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Bread-Machine Questions...

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hello all:

I'm new to this forum, and new to the puzzling world of bread-making. I have a couple of questions, and I'll start with a little background. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure a while back, but LUV my sandwiches as much as ever. Anyone with high-BP will tell you it's nearly impossible to find no-salt (or even low-salt) bread in the stores that doesn't taste like yeterday's socks...so I'm into making my own whole-wheat breads now with a Williams-Sonoma bread maker. I'm doing pretty good, overall, but I could use a boost or two from somebody who knows what they're doing.

First question: Does anyone have a good substitute for salt? I'm trying different spices like Thyme and a few others, mixed with about 1/4 tsp of low-sodium sea-salt and with Morton's No-Salt. Couple of problems here: The regular salt, I'm told, affects the crust (and it it surely does). The No-Salt manages the taste okay, but it's extremely high in potassium...not something one should eat by the pound.

Second question: I'm using different kinds of grains, and my breads are actually turning out far more edible than the store junk. However (and I know this isn't a new complaint), they're coming out somewhat dense and heavy, not light or fluffy...not terribly so, but not quite right either. Anyone know a trick I might try to lighten it up a bit? Here's the basic recipe I've settled on:
  • 1-1/4 cups of water
  • 2- TBSP Melted no-salt butter
  • 1-1/3 cups of bread flour
  • 1-1/3 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1- cup of 7-grain flour
  • 3- TBSP brown sugar
  • 1-1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-1/2 tsp bread-machine yeast
The "1 one cup of 7-grain" is what I twiddle with for experimenting, and I substitue the salt as stated above.

If anyone spots a problem with the recipe, with my procedures, or is able to suggest something that cranks out a better loaf of bread...I promise to have a turkey sandwich and think of you as I gobble it down! :)

Thanks much for any help you might be able to offer,
Garry

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post #2 of 3
Hi Garry,

I've baked a heck of a lot of bread, though have to confess I don't use a bread machine, but hopefully I can help you.

(BTW there is a famous Saltless Tuscan bread, you could google if you want some other ideas).

In general, to get light whole grain breads is more of a challenge than white bread. It could have to do with issues other than your salt.

You could try cutting down the fat to one tbsp in that recipe, and I'd also tweak that "7 grain flour". In general, whole grains take a little more effort to get the gluten right to get a really good rise. So some recipes mix with white flour (which has more readily available gluten, to make a long story short, the gluten, the stringy stuff, provides much of the structure that traps the air bubbles to give a good rise), and others do techniques like soaking the whole grain flour in water in advance, and trying to improve the gluten development that way. 3% fat (maximum) in a cereal technology book I read a ways back is a rough figure of an amount of fat that will help give a good rise.

Do you know the ingredients of your 7 grain flour, it often will have ground flax (more fat), and other low gluten grains like oats, sometimes even sunflower seeds (= more fat), but in general those 7 grain mixes have low gluten, and sometimes higher fat. Buckwheat has no gluten. rye and oats are a gluten challenge. So what I would do is consider changing that 7 grain mix to either something you concoct yourself, say put whole flax seeds in there, soaked millet, sunflower seeds, oat bran, whatever, and/or mix with spelt or a grain that is not gluten free. Or you can just sub it for whole wheat flour.

My mom does a nice WW in her bread machine from stone ground flour. If you can get stone ground conveniently, you might find an improvement there too.

You can also use your bread machine's cycles to help you with part of the process, then bake it out in the oven too, let it rise further in a loaf pan if need be.

Gotta run, some ideas for you anyway.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

RE: Stir It Up

Stir It Up:

Thanks for the reply and the tipe!

Garry
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