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Converting a bread machine recipe to a manual recipe
Suppose you love a bread machine recipe, but the bread maker is broken. Or you would need more room in your kitchen for another gadget.
Thankfully, it is relatively easy to make any bread recipe by hand, even if it is written for a bread machine.
For best results, here are the basic steps for making most yeast bread by hand:
1. Proof the yeast
Proofing is a method to ensure that yeast is alive and ready to work in the dough.
Proof the yeast
2. Combine the ingredients and mix well
Mix all ingredients (add anything very cold or very hot last).
Use initially the same amount of liquids and flour as originally called for in the recipe.
As you work with the dough, pay close attention to its consistency and adjust the recipe as required, adding small amounts of flour or liquid to get the right consistency.
3. Knead the dough until smooth and soft
Kneading the dough is where most novice bead makers meet their biggest challenges.
Kneading is the process of developing dough into a smooth, elastic ball.
Knead the dough
4. The first rise – Let it rise until it doubled
Cover it with some plastic wrap or a dishtowel on a baking tray and let it rest for at least 30 to 90 minutes in a warm place until doubled in size.
How to proof
5. Punch down or fold the dough to release air bubbles
It is essential to get all the air out of the dough, or you could end up with large ugly air pockets in your loaf, and nobody wants that.
Punching down and folding affect the dough’s texture in different ways.
Fold the dough
6. Shape the dough
Once your dough ball is ready to be shaped, you need to consider what you will bake in your oven.
There are so many options for shaping bread. The recipes vary, so you may already have an idea. With just a few shaping techniques tips and some examples of fun designs, you will be on your way to making expert-level bread in no time!
Shape the dough
7. Place dough in a loaf pan or on a baking sheet
If making a traditional sandwich loaf, shape the dough to fit the greased loaf pan, and pop it in.
If making a round loaf, rolls, or snake, form rolls as you wish and place each one, seam side down, on a baking sheet, with the dough distributed as evenly as possible. You can use muffin pans for rolls as an option.
8. Second rise – Let it rise again until it nearly doubled
Once you have finished your final shape, you should let the dough proof for a bit longer in its oven tray before baking.
9. Finishing the crust – glazes, washes, and toppings (Optional)
Now is the time to do it if you are topping loaves with seeds. Prepare glazes, washes, and toppings while the oven is preheating.
Finishing the crust is the special touch for homemade bread that leaves it so yummy with a beautiful appearance! It adds flavour, affects the crust’s look, taste and crunch, provides an attractive finish, and adds moisture to the bread.
If you do not use glazes or washes, your bread will have a more matte or floury crust. Wash gives it a pretty colour and a bit of sheen.
Finishing the crust Topping bread dough Artisan bread
10. Baking the bread
While the bread’s ingredients affect its crust to some degree, baking is arguably a more significant factor in whether your bread is crusty, crunchy, or soft and tender.
Adjusting oven temperature and baking time can yield different effects on your bread, most notably in its crust.
Baking the bread
11. Proper cool the bread
Proper cooling can impact the quality of the loaf.
Remove baked loaves to wire racks to cool. Leaving them on the pan to cool could result in a soggy bottom crust.
Allow sitting for at least 15–30 minutes before you cut into your loaf.
Never cool the bread in the oven. Suppose the baking time concludes, and the bread is in the oven. If you turn off the oven and leave the bread to cool in the oven that is still near baking temperature, you will dry out and possibly burn the bread.
Only wrap loaves once they’re fully cool. If you wrap it warm, condensation will form, causing a soggy crust and promoting spoilage.
12. Slice the bread
When your bread is ready for slicing, use an electric knife or a sharp serrated knife with deep serrations. It will make it easier and neater to cut even slices.
Sliced bread allows air to come in contact with more of the bread, which causes the bread to dry out and stale faster. Wait to slice your bread until ready to eat it for the best results.
If you plan on storing the bread, cut only the amount to be consumed.
13. Store the bread
After you bake the bread, you need to keep it fresh for as long as possible until it is time to eat or serve it.
Either store it, well-wrapped, in a cool, dry place at room temperature for several days or freeze it for more extended storage.
Never store bread in the refrigerator. A common mistake is storing bread in the fridge. You may think it will stay fresh because it is cool, but refrigeration causes the opposite effect. It will take a long time to develop mould. Still, unfortunately, it will dry out and go stale approximately six times faster than if you left it in a plastic bag sitting on your counter at room temperature.
14. Freeze the bread (Optional)
If you want to preserve the flavour and properties of bread, it’s best to freeze it. Even though it may sound weird, freezing is better than putting bread in the fridge.
Freeze whatever you don’t think you will eat within 2–3 days.
Frozen bread will taste the same as freshly baked bread. Freezing bread will stop its clock for a few months. You will restart the clock when you thaw it out.
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Want More? Check Out My Cookbooks!
Did you know you could make more than bread in the bread machine? My cookbooks will walk you through how you can make pizza dough, pasta, cake, and of course, bread in a bread machine. With over 130 recipes, there is something for everyone!
Don’t have a bread machine? No problem! The book contains a guide to convert all bread machine recipes to manual recipes. The guide also allows you to convert manual recipes you may already have to bread machine recipes.
Check out “Bread Machine Foolproof Recipes” and “Bread Machine Tips and Tricks” on Amazon!
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