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Another bread question

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Showing 1-25 of 34 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Aug 2014 20:09:31 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Aug 2014 20:26:19 BDT
BirdmanC says:
Does anyone know how the Morrison's traditional loaves are made? (I am assuming that the in-store bakeries all use the same recipe - I know that not all of their in-store bakeries actually make it. The one I like is in Wallsall.)

The loaves come pre-packed in paper bags and have a fabulous taste - certainly amongst the best tasting bread that I have ever eaten.

I make my own bread most of the time, using my version of the poolish method, and am experimenting with sour dough. Neither method (just one sour dough loaf so far) are particularly close, although sour dough cultures are supposed to vary in flavour from culture to culture and as they age.

(I live quite some way from Wallsall, otherwise I'd go in and ask).

Posted on 6 Aug 2014 22:26:34 BDT
I,m not sure about morrisons, I agree, their trad bread is very tasty and the baker did tell me it,s because they let it prove for longer. But in my experience supermarket bakers buy in ready mixes, they just add water etc etc. if you work out agood sourdough recipe let me know. I,ve not had much success with mine. Either heavy bread or a sour taste,I,d love to make decent bread but my confidence is low in this area.xx

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Aug 2014 08:18:38 BDT
Charlie says:
I spoke to my local baker who I've been begging for help bread making and he says you can never get the same result at home as the power of the knead in their machines can't be matched. I do know tho that you can make the 'tiger' topping which is amazing recipe online x

Posted on 7 Aug 2014 15:43:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Aug 2014 15:44:14 BDT
pixie says:
I make my bread, I love a mix of spelt and wholemeal.

Posted on 7 Aug 2014 19:48:51 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Aug 2014 19:56:00 BDT
BirdmanC says:
As far as bread making goes in general, having spent the past several months tweaking and experimenting and make far more indifferent bread than good, there are two overwhelmingly important factors - water content and kneading. The amount of yeast added also has quite some effect too.
I use around 600g of flour for a 2lb tin and changing the water content by 20ml changes the loaf from a deflated disaster to "perfect". I now weigh the water to within 2g.
Kneading - this is hard work and again makes the difference between something like a Victoria sponge texture compared to well-risen bread texture - hence the comment above - could not agree more. I actually use a bread machine for kneading and the first rise most of the time - much easier. Final baking is done in a standard oven.

I started a sour dough off last week - I used Allinson's standard strong flour to begin with but fed it with both organic dark rye flour (supposedly THE business for sour dough cultures) and Tesco's wholemeal strong flour to try to get a mix of yeasts and bacteria. It started to ferment after only 2 days and was akin to Vesuvius after 5. The one loaf so far has a fine taste but was too wet, so rather leaden. You need FAR less water with sour dough (I have what is generally called a wet sour dough - 1:1 flour and water).

For comparison, my recipes -
My modified Poolish method
For the poolish - water 300g, sugar 2g, flour 190g, huge pinch of activated yeast.
Leave to ferment for 12-24 hours, then add flour 430g, salt 5g, 1 tspn activated yeast.
(A huge pinch of carraway in this gives a very pleasant twang that tastes not at all like caraway)

Sour dough (still a work in progress, but this water content should be about right)
Sour dough culture 300g (around 150g water and 150g flour), flour 470g, water 100g, salt 5g. Mix/knead them, allow to rise once, knead again and leave to rise for 12-24 hours in the bread tin, before baking.
(What is used for the final rise of a sour dough is supposed to be important - some say that the bugs need oxygen, if so, a tin loaf may be a non-starter - bloomer or nothing in that case. We shall see in due course)

Most people will keep their sour dough in the fridge, which will change it compared to when kept at room temperature - different yeasts and bacteria flourish at the two temperatures. Sour dough cultures (once you have one you like) freeze perfectly well so that if disaster strikes and your main culture dies...... (I also make my own very mild thick yoghourt, and freeze the starter between batches - same principle.)

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Aug 2014 19:54:09 BDT
They use sacks of bread mix.

Posted on 7 Aug 2014 19:58:46 BDT
BirdmanC says:
At the end of the day, bread is flour, water and yeast, plus salt and fat to taste, or not.
The fact that any supermarket uses "bread mix" does not preclude them making wonderful bread, they just have to do more than mix, knead and bake it.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Aug 2014 19:58:50 BDT
Dan Lepard is very good about bread. His method is a quick knead with 20 minute rests. He reckons its difficult or impossible to tell the difference between that and the hard work method.
I think, IIRC, the kneading is more for evenly distributing and absorption of the liquid and the gluten just develops left to its own devices.

The method produces an excellent stollen and focaccia.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Aug 2014 20:01:05 BDT
I agree, but my point is it isn't anything "special". I really think the large mixing machines are the difference.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Aug 2014 20:01:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Aug 2014 20:03:01 BDT
BirdmanC says:
Stollen and focaccia are a long way from anything like a traditional English loaf.
Foccacia is just a thin layer of once-risen standard bread dough.

Kneading/mixing have an effect only on the way the bread rises, and hence texture, not the taste.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Aug 2014 20:09:17 BDT
Aye. Texture can affect taste - a soft pappy bread against a nice texture with some chew.
A good sour dough loaf is one of life's extreme pleasures.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Aug 2014 20:14:03 BDT
BirdmanC says:
Hmmm, true to a point I suppose, but I am basically unconvinced - a tasty loaf would be tasty no matter the texture, even if otherwise unpalatable due to poor texture.
My experimenting has produced lots of tasty loaves that rose only around half to two-thirds what they ought to have - a bit like malt loaf or supermarket pumpernickel.

