Your questions answered: Bread issues, bulk ingredients, and flour types
Joyce left a comment about her difficulties with making homemade bread:
I would love to make our bread, but I just can't seem to make it work out. I have made countless, awful loaves of bread. Usually the problem is that it tastes and smells like raw yeast after baking. I have a mill and all the best ingredients, and yet...
I have literally tried dozens of recipes and combinations of ingredients, but my bread is never edible. I'm feeling a bit defeated right now. I tried again last week and again the loaf was horrible and heavy.
Does anyone here know what causes the strong yeasty smell in homemade bread? Besides being too much yeast, does that smell come from a rise time that's too short? A baking time that's too short?
Joyce, have you tried my homemade wheat bread recipe? It turns out consistently great for me (and many others).
If you're using 100% whole wheat flour, I really recommend getting a few of the dough conditioners (see the additional notes in the recipe) as they will make a fabulous texture to the bread. The dough conditioners we use are all natural ingredients that develop a good texture and feed the yeast -- they're not preservatives or anything. ;)
Staci also emailed me these questions:
Your posts on the grain mill have inspired me to want one of my own. I have several questions: How do you get your grain and yeast for such a good price? I live in Tallahassee, FL, and the wheat berries are $.99 a pound and the yeast comes in the expensive packets.
Also, what type of flour do you use to make cakes?
We purchase our wheat in 50-lb bags. These bags can usually be ordered through a bulk food store, a health food store, or a local co-op.
Dry yeast can be found in 1-2 lb packages at bulk food stores, health food stores, Sam's club, through a co-op, or through a restaurant supply store.
There are a variety of flours, specially formulated for various foods, but I only use two kinds: whole wheat flour made from hard wheat berries (good for yeast breads) and whole wheat flour made from soft wheat berries (good for quick breads).
The flour made from soft wheat berries is known as "pastry flour" and makes wonderful muffins, quick breads, cake donuts, crumb topping for apple crisp, pie crust, cookies, cake, etc.
While it is possible to use regular wheat flour (made from hard wheat) in quick breads, using pastry flour in yeast breads doesn't work very well at all, since the soft wheat is lower in gluten and yeast breads need gluten to develop a good texture.
I'd love to hear what types of flours you keep on hand! What do you use the most? And is there really an amazing difference in the end products?
We were pleasantly surprised the first time we used whole wheat pastry flour (made from soft wheat). Our muffins were so delicious!! Having the right, high-quality ingredients makes it so easy to eat healthfully!