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Bread Again [Aug. 8th, 2009|05:15 pm]
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More proof that bread wants to be bread and will overcome many errors by the baker: 

Our neighbor brought us a dozen fresh brown eggs.   I decided to make some lovely egg bread (braided, prettified with seeds on top) as a thank-you.   But due to Unforeseen Circumstances (tm) I didn't get to it until yesterday afternoon.   Cleared the counter, washed it down, the usual prep for breadmaking.   Got out the recipe, which I hadn't made in awhile (it calls for quantities of milk, butter, and eggs) and set to.   Zipping merrily along, but interrupted by a phone call, I ....managed to leave the eggs out.   I did think, at one stage, that it wasn't taking its full complement of flour (should have been a signal that not all the liquid was in, right?  But I had other problems to think of...)  and it was not until I had it through the kneading and into the greased bowl for first rising that it dawned on me...no eggs had been broken in the making of this bread.   

I looked at the smooth, round, ready-to-rise mound of bread dough and quietly said a number of words, because at that point you can work salt into a dough, but eggs?  No.   Or I wouldn't.  So out to the utility room it went (hot room, no AC) to sit on top of the washer and rise.  Obviously, it wasn't the right bread to give our neighbor.   I wondered what it would be like, in fact.   Brought it in, punched it down, divided it, and made two round loaves instead of two braided loaves.   Slashed the tops before baking, shoved it in, and hoped for the best. 

And got two lovely, rich, incredibly tasty white bread loaves.   So what you get if you leave the eggs out of that recipe is...really good bread.    A lot richer than what I usually make (more sugar, butter instead of vegetable shortening and more of it per loaf) but a lovely velvety texture and a good firm crust.  Would've been even better if I hadn't decided against an egg-wash over the top.  (I reserve that for breads that already have egg in them, usually. 

I know there are people for whom bread just refuses to "make", but I've found bread incredibly forgiving of my (many) mistakes.  


From: joycemocha
2009-08-08 10:50 pm (UTC)
Wow! This is good to know. I have wheat, dairy and egg allergies (respiratory), but I've fiddle-futzed around with powdered egg substitutes (that require water) when making bread or bread-like stuff using spelt flour. Hmm. Wonder if this means that I could possibly get away without using the egg-like substitutes?
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[User Picture]From: jenrose1
2009-08-08 11:48 pm (UTC)
Bread does not require eggs.

Very few bread recipes I've used actually need them, although we used to make something called "Toot's Bread" I believe, that did involve one egg, sourdough, foccacia and basic sandwich bread do not require eggs. Unfortunately many "gluten free" bread companies don't understand this. I'm allergic to wheat and eggs and its' HARD to find a gf bread that doesn't substitute egg white for gluten. Trader Joe's has brown rice bread that is thankfully egg-free.
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From: mmegaera
2009-08-08 10:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, yum. That sounds wonderful.

The only time I ever screwed up bread absolutely beyond redemption was once when I forgot the salt. It rose, and rose, and rose, clear to the top of the oven -- and tasted horrible. Flat, no flavor whatsoever. But short of that, I've made many mistakes with bread and they've all been at the very least edible. Eggs aren't an essential ingredient in the rising process, which is why they were expendable [g].
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-09 12:13 am (UTC)
That happened to my mother--the bread was inedible as bread, but it was fine in a bread dressing for a turkey--just added more salt then, and with the other ingredients it worked.

The time I forgot the salt, I realized it before first rising...I flatted it out again, sprinkled 1/4 of the salt onto it, rolled it up, turned it sideways, flattened it again, put another 1/4 of the salt on it, repeated until all the salt was in. That distributed it well enough that as it rose it evened out. Not the best batch I ever made, but edible.
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[User Picture]From: jenrose1
2009-08-08 11:46 pm (UTC)
We think my sister, otherwise a fantastic cook, has something in her skin oils that kills yeast.

I am good at making bread, but can't anymore due to wheat allergy.
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[User Picture]From: harfafnor
2009-08-08 11:53 pm (UTC)
It made a white bread, could you use it for French Toast? Then you get to have the egg with it. The bread you were trying to make, is it like Challah? And now? I have a craving for Amaretto Challah French Toast with toasted almonds.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-09 02:38 pm (UTC)
This morning it was French toast...oh my sainted aunt Amanda I never had, but that was GOOD.

