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General Directions for Making Bread
SCALD ALL LIQUIDS to ensure destruction of micro-organisms which might interfere with the action of the yeast plant.
ADD FAT, SUGAR AND SALT to the hot liquid and let it cool until it is lukewarm.
ADD THE YEAST CAKE, softened in a small amount of water to which one teaspoon of sugar may be added.
ADD THE FLOUR, sifted before measuring, except graham and whole-wheat flours, which are measured before they are sifted. There are two methods of mixing flour into dough:
Add one-half of the flour to the liquid-and-yeast mixture and beat thoroughly. Set in a warm place. When the batter is light, add the remaining flour, or enough to make a dough of the desired stiffness, and knead thoroughly until it no longer sticks to the board.
Add to the liquid-and-yeast mixture all the flour to be used or enough to make a dough of the desired stiffness and knead thoroughly until it no longer sticks to the board. This method may always be used with compressed yeast.
KNEADING BREAD Press the dough away with the palms of your hands. Stretch the dough from the edge, folding the back edge over to the center. Press the dough away with the palms of your hands, exerting sufficient force to cause the part folded over to adhere to the mass under it, and repeat folding. Turn dough one-quarter around and repeat kneading. Con- tinue turning, folding and kneading until dough is smooth and elastic and will not stick to an unfloured board.
FIRST RISING OF DOUGH Put the dough into a greased receptacle large enough to hold at least three times the bulk of the dough. Grease the top of the dough, cover the receptacle and set in a warm place. Let the dough rise until it trebles its bulk.
SECOND RISING OF DOUGH Remove dough from receptacle, bring the top around the under side and fold edges together. This leaves a ball-shaped mass, round and smooth on the upper surface. Bread carefully shaped in this way seems to give a much better product than seamy rough dough. Put back in receptacle. Grease the dough, cover the receptacle, return to warm place to rise again. This second rising is not essential but is worth while because it improves both the texture and the flavor of bread.
SHAPING INTO LOAVES Shape by folding the sides of a piece of dough under while pressing the dough so as to lengthen it. The top should be kept perfectly smooth and the only crease in the dough should be on the under side as the loaf is placed in the tin. If a soft crust is desired, grease the dough. To braid, cut into three, roll lengthwise, pinch together at one end, and proceed. Cover and allow to rise until double its bulk.
A loaf of average size should bake from fifty to sixty minutes at a beginning temperature of about 400 F (204 C). After fifteen or twenty minutes, the temperature of the oven may be reduced. A moderate heat for sixty minutes produces better bread than a hot oven for thirty minutes.
The baking process may be divided into four periods:
First 15 minutes the dough should continue to rise.
Second 15 minutes the dough should crust over and brown slightly.
Third 15 minutes the center of the loaf should bake and the crust continue to brown.
Fourth 15 minutes the loaf should shrink from the sides of the tin and should be browned evenly over its entire surface. It should have a hollow sound when tapped.
Bread is baked to complete the rising, kill the yeast plants, drive off the carbon dioxide and alcohol, dextrinize the crust, harden the cell walls of the crumb and develop the desired flavor.
Tests for Determining When Bread Is Done
1. When the color is a rich golden brown.
2. When the loaf shrinks away from the sides of the pan.
3. When the sides of the pan sizzle when touched with a damp finger.
4. When a clean toothpick inserted comes out free from any particles of the dough.
5. When the loaf gives a hollow sound on being tapped.
Characteristics of a Good Loaf of Bread
SIZE AND SHAPE A medium-sized loaf made of dough weighing from one pound to one and one-quarter pounds costs less to bake and is more likely to be thoroughly baked than a very large loaf. A moderate-sized loaf is about four or five inches deep, eight or nine inches long, and four or five inches wide.
The careful shaping of the dough is the first step necessary in making a well-shaped loaf of bread.
COLOR Bread should have a good bloom and be golden brown in color with a depth of crust on top, bottom and sides. The crumb should be cream- white in color with no dark streaks through it. A grayish color indicates poor flour or poor handling of the dough.
TEXTURE Nothing is more difficult to describe than texture, nothing more indicative of quality. Perfect texture of the crumb depends on kneading the dough until it is smooth and elastic and until it can be kneaded on an unfloured board with- out sticking. It depends on having the dough rise to double or treble its size once or twice before it is made into the loaf $ and once in the tins. It depends on careful baking. To de- termine the texture of the crumb, cut the loaf in two. The holes should be small and uniform with no streak near the bottom of the loaf and no lumps through the loaf. Press the YEAST BREADS center of the loaf with the knuckles; if the elasticity and moisture are right, the loaf should spring back to shape.
The crust should be smooth without large holes on the bot- tom and without a split on one side of the loaf. If the top crust is rough it may be due to insufficient kneading or to putting the dough into the tins before it is perfectly smooth.
FLAVOR AND ODOR A well-made, well-baked loaf will taste slightly sweet, neither too fresh nor too salty, and will have no suggestion of acidity, rawness or mustiness.
Common Causes of Inferior Bread
POOR FLOUR A cheap flour is an expensive flour because it makes a loaf inferior in texture, color, flavor and volume.
OLD YEAST Dead yeast plants can not leaven bread. Old compressed-yeast cakes or dry yeast which has been stored away until many of the yeast plants are dead will act very slowly if at all and will not give best results.
Too MUCH OR Too LITTLE KNEADING Over-kneaded dough becomes sticky and will not rise well in the oven. Un- der-kneaded dough makes streaked bread, poor in texture, which sometimes contains lumps that might have been worked out in the kneading.
Too MUCH FLOUR Too stiff a dough rises very slowly and therefore often is not allowed to rise sufficiently. This is a green dough and produces a loaf with poor flavor.
OVER-RISING Too long rising gives a very porous loaf with little flavor, a pale crust and a porous crumb with broken, irregular cells. This bread crumbles badly. If the rising continues too long, the bread is sour.
UNDER-RISING This gives a bread of dark crust which has blisters just under the crust. The loaf is small and flat. It browns easily in the oven. Such dough is said to be green.
Too COOL AN OVEN Bread will continue to rise too long if the oven temperature is too low. The result is bread that is very porous in the center and upper part of the loaf.
Too HOT AN OVEN The dough crusts over immediately and can not continue to rise the first ten or fifteen minutes it is in the oven, or the crust may break as it is forced up usually on one side more than the other. The crust becomes very brown while the center is underdone.
ROPK IN BREAD This appears during hot, damp weather.
It is due to the presence of a bacillus and the ropy, stringy quality does not develop immediately after the bread is baked. Rope gives bread a very disagreeable odor and makes it unfit for use.
If rope develops all utensils used in making bread and con- tainers in which bread is stored should be sterilized with boil- ing water. Vinegar equal to two per cent, of the amount of flour used should be added to all bread made until the supply of flour is exhausted. This is approximately one-half ounce (one tablespoon) of vinegar to one and one-half pounds of flour.
MOLD Bread wrapped while hot molds quickly. Containers used for storing bread should be washed and aired frequently, and immediately if mold is found.
Care of Bread After Baking
Bread should be removed from the tins as soon as it is taken from the oven, and placed on racks or crosswise of the tins so that air can circulate on all sides of it. Quick cooling prevents loss of moisture.
Varying from Recipes in Making Bread
Water may be substituted for milk in all bread recipes. This is not always desirable, however, as one purpose of milk is to increase the nutritive value of bread.

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