4 Bread-Baking Secrets on the Road to Bread Perfection

 

You’re preparing for your child to be born, and you’re craving something delicious. Bread is on your mind day and night, and if food is on your mind, you can start baking the perfect loaf of bread today. But I am not going to give you a recipe to follow.

Nope.

I’m going to do something even better: help you fix all of those baking errors that you’re making. You’ll be able to use a lot of these secrets to make fruit cakes, cookies, pastries or any other type of cooking when baking is involved.

Bread Baking Secret #1: Warm Butter

You follow a recipe exactly, and what happens? Your bread turns out horrible. I have had this happen countless times, and the problem was something so simple that I am almost embarrassed to even mention it: butter.

I added the butter into the mix.

But I didn’t let the butter warm up first. The recipe never really said what to do with the butter, so I left it out for a minute or two before adding it into my dough.

Big mistake.

Room temperature ingredients trap the air through emulsion and this air will expand and allow the bread to get nice and fluffy. If your bread hasn’t been getting the fluff you want, this may be why.

Bread Baking Secret #2: Knead on an Oiled Surface

This corrective technique seems so obvious, but it’s a technique most people don’t even think about. If your bread and dough is just dry, you’ll want to knead it on an oiled surface. If you knead your dough on a floured surface, you’re going to add to the dryness of the bread.

And this should be evident during your last dough rise.

If you just have dough that’s always too dry, this trick will help – a lot.

Bread Baking Secret #3: Temperatures Aren’t What They Seem

I started to notice that my bread never came out just right after a few recipe failures, but it wasn’t just bread. A lot of baked goods didn’t come out right. I knew I followed the recipes exactly, so the next logical step was to look at my main equipment.

The utensils have little to do with the problem. When I was using a new bread maker, the problem went away, too. But any time I put my dough into the oven, or any baked good for that matter, instant problems.

The problem?

My oven. The temperature wasn’t right. I put it on 350 degrees, but the calibration was off, and the oven’s temperature was off. I used a separate oven thermometer, and the oven was off by 25 degrees

You can calibrate some ovens, but I just used the thermometer to tell the difference in temperature and I was back to the grind making delicious bread once again.

If your oven is off, and a lot of them are, it’s going to be problematic.

Another mistake I learned from my grandmother, and it’s so simple, too: stop opening the oven door. You let a lot of the hot air escape the oven when you open the door, which causes the bread to bake improperly and causes the oven to work in overdrive.

Bread Baking Secret #4: Use a Digital Scale

Baking with confidence requires you to use a digital scale. The best bakers in the world know that even a slight variation in an ingredient’s quantity can lead to a major difference in the chemical reaction in the bread.

And if you just “eye” your ingredients, it’s no wonder that they never come out right.

You need to measure your ingredients using a scale. And I am sorry, but you need to also measure in grams. Trust me, it’s so much easier and it makes an immediate impact on your baking.

Scales are the difference between consistency and chaos.

If you measure all of your ingredients by weight, you’ll be able to make sure that the same recipe tastes the same the next time you follow it.

Bread making is an art, and it’s all a matter of taste. Something I learned on my travels to Italy is that the way Italians make bread is a lot different than the way Americans make bread. The sweetness isn’t part of the Italian bread making ritual. Not at all.

And the taste is much earthier in Italy than it is in the U.S.

But it’s all a matter of taste. Experiment, add ingredients and find the bread taste that makes your mouth water.

 

On Foods And Self Image

Who doesn’t love food? But lately I’ve been scared of food because I feel like I have doubled in size the last few years. Okay, I’m exaggerating but when people see me, all they notice is how I gained weight. They didn’t even notice I recently had my eyelashes done or that I had my hair cut! Bitter ako mga ateng!

If you don’t know yet, I work from home and contrary to what other people may think of, working from home is more stressful than working in a regular workplace. Why? First, I have to work double time because my boss counts my output and not my time. Second, I have no social life. Third, I always take my work home (huh? Remember when people use to say that leave your work at the office, don’t take them home so you will not get stressed? Well, since my work is at home, how can I ****ing leave it at the office? Right?)

