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What's your best bread making tips...
RESULT - post 23!!

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#1 MissButtercup

Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:37 PM

I am about to have a crack at making a rosemary ciabatta loaf and was wondering if anyone has any tips for a beginner bread maker?
I am going to have a go at this recipe - http://leitesculinaria.com/79221/recipes-ciabatta.html
What do you think? Recipe look ok? i was hoping just to add some minced rosemary and maybe garlic to this...
I'll make my biga tonight and bake the bread in the morning.

Edited by MissButtercup, 23 January 2013 - 07:32 AM.

#2 Jax12

Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:49 PM

Sorry I am absolutely no help but can I just say, drooooooooool.  I am salivating at the thought of that ciabatta.  Yum!  It looks as though one of the biggest challenges will be to not overflour the dough. Good luck - I hope someone can provide some actual help.  original.gif

#3 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:59 PM

Where are you in Australia, OP?  Carol Field is one of the good ones when it comes to bread recipes and it looks like a good recipe except if you are in a sticky humid part of Australia, the biga may overproof very easily overnight.  I'd be inclined to put the biga in the fridge overnight and bring out in the morning.

My slow rise bread and my ordinary bread are both misbehaving in the humid conditions.

#4 Alacritous~Andy

Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:01 PM

My tips for general bread making:

- if you can, measure ingredients by weight, rather than by cups.
- don't add too much flour. If the mix is very sticky, keep kneading, it will come together and get less sticky.  
- bake on a pre-heated pizza stone for an awesome crust.

I love Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's basic bread recipe. So easy.

#5 MissButtercup

Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:01 PM

Great tips, thanks so much!

We're in Victoria - today's 38 degrees and 9% humidity, tomorrow will be 35 degrees so hopefully humidity won't be a problem.

Will have to google the suggested recipes too.

Keep the tips coming!

#6 Space is Big

Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:39 PM

QUOTE (Alacritous~Andy @ 21/01/2013, 05:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
- if you can, measure ingredients by weight, rather than by cups.


To prove the bread for the first time it needs to be in a warm place.  I put it in a bowl with glad wrap over it and then put it into the sink filled with hot water.  Be careful not to get water in the dough.  this is good for the cold bit of Victoria I live in.  

The only other trick I know is to brush really salty water on normal bread just before it goes into the oven to get a nice crusty loaf.

#7 bookmonster

Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:45 PM

Use digital scales if you have them, the accuracy of the measurements can make a difference.

#8 Chelara

Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:52 PM

I've made the no knead bread- the same a featured on that site. Let me say this, it's brilliant, easy and tasty and requires little effort, no kneading and has fabulous crust and a similar texture to ciabatta. I'd give that a go too if I were you.  somewhere it says 2 tablespoons of salt- far too much. 1 or or a bit less is sufficient.

#9 Fenrir

Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:57 PM

Use your car to do the risings. I did this while we were camping last week and the bread turned out very light and fluffy.

#10 Fright bat

Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:21 PM

Ciabatta is the hardest bread to make - if you have not made bread before, do not start with this one! It is a high hydration dough (the high water content bein what gives you the big holes). If you don't have a stand mixer, do not even attempt it as you will not get enough gluten development by hand kneading to support the high hydration. You also need to be an experienced 'folder' to get away with ciabatta - it is the process of folding (without bashing out the air) that makes the dough stand up rather than collapse flat into a pancake.

If you want a good first bread, I suggest Dan Lepard's basic wholemeal. It's
300 ml water
450 ml wholemeal flour
1 packet dry (not instant) yeast
50 g melted butter
1 tbsp salt

Mix yeast in water and let sit. Add flour and salt and mix until just combined. Squidge the butter through and turn onto an oiled bench top. Knead for ten sec and leave. Yes, ten seconds. After 15 min, knead for ten sec. After another 15 min, knead for ten second. After another ten min, pat flat then roll up tight like a jelly roll, tuck ends under, roll into shape. (Or drop 'jelly roll' into a loaf tin. Let rise until 1.5 times (on a 30 degree day, this may only take 15-20 min!). Put in oven at 200C fan forced or 220C no fan and bake for 40 min.

If you have a big cast iron pot, you can bake the bread in that for a higher rise. (Some people say to drop the bread into a hot pot, but I put mine in the oven cold; one of the lovely guys at 'The Fresh Loaf' (a breadmaking forum) did an experiment with hot vs cold cast iron pots, and found no difference.

Also, if you have a cast iron pot, look up 'artisan bread in five minutes a day' - a great way to make great bread, but doesn't work without the cast iron pot.

#11 MissButtercup

Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:33 PM

So many great tips I am glad I asked. Thanks everyone!

