Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Process of Making Bread

Making BreadThis is an interesting lesson on the whole theory and process of making bread, from the "Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Household Management", published by the Canadian Ministry of Education, 1916. It describes the basic ingredients in a loaf of bread, what each ingredient contributes, and what happens to the bread during kneading, rising, and baking.

Ingredients of plain bread:

1. Liquid.—
(1) It wets the mixture and causes the ingredients to adhere.
(2) It furnishes steam for a lightening gent.
(3) It allows the gluten to become sticky and elastic.
(4) It furnishes moisture for yeast plants.

2. Yeast.—It gives off carbonic acid gas, which lightens the mixture.

3. Salt.—
(1) It gives a flavour.
(2) It retards the growth of the yeast plant.

4. Flour.—
(1) It thickens the mixture.
(2) It supplies food for the yeast plant.
(3) It supplies gluten for a framework for the mixture.

Amount of ingredients for one small loaf:
Liquid—1 cup or 1/2 pt.
Salt—1/2 tsp.
Flour—About three times the amount of liquid
Yeast—Amount depends on the time given the bread to rise, as follows:
1/4 yeast cake: 12 hr. to rise
1/2 yeast cake: 5 hr. to rise
1 yeast cake: 3 hr. to rise

Process in making bread:
(1) Mixing (stirring, beating, and kneading).—
(a) This mixes the ingredients.
(b) It incorporates air to aid the yeast plant and to act as a lightening agent.
(c) It makes the gluten elastic.

(2) First rising.—This allows the yeast plants conditions and time to produce carbonic acid gas, until the dough is distended to twice its original size.

(3) Moulding.—
(a) This distributes the gas evenly throughout the loaf.
(b) It shapes the loaf.

(4) Second rising.—This again allows the yeast plants time to produce gas which will distend the dough to twice its size.

(5) Baking.—
(a) The heat of the oven expands the air and gas in the dough, which causes the gluten framework to distend.
(b) The water changes to steam, which becomes another agent in distending the gluten.
(c) The starch on the outside of the loaf becomes brown in the dry heat of the oven, while the inside starch is made soluble in the moist heat of the mixture.
(d) The gluten stiffens into the distended shape.
(e) The yeast plants are killed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Different Kinds of Flour

From "The International Jewish Cookbook"

The housekeeper should know about the different kinds of flour. We get the bread flour from the spring wheat; the pastry flour from the winter wheat.

Bread flour contains more gluten than pastry flour and is used for bread on that account. Pastry flour having less gluten and slightly more starch is more suitable for pastry and cake mixtures and is used wherever softness and lightness are desired.

Graham flour is the whole kernel of wheat ground.

Entire wheat flour is the flour resulting from the grinding of all but the outer layer of the wheat.

Rye flour is next best to wheat flour for bread making, but is generally combined with wheal flour, since by itself it makes a sticky bread.

Cornmeal is also combined with wheat flour.

Variety bread is composed of bread flour, rye flour and cornmeal combined in one loaf.

If flour is musty; it is not kosher and must be destroyed. Keep flour either in tins or barrels in a dry atmosphere.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Egg Bread

Beat two eggs very light with a pinch of salt, add two cups sifted cornmeal, then wet with a pint of buttermilk in which a teaspoonful of soda has been dissolved. Stir in a spoonful of shortening, barely melted, mix well, and pour into well greased pans or skillets, cook quickly, till the crust is a good brown, and serve immediately. Or bake in muffin moulds.

For delicate stomachs the shortening can be left out, but pans or moulds must be greased extra well. If milk is very sour, make it one-third water—this is better than putting in more soda.

From "Dishes and Beverages of the Old South", by Martha McCulloch Williams, 1913

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Plain Corn Bread

Sift sound fresh white cornmeal, wet with cold water to a fairly soft dough, shape it by tossing from hand to hand into small pones, and lay them as made into a hot pan well sprinkled with dry meal. The pan should be hot enough to brown the meal without burning it. Make the pones about an inch thick, four inches long, and two and a half broad. Bake quickly, taking care not to scorch, until there is a brown crust top and bottom.

