Making Bread
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Not much to say today, except that I’ve recently gotten quite a few opportunities to make bread and it’s reminded me just how much I enjoy the entire process. A simple but satisfying pastime, I love how it makes you slow down and pay attention to the changes in the dough.

Do you enjoy making bread? Do you have any tips or tricks to share with the Hen House community?

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About Brie Aronson

Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies and had to begin asking about the source of every single thing she put in her mouth. This led to an interest in all things food and she sought out a way to learn how it can be produced ethically and sustainably. Her desire is to help people shift their focus from counting calories, being intimidated by their kitchens, and being disconnected from the land to one that experiences the life-giving enjoyment of food. Having completed the internship in summer 2010, she now assists with the buying clubs and sales building, leads school tours of the farm, and will be the summer 2012 farm cook.
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18 Responses to Making Bread

  1. Tasha says:

    Just this year I overcame the fear of yeast! Sounds strange I know, but I was always a little scared of trying to bake anything REAL! Once I did I learned how easy and FUN it can be. And exactly what you said, it made me slow down and see the changes…thus enjoying the whole process. I must admit I have not made any in a while, but at this time of year with so much busyness this would be perfect to slow me down.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sophia says:

    Hi Brie,

    Good for you…there’s nothing like homemade bread! When I was in high school…way back in the “olden days” 😉 (I graduated in ’76) we lived on a dairy farm and I made 10 loaves of whole wheat bread about every two weeks. It was an all day chore and I loved it. Anyway, I’ve continued to make bread, in smaller batches, over the years and somewhere along the line I learned that wheat germ (I use raw) helps to keep whole grain breads from getting too dense. I replace approx. 1 cup of ww flour with 1 cup of wheat germ per loaf and it works well.

    At one point in my life when we were especially busy, I considered getting a bread making machine. A friend lent me theirs so I could try it out before buying one. Well, what I found was that with all the whisltles and bells and whirring of the machine, I felt like a helicoptor was about to take off on my kitchen counter! And then, when it was done I didn’t feel like it was MY bread…as in, the work of my own hands.

    So there’s one trick, wheat germ; and one tip, don’t be tempted to get a bread making machine…especially if you enjoy the process as well as the finished product.

    Happy Bread-making!

    • Amy says:

      Thanks for the tip on wheat germ, I’ll have to try that. No matter what name brand of wheat flour I use the bread is always dense. I am in the process of saving enough money to buy a nutrimill to grind my own flour. Do you have any thoughts on a nutrimill?

      • Heidi McConnell says:

        I use the Wondermll, and it has been great. Sophia, are you adding more wheat germ to freshly milled wheat? I have found that when I mill the grain, I have plenty of wheat germ, and haven’t had to add any (bear in mind that you will actually get a more complete wheat flour than what is sold as whole wheat flour on store shelves). I love the fact that the freshly milled grain is not bitter like the whole wheat flour that I used to buy, and tastes wonderful.

        • Sophia says:

          In Reply to both Amy & Heidi…

          Amy, I have no thoughts on the grain mills because I’ve never used one. However, after reading Heidi’s responce, I think perhaps I should consider looking into grinding my own grain, especially since for the past few years I have had a difficult time finding good whole wheat flour. I used to get organic stone ground from our buying club/coop in 25-50 lb. bags. Now I only seem to be able to find more finely ground “organic” (a term I no longer trust) ww flour and it is just not the same. So I think I will follow Heidi’s recommendation on freshly milled grain. Still, I will continue to add wheat germ because I like the difference it makes in the finished loaf both in terms of rising and taste. Plus, I’m an old dog 😉 and like sticking with the things that have worked for me.

          • Heidi McConnell says:

            Hey Sophia, If you are thinking of switching to home milling, I’d like to recommend a website that you might find helpful: http://www.breadbeckers.com/ (they also sell grain and mills). They have been a huge help in learning how to switch over to freshly milled wheat, as it does require some adjustment of the amounts of flour. They have videos that can answer a lot of questions, and if you can visit their store, they are awesome at guiding you through the transition.I have found that their recommendation to add more flour (app. ¼ cup per cup of flour) to any given recipe is a pretty good guide, because the germ essentially takes up space in the measurement, and I quite often have to add more liquid because the germ absorbs so much liquid. I use soft white wheat for cookies and pastries and hard white or hard red for breads (soft white grows in Southern climate and is not high enough in gluten for high rising bread, which is why the South was known more for biscuits).

