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Tasty Bread in a Hurry

We receive quite a few emails and calls about bread-baking in general and now and again one comes up that would make an interesting newsletter.

Mary runs bread-making demonstrations for the WI in Scotland. She is time limited having only 90 minutes in her evening sessions but is able to produce finished rolls and pizzas in that time. She’s been asked to run some longer 10am to 3pm (no doubt with a good WI lunch in the middle) sessions and has asked for suggestions of what may be baked in that time. The extra limitation is a single domestic oven to complete the baking for everyone. She has managed pittas successfully but would like to do something more elaborate and has asked about bagels.

Clearly this is one for Vanessa given that she runs weekly courses in her domestic kitchen, so I asked her to reply to Mary.

There are several options that immediately spring to mind.

Pre-ferment The first thing is preparation. When time is an issue then preparing as much as possible ahead of the class will greatly assist. For example, a pre-ferment is a good idea: it is a much more tasty method than yeast alone and the quantity of yeast is greatly increased and so will speed up fermentation.

Start the pre-ferment 8 – 12 hours before you are ready to bake. Simply add 5g of fresh yeast to 100g of cold water and 100g of Mulino Marino 00 Soffiata flour. Mix using a dough whisk in a bowl then leave covered on the side in the kitchen. Use this mixture as a direct replacement for your yeast in your usual recipe based on 500g flour. It will make a slightly larger loaf.

Warm Water My second suggestion to Mary would be to increase the temperature of the water, see the table below. Use a proper digital thermometer.

Fine Flour The third thing I’d recommend is using a fine white flour. The smaller roller-milled particles are easier for the enzymes to break down and so the sugars are released more quickly to the yeasts. This means carbon dioxide is released faster and so you get a faster rise. The Mulino Marino 00 Soffiata flour is really lively.

A Drop of Diax Mary could also try using some Diax. Diax Malt Flour is full of naturally occurring enzymes, developed during the malting process. When used at about 5g per 1kg flour, Diax will break down some of the starch in your dough to short-chain carbohydrates (sugars). These sugars give a sustained release of food to the yeast throughout fermentation, giving better bread volume, a more open texture, and a darker crust colour. Use it sparingly as too much will make the dough hard to handle – a little goes a long way.

Controlled Proofing I’m not one for gimmicks. In fact nowadays I am ruthless when it comes to buying anything that takes up space in a cupboard, so I will admit that when Patrick first suggested I try the Brød and Taylor Folding Proofer I was not enthusiastic. It has, however become a treasured piece of equipment, and I use it time and time again.

It doesn’t take up much room as it folds down neatly to next-to-nothing.

Until the Brød and Taylor arrived there was considerable stress if anyone left any of the kitchen doors open and my dough wasn’t proving fast enough (which is quite often with 3 children, dogs and a cat that can open doors!). I have a lovely Victorian kitchen and even without the doors being left open it is draughty and cold in winter. I used to constantly nag everyone “Shut the doors, my dough is getting cold!” and yes, I know my children were not born in a barn (I was there), but despite all the complaining I think I’d have a better chance at training the cat to close doors!

Saying that, it is not just keeping doors shut that gets a kitchen to 27 degrees in the cooler months, it is lots of expensive energy. So the Brød and Taylor has ended up being an essential bit of kit. It is absolutely simple to use. You pop the bowl of dough (or the dough in the tin) inside, cover and wait. You can relax and know that the yeast is working at its optimum temperature to give you the perfect dough for your bread in time to bake.

I hope this helps Mary and lots of other readers.

Happy baking!

P.S. Generally you can fit a large bowl, two oval 1kg bannetons, or 3 x 2lb tins in the proofer.

….It also happens to double as fabulous yogurt maker too.


Brød and Taylor Proofer | £119.95

Prove bread and make yogurt with ease with the The Brød & Taylor Proofer. Compact when folded down and ideal for those wanting to prove bread but with no warm cupboard.

Mulino Marino 00 Soffiata | £2.75

Type "00" flour from strong organic wheat suitable for ciabatta, baguettes, brioches, croissants and as a general bread flour.

Diax | £1.59

Diax Malt Flour or Diastatic enzyme active malt flour, made from finely ground malted barley used to give improved rise, softer crumb and more crust colour development without the need for adding sugar.

Do you have a sourdough question for Vanessa? Send it to us and the best ones will appear in our next postbag edition and receive a dough whisk.

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