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Bread Machine Reviews
Making bread by hand is rewarding and fun. If you have any questions or would like to pass along some advice about some techniques you may use, leave a comment at our BreadInfo Blog. Below are past comments about baking bread by hand:

Uneven Bread Crust

Q: Lately my bread crust has been peeling off the main body of the bread. It is still attached, but not a fluid crust. What am I doing wrong. Does it make a difference if I use milk or water?

A: It shouldn't make any difference what kind of fluid you use. You actually may be using a bit too little. Try increasing the amount by a teaspoon full or two.

2nd Rise

Q: I can never get my bread to rise a second time. The first rise is good. Any suggestions? I have a really nice recipe for anise rolls but I can't get them to re-rise.

A: Try putting in a little more sugar.

Q: I took my starter out of the fridge and fed it. It is producing a lot of alcohol after being fed. Did I kill my culture?

A: Too much fermentation will eventually kill the yeast.

Ovens

Q: I have lusted for a wood fired brick oven but I just cant afford to build one. Have any of you tried baking bread in a Kamada style grill? Im looking at a big green egg that I think will hold heat well but they are kind of pricey also. Just thought Id see if any of you have experiance with one?

A: Yes, bread can be "baked" on a grill. In fact dough can even be fried to good effect. My dear mother used to do it all the time when I was a boy.

Internal Temp of Bread at Finish

Q: What should the internal temperature of bread when it is perfectly baked?

A: The internal temperature of bread at the time it is done should be about 190 Degrees F. Heavier breads should get to just over two-hundred degrees.

Boiling Milk

Q: If milk boils, instead of warming, does that make a difference? In other words is it wrong to let the milk boil?

A: Generally, boiling milk is a bad idea. It can scald the pan, and even curdle. I can hardly think of a reason to heat milk to that level when baking bread. If you want a warmer environment for the yeast, a gentle warming would be sufficient. If you want to kill any germs, the baking process should do.

Using a Baking Rack

Q: My bread gets soggy on the bottom. What am I doing wrong?

A: When bread has finished baking it should cool for a period on a rack. The warm bread is releasing moisture and if air cannot get to all sides of the loaf the moisture will make the unexposed area soggy.

3rd Time No Charm

Q: I just tried a new recipe for white bread, usually stick to WW. It rose great the first 2 proofs then on the third it never rose just spread, can anyone tell me what I did wrong?

A: You seldom hear of bread rising properly twice and then just spread out on the third go round. Usually, by that time all the kneading has had a good effect, and the temperature must be right. The only thing I can suggest is to try a bit more sugar and a bit less salt in your recipe. Sugar is food for the yeast and salt inhibits it slightly, so this may do the trick. Hope this helps!

Punching Down

Q: When the recipe says to punch down the dough, does that mean to knead again or does the term 'punch down'mean something else?

A: Yes - punching down basically means kneading the bread. I think the term comes from the fact that the risen bread is often literally punched in order to get the air out of it to make it kneadable. I remember when I was a boy, my mother would let us kids punch down the bread. It was one of our favorite things to do. Of course, this was in the days before video games.

When to Put Seeds on Bread

Q: When and how do you put seeds on top of a loaf of bread?

A: Sprinkle the seeds on top of the dough just after the last kneading to get them embedded a bit into the crust.

Q: What temperature should dough be for it to rise properly?

A: In an ideal world you will want the temp to be between 75 and 85 degrees F. But dough will rise on lower temps. Just keep in mind that you want the dough to double.

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