  3. Leilani says:

    Tasha, I totally understand, I also overcame this fear this year. The general opinion in the nonbread making world is that it is hard to make bread. I too was in awe of those that made bread. Now bread making is second nature and feels so natural and “right” 🙂

  4. Anthony says:

    I’m still looking for the perfect sandwich bread. I can’t quite get it. I’m looking for lighter, but can’t get it to rise enough or something. Any thoughts? Or a good recipe?

  5. Heidi McConnell says:

    I have been making bread for years, but this year I began milling my own grain. Freshly ground wheat is heads and tails above whole wheat flour in taste and nutrition, but it also has more of the fiber solids, so recipes sometimes need to be adjusted up in flour and water amounts. I am learning that whole wheat sometimes needs some additional knead time (I knead by hand, partly because I prefer the texture of hand-kneaded over machine kneaded dough, but also because freshly milled flour creates a very stiff dough that the experts say will burn out a KitchenAid stand mixer); I have been kneading for closer to 20 mins instead of 10, and I allow more time for the final rise before I bake, and my results have been lighter bread without adding dough conditioners. A good book about bread making can be really helpful, as it can give you tips on how to troubleshoot your recipe, how the dough develops, etc.

  6. Angie says:

    I LOVE TO MAKE BREAD NOW. I say it’s like the flour calls to me after a while. It has been calling me lately but I have told it to hush until I visit my family so I can make bread for them. :0)

  7. Sophia says:

    Hi Brie,

    Good for you…there’s nothing like homemade bread! When I was in high school…way back in the “olden days” (I graduated in ’76) we lived on a dairy farm and I made 10 loaves of whole wheat bread about every two weeks. It was an all day chore and I loved it. Anyway, I’ve continued to make bread, in smaller batches, over the years and somewhere along the line I learned that wheat germ (I use raw) helps to keep whole grain breads from getting too dense. I replace approx. 1 cup of ww flour with 1 cup of wheat germ per loaf and it works well.

    At one point in my life when we were especially busy, I considered getting a bread making machine. A friend lent me theirs so I could try it out before buying one. Well, what I found was that with all the whisltles and bells and whirring of the machine, I felt like a helicoptor was about to take off on my kitchen counter! And then, when it was done I didn’t feel like it was MY bread…as in, the work of my own hands.

    So there’s one trick, wheat germ; and one tip, don’t be tempted to get a bread making machine…especially if you enjoy the process as well as the finished product.

    Happy Bread-making!

  8. You guys are totally going to think I am a cheater, but that book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day made me a breadmaking fanatic! It was so easy for me to make a batch that I can keep pulling from. I love it. There is nothing like homemade bread!

  9. Joe Hernandez says:

    I like to cook, but really love to bake. I made many door stops until I too got over the FEAR of yeast and timing. I started with quick breads before venturing into yeast. I find the more moisture the softer and fluffy it becomes. Sometimes sticky to handle but it’s a learning process. I use olive oil or peanut oil instead of veg. And there is nothing like a baking stone to get crusty French and Italian loaves, once you get the steaming/water brushing down. This time of year baking makes gift buying much easier and enjoyable. My family looks for it starting Dec 1. Keep baking. It’ll get 90 in the kitchen soon enough. Happy Holidays to all.

  10. Donna says:

    I do baking for a farmer’s market 100+ at a time and in the summer we roll – pun was intended! The humidity is nice and high and dough crawls out of the bowl. This time of year is a different story – so my advice is have lots of patience with that yeast – it will take a while to rise. Unless your kitchen is a “mist chamber” your going to learn the lovely art of patience!!! Bake on!

  11. Making the bread is really a quite simple task if one do their work properly….that is the thing which could be consideration at all.

  12. Crystal says:

    It’s very difficult to make a dough for bread. The dough consistency is very important for soft breads.

  13. I really love to cook.I love to learn new recipes and making new dishes.