The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New Baker - still trying

  • Pin It
new baker's picture
new baker

New Baker - still trying

Hello All.


I tried two breads this weekend with fairly good results.  The first one I made using Peter Reinhart's formula for whole wheat sandwich bread.  I may need to try that one again.  I didn't get a very good oven spring.  I tried it as a freestanding loaf, but think I'll put it in a loaf pan next time.  The freestanding loaf kind of spread out too much during the final rise.


The second loaf was a 100% whole wheat sample loaf from Beth Hensperger's bread machine book.  My husband liked this loaf the best.  I used the dark setting on my machine and it got a really thick dark crust.  I did notice that the dough wasn't smoothly baked as it had a funny nodule protruding out of it and some folds on the underside.  I think this means I should've added more liquid (the recipe called for milk).  Yes?


My question for the day is this:  I've been told that fresh homemade bread is only good for 2-3 days and then it looses it's - well - freshness?  I was wondering if anyone had any tricks to extend the freshness of a loaf.  I simply don't think I have the time to bake bread every 2-3 days.


Has anyone had any luck with freezing bread?  Does it still come out of the freezer tasting good?


What about making enough dough for 2 loaves, baking one loaf, and storing the rest of the dough in the freezer or refrigerator?  I that possible?


Oh! and if anyone lives in North Carolina and is willing to give a bread baking lesson give me a shout.  I'm still not certain what good dough should feel/look like and seeing an experienced baker work either baking by hand or machine would sure be helpful.


Thanks for ideas.

gardenchef's picture
gardenchef

I've have made it for years, in a loaf pan. I've given it as gifts too.


You bake... cool.. slice.. and wrap in gallon freezer bag, then double bag (MUST be completely cool first-very important). Then you take a slice or two at a time and pop into the toaster for fresh homemade English Muffin Bread. Let me know if you'd like the recipe.


I hope others respond to your post, I would love to know about freezing methods for other breads as well.


Happy Baking


cathy aka garden chef

new baker's picture
new baker

Cathy aka garden chef


I would appreciate you English Muffin Bread recipe.  Thanks for offering to share it!


New Baker

gardenchef's picture
gardenchef

Hi New Baker: I am Happy to Share...


This comes from a gift book published back in 1984 called "Gifts from a Country Kitchen" By Marion Mann. I've utilized this book more times than I can count. It has rippled pages and smudges with doguh stuck to it ~ LOL. There are two recipes that are fav's in our house from this book. The English Muffin (below as requested) and Country White Bread (made that one today with my new Viking mixer ! yummy. Two loaves gone already!)


ENGLISH MUFFIN LOAVES


Makes 2 loaves 16 slices per loaf (I'd say actually 8 thick slices: :)) Prep time 30 mins ~ Rising Time 45 mins  ~ Baking time 25 mins


2 cups Milk


1/2 Cup Water


6 Cups Flour


1 Tablespoon sugar


1 1/2 teapsoons of salt


1/4 teaspoon baking soda


2 envelopes dry active yeast


cornmeal


Combine milk and water in large saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form on edge of pan. Cool to lukewarm.


Combine 3 cups of flour, the sugar, salt, baking soda and yeast. Add lukewarm milk mixture, beat well, and stir in remaining 3 cups flours (says 'stir' but requires hands on kneading or stand mixer stir setting)


Grease (spray PAM) 2 loaf pans and sprinkle with cornmeal. Spoon batter into pan (actually knead and shape into pans) and sprinkle batter with cornmeal. Allow to rise in a warm place for 45 mins. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 25-30 mins. Remove from pans immediately and cool completely on wire racks. Slice and toast to serve.


TO STORE... IF IT LASTS: slice loaves and freeze in double, gallon size freezer bags, take out slices as needed. We use KERRY GOLD IRISH BUTTER


I copied this exactly from the book for you, my notes (changes) are in parenthesis. Happy Baking, keep me posted on how it comes out.


Oh and since this is a gift book this is written after recipe: "Wrap thick slices of bread and arrange in a long bread basket (with a doily perhaps). Add a jar of your favorite jam or jelly for gift giving. Fold an inexpensive bandana (ribbon) into a skinny strip and use it as a tie for the bread and basket. "


Merry Christmas from Boston, Cathy


 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

A good place that has about as much information as a novice needs, and has consistently reproducible, proven recipes is KAF(kingarthurflour.com).


I have been baking bread for about 8 months, and started with a bread machine, but only use it for kneading the dough. Luckily, I stumbled across KAF early. They have hundreds of recipes to be baked in or out of the machine, but honestly, most any recipe can be baked either way as long as you understand your machines capacity.


Start here, and read all the tips about the bread machine, yeast dough tips, bread troubleshooting, and how they measure flour(especially if you don't have a scale).


http://www.kingarthurflour.com/tips/


Also, on any page in the "recipes" section, read all the links under "online baking resources", and "ingredients guide". Within a few days to a few weeks, you will feel like an expert.


Also, whenever you something in their blog that you like, follow along and ask questions, as you know you are working with experts.


ps: You don't have to use their flours, and most of their bread recipes call for their KA AP(all purpose) flour, but understand that their AP flour is really bread flour, so if you don't have access to(or can't afford,like me) the KAAP, you will want to use bread flour for most bread recipes.

jabby's picture
jabby

Freezing bread works great.


 


I frequently make multiple different types of bread and then freeze. That way, it's there when you want it. If it's a loaf I slice before freezing. I also use foodsaver bags to get us much air out and hopefully get less of the stale flavor when it's been in the freezer for a while.  If you decide to vacuum seal your bread make sure to freeze first before vacuum sealing otherwise you'll get a flat loaf.


As somebody else mentioned, you probably want to toast or recrisp this bread in some way. It's not so great just defrosted.