The quality and the taste of the bread you bake will never be better than the quality and taste of the ingredients you use.
The key to great bread baking is great ingredients, correct proportioning and sound technique.
You don't need to mortgage the farm for high tech ovens and equipment.
Ingredients, proportioning and technique will get you there even with the most basic equipment.
The best quality flour will not produce a good loaf if you do not use the correct amount of water.
Correct proportioning of yeast and water will not overcome the problem caused by a poor quality or unsuitable flour.
The use of great ingredients applies to the yeast, the flour or bread mix and other ingredients you may add such as fruit.
The difference between a good loaf and a disappointment can be as little as a single tablespoon of water too much or too little.
Flours ain't Flours on this web site tells you about differences in the quality and type of flours. At All About Bread, we pride ourselves on selecting only the finest ingredients.
Flours and Bread mix
You can't make a silk purse from a sows ear (even if you were that way inclined)
We select flours that will do the job every time. They have the taste and performance to produce gourmet quality that stand out amongst other breads and supermarket mixes.
Our bread mixes are preservative free and low in sugar and have no added fats. Most of our blends have no added sugars. The vast majority are dairy free.
We leave out all those listed and unlisted additives that are used as mould inhibitors and aids to high speed kneading. We use enzymes that are cereal enzymes rather than those from pork pancreatic acid that are found in many breads.
None of our bread mixes carry preservative 282 (Calcium Proprionate)
A search of the web will identify many reports that cast a serious doubt on this ingredient and link it to triggering ADD behavious in children and the triggering or onset of migraine.
The absence of these additives and chemicals enables breads to deliver a better taste. When it comes to quality we expect to be able to taste it as well.
Having selected the right flour or bread mix the next item is the yeast.
Instant yeast is ideal for bread machines and it is also easier to store and use in the home.
It is ideally used at the rate of 1% of the flour weight. This is 5 grams (approx 1 ½ teaspoon) per 500 grams of flour.
Yeast is a living organism and it has a limited life expectance. Similar in that respect to fruit and vegetable. It is best stored in the fridge. Store it cool and dry.
Instant yeast loses its efficacy with time. It is not like milk which has a habit of going bad overnight or just after you have poured it into your coffee. (maybe its only me that happens to)
Yeast will progressively deteriorate and often bakers increase the amount to compensate.
Test the yeast
It is best to test the yeast if you are in any doubt. This saves time and money as well as the frustration of a dead loaf after a three hour wait.
To test the yeast simply place a teaspoon of yeast and a teaspoon of sugar in half a glass of warm water.
Stir briskly and you should see a graet deal of activity taking place in the glass.
Time it over 10 minutes.
If there is a very frothy result that builds toward the top of the glass over that time, the yeast is fine.
If the yeast only produces a small froth, less than a head of a beer, the yeast should be discarded.
Remember that for those people with a yeast intolerance we have other rising agents available.
There is a difference in water quality.
Our labels reflect the use of Perth metropolitan scheme water.
Rain water and filtered are soft water and generally require a little less than our labels indicate. A reduction of 15 ml to 20ml may be required.
Hard water and bore water is generally harder and requires a slightly greater amount. Again the difference may be as much as 15 ml to 20 ml.
The texture of dough is the tell tale sign.
There are several factors which play a part in baking the perfect loaf. Apart from the ingredients the technique is critical. When we test our bread mixes in the various machines and establish the quantities necessary to obtain the best result we are quite pedantic in our measurements.
Our labels provide the flour quantity in weight (grams) rather than cups because it is far more accurate and reliable a measurement. If you measure your flour or bread-mix by the "cup" instead of by true weight you will only achieve an approximation of the required quantity.
Three and a third cups of flour or bread-mix is often regarded as being the amount required for 500grams.
A number of the Bread Machine manuals assert this and it is incorrect. Measuring by cup is is not always accurate and is certainly not the most reliable measurement.
Cupping from unsettled flour will give you less flour weight in a cupful than a cup of settled flour. This difference will significantly affect the result of the loaf.
A cupful of some flours will weigh considerably more than a cupful of others. A cupful of wholemeal (not as fine a texture as white flour, will generally weigh less than white flour.
Grained bread-mixes will generally have a greater weight per cup than a white bread-mix. Consequently it is common to mis-proportion grained bread-mixes by adding insufficient water to the amount of flour.
A difference of only 10 to 15 grams per cup (weighing approx 160g) by three cups, will make a very substantial difference to your loaf.
The use of quality scales will eliminate the vast majority of proportioning problems in bread making. All About Bread carry a range of scales that are extremely cost competitive and are selected for suitability of their features and reliability.
They measure in 1 gram intervals with an excellent total weight capacity.
FOLLOW THE LABEL - NOT THE BOOK
At All About Bread we test each breadmix in a variety of machines and determine the exact proportioning that produces the best result in each machine.
Every batch of flour is test baked to ensure consistency of result. The exact quantity of water/ breadmix and yeast is then printed on the label of the product so we are certain that you can obtain the optimum result we are obtaining.
We have confidence in saying that follow our label directions and you will obtain a great loaf. If you almost follow our directions our label directions, you will almost obtain a great loaf.
Remember If all else fails - read the instructions on the label and give them a try. You might surprise yourself.
YOUR WATER LEVELS ARE CRITICAL
Flour is hydroscopic and will absorb moisture from the atmosphere. This will have an effect on the loaf you produce. On wet and humid days the flour tends to absorb moisture from the atmosphere.
To compensate for the moisture that the flour absorbs from the atmosphere you should either reduce the amount of water you put into the loaf or you should increase the weight of flour. The amount you should decrease the water is dependant upon the humidity to which the flour is exposed.
When you follow our labels you know that the water quantities we quote are for dry weather. There will not be occasions you need to increase the water. There will however be the wet and humid days that you will decrease the water slightly.
A small amount of water, more or less, makes a significant difference to the volume and texture of the loaf. Loaves that are heavy and stunted can come about from not enough water, and equally from too much.
GLUTEN FREE & WHEAT ALTERNATIVES
All About Bread dietary products, which include wheat free, gluten free, yeast free and lactose free bread mixes are also selected for taste and performance.
We cater for a wide range of dietary needs including those of coeliacs and diabetes.
These mixes meet the needs of the individual in both taste and nutrition and are surprisingly economical.
Whereas many gluten free breadmixes produce "cake like" results, our dietary mixes are formulated to achieve a bread structure and designed for the home baker to achieve a quality result.
You will know at a glance that ingredients you wish to avoid, or to which you have an intolerance, are either present or not.
We list all ingredients that are utilized in the blend no matter how minute the quantity is.
With home baked mixes from All About Bread you can be sure of what goes into the finished product.
Gluten Free Baking differs from baking with wheat flours. For assistance in gluten free baking click here for Baking Gluten Free or alternately go to the page on Dietary Issues for assistance in identifying what will best suit your needs.
Staff at each of our stores are fully trained in bread baking, have an outstanding knowledge of the various bread machines, and are able to provide you with any necessary advice on how best to use our products.
Be aware however that we do not purport to provide medical advice. Obtaining qualified medical advise is recommended.