BREAD BAKING TIPS - WHOLESOME INGREDIENTS

            Ingredients are just as important as the crust, look and texture. I make a nice rye loaf using a pumpernickel meal. Any meal for that matter is good. Meal is high in fiber. Meal is just coarse ground flour with nothing removed. You can make your own meal with a flour mill that has a course setting.

            Stone-ground whole wheat flour is one of my favorites. Any stone-ground flour has more nutritional value that a commercially milled flour. Commercial milling uses steel grinding wheels. The wheels heat up in the grinding process and bake off some of the nutritional value. That does not happen with stone-ground. The stone grinding wheels don't heat up.

            Unbleached flour is better than bleached. Flour is bleached using chlorine. That's what makes it white. The food value is removed for storage and fed to farm animals. Food value is added back when the flour is later sold to the consumer. We know it as all purpose flour. Adding the nutritional value back is called enriching. Unbleached is more natural. Never removing in the first place and not having to add back.

            Gluten content of flour is also important. Bread flour has high gluten/protein content - fourteen grams of protein per cup. All purpose flour has 11 grams of protein per cup. The high gluten/protein content is what gives us a big full loaf. You pay more for high gluten flour. You need it in bread baking. All artisan breads use high protein, high gluten flour.

            For sweetener don't use refined sugar. Again go natural with honey or molasses. Honey for whole wheat and molasses for rye. Use vegetable oil or olive oil. No animal product. Use water and no milk. Use no eggs. Salt is a must, but you can use sea salt or some other substitute.

            Think nutrition, fresh and wholesome. Buy fresh ingredients. Flour from a small health food store may have been around for a while. Ask if it is fresh. Special order your flour or get it from a food broker. From a food broker it will be fresh. Their product does not sit on the shelves long.

More Tips at the following links:

Whole Milk Mozzarella for Pizza

Elusive Oven Spring or Oven Shoot

About Flour

Economics of Home Baking

Temperature and the Craft of Bread Baking

Pizza: Thick Crust vs. Thin Crust

Shaping Hot Dog/Hamburger Buns

Artisan Breads

It's Always the Yeast

Using Enough Yeast?

Buying Yeast

Baking Issues & Stones

Active Dry vs. Instant Yeast

Coloring Your Loaf - Dark Bread

Artisan Sponge Starter

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