Common Mistakes to Avoid in Artisan Bread Baking
Everyone makes mistakes when they are in the kitchen. Most of the time, we brush them off and continue about our business with little disappointment – but what happens when you are expected to produce a fine loaf of bread and cannot afford to miscalculate things and start over from scratch? Here are the most common mistakes people make when they are attempting to follow an Artisan Bread recipe. Pay attention and avoid these pitfalls, and you will be well on your way to consistently producing flavorful loaves of Artisan Bread.
The Bland Loaf
Unless you’re a purposely creating a loaf without any additional flavor, the most common ingredient people forget to add is salt. In ancient times, salt was never used when creating traditional bread, and was only introduced in the Middle ages as a natural preservative and a flavoring agent. Nowadays, every baked item calls for a certain amount of salt in order to excite the taste buds. This mistake also applies to any other ingredient used to modify the flavor of your ArtisanBread. Pay attention to your recipe and put in your ingredients when directed. Don’t take it for granted that you will always remember – refer to your book just to be safe!
Dough that over-rises
Modern yeast strains act fast and are extremely efficient. Therefore, if you leave them to activate for longer than your specified times, you may end up with a loaf of Artisan Bread that “over-rises’ and spills out over the edges of your pans. Simply trim away the excess, gather the individual pieces and mold them into a larger piece that you can bake as a roll. Lightly brush some olive oil on a pan, form your rolls from the excess dough and allow them to proof for 20 minutes. Once they have raised a small amount, pop them into the oven and you will have some smaller rolls to accompany your larger Artisan Bread.
Choking out your yeast
It is very easy to choke the life out of your yeast when you mix the dry ingredients in water that is far too hot. Always remember to keep it lukewarm in order to give the yeast a nice environment to activate and develop. You can invest in a small cooking thermometer if you’re really unsure if hot is too hot. Some Artisan Bread recipes even call for cool water for slower activation (I have yet to try this, but apparently the results are interesting.)
Storing Extra Dough
Sometimes you have far too much dough on hand and not enough counter space, pans to make loaves, or room in your oven. You don’t need to pitch out that extra dough if you don’t have time to bake it right away. You can easily store the dough after it has risen in a large zipper-bag, in a bowl with a plastic wrap covering or airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to a week. As long as the dough doesn’t have access to a lot of air, it will remain at the same stage (and even develop a bit of a sourdough flavor as it ages). Try this out if you want to attempt an Artisan Bread recipe with a different dough flavor.
Burning your Bread
It sounds like a no-brainer – don’t leave your bread in the oven too long or in one that is too hot or it will burn. But it is easy to miscalculate times, and there have been occasions where the dough has risen in less than ideal conditions, which could lead to premature burning or over baking. Always make sure you follow your Artisan Bread Recipes properly, but be prepared to account for any temperature or humidity changes in the environment where the dough is allowed to rise. Monitor your baking periodically and make adjustments as you see fit. The key to making Artisan bread lies in the careful modification throughout the process. It isn’t a matter of setting it and forgetting it. More care is needed during baking than typical loaves of bread.
With these reminders on how to avoid making mistakes while baking your Artisan Bread, you should be able to easily craft some tasty examples for you and your friends and family to enjoy. Keep practicing and following your recipes, but always remember that you can experiment in order to create an Artisan Bread that is unique and in your style.
For more information on Artisan Bread Recipes, visit this site for reviews and comparisons of the best Artisan Bread Recipe books written by some of the world’s best Artisan bakers.
Diego Gosalbo is a contributing writer for http://www.artisanbreadrecipes.com – an online resource with articles and reviews of the best Artisan Bread Recipe books by the world’s leading experts in bread baking.
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