I didn't quite trust the structure--I really should've let it soak in the egg mix a bit longer--but even so...happy, happy taste buds.

I like my French toast buttered, then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.
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French toast - (Anonymous) Expand
[User Picture]From: holmes44
2009-08-09 12:18 am (UTC)
i once bragged to my husband about hoe good my mom's pumpkin pie was so my mom made one for us and my hubby tasted it and said it didn't have any taste at all and i couldn't believe it.well i called my mom and asked what had happened and she said that while she was making it she got a phone call and must have forgotten to put in the sugar,my hubby continues to tease her about it to this day.
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[User Picture]From: melissajm
2009-08-09 12:18 am (UTC)
Oh, that sounds delicious!
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-09 12:46 am (UTC)
I'm having trouble posting comments to LJ--it takes _forever_ for the comment to post and usually the connection's timed out at least once. No such problem on just reading...it's the posting.

So I'm going to try to answer a bunch of comments at once...

Joy--many bread recipes don't require eggs at all--my usual ones don't--but I'm able to use wheat. It may be that gluten-free recipes are trying to replace some wheat-like characteristics with egg (eggs can produce additional "lift," as in pound cake. In wheat bread, eggs add richness, flavor, and (in white breads) some additional color. When we had our own chickens, I always added an egg or so to a white-bread recipe for the additional protein. (The brown bread had enough on its own, though I tried adding a few tablespoons of soy flour for awhile. But it was expensive then and didn't bump up the nutrition that much.)

Melissa--can you use a partial-salt-substitute like LiteSalt? At one time R- had slightly high blood pressure and we started using that--it's half the sodium of regular salt but the potassium chloride both evens out the potassium/sodium ration and gives a salt flavor to many foods (not that great on fried eggs, though.)

Harfafnor--yes, it would've been challah with the eggs. This way it would be good as French toast--has the density to soak up a lot--but it's also good with ice cream (one of my favorite desserts is homemade bread and ice cream.) Basically, the reason a whole loaf is now gone is that we've been scarfing it down with everything today. I may make French toast with it tomorrow morning.

Jenrose--yes, some people just flat kill yeast. And people have different baking talents even if they don't kill yeast. My first batches of bread were better than my mother's, an experienced cook; to the end of her life her biscuits and pie pastry was better than mine.

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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-09 04:47 am (UTC)
Some people's bread does. And a dandy door stop it can make.

I found out as a kid how to make puff pastry cobblestones (a real shock after one or two batches of really good puff pastry. I took a short cut. Why melt the shortening when there's such a thing as Wesson Oil? That's one way to learn...even my collie wouldn't eat them.)
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[User Picture]From: dirtwitch
2009-08-09 02:55 am (UTC)

Sounds Yum! Bread comes out well for me, usually, I think cuz I love to make it.. I DO tend to forget more vital things than eggs at times (ADD.. ooo! Shiny! and, I get distracted and forget the oil..)

Thanks for the shirt loan! Complemented the green doublet nicely... on my way home now, and can't wait to show you my new sword! Horse sword; short, sharp, purty. I'll need a baldric...
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-09 04:37 am (UTC)
Glad it worked well for you! Safe trip home, to you. See you next week, I guess.
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[User Picture]From: madmoravian
2009-08-09 04:12 am (UTC)
I'll see in the morning if my ferment for ciabatta is active. Glancing at the bowl this evening (it's sitting on the top shelf in the laundry room) it doesn't look like it's doing anything.

I'm trying two different recipes from two books by the same author. The ferment seemed awfully dry compared to other recipes I've tried.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-09 04:36 am (UTC)
I have twice watched a PBS segment on Baking with Julia Child where someone else is showing her how he makes a starter: cumin, milk, water, with whole-wheat flour. Interesting, esp. since I've recently read that 19th century English cookbook (on the internet) that talks about how people made bread before you could buy any of the ingredients in their modern form. Anyway, this guy makes a firm lump of starter, which after two days has puffed up a little but looks dryish, and then refreshes it (nips it into pieces, puts them in the well of the flour and adds more water, mixes all, repeats, with stated lengths for resting/rising in between.
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[User Picture]From: mevennen
2009-08-09 09:25 am (UTC)
I don't think T uses eggs in bread - we cheat, it must be said, and use ready mixes and a breadmaker. My dad always made the family bread, by hand - I think he found it therapeutic. Some of the mixes are excellent, although obviously one gets a large hole in the bottom of the bread, which is not so good.

