Baking bread at home can be a, well, interesting experience. Ever since my first attempt to bake bread I have had many problems trying to achieve the 'perfect' loaf.
It's down to many factors, most importantly though I lack the professional experience necessary to troubleshoot. I do have a little bit of luck in this area though. I've helped out in a local bakery when they've needed a hand and, of course, get to speak to the bakers there. They are always happy to help me out with suggestions as to where I'm going wrong.
The problems I've had in the past include things like: dough not rising, too salty, too heavy, uneven spreading, etc. The latest problem I had was the bread was coming out a strange colour, not a good taste, heavy and brittle. The suggestion was that the flour (which was strong bread flour) was of a poor quality and that I should try the same method with some of their bakery flour.
The results as you can see from the photo are quite remarkable. The colour from the bakery flour is a lovely golden colour, the dough has risen correctly, the bread is soft and the crumb is light. The cheap supermarket flour is washed out, dry and basically not edible. You may notice I cut the larger bap made from cheap flour on top, this was purely because I wanted to see how it was doing in the way of crumb size, plus if it was edible it would have looked pretty.
Cheap flour will give you the run around. You'll be trying everything you can think of to prepare a great dough because you assume, as a novice, that flour is just flour. I suppose that we should expect that ingredients will vary in quality. Personally though I didn't expect quite this difference in end product, but there we go. I'm really glad to have had a break through and finally enjoyed eating bread that I've baked at home.
With Thanks To
- Written by Stuart Edge
- Category: Baking
- Published: 14 April 2012