Monday, September 24, 2012

Using Dry Milk in Bread

The advantages of using dry milk in bread baking

As readers will know I have been doing a lot of experiments with different types of bread.  In some the recipes call for milk.  If you use regular milk you have to heat it to kill off some of the enzymes.  If you do that and then add it too soon before it cools to lukewarm, it kills the yeast.  That is one reason that professional baker use dry milk.  While there are many types on the market that can be costly, I find that regular fat free dry milk to work just fine.  The addition also helps with the rise and helps to keep the bread moist.

If your recipe calls for water that is fine. Just add about ½ cup of the dry milk with the flour.  If you recipe calls for milk – use the same amount of water and add the dry milk to equal the wet milk

Give it a try. I think you will see a difference in texture and how long the bread stays moist.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Better Sourdough

As many who read this blog know I have been working on Sourdough bread recipes.  In the course of that I have had some spectacular success and terrible failures!  It goes with the territory when you are experimenting with new recipes.  Here is the latest recipe


This recipe uses milk and butter to add moisture and keep the bread fresh longer.  Normally sourdough has no dairy but this is an experiment.  Please let me know how you like it!

1 Cup of milk – I used 1% in my recipe but you can use whatever kind you like.
½ Cup of water
2 Tablespoons of butter
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 Cup of Fed Sourdough Starter
1 Tablespoon of salt
5 Cups of flour +/-
2 ¼ Teaspoons of Instant yeast

Microwave the milk for 90 seconds.  Remove and add the cold butter to melt.  Set aside and let cool until it is lukewarm.  (I did not wait long enough one time and the mixture was too hot.  It killed the yeast and the starter!  Better cooler than too hot!!)

When the liquid is cooled – put in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the water, sugar and the starter.  Mix to dissolve the sugar and loosen the starter.  Add the yeast.

Add three cups of flour and put the salt on top.  Turn on the mixer and mix the dough for about 2 minutes.  Stop the mixer and add 1 cup of flour.  Knead for 3 – 4 minutes.  Then add the other cup of flour if needed.  If you are in a damp climate you may need more.  I always let the dough sit for about 5 minutes so the flour can absorb the liquid.  If the dough is sticky then add a little flour at a time until you have the right feel.  Sourdough will absorb liquid differently than regular yeast bread.  I knead mine about 5 – 7 minutes more at this stage.  The dough should clean the sides of the mixing bowl and be smooth and elastic not sticky.  Too much flour will give you a dry loaf and too little will not give the bread the structure needed to rise properly.

Put the dough in a bowl that has been oiled and turn to coat the top.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise.  (I use my oven with the light on.  I also put a bowl of hot water underneath to add more moisture to the oven.)  The dough should double in size in about 1 – 2 hours depending on the conditions.  Punch down and form two loaves.  You can make them round or use loaf pans.   Let the bread rise until almost doubled again. 

Preheat the oven to 400.  When the oven has cycled twice put the bread in and mist the oven with water.  Close the door and bake for 30 minutes or until the bread is light brown.

TIPS – make round loaves divide the dough in half and shape.  Place them on baking sheet that is covered in parchment paper.  Just before you place in the oven – take a VERY sharp knife and make slashes across the loaves. 

Sourdough may not rise much on the second rise.  That is normal but the taste is great!

For crisp crust spray the loaves with water just as they go in the oven.  You can also add water to a hot pan on the bottom of the oven and close the door.

If you want to use an instant read thermometer the internal temperature will be 190 F when the bread is done.  Adjust to  your taste.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Labor Day Cook Outs

In America this weekend is seen as the last weekend of summer.  We celebrate Labor so this is a three day weekend.  That usually means a picnic or cookout.

Safety – if you are using a charcoal grill try using one of the “chimney” starters instead of the usual liquid ones.  That helps prevent that “Jet Fuel” taste on the food and are safer.
Also remember to keep cold food cold and hot food hot.

Menu – BIG choices!!  Ribs, Chicken Brisket all can be great choices as is steak, hamburger and hot dogs.  Not all once of course!!  Remember to have lots of water on hand.  Not just for drinking but in case of flare ups on the grill

Salads – How you beat a homemade potato salad?  Maybe with a Pasta Primavera Salad??

Pasta Primavera Salad

Cook 2 pounds of your favorite pasta – even spaghetti will work.  Once cooled put it in ice water and leave it until you are ready.

Slice or dice all of the following

1 small red pepper
1 small green pepper
½ pound of broccoli
½ pound of Cauliflower
½ red onions

Drain the pasta and add the veggies

Toss with good Italian dressing or your favorite like a Caesar.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Just before you serve make chiffonade of Basil and sprinkle over the salad.