5 Bread Secrets Revealed
by Kayla Howard
Bread. How can one food cause so much controversy? To this point I have not shared a lot of bread secrets out of respect for the many people who read my newsletters and eat gluten free. I honor your food choices and am completely supportive of anyone who eats gluten free in order to heal their body. There is no denying that diets like GAPS, Maker’s Diet and Specific Carbohydrate Diet bring healing to a stressed out body.
However, more and more frequently, I have been asked to share how I make bread. There is no denying that I make great bread — that’s one of my gifts — I don’t know why, but dough makes a ton of sense to me.
I love making bread. I love perfecting bread.
There are two kinds of bread that I make most often for my family; a basic wheat loaf and a salted French bread.
The basic wheat loaf can be made whole wheat, and I do that sometimes if I’m using a hard wheat variety for my flour. Lately however I have been making Spelt bread with fresh ground Spelt flour.
I’m going to share one of my recipes — the one for Spelt bread — but first I’m going to give you my top secrets. Are you ready?
#1 Saf Yeast
I don’t mean to sound cocky or stuck up, but no matter how many times I give this secret, people still treat it like it doesn’t matter. It does matter! In fact it’s the most important element for great bread. If you’ve heard that Saf yeast is better, haven’t tried it and are still making so-so bread, well, I don’t know what to tell you. I use Saf and I make amazing bread… I’m just saying….
#2 Bread Flour
This is another thing that mystifies me. I’ve met many, many women who make their own bread and still have no idea what bread flour is. I used to be the same way but am now a happy bread flour user. If you want to make amazing French bread, then bread flour is the answer. I also use a couple of cups in my Spelt loaf because Spelt can be a little too delicate on it’s own.
Never buy bleached flour… never, ever, ever. Unbleached flour gives your baked products a more wholesome and flavorful taste.
#3 Fresh Ground Flour
There is nothing to match the taste of fresh ground flour. If you are a serious bread maker, start saving your pennies and buy yourself a grinder. Watch your local Craig’s list. — We’ve seen a few on there. Our local health food market has a grinder where you can fresh-grind flour then take it home and bake with it.
I own a Whisper Mill (which is now called Wonder Mill). My sister has a Nutrimill. They both work great!
#4 A Bosch Mixer
KitchenAid users, I love you for who you are, but — my mixer beats yours. [wink]
Okay, so I do know that people really, really love their KitchenAid mixers and I’m respectful of that. I’ve used one and can’t get the right feel from my dough. I never could get it to knead up just perfect. However, in my Bosch mixer I can throw all the ingredients in, turn it on and walk away for 10-20 minutes. I can tell when the bread is done from the sound of my mixer. Me and my Bosch… we’re almost soul mates (he-he). There are many things in this world that I do not know, but I believe one of my secrets is my Bosch mixer.
#5 Roll Our Your Dough
No matter how many times I try to shape it and plop it in the pan or follow some other directions for shaping a loaf, rolling it out into a rectangle and rolling it up into a log produces the highest rise with the most even crumb.
Basic Spelt Sandwich Bread
6 cups cold water
3/4 cup olive oil
3 T Saf Yeast
2-3 T Sunflower Lecithin (optional, but does improve the texture of the loaf)
2 T Sea Salt
This is for a Bosch Mixer, you will have to alter it to fit yours. I begin by putting the water, yeast, honey, oil and lecithin into the mixer. Then I grind my flour. I grind 8 cups of wheat which produces something like 10-12 cups of flour…. I’m not very good about measuring. Next I will add the fresh ground flour, which is warm. That’s why I start with cold water because overheating is a major cause of bread turning out yucky. Finally, I add some bread flour and salt until the dough looks right. (It would take a video to explain that!) Then I turn it to speed “2” and let it knead. If using whole wheat it takes 10-15 minutes. If using Spelt, 10 minutes or less. If using all bread flour, it takes 20 or more minutes to knead to the right consistency.
Allow the dough to rise until doubled (or as some of my Skyping clients know… until the lid “pops” off with a loud shot!!) Then roll out and shape into loaves. Allow to rise again until well above the sides of the pans then bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.