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Bread lovers, this one’s for you

Thursday, January 15th, 2015 at 6:34 pm

From sweet custard buns to savoury cheese sticks, or even plain rolls to accompany a piping hot soup, breads are among the most versatile foods around.

breadcompile
Bread glorious bread! (IMAGE: Archive photos)

Being a bread lover in Singapore is a fortunate thing, as there are no lack of bakeries and confectioneries around, making it easy to satisfy the cravings of your inner bread monster. However, while store-bought bread offers convenience, most people know that it’s more cost-efficient and also healthier to bake your own bread, though the thought of bread-making may make you feel like this:

hardd

Not to worry my little padawans. Let’s take a look at some of the common problems faced by first-time bakers so that you won’t be caught by surprise when you try your hand at baking:

1. Getting the dough right

Once you’ve gotten hold of a recipe, putting the right amount of ingredients together and mixing it up is fairly straightforward. However, this whole concept of kneading “enough” is where things get tricky.

knead

You can identify under-kneaded dough if it behaves like a lousy boyfriend/girlfriend – sticky/clingy, doesn’t hold its own (form), and is generally hard to handle as it’s too mushy.

On the other hand, over-kneaded dough is somewhat like Liam Neeson in Taken 3 – too tough for his own good and difficult to manipulate (or fold), and will produce a loaf with a crust so hard it can probably deal some physical damage if used as a thrown weapon.

Getting dough to the desired consistency is something that you’ll master after repeated practices, but the general tip is to stop kneading when the dough is elastic and springs back when you try to make an indentation with your finger.

springy dough
IMAGE: www.cookingwithgifs.com

If this first step to breadmaking sounds terribly daunting already, thank the confectionery gods for this great invention called a breadmaker, which has pre-set menus that will automate the kneading for you, ensuring a perfect dough every single time.

2. Rising to the occasion

In basic bread-making, there are two phases of rising:

a. Letting the dough rise after kneading
b. Bread rising during baking

A common issue faced in 2(a) is that the dough doesn’t rise properly, and this is usually attributed to the yeast used, assuming you’ve used the right ingredients to start with (e.g. high gluten flour). Yeast is an active ingredient that is re-activated when in contact with warm water, when it then feeds on sugars (also present in flour) and releases carbon dioxide that causes the dough to rise. Yes, you can think of it as yeast fart.

rising

[Click here for a fun video on how yeast works in breads]

With this little fact in mind, here’s why your dough isn’t rising:

– Dead yeast: Inactive = no feeding on sugars = no gas = no rising.
– Cold ingredients/dough: Yeast doesn’t re-activate as much = minimal feeding = wee bit of gas = slow rising.
– Ingredients too hot: You killed the yeast!
– Under-kneaded: Yeast isn’t properly distributed among ingredients, so the rising doesn’t occur evenly throughout the dough. Or gluten in dough isn’t elastic enough to contain the carbon dioxide before tearing.
– Over-kneading: Gluten becomes tough and not elastic, so it doesn’t “stretch” when the carbon dioxide is released.

Typically, basic bread recipes will require the dough to rise to twice its size, so the visual cue is a good indication of sufficient rising.

Once again, if this is something you’d rather not have to worry about, hunt down a breadmaker.

3. I don’t have an oven!

Here’s where a good breadmaker will solve your problem. Once you have all the ingredients dumped into the bread pan and have the right mode selected, just shut the lid and press start for the breadmaker magic to happen. The mixing, kneading, rising and baking takes place in the breadmaker, so there’s really no need for an oven.

And if you’re the proud owner of a Panasonic breadmaker, you’re in luck. Apart from basic bread loaves, you can also easily make simple cakes, stuffed breads, chocolate mousse, and even local delights such as muah chee!

For starters, here’s an example of how simple it is to make a lemon cake (without an oven!):

[youtube 23SuhHu8l3k]

Recipe for Muah Chee:

bread2
Recipe: Panasonic Singapore

Get baking!

If you’re now convinced that breadmaking is actually something that you can do, it’s time to get started.

There are plenty of online resources and recipes available for conventional breadmaking, but not as much for breadmakers, so here’s a basic one to get you started!

bread1
Recipe: Panasonic Singapore

For more breadmaker recipes, check out creative ones from Singapore Blog Awards 2014 Best Cooking Blog Finalists, or check out the blog posts below:

YummyFoodBook | Shuiyuki | Miss Chocoholic | Noob Guidance | Vivian |
Sydney
| Stella | Monice | Molly-mia | Yvette | Meryl | Kelly Vanille | Oinkeebabe |
Josloevsfood | Jodulu | Momdivulge | Millymin | Mums calling

This blog post is brought to you by Panasonic Singapore.

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Category : Food, Gadgets / Tech, Product / Service Reviews
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