I am still a beginner at making bread, yet I have already discovered that it is not too hard to come up with your own recipes based on your or your family’s taste. This post is inspired by my first original recipe which unlike everything else I do in life went great on my first try. So without further ado, this is how to make your bread recipe:
Mix Up the Flour
One of the easiest ways to tweak your bread is by mixing up the types of flour you use. Most of us begin with all-purpose unbleached flour and then progress to whole wheat but you certainly do not have to stop there. Experiment with semolina or Type 00, or get some rye. You can even grind up your oatmeal at home to make oat flour. Try different percentages to calibrate for your taste.
Decide on the Softener
If you want your crumb (the inside of the bread) to be soft you have plenty of choices. Oils and fats go well with flour and serve to lighten and fluff. Olive oil will always be my favorite but butter has been really enhancing the taste of my whole wheat blends as of late. Using some percentage of milk instead of just water has also worked some wonders for the texture. When it comes to the fats, butter and the various kinds of oils are pretty much interchangeable in quantity And you can’t really mess it up, the simplest recipes do not even require these items.
Decide on the Sweetener
The sweetener does more than just feeds the yeast. Honey is my favorite but the choices are countless. Brown sugar, syrups, and even orange juice can all be used to give your bread a distinctive flavor. The amount of sweetener you use is a very personal choice. I followed some recipes that have me putting half a cup of honey in two loaves. Talk about too sweet. But hey, to each his own, right? Experiment with your tolerance and find the perfect “sweet spot” Pun intended.
Decide on the Directions
I could never have the patience to follow every line of text verbatim. I am happy I didn’t because I learned some key facts about bread baking. Every oven is different. My runs about 25-50 degrees cooler than what every recipes calls for. And temperature is a big deal if you are looking for the exciting burst of “oven spring” in your bread. I also learned that it is best to proof by eye rather than time. I live in Hawaii where the hot weather can make rise times pretty short. I know, please don’t hate me because of where I live. For the first rise wait until the dou`1gh has doubled in size and/or flattened out on top. For the second rise, get the dough to about 80 percent of what you expect it should look like. Hopefully the oven will take care of the rest. The last way I like to tweak the directions on a recipe is to “retard” the rise. I always put the dough in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours to slow the rise down. This makes the dough more flavorful and easier to work with. Experiment with how long to leave it in the fridge. The longer the better is what I am finding!
So there you have it. No reason to follow a recipe when you can make your own suited to your own tastes. Recipes and the people that share them are awesome and they are springboards and a sparks but you should believe in yourself and cook to your taste, you may create the best recipe yet!
Please share and let me know how you like to tweak your bread.