Bread making routine

Hi, I want to establish a routine for daily homemade bread. However, time is an issue. Do you recommend a breadmaker? Or will my kitchenaid do? I know quite a few friends have breadmakers & love them, but I've also heard they have their cons...



Jake April 2, 2011
I would recommend getting the book "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day", which is simply an elaboration of the no-knead method. They go through many variations on the no knead process you may not think of and can add variety to the daily bread routine. Good luck--it's really worth the effort!
Cassandra2011 April 2, 2011
Thanks so much for all these ideas! You've inspired me into making the no knead bread which I tried yesterday: I couldn't believe it! It's a normal, tasty bread, could really not believe this was possible with no kneading! So that's going into my routine, as it's so easy to make...

I've also made bread dough this morning using my KitchenAid (as I said, in the past I would do it by hand). Again, couldn't believe how quick it is. So it's doing its rising now while I'm at my computer, drinking my cup of tea.

As some of you suggested, I'll try different recipes that I have for 'basic loaves' (plus I now have added the no knead loaf to my repertoire as it's so easy) & I'll try to develop my own routine.

Thanks so much again for all the ideas.
innoabrd April 1, 2011
Once again, betteirene, you've inspired me. Maybe next week...
sarah K. March 31, 2011
So many good ideas! I used to make bread a lot, and my favorite way was to make two loaves on Monday morning, use one for immediate eating and for about 3 days (small family), and freeze the other, then get it out the night before I wanted to use it and let it thaw in plastic overnight. The best part is that you can have fresh bread for dinner with some lovely soup, and the next morning, you don't have to feel guilty about wanting to toast the bread. It always broke my heart a little if my kids asked me to make toast out of one-hour-old bread. They just didn't get the beauty of that fresh loaf. Now that they're older, I would probably have to bake at least every third day, instead of once a week.

I've never had a breadmaker, and have used the KitchenAid only a few times. I love the kneading as a time of meditation. I would get into a rhythm with some Irish folk music and knead for about 12 minutes. But I know from experience that the KitchenAid does just as good of a job (or even the Cuisinart), although you have to be a little careful if it's whole grain. That's a tougher dough, so it taxes the machines, and you need to make smaller batches.

There's a great book (a James Beard award winner) that has instructions for all its recipes for hand kneading, KitchenAid, and Cuisinart, so the conversions are done for you. Secrets of a Jewish Baker, by George Greenstein. The recipes work and they're good.

As far as breads that take little time, I've tried the Lahey no-knead recipe, and I thought it was OK. Be aware that it is only for a free-form, crusty bread, not a sandwich bread, and you still need to get up an hour before you can bake the bread, so it's not instantly available in the morning. Then if you're getting technical, you're not supposed to serve it until it's fully cooled. I think of it as more of a dinner thing.

I just now read betteirene's comment about freezing the dough in loaf shapes, and I think it's brilliant.

Voted the Best Reply!

betteirene March 31, 2011
Make your dough once a week, freeze it, and bake it off every day.

In their books and TV shows, Julia Child taught me the benefit of a long knead, and Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet) taught me the Kitchen Aid trick. I use the KA to knead "wet" dough. A very long kneading time--at least 10 minutes--will result in a pliable dough and a lighter, less dense loaf. The long knead builds structure and develops gluten without you having to keep adding flour to make it workable and less sticky. It takes at least 20 minutes to do it by hand.

Develop your own or find someone else's bread recipe. Adapt it to the capacity of your KA--about 8 cups of flour and 3 cups of liquid should fit in the standard-issue KA bowl, enough for 3 large (9"x5" pan) or four medium (8"x4" pan) loaves of bread.
For each batch (3 1/2 to 4 cups flour called for) of the recipe, use 1/2 cup less flour. Using the dough hook, let the mixer work until the ball of dough cleans the sides of the bowl. Stay nearby--Kitchen Aids have been known to start "walking" down the counter while mixing heavy doughs.

Shape the dough into loaves an inch smaller than the length and width of your pans. Wrap in plastic and freeze on baking sheets; when the loaves are solid, place them into zipper bags. You can place a frozen loaf in a pan, cover it with plastic, and allow it to rise in the refrigerator overnight for baking in the morning, or you can let it rise at room temperature.