I love eating! It’s my stress reliever. Whenever I feel worn out, I eat. Whenever I feel stressed, I eat. Whenever I feel down, I eat. Gosh, I even eat when I’m happy. Basically I eat all the time! Jeskelerd! (Note to self: At nagreklamo ka talaga ng taba sa lagay na yan teh?)

Who can resist these?

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Okay, so pano ko iiwasan ang pagtaba ngayon? Sabihin niyo nga sa akin?

Apparently, gaining weight and constantly being called out for it is not good for my self esteem. Heck, it is not good for anyone’s self esteem! But the truth is I don’t really feel offended when someone tells me I’m fat (ouch!). Actually, it is a good eye opener to start realizing how important it is to keep our body healthy. I don’t just look at weight as a measure of one’s physical appeal, I look at it as a measure of one’s health. The more I gain weight, the more I become a target for health issues.

So do I refrain from eating? Hell, no! I still eat what I want but now I am teaching myself to control a bit especially on sodas and junk foods. I tend to eat more fruits too. I may or may not lose weight by doing this but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am starting to eat healthy and this is my first step. As Lao Tzu said, the journey to a thousand miles begins with the first step.

 

 

 

Christmas Family Dinner

Happy Friday my loves…

Christmas is just a few days away. This is the perfect time for families to get together and enjoy a sumptuous meal or most of the time, dinner, while reminiscing the past, planning the future, and enjoying the presents of today.

In our family, it has always been the tradition to eat our dinner late. By late, I mean 12:01 in the morning of the 25th. This is to welcome the day of Christmas. We always have a simple family party while waiting for the clock to strike 12. There are a lot of activities to do while waiting. We sometimes watch movie. We make it a point to choose a family rated movie so the kids can watch as well. For this year’s Christmas waiting time, I’m planning to get the “Frozen” movie for the whole family to enjoy. If not, I would probably be okay with Turbo or Smurfs 2.

We always cook a special dinner for the whole family. And I would like to share some of my favourite Christmas foods to you:

Gingerbread cookies are always a hit for the kids. I usually shape them as gingerbread man or gingerbread house. But for Christmas, these lovely hearts and stars cookies are just perfect.

Don’t you just love these Santa Claus strawberries? They are so easy to make. Simply cut off the bottom part of the strawberry, fill with whip cream, then put the bottom part back. The kids are sure to love these strawberries. This is perfect for family Christmas dinner.

I am a pasta lover, so anything with long strands of pasta stirs up my appetite 🙂 I love bolognese, pesto, and aglio oglio. I also love marinara.

Roast pork is also a very much loved participant of our family table. If we can’t have roast pork, we settle with barbecued pork rashers. Or deep fried pork belly.

A Christmas dinner is incomplete without ham leg.

Quezo de bola is also a must. This is edam cheese ball.

A yummy cake adds a sweet touch to our Christmas family dinner. The kids adore cakes and practically anything sweet 🙂

Chocolate Ice Cream Wallpaper: fruit and ice cream HD

And lastly to make the Christmas family dinner complete….ice cream!

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Wordless Wednesday – TMNT Sweet Buffet

Happy Wordless Wednesday my loves…

So my son hosted a sweet buffet at school…Yes, everything’s sweet. He’s into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles nowadays so I had to include the turtles on the candy banners. Anyway, I’ll keep my words short as this is for Wordless Wednesday so let the pictures speak for themselves 🙂

1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

I believe I’ll have another pizza….

Happy Tuesday my loves….

Today is pizza day. I’ve been out and about with my sisters and we just had to stop for a quick fix of our rumbling tummies. We decided to have pizza. We had margherita, garlic and cheese, and the usual Hawaiian. We also had sorrentina pasta which was yummy but the noodles were a bit overcooked. Hey, I am not complaining. After all, I’ve eaten at this restaurant for a million times already and this was the first time my pasta was overcooked 😦

Well, what do you do while you wait for the pizza and pasta? You take a picture! But bear with the resolution as I was using an ipod 🙂

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And you hold your “Big Time Rush” poster while you stand between the back of two chairs. Work it our little B.

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Ecclesiastes 3:12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.