Would any of you be willing to give me advice on making bread? I am continuously disappointed with store-bought breads. Even organic breads with whole wheat or whole grains always seem insubstantial, quite possibly because the slices are incredibly thin. I know thick sliced bread is available, but it would be difficult to find and not cost effective. I want to be comfortable making my own bread. Not to sell, but to have for my family.
I’ve made bread before. Most notably I’ve made challah bread (traditional braided Jewish bread made for Friday night Shabbat dinners) and it’s come out pretty legitimate. Still I consistently find I have recurring problems when I bake bread.
1) The dough does not rise.
I use the correct amount of yeast and I let the dough rise (for both the first and, if required, second risings) by placing it in a greased bowl in a powered off oven. I cover the dough with a towel and place it above a bowl of warm water. Still the dough doesn’t always rise. Am I doing something fundamentally wrong?
A book I have on bread recipes says that salt will kill the yeast if you’re not careful, but I am not experienced enough with making bread to be able to tell how to add the salt without killing the yeast.
2) My other problem is the bread goes stale within 2 or 3 days.
I don’t use any preservatives, mold-inhibitors, or other chemical concoctions to keep my products fresh. Unfortunately, not knowing any natural preservatives is a severe hindrance for making bread. Ideally bread should be baked fresh each day, but who really has that much time? It would be a tremendous help to know a natural way to preserve bread because I understand that bread does go stale and that it’s normal especially for home made breads.
Because I make my own honey roasted peanut butter (more on this to follow in future blogs) I want to find a good honey whole wheat bread recipe and work from there on my yeast-bread journeys. In the near future I want to be comfortable making home made breads and eventually my own recipes. Any advice you can give will be a great help although be advised I do not have a bread machine and so I’m literally making everything by hand. I look forward to hearing from you!