As long as you've got out the bag of flour and the jar of yeast, and if you can spare the freezer space, spend a morning blending doughs for white, wheat, oatmeal, yeast-raised corn, and raisin breads--you won't even have to wash the mixing bowl between batches.
ChefJune March 31, 2011
Mixing the dough in your food processor means it is ready to rise in less than 2 minutes. If your fp has a capacity of 14 cups or more, you can mix 2 generous loaves at a time.

I often set bread to rise after dinner. I refrigerate it overnight and when I come home from work, it has completed the first rise. I remove it from the fridge and punch it down (before dinner).and it's ready to bake in the evening.

IIt does take planning, but making 2 loaves at a time means you should have bread for a couple of days, and I don't feel I'm imposing on myself.
boulangere March 31, 2011
All the cool rise advice is right on. Yeast becomes lethargic and its rate of consumption and reproduction slows way, way down when dough is in an environment around 40 degrees. Jump in and try it! It's all a science experiment, you know. You'll learn what works for you and you'll ultimately settle into your routine. Have fun with it!
usuba D. March 31, 2011
Three things control the rate of rise . . . . amount of yeast (and type), the amount of available carbohydrate for the yeast to consume and temperature. I am not a big advocate on using a lot of yeast in bread making. I prefer a very slow rise for better flavour development. In fact, I made my dough last night (Wed) for our pizza on Friday. I would look for a nice cool area of the house for your rising. Your are in England . . .there are lots of cool, damp spots in flats and houses there!
innoabrd March 31, 2011
" So you're basically saying: knead & do a first rise in the evening, then a second slow rise in the fridge. Then bake in the morning? Or all the rising in the fridge?"

I did a first, and sometimes even a second in the evening, then a bit in the fridge. Then shaped and baked in the morning.
innoabrd March 31, 2011
" Would the dough rise in the fridge too, in that case?"

a bit, but not a lot. I think sometimes if you just leave it at room temp it can really over-rise. But, depends what sort of bread you're making and/or aiming for.

The other thing you might want to try is the now-famous no-knead bread recipe:

very easy recipe and great results. Needs 12 hours of proofing, so might work really well for you.
Cassandra2011 March 31, 2011
Sorry. Innoabrd just answered this. So you're basically saying: knead & do a first rise in the evening, then a second slow rise in the fridge. Then bake in the morning? Or all the rising in the fridge?
Cassandra2011 March 31, 2011
Would the dough rise in the fridge too, in that case?

innoabrd March 31, 2011
At one time I did almost daily bread. I'd make the dough and proof it at night before bed, then refrigerate. I'd take it out of the fridge first thing in the morning, punch it down and let it relax again, then toss it in the oven. worked great.
hardlikearmour March 31, 2011
The yeast just do their thing at a slower rate with a cooler temperature.
Cassandra2011 March 31, 2011
Thanks for your responses. First, just to clarify, I already have a kitchenaid which I use lots for desserts etc. However, I've never tried it with bread baking; whenever I've baked bread, I just knead by hand: which I love, but I find, now that I have a toddler it just doesn't happen. That's why I want to find a doable routine that will work for me, in my real day to day life (& not in an ideal world). Perhaps I might give the kitchenaid a go to see if the results are satisfying?

Also: so far I've only tried quick rising during the day. How does cold rising work?
pierino March 31, 2011
I'm on board with usuba dashi and boulangere on this. I don't think you can make a kind of satisfying bread with just an appliance. Bread makers are a one size fits all device.
boulangere March 31, 2011
Usuba dashi's routine sounds wonderful! You can further retard the rising by mixing your dough with cool water, though you'll need to knead it a bit longer to adequately develop the gluten. What is important is that you enjoy the process and the result, and I think there's some of that missing in using a machine. Yes, a KitchenAid mixer will do you much more good in the long run - just imagine what else you can do with it!
usuba D. March 31, 2011
When my children were growing up, I always wanted fresh bread daily for them, as my mum did (though mostly wheaton style, using baking soda). I tried breadmakers, never like the results (ended up in a yardsale). I went to making the dough at night and rising very slowly in a cool part of the house, then baking in the morning. I easily got into this routine for years and had no issues. I even got all of my children involved . . .all learning how to make bread (with the side benefit of a family activity . . .food is family glue). Now they all do the same with their families.
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