The need to knead is almost here. I thought maybe it was time to share with you some food for thought (Pun intended) with a few great resource sites for baking.
- Recipe Curio has a lot of wonderful tips as well as many vintage recipes
- Yeast Dough gets down to the basics of the ingredients and how to work with them.
- Bread World is Fleischmann’s Yeast site for recipes and baking tips.
- Bread Baking 101 is all encompassing site of information and recipes.
General Tips to remember:
- Baking in a high place, a dry place or in a place that can have sudden changes in barometric pressure. All these factors can alter how yeast breads knead, rise and bake.
- To determine if your yeast is still active, dissolve 1 tsp. sugar in 1/2 cup lukewarm water in a see-through measuring cup. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. yeast slowly over the water. Stir and let stand for 10 minutes. At the end of this time, the yeast should have foamed up to reach the 1 cup mark. Yeast that does not reach this mark in 10 minutes will not produce a good loaf and should be discarded.
- Water can replace milk. The texture will change a little, but the bread will still be very tasty and good to eat.
- White sugar, brown sugar, honey and molasses can be interchanged equally in bread dough. The sugar in bread dough supplies the tiny yeast plants with instant food and gets them off to a fast start. Artificial sweeteners are not recommended for yeast breads because they cannot be used by the yeast as natural sweeteners can.
- Fats can be replaced with applesauce or prune puree. The texture of the bread will be more dense. A general rule of thumb is to substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons of applesauce/prune puree for every 3 tablespoons of fat.
- Salt is added to yeast breads not only for flavor but also to keep the yeast fermentation in the bread dough under control. Too little salt will allow the yeast to push the dough so high that it may even collapse. Too much salt will keep the dough from rising enough.