Bread

Haven't made any for ages coz I'm laying off the carbs (Fat bazza) but last time I did...

 
Told you I'd try it. Looks promising:
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Notes: Stodgy, heavy and good for the little robins which appear on the windowsill next to me here. Not a lot of holes in there, which is probably because the various flours I used were the bits and bobs left over from about June 2020, and the yeast is getting on, too. Nice crust, though. I'll be concentrating on almond and coconut flour from here on. Just wait...
 
Haven't made any for ages coz I'm laying off the carbs (Fat bazza) but last time I did...

I followed the recipe apart from using 500g flour and upping the other ingredients in proportion... very wet dough but lovely bread ..
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Ayatollah

Old-Salt
I've been doing the pandemic thing and baking my own bread.

I like a gungy, moist crumb but most of my efforts have been too much on the dry side for my taste, even when still fresh. The crust is fine. I've been putting olive oil in the mix but the results are still something that would not be out of place in a Subway.

Any bread bakers out there who can advise?
I use a bread machine and even though I use the recipes that came with it I still get problems now and again, I have adjusted content and liquid and use bread-making flour. I am still experimenting and have even removed the dough to let it rise more. I have been told that although I use bread flour the qualities are not the same. I tried All-Purpose flour and the results were not very good. Each time I adjust the mixture I write it down so I can either modify it or make sure I don't make the same mistakes. It will be trial and error will hopefully result in a good loaf.
I use all the bread I make in one way or another so waste isn't a problem and when taking the failures into account, the cost is still overall cheaper than buying a manufactured loaf.
 
the cost is still overall cheaper than buying a manufactured loaf.
I take the view that manufactured bread is more like a chemical sponge. Making your own always seems to taste better. Even the failures :D
 
U
You can use honey instead of sugar and rapeseed oil instead of other fats (marg, butter, etc.).
 
I use a bread machine and even though I use the recipes that came with it I still get problems now and again, I have adjusted content and liquid and use bread-making flour. I am still experimenting and have even removed the dough to let it rise more. I have been told that although I use bread flour the qualities are not the same. I tried All-Purpose flour and the results were not very good. Each time I adjust the mixture I write it down so I can either modify it or make sure I don't make the same mistakes. It will be trial and error will hopefully result in a good loaf.
I use all the bread I make in one way or another so waste isn't a problem and when taking the failures into account, the cost is still overall cheaper than buying a manufactured loaf.

Yours is not an uncommon experience. In another post I mentioned 'donated bread makers', which we used in a project to get people without experience to try making home made bread. These came to us as a large number of machines which had often laid unused since the owner had a few failures and gave up. Good for you for keeping on trying and your methodical approach. We also ran 'workshops' where people came along with their machine and made a loaf or two in a day with it. They also used our pool machines and Belling ovens or the ovens in the village hall to make other baked goods while they were waiting. It seemed to work and to generate quite a number of converts and even enthusiasts.

Anyway, here comes the patronising bit.........

Simple rules to follow.
1. Use digital scales
2. Follow the recipe exactly a few times before experimenting/deviating even slightly

That's it.

The recipe we followed was: (and the order matters)
320g of tap temperature water
20g sugar
500g strong white flour
20g vegetable oil (poured in one corner)
5g salt (poured in another corner)
7g quick acting yeast sprinkled on

Select: standard white loaf setting (usually number one)
700/750g loaf size (most machines)
light crust

Set the machine going...... and be patient.

It was sometimes difficult to convince some people that it is allowed to open the lid and take a look. It's a learning experience.

A few loaves like this, then try changing the balance of the flour, while keeping the overall quantity the same. Part wholemeal (200g) part white (300g) works well. Once a few successes are under the belt, then is the time to try a bit of variation. A breadmaker is just a slightly sophisticated mixer with a built in oven.

Like I said, a bit patronising on my part but we were working with mostly young mums with no cooking experience. Third generation meals that go ping! The bottom line was; it worked. Sometimes it was the first thing they had successfully cooked since fairy cakes in junior school.

The key was: follow the recipe, trust the 'system', get basic experience/practice before moving on. I think we all relate to that. Seeing it done rather than reading it was invaluable, essential for a lot of the participants.

Curbing enthusiasm was occasionally the most important soft skill.

Enjoy......... Post pictures.
 
If you haven't already, get yourselves a pair of dough scrapers for getting air in the dough. Not expensive and makes life easier!
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I found I outgrew my bread maker. It’s just too inflexible, and mine did a very poor job of mixing. Stands to reason, really. The paddle in the bottom extends to maybe an inch and a half tall. Completely covered by the ingredients, and never gets to mix the corners very well.

You’re also limited by the programs built in, it “does its thing” and that’s it. A further limitation is the shape of the bread. Can’t do rolls or baguettes. Also have to remember to get the paddle out of the thing before it bakes, or it gets baked in.

I completely understand the point about getting people interested in actually cooking something, but if they make a success of it, they should outgrow the machine PDQ. A basic stand mixer is about the same cost as a bread maker, and is by far a better choice.

I make bread 3-4 times a week, it takes about 3-3 1/2 hours, but of that, only about 5 minutes is actual effort. Some recent ones:

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The stand mixer’s also good for pizza dough and crumpet dough:

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