Making bread

A very special thank you goes out to Beckie for submitting to us our very first tutorial. I have always struggled with making bread and after reading her tutorial I am excited to give it a try ASAP!

How to make a perfect bread loaf by Beckie:

1.  Flour:  What do you use for flour?  Name brand?  Store brand?  Me, I always use name brand flour, preferably a bread flour specifically.  Of course we all know King Arthur IS king of the flour world and has a price to match!  But store brand flour just makes a gummy, gooey, sticky dough that falls flat.  So for frugality's sake I use Pillsbury Best or Gold Medal unbleached bread flour.  I keep it stored tightly in a sealed container to reduce the effects of humidity on the flour.  (Yes humidity will effect the way it works.  Silly, but true!)

2.  Yeast:  I buy Red Star active dry yeast at the health food store and store it in the freezer.  Never ever on a shelf.  Not even those sealed packets should be stored on the shelf in the store.  If you can't get your yeast from the refrigerated coolers, DON'T BUY IT!!  It is alive and needs the cool temps to properly maintain it's activity when you make your bread. 

Your water should never be too hot or too cold.  I don't use a specific temp for knowing when it's right.  I just run the tap water until it is warm but not hot.  Hot kills the yeast.  And dead yeast means flat heavy bread that won't rise.

Yeast has a sweet tooth!  When you add it to your water to activate it, you need to feed your yeast.  A little, like a tablespoon or so, sugar or honey will help your yeast "proof" correctly.  Proofing is the first most important step in making yeast risen breads.  Yeast is properly proofed when it looks all foamy and smells yeasty. 

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