I don't have a stand mixer (just starting to get into the home baking) so was going to try by hand, looks like my plan was a little ambitious. Is there a good recipe that I could make a savory (rosemary and garlic) style loaf?

I asked DH to pick up some bread flour on the way home and he came home with bread mix - is this the same or will I be making a ton of white bread?

#12 kandj

Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:36 PM

I've tried making a sourdough starter from scratch following Hugh Fearnley-Whittingsals instructions but it never worked...I fed it for nearly two weeks and no luck  sad.gif

his cheaty sourdough recipe though I  have had excellent results with....it is simply delicious!! I found a copy here http://kitchen-maid.blogspot.com.au/2011/0...aily-bread.html

normal bread recipe's that I've been trialling (thanks to the lovely EB ladies) have been nice, but the sourdough trumps all.

The BIGA sounds like the Starter I tried to make (though with mine it was just flour and water). Maybe with the addition of the instant yeast in your BIGA recipe it may be a little more foolproof original.gif

So really, I have no great tips, just sharing the bread making excitement with you original.gif

Edited to add link original.gif

Edited by kandj, 21 January 2013 - 07:38 PM.

#13 mumma_ox

Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:48 PM

We have used a bread maker in the past and while it is useful, I now prefer to make bread by hand.  Best tip I'd suggest is practice. practice. practice.  We've eaten many dense chewy loaves over the last few years, and I still wouldn't call myself proficient.  I have no idea about the science of dough - like hydration and that kind of stuff.  I just like the feel of making something by hand with your kids and knowing exactly what goes into the mix.

It is really good to hear that you're going to have a go.

#14 kandj

Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:56 PM

A rosemary and sea salt foccacia bread would be achievable without a mixer and I find its a very forgiving bread to make original.gif  not to mention delicious original.gif


#15 MissButtercup

Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:57 PM

Yep I want to get the kids involved so they know that bread doesn't just come from the supermarket. wink.gif

I've been googling no knead dough now - how about this one?


Kandj - I like the look of that one too...

#16 kandj

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:47 PM

That no knead bread looks a good one. Def worth a try!

#17 Chelara

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:56 PM

Yup that's the no knead- originally Sullivan st bakery recipe. I make it in the cast iron camp oven. There's a video on how to make it here http://www.gardenfork.tv/sullivan-bakery-bread-recipe-update it works fine using plain old no name flour too.

#18 MissButtercup

Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:39 PM

Excellent! I have my first batch proving now. original.gif wish me luck!  Thanks for the video, I was wondering what folding looked like.

#19 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:17 PM

Bread mix is usually for a breadmaker and is not pure bread flour but has additives.

Interesting about the cold vs hot Dutch oven.  I've found a huge difference if I don't preheat the Dutch oven with the Lahey method.

#20 MissButtercup

Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:11 AM

Well this will be interesting to see if it works then as I used this bread mix which has dry yeast in it sad.gif when I opened the box there where separate satchels so I just assumed that the flour looking one was just flour.... Not happy about all the additives in it either!


#21 Chelara

Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:42 PM

How did you go?

#22 Fright bat

Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:43 PM

Bread mix has other stuff in it.

'Bread flour' is merely flour with a higher protein content than 'normal' flour - but note that these are European/American terms. American wheat, in particular, has a low protein content of around 8-9% unless it is winter wheat. Which is why, in the US, 'bread flour' is needed.

Australian wheat is naturally high in protein, so any supermarket flour can be used easily for breadmaking.

My personal favourite is Jimmy's Atta flour - a nice flavoured wholemeal which makes a nice reliable loaf of bread.

QUOTE (Balzac @ 22/01/2013, 12:17 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Interesting about the cold vs hot Dutch oven.  I've found a huge difference if I don't preheat the Dutch oven with the Lahey method.

Check this out.

I don't use lahey's recipes, but I have always done the final proof in the covered dutch oven and then put it into the oven cold. Works a treat with no burns risk!

#23 MissButtercup

Posted 23 January 2013 - 07:31 AM

Here it is!

Pretty pleased with myself for my first go. It was a little 'yeasty' but I think this was because I used the bread mix. It was still delicious though. Thanks for all the tips - going to try a few other suggested recipes now.

Edited by MissButtercup, 23 January 2013 - 07:32 AM.

#24 TheGreenSheep

Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:00 AM

WOW!!!! Id be super pleased if that was my bread! Ive been stalking for tips, so Im glad that it all worked so well. Can you share which recipe you decided on and tips you used?

#25 MissButtercup

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:09 PM

This is the one I used -


Umm I used the car for the second proving and had a hot cast iron casserole dish, used cous cous on my tea towel and flour to stop the dough sticking. I'd use more cous cous next time... It's pretty easy if you follow the recipe step by step, just a lot of waiting. Watch the video link too for tips.

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