the brand of butter used or whole milk versus skim milk will make a difference. One thing that a bread baker has to learn is what the dough should look and feel like. I personally like my dough a little on the soft side, especially for rolls.

Sweet Potato Rolls

You can see in the above picture that the dough is very soft. I find that this makes for lighter, fluffier rolls. I also check the consistency of my dough a few minutes into the mixing/kneading cycle Every. Single. Time. I don't care if I just made a batch of Oatmeal Wheat Bread an hour ago and am starting another, I still check the consistency of the dough. If it seems a little dry, I add a tablespoon or so of water. If it is too wet and sticky, I add a little flour, one tablespoon at a time. I have found that I will need to adjust the amount of liquid (usually whole milk) in my recipes by almost 1/4 cup from summer to winter. The dough below is a little dry.

Black Pepper Parmesan Rolls

After adding about a tablespoon of water, it comes together and is nice and soft.
 
Black Pepper Parmesan Rolls
 
I have also learned that the recipes that use water instead of milk are stickier. When I go to shape a dough that is a little on the sticky side into rolls or bread, rather than adding more flour, I grease my hands and the counter just a tiny bit to prevent sticking and that way, the rolls or bread is still nice and light. My Pumpernickel Rye Bread dough always comes out sticky.

Another thing I have learned is to not let the dough overproof after shaping. It should only rise about one inch above the top of the pan.

Honey Wheat Bread

If it rises too much, it will collapse as it cools after baking and you will be left with a "wrinkly" top, like the one below. ;) It doesn't affect the taste and it usually doesn't affect how it sells but it just isn't as pretty. (sigh)

Onion Dill Rye Bread

Almost all of my bread recipes I have developed myself by taking other recipes and tweaking them to suit my needs, the ingredients I use and my altitude and humidity (mostly lack thereof!). So, the next time you are making bread, I hope you can use some of these tips to make the recipe your own and don't hesitate to adjust the amount of liquid and/or flour to make it work for you! Oh, and don't forget to take notes on any changes you make, they will come in handy later; you should see all the scribbles on some of my recipe cards! LOL!! Okay, gotta run, it's time to get back to the Onion Cheddar Rolls. It's cheese bread day here at The Home Bakery.
Linking up with The Country Homemaker Hop, Rural Thursday and Farmgirl Friday. I'm also featured on Dolly Is Cooking, thanks Dolly!!

29 comments:

Alica said...

Thanks for these tips! I love the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven. It rivals any candle that I've ever smelled :) and I'm getting into that bread baking mood as the weather turns colder and I have more time on my hands!

Marie said...

GREAT post! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was amazing. We had so much food there must be a picture of our meal in the dictionary now under "feast!" :-) Had Yvonne's amazing apple pie. I love King Arthur flour and I do plan to do some Christmas baking this next week!

edenhills said...

These all look so good. Now I want to go bake bread. I just love that smell throughout the house.

Our Neck of the Woods said...

Great tips! I really like to make my own pizza dough, but haven't perfected the recipe yet.

I like your tip of rather than adding more flour, you grease your hands and the counter. I'll have to use that for my pizza dough next time and see how it works.

Michelle said...

Candy I have tried many of your recipes. My family really enjoys them. My husband loves the rolls. I have to say my favorite is your Baking mix. I use it for so much. Thanks for the tips.

Marigold said...

Great tips! Thank you! I am forwarding this to the Goatfather, who is our bread baker. :)

Faith said...

Black pepper Parmesan...sounds awful yummy. I forgot to thank you for your tips. As we search to make the best product.

Buttons said...

Oh you were pinned yeah, I have no idea what that means I read it somewhere:)
I love this I can almost smell this bread and really want some now. I have not made anything like this in a long time. I think I will try this tomorrow it is a little late now. Thank you B

Tanya said...

looks great! i've heard king arthur was really good flour and i will admit that i always skimp on my flour and just buy the cheapy stuff...so you're saying it REALLY makes a difference? i'll try some good stuff out next time and test it!

Lisa Lynn said...

Yum! I haven't baked bread in quite some time, and I've been thinking about doing it again soon. So your tips are well timed and much appreciated :) I will have to try greasing my hands for pizza dough too. It always comes out too heavy for most folks.
Great post Candy!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

My husband has bread making down to a science. So far I've not tried but your Onion Dill Rye looks like something I'd love.

Heidi said...

Thank you for your helpful tips Candy. I have made a few of your recipes and we all loved them.

LindaG said...

I love cheese bread!
So happy you posted these tips today. I hope to use them when I start making my own bread in the future.

Thank you! ♥

nancy said...

With it so dry here in Boise I learned the hard way to add lots of extra water to my bread doughs. If it's really sticky it comes out great! I need to buy some KA flour one of these days....

Hibiscus House said...

Candy,
Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful tips with us.
Dolly

Kristina said...

Thanks! I really wish I had more time in the kitchen, to make bread more often.

Sharon said...

Oh boy, I jumped to the link of your oatmeal wheat bread and I'm going to make it right now! Thank you!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

These are really great tips. I love making bread simply because of the smell!

Kerri said...

My Hubs does all the cooking in our house - and he LOVES King Arthur Flour :)

alissa apel said...

They sounds so good! I love different types of breads!

http://theapels.blogspot.com/2012/11/fruity-turkey.html

ReBelle said...

I use King Arthur when I can't find GM WONDRA in the big blue box for my white flour, KA for all the rest.

Seldom make bread but from scratch is the best - always.

Lisa Lynn said...

Congrats on the guest post over at Hibiscus House!

Paula said...

Hey Candy, do you have a bread recipe that uses a lot of eggs? Like a challah? I want to find a good (i.e., fluffy and light) wheat bread recipe.

Lynn said...

Mmm, I can almost smell your bread from here. Loved seeing your picture of dough that was a little dry, then another of it once water was added. And how fun, that you sell bread at the farmer's market. I have been thinking that it would be a good little business to do extra baking (not just bread, but cookies ;)) to sell. But then I start wondering about all the gov't. regulations, cost of renting a booth, etc. and that's the end of that. Have you done posts about getting started? Onion cheddar rolls sound delicious. I'm going to go check those out now.

Kateri said...

I only buy King Arthur flour as well! Thank you for the tips. I don't bake as much bread as I used to (trying to avoid grains in my diet), but I know my husband misses it...

SweetLand Farm said...

I love to make bread. I've learned lots about making it though, and getting used to the feel of the different kinds too!
Post makes me want to go make some bread!

Jennifer said...

Great post on bakin bread!

Michaele said...

Oh I will be back here to check out all these recipes! Onion Dill Rye makes my mouth water. Thanks for posting this!

p.s. I don't dare start Pinterest either.

Stephanie said...

Great tips! The bread looks so delicious :) I am now following you and I look forward to future visits. Enjoy your weekend!

Hugs,
Stephanie
www.theenchantingrose.blogspot.com