For hoe-cakes make the dough a trifle softer, lay it by handfuls upon a hot-meal-sprinkled griddle, taking care the handfuls do not touch. Flatten to half an inch, let brown underneath, then turn, press down and brown the upper side.

Do not let yourself be seduced into adding salt—the delight of plain corn-bread is its affinity for fresh butter. It should be eaten drenched with butter of its own melting—the butter laid in the heart of it after splitting pone or hoe-cake. Salt destroys this fine affinity. It however savors somewhat bread to be eaten butterless.

From Dishes & Beverages of the Old South, by Martha McCulloch Williams, 1913

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Making Good Dough

The first step in bread making, and without doubt the most important one, is the making of the dough. It consists in moistening the flour by means of a liquid of some kind in order to soften the gluten and the starch, to dissolve the sugar, and to cement all the particles together, and then combining these ingredients. Before the ingredients are combined, however, particularly the flour, the liquid, and the yeast, they must generally be warmed in order to shorten the length of time necessary for the yeast to start growing. Much care should be exercised in heating these materials, for good results will not be obtained unless they are brought to the proper temperature. The flour should feel warm and the liquid, whether it be water or milk, should, when it is added, be of such a temperature that it also will feel warm to the fingers. If water is used, it ought to be just as pure as possible, but if milk is preferred it should be used only after it has been scalded. The yeast should be dissolved in a small quantity of lukewarm water. Hot water used for this purpose is liable to kill the yeast and prevent the bread from rising, whereas cold water will retard the growth of the yeast.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bread Recipes: Stirred Brown Bread

From the Boston Cooking School Magazine (Fannie Farmer)

Measure three cups of graham flour into a large mixing-bowl; add one cup of bran, and sift on to these one cup and one-half of white flour, to which one and one-fourth a teaspoonful of salt has been added. Stir together until mixed.

Dissolve one teaspoonful of baking soda in a tablespoonful of hot water, and add to two cups of buttermilk. Melt two tablespoonfuls of butter and one of any preferred substitute, mix with one-half a cup of molasses, stir into the buttermilk, and add all to the dry ingredients, stirring vigorously. Lastly, add one-half a compressed yeast cake to the batter, and stir again until the yeast is thoroughly incorporated with the batter, which should be very stiff.

Place in a greased bread pan, cover, set in a warm place until batter has risen to top of pan or doubled in bulk. Bake one hour in an oven with gradually increasing heat.

This bread keeps fresh for a long time, and is particularly good sliced thin for sandwiches.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Salt-Rising Bread

While getting breakfast in the morning, as soon as the tea-kettle has boiled, take a quart tin cup or an earthen quart milk pitcher, scald it, then fill one-third full of water about as warm as the finger could be held in; then to this add a teaspoonful of salt, a pinch of brown sugar and coarse flour enough to make a batter of about the right consistency for griddle-cakes. Set the cup, with the spoon in it, in a closed vessel half-filled with water moderately hot, but not scalding. Keep the temperature as nearly even as possible and add a teaspoonful of flour once or twice during the process of fermentation. The yeast ought to reach to the top of the bowl in about five hours. Sift your flour into a pan, make an opening in the centre and pour in your yeast. Have ready a pitcher of warm milk, salted, or milk and water (not too hot, or you will scald the yeast germs), and stir rapidly into a pulpy mass with a spoon. Cover this sponge closely and keep warm for an hour, then knead into loaves, adding flour to make the proper consistency. Place in warm, well-greased pans, cover closely and leave till it is light. Bake in a steady oven, and when done let all the hot steam escape. Wrap closely in damp towels and keep in closed earthen jars until it is wanted.

This, in our grandmothers' time, used to be considered the prize bread, on account of its being sweet and wholesome and required no prepared yeast to make it. Nowadays yeast-bread is made with very little trouble, as the yeast can be procured at almost any grocery.