Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sena's Bread Baking Tips

I use a bread machine and have used both mixes and making "Trish's Best White Bread" from the cookbook with equal success using this method.

Mix the ingredients per instructions in the bread machine and allow it to go through the first mixing and rising process. Then after the second mixing,transfer the bread mix to a loaf pan that you have liberally greased with either margarine or Crisco, whichever you prefer. Place the uncovered loaf in a warm place for the second rising. I put mine on top of my stove with the stove hood light on-it's protected there and my kitchen is usually fairly warm. Once the loaf has risen to the proper height, it is ready for baking. Take a baking pan (I use an 8 inch cake pan) with about 3/4 inch of water in it and place it on the bottom oven rack then put your bread pan on the higher rack and allow it to bake. The steam will rise from the cake pan and it will give your loaf a very nicely browned top which will be crusty. Once the loaf has baked, remove it and allow it to cool. I find that moisture will collect inside the loaf pans (I use glass) so once the loaf has cooled, I turn them out on their sides on a paper towel to complete cooling as this prevents the lower part from getting damp. Once the loaf has cooled, I place it into the freezer for 20-25 minutes to start the freezing process then I bring it out and cut it with a long bread knife. The partial freezing makes it easier to cut and it won't crumble as much this way.

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