Each unto their own.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Aug 2014 20:18:29 BDT
Once my kitchen gets rebuilt - well having a small galley kitchen vs the small square I have at the moment, I'm looking forward to some bread making as I'll have some working space. A great voyage of experimentation.

Posted on 8 Aug 2014 06:47:04 BDT
BirdmanC says:
I have no experience of worktop food mixers (the Kenwood chef/Kitchen Aid types) at all, and have never been tempted, so have no idea how good a job they might make of kneading. As and when the bread machine here that I use for kneading packs up, I am tempted by this - Clatronic KM 3400 Kneading Machine

I suspect that accomplished home bread makers, and failed ones like me that find the secret, have a far better appreciation of what kneading is all about and how much hard work it is - even Rose Levy Beranbaum says as much in her bread bible.

Posted on 8 Aug 2014 08:54:58 BDT
I grew up making my own bread. Your flour has to be in good condition and reasonably fresh (not right out of the mill fresh, but not old.) Quality of yeast is important. Ambient temperature too--that's why I never make bread where I live now, it is too cold in our apartment for it to rise in winter, and it's too darn hot out there to make bread in summer! Kneading is very important, this may sound odd but the rhythm used as well as the time given to it seemed to affect my final product. During my teens I made 4 one-pound loaves a week (at least), and I found that I got best results by singing through "Mary Hamilton" while kneading. But that's just by the way.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Aug 2014 09:15:39 BDT
Bearman says:
The Kenwood Chef Major actually does a really good job of kneading. I find it particularly useful if I am making something with a very wet dough (soft sweet bread for iced buns....mmmmm), when kneading by hand just ends up looking like an explosion in a glue factory. When making normal bread, I still use the Kenwood to do the majority of the kneading, but I finish it off by hand, as that is the best way to judge the development of the gluten - you get a feel for when the dough is ready.

Posted on 8 Aug 2014 10:59:08 BDT
BirdmanC says:
For anyone wanting to make bread when the weather/house/kitchen seems too cool, you can buy very low power heating mats - some are sold for raising seedlings but the one that I use is normally used as under-floor heating in vivaria, for things like lizards. They run at about 15-20 watt and warm a loaf tin, inside a large plastic bag, very well.

Posted on 8 Aug 2014 14:43:05 BDT
happy says:
I used to make bread, but H can't resist fresh bread, so he just eats the lot. Tried freezing it but he can eat most of a loaf before it's cooled enough to go in the freezer. So now I just buy simple sliced brown which he's not keen on and a loaf or artisan bread on Friday to go with the fish. Even H finds it inedible after it's twenty four hours old.

Posted on 9 Aug 2014 08:46:54 BDT
So true, HC, when I was making bread I always made an extra loaf each time because it would get devoured, still hot. Back in the seventies there were all kinds of fake "shortages" (meat, coffee, sugar, even lettuce!) and we got into making our own. Mum would by flour in 25lb bags at the feed store, and store it in metal bins (basically trashcans with tightfitting lids). We learned that you can cut the amount of sugar in most American cake and cookie recipes by as much as half to two thirds without affecting the flavour of the final product.

Posted on 9 Aug 2014 08:50:30 BDT
pixie says:
Two really good recipes for everyday bread

Hugh fearnley....

and John torode for burger buns....these being made with mash potato, they really are good!

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Aug 2014 19:59:45 BDT
Looks like good value BirdmanC. I,ve made bread ok in my Kitchenaid, it,s plenty powerful enough and I make bread in a machine, the bread machine makes a good loaf but they have no real character or flavour to me. My KA, bread has more flavour but my bread doesn,t rise enough and can be a bit heavy. It,s me, I know I need more practise to get the feel of the dough as Bear says.xx

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Aug 2014 20:16:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Aug 2014 20:17:18 BDT
pixie says:
The secret is Diamond is to always use the wholemeal programme on the machine...much better loaf and leave out the powdered milk, all that does is make a softer crust.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Aug 2014 20:50:20 BDT
Ahha, thanks Pixie, I,ll give it a go little mate.xx

Posted on 9 Aug 2014 21:29:11 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Aug 2014 21:37:57 BDT
BirdmanC says:
Bread made in my Kenwood machine, standard recipe, is fine, but totally bland. By using different recipes and programs, or loading your own program, the bread could well be better.
Given the experimenting here over the past few months I am pretty sure the number of under-risen, heavy loaves must outnumber the decent ones. The cause is too much or too little water, or too little kneading. (The dough that I use now and knead in the Kenwood contains quite a bit less water than the Kenwood recipe, on the dough program it gets 30 minutes kneading.)

Milk powder mostly helps in producing a browner crust (due to caramelisation of the lactose), and strengthens the gluten resulting in a better rise ref. Rose L B.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Aug 2014 21:38:26 BDT
Do you think we just try too hard sometimes, people have been baking bread at home since forever. My old Dad used to knock up bread and rolls for us all the time when we were kids and he know b all about cooking.xx
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Discussion in:  cooking discussion forum
Participants:  9
Total posts:  34
Initial post:  6 Aug 2014
Latest post:  10 Aug 2014

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