In cooking there are certain recipes that are so incredibly simple but the technique is quite the opposite. These oxymoronic recipes are truly defined by their methods. The method of a recipe is much like a treasure map, it guides you to success. But as you follow this path, one wrong step could lead to disaster. This is never more evident than when baking bread at home. The ingredients are so simple; flour, water, yeast, and salt. There are so many variables that never really get explained. What yeast do I need to use? Is my recipe dependable? Can I just use my bread machine? Even if you use a dependable recipe, how long is that bread going to last? Can you freeze the bread? So lets answer some of these more pressing questions to ease your nerves on this path to the treasure that is fresh baked bread.
“How do I keep my homemade bread fresh?”
So let’s start at the beginning. We need to find the best recipe possible. If you are using a bread machine then it will generally come with a recipe book. If you have lost the recipe book they will be easy to find the recipe on the manufacturer’s website. But if you are just using a traditional standmixer you will need to be particular about the recipe you use. The best way to tell if a recipe is dependable is how the ingredients are measured. If the ingredients are measured solely in volumetric form such as cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons then stay away from these recipes. Volumetric recipes are extremely inconsistent since many factors can change just how much flour or other ingredient makes it into the cup measure. Be sure to use a recipe that has some sort of measurement by weight. Whether it be ounces or grams, try to use these recipes as they will be consistent with the person who created them.
The next issue is that some recipes will just say “yeast” in the ingredients list. This could mean a few things, fresh yeast, active dry yeast, or instant yeast. Fresh yeast and active dry yeast will need to be added to warm water and activated prior to the mixing of the bread. Instant yeast can be added to the dry ingredients and will work without having to activate it in the water. There are two types of instant yeast that you may come across. A red version and a gold version. The main difference is that the gold version can work with high sugar concentration doughs. Now this doesn’t mean it needs the high sugar concentrations, but it works very well in those situations. The red version will be hindered by high concentrations of sugar. A common question people ask is, “can these types of yeast be used in my bread machine. The answer is yes, the instant yeast either red or gold will work in a bread machine.
Once you have the perfect recipe and the perfect yeast and you make your perfect loaf of bread you may realize that the quality goes down over time. Every loaf of bread will stale over time, it’s just natural. But there are ways to help prevent the staling. We don’t all have the luxury of making and eating an entire loaf of bread a day. So it would be nice if there was a way to keep the quality of the bread into days two, three, and four. Thankfully there is, Sodium stearoyl lactylate is an ingredient that can be added to the dry ingredients and it will help with the volume of the bread as well as prevent the staling. Sodium stearoyl lactylate is a baking emulsifier that helps the bread hang onto the water molecules and prevent them from evaporating into the air. This also helps with freezing the bread. An emulsifier will help prevent freeze burn that can strip the food of its water. The best part is it can be added to any recipe without have to change the method. It’s incredibly easy to make a great recipe last longer when using sodium stearoyl lactylate.
If you’re just looking to get into bread baking or just want to utilize your bread machine more. Follow these simple steps and you will get a better result every single time.
Classic Focaccia: This focaccia was born to soak up a luxurious mopping of olive oil or spread on a rich and salty tapenade. It boasts an airy crumb and perfect crumb-to-crust ratio that make it versatile enough to grace any table.
Not Your Granny’s Monkey Bread: Part croissant, part pure joy, this monkey bread pulls apart beautifully and is just the right touch of sticky sweet thanks to a cinnamon sugar caramelize sauce that oozes into every nook and cranny.
Soft as a Cloud Potato Rolls: These tender, fluffy potato rolls are pull apart soft, yet still dense enough to hold their shape with the greatest of ease, even when generously book-ending our gut-busting bacon boursin smash burger. This easy recipe takes advantage of amylase’s ability to break down starches to yield a heavenly texture and add a mild flavor that uplifts any burger or sandwich.
Speedy Sicilian Pizza From Scratch: Think a pizza that’s dough to done in under 2 hours is for the wishful thinker only? Think again!. This pizza recipe does it all from scratch, dough and even the sauce! Tuck into an airy focaccia-style Sicilian slice that’s anything but dense. How do we do it? It’s the I’m Free Baking Powder that gives it an extra-extraordinary lift in the oven without all that waiting around proof time. Bonus: Want to make it vegan? just top it with vegan mozzarella cheese instead.
Bagel on the Brain: Bagels are easily one of our favorite breakfast foods. They’re satisfyingly tasty both plain and simple, or everything’d up until they’re ready for the Met Gala. We use a bit of diastatic malt powder to get our bagels red carpet ready with an even browning and perfect chew.
Slam Dunk Donuts: Psst… there’s a better way to donut! We’ve tested and tested until we came up with the perfect tender and light fried confection that will leave you sated but not weighted. Love mornings again by trying one of our glazes and pair it with a mug of hot strong coffee.
Crhaquelin with Lemon Sugar: This brioche has a rich and tender crumb, and with the magic of a bit of Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate that fresh out of the oven texture lasts for days. Discover nestled into the craquelin candied pieces of lemon sugar that will delight your tastebuds. Chef’s Tip: Leftovers make amazing bread pudding