I like to use the "stretch and fold" or "french fold" Technique where instead of kneading you have 3 folding sessions with a 50 min resting period . Works great for wet doughs 70% or higher.
Stretch and fold is simply stretching it and folding it . Handy thing to use If you don't feel like hand kneading or pulling out your mixer or buying an expensive one.
I usually make four 2 lb loafs a week and my kitchen aid mixer simply cannot handle that much dough and there is no way I'm going to make the investment of a 500$+ mixer for a more specialized mixer.
one advantage I found from regular kneading is during the first fermentation you can stick your dough in the fridge for 2 days . The cold temperature slows down the process and more acid is built up thus more complex flavors.
I once made pizza dough and let it ferment in the fridge for 5 days and it was still good. good way . good way to prep if you want to divide the work on different days so you don't have to be a slave to your own bread.
I've read articles where someone making sourdough let their dough ferment for 2 weeks!
There is a no knead technique where you just incorporate everything and let it sit at room temp for 24 hours must be at least 70 % hydration ( in bakers percentage)
one thing to keep in mind is Wet dough will not stick to another wet object.
so a wet counter top and wet fingers will not stick though this will add more water and change the formula I've never found it extremely damaging to the dough.
you may find that bakers speak their formulas in bakers percentage.
The flour is always 100% and lets say for example water is 70%
if there is 1000g of flour then there is 700g of water.
some recipes ask for milk powder and it's not recommended to use regular milk because it has an enzyme that damages the gluten unless
it has been UHT pasteurized (the milks that don't need refrigeration ) or you scald your own milk over 180 F. ( let it cool so you don't kill your yeast)
Milk 87% water according to my baking book so if that means 13 % of it is what makes the milk powder. so you can replace some the milk powder with regular milk and take into account how much water you should take off and the water you lost after scalding as well.
I like adding Orange juice to my whole wheat loafs. it takes away that slight bitter taste from the whole wheat. Last week I forgot to add it and I could taste notice a difference.
when baking your bread you can have a tray of hot water or a pan of hot water. I like to use a metal pan and put it on a rapid boil and place it in the oven while its preheating (in the bottom rack) This creates steam that will give the bread a stronger crust and a darker colour ( mallard reaction :D)
spraying your loafs with water ( a mist)every 15 minutes will make your crust even more crunchy. But some may find it too thick so this part is optional or do it only once or twice to your own liking. Makes fabulous toast for breakfast. I love that CRUNCH.
Cooling your loafs are also extremely important , I cool them at least 50 min before slicing. Inside the bread is still cooking so if you cut it too soon it might be a little doughy.
Loaf Pans I highly recommend the big nonstick loaf pans. just wipe it with a little olive oil and the loaf falls right out. Don't use silicone. The loaf doesn't hold a good shape and it also does not get a good colour .9x5 is a good size.
Depending on the Size of your oven only add the max amount that can fit on the middle rack. I once tried baking 8 loafs and the bottom rack quickly got burnt bottoms.
Scoring you loafs is important if you don't want an ugly loaf that looks like it exploded. just a simple line lengthwise is good enough
making a preferment dough before hand adds a whole lot of flavor to your bread. pretty much what you do is you mix flour water and yeast and let it ferment overnight. I like to use a 200% hydration because its easier to incorporate to the final dough afterwards since a 70% would be difficult to incorporate by hand especially if you are making large batches and using the "stretch and fold" where no kneading is required. I incorporate 50% preferment dough.
When I'm mixing my dough personally I like to use 2 wooden chopsticks because
1) avoids sticky fingers
2) easy to clean
but it does require some strength *flex*
autolysis as explained above is also a very good thing to use.
Although true autolysis means you do not add salt while your bread is soaking I found that this made little or no difference to the final product.
There is a fabulous dough calculate in the fresh loaf where someone posted. I use it to tweek my own recipes. Its on excel and it calculates everything for you.
here is a linkDough Calculator Spreadsheet available | The Fresh Loaf
Sorry if this post is a little messy :lol: probably a heck load of grammatical error .