The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Basic dough question...

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shara's picture
shara

Basic dough question...

Hey all,


I'm new here and not a very experienced baker. I love making bread and have made fresh pretzels, bagels, bread... never owned a bread machine or anything. I understand basic terminology for baking, etc. but I'm still not that experienced lol. I always need a recipe to bake anything. And I'm wondering if there is a 'basic' dough that I can use for pizza crusts, french bread, basic bagels, pita ... is there any universal recipe? Or do they all need to be tweaker one way or another depending on their use? The recipes I've used all seem to have the same ingredients but I'm not a math wizard and can't tell if the different proportions matter or what ha ha.


 


I'm sure that sounds boring as heck but I have IBS and can't handle a lot of grainy, seedy breads as much as I love them.

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Shara, welcome to TFL!  You will find a world of knowledge and experience here for the browsing.


In answer to your dough question, there is no universal dough for eveything.  The differnces in various recipes will yield doughs appropriate for various treatments.  For example, bagel dough is much stiffer than French bread dough, which is necessary to get the chewiness you look for in a bagel, and also because of the method by which bagels are prepared.  If you tried to boil a "bagel" made from bread dough, it would come apart in the pot.


That said, there are some doughs that can be used for numerous applications.  For example, French bread dough can be shaped into boules, baguettes or batards, and it makes great pizza dough.


My advice would be to find some good recipes, on this site or in a trusted bread book, and try out various breads following the recipes with precision.  As you become familiar with how the various doughs look, feel, and bake, you can start to experiment with them to tailor them to your liking.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


"If you tried to boil a "bagel" made from bread dough, it would come apart in the pot."



Sorry, gaaarp, I disagree.  I've done it.  The gluten has to be pretty low for it to break apart.  But I agree with the rest and experimenting is fun! 


Welcome Shara!   I was once stuck with only one kind of flour, and it is amazing what all can be done by just changing the amounts of water, oil, sugar.


Mini


 

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

The different doughs are typically more a matter of technique and proportion than anything, occasionally with an ingredient tweak. I'd track down a cook book (or poke around the web) for some recepies. If you don't want a whole lot of monkeying around (except the "sourdough", nothing uses a pre-ferment),  the bread chapter from Mark Bittman's "How to cook everything" has recipes for pizza dough, french, maybe bagels, brioche, challah, etc (and about 1000 recipes for other food). French and pizza dough are relatively close, although the pizza dough adds olive oil. Bagel dough is way stiffer, but the basic ingredients aren't much different, just the proportions and technique.


 


Happy Baking!

shara's picture
shara

Thanks guys. That's really helpful. I basically just want to commit a few 'basic' recipes to memory but still explore other ones for fun if that makes sense. I'm not very good at memorizing amounts though. I've been making the same cake for year and still have to double check when I measure everything out. lol


 


I made pitas tonight. They turned out pretty good. Only two really puffed up well though. Not bad for a first time I guess. I really liked that dough.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I've stuck my favorite basic poolish recipes onto my scales or mixer.   That way I can mix them up quickly and let them sit overnight.  I also have quite a few favorites taped up inside my cupboard door.   That way I don't have books in the way.


Mini

shara's picture
shara

hey hey I do that too. Any new recipe I try, I post in the cupboard. If it's a success it stays. If not.... it goes. Although I may try it again if I think I can do better. :D

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Mini, I love the idea of "cue cards" posted around the kitchen.  I have one sourdough recipe I use all the time, and usually can do it by memory, but every now and then I could use a cheat sheet.  I'm going to print it out and tape it inside my cupboard.  Thanks for the idea!