Sunday, July 19, 2015

French Bread

One of my good friends moved recently and I got her bread maker last Friday.  I put it to use immediately and so far I have made 3 breads... LOL!  Luckily, I was able to give some of the bread to my friends so I am not carb-loaded...

Except for my first attempt, I only made 500 grams breads... (1kg is just too much)  Because I was making them consecutively, I have a general idea on how the dough should be (i.e., how "wet").  My breads are far from perfect but it's really quite fun (and kept me very busy all weekend experimenting!)

I got the French bread recipe online and made some tweaks after my first attempt.  I followed the recipe to the dot on my first attempt and made some tweaks in the third attempt.  I made a different kind of bread in trial #2.
  • 1 cup water; room temp  
  • 1 tbsp olive oil  
  • 1 tsp. salt  
  • 1 tbsp sugar  
  • 2 cups bread flour, sifted  
  • 1 tsp. active yeast
I used the French bread mode (program 2) in the Kenwood BM366 model and made the bread in an air-conditioned room (i.e. my living room) to minimize the variables.  I also used the "medium" setting for the bake cycle.  The bread from the Kenwood machine is very different from the bread made by the Japanese machines (e.g., Panasonic).  In my opinion, the Japanese machine makes softer breads.

Verdict:  a bit too dry and the bread was too dense.  Still edible but I prefer a lighter crust.  My friends told me to get better quality flour.  Because it was my first attempt, I only used cheap bread flour from a local grocery store :P

Verdict: for my trial #2, I used the recipe from the instruction manual just to see how wet the dough should have been.  In my opinion, it was too wet.  I ended up adding 6 tbsp more flour just so it's not too lumpy, which will affect the rise and create a "flatbread".  The bread turned out very soft, just how I wanted, with lovely air bubbles.  However, I didn't like the flavor.  It was cakey.  I don't think I will add eggs to my bread in the future...

This is bread trial #3.  The dough is much wetter this time.  I had gotten too lazy to take pictures on the finished bread on this one... I changed to "light" mode for the bake cycle too.  The crust is still very crisp and it's much softer compare to my first attempt (probably because I ran out of bread flour and used all purpose flour to make up the difference).  The only thing I didn't like was the fact that the dough blade was in the bread and broke the bread when it was done.  I wonder if I should use the dough cycle next time and remove the blade before baking.

Homemade bread is so easy with the bread maker and the ingredients are so simple.  I won't say I won't buy bread from bakeries anymore but I do have more appreciation on artisan breads.   I just need to be careful not to eat too much bread because they are indeed very fattening.  Here's another book I got from the book fair last year which I have been studying.  XD


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