I just bought a soda bread loaf from the local organic place - I have not tried making soda bread except once, but I think once winter comes on we ought to experiment more. I have accumulated several very nice bread recipe books over the years.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-09 02:42 pm (UTC)
Aha--just last night saw another Julia Child segment on PBS where this woman was showing her how to make soda bread--it's really fast, it turns out, like a giant biscuit (what we call a biscuit, which is closely related to your scones, but without the sugar.) My mother was so good at biscuits that I'm sure she could have made fantastic soda bread, but I expect that mine would be as flat as my biscuits.
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[User Picture]From: amm_me
2009-08-09 09:26 am (UTC)
I agree that bread needs salt, but I have found that it needs much less than most recipes call for. And less sugar too, if you are patient about the rising.

When my mother first set out to control high blood pressure by cutting out salt, she basically seemed to decide that she didn't like salt anymore, and quit using it in most ways she had used to. I didn't get it! But recently I've faced the same need (why couldn't I inherit my father's basement-level BP instead?), and I have found out the same thing. Bread doesn't need nearly as much. Oatmeal (unsweetened, with lots of raisins) doesn't need any at all. When my brother's family visited, I literally couldn't find the salt shaker for the table, since it hadn't been used in months.

But it makes eating out unpleasant sometimes. Hard to believe I used to find that much salt tasty. And canned soups, that staple of my childhood -- inedible!
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[User Picture]From: masgramondou
2009-08-09 09:57 am (UTC)
We don't make bread any more - with anything up to a dozen boulangeries within buying distance (it depends how you count there are 4 half a mile down the hill, 2 a mile up hill and at least half a dozen others that we frequently drive past within a 2-3 mile radius) there isn't much point.

But when we lived in California we did - and there we discovered by trial and error that some recipes worked and others, that seemed to be only trivially different, produced doorstops or dough rising to the ceiling - and of course the famous crater loaves where the dough rises and then pops in the middle.

And yeah no salt is not good. You can quite often drastically cut the amount of sugar or even omit it with care - it just takes longer to rise.

Right now we've increased the salt in our diet but that's because we do sufficient sweaty exercise that we need to have more salt or suffer nasty cramps. But every time my father comes to visit we have to dig out the sugarbowl because neither of us add sugar to tea or coffee and nor do our friends here but he does

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[User Picture]From: allaboutm_e
2009-08-09 02:26 pm (UTC)
Nifty! Sounds like a lovely serendipitous discovery, and I am only slightly envious, as someone who has very little kitchen error forgiveness karma.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-09 02:59 pm (UTC)
For whatever reason, the yeast-beasties and flour and I are simpatico. This does not extend to sourdough starters (so far) nor to many other areas of kitchen-foo, but I'm grateful for the bread-grace I have.
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[User Picture]From: xphilega
2009-08-10 06:01 am (UTC)
(delurk, found this through the paksworld site)

I've been living in rural Morocco (Peace Corps) for the past two years, and in my small village, women made 3-4 loaves of a round, thin but yeasty bread every day, usually cooked in butane ovens or mud ovens with brush. The only ingredients? Water, oil (vegetable), yeast, and salt. Somewhat plain, but delicious, especially when mopping up a rustic stew or tajine.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-10 01:43 pm (UTC)
Did they make their own ferment, or did they have another source of yeast? When I started reading an old book on baking, part of it concentrated on sources of yeast, and I've just watched (three times, to be sure I understood it) a PBS baking show where a way of making one's own yeast ferment was demonstrated. And Morocco...do you know if they used wheat only or mixed wheat and spelt, or any other grain, in with the wheat flour? I just read recently (but where? can't recall) that the gluten content in wheat varies not only with variety but where it's raised, and the more tropical/subtropical areas raise a softer wheat.

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