Monday, February 22, 2010

Ideas for Yeast Breads

* When baking a loaf of gluten-free bread in the oven, not in a bread-maker, I have had better success using traditional yeast, not quick-rising yeast, and I always proof it by letting it froth up in sugared warm water, even if the original recipe says otherwise.
* I always cover my dough in the loaf pan with lightly greased plastic wrap directly on the surface of the dough when I set it aside to rise. I can then press the wrap to even out the top of the loaf, and I don’t have to worry about the top of the loaf getting dry as it rises. Always remember to remove the plastic wrap before baking!
* Recipes usually say to beat the dough for three minutes with a mixer, but beating as long as you can hold out with a wooden spoon seems to work just fine.
* In my experience, allowing a second rising for the dough is not truly necessary for gluten-free bread, except for pizza dough, which likes 15 or 20 minutes to rise after being spread out on the pan.
* Check gluten-free bread through the oven door oven every ten minutes. If it is browning too quickly, after the first 20 minutes cover it lightly with foil.
* It can be difficult to tell when gluten-free bread is fully cooked. You can tap the loaf to see if it rings hollow. You can shake it firmly to see if it feels jiggly in the middle.You can use a toothpick or skewer to see if the middle is sticky. Or all of the above. An instant-read thermometer would probably be a good idea to test the centre of loaves, but I don’t have one.
* Allow your bread to cool completely before slicing. Then slice it thinly, all at once, and freeze any part of the loaf you don’t use the first day.