I must have made twenty plus loaves of bread in my efforts to find the easiest, most efficient way to make great bread. I was hoping to find a way that takes advantage of the actual gluten formation processes that are automatic and natural so the baker’s work will be easier, more convenient, and more conducive to great and consistent results. I’m happy to say I think I’ve got it. I know there are bread traditions and old recipes that get passed along from generation to generation, but I’ve found that some old recipes really complicate bread making or introduce unnecessary steps that make the prospect daunting and discouraging. It’s no wonder people think they don’t have time to make bread, given some traditional methods. The reality is, it takes very little of the baker’s time to make bread, I usually don’t spend much more than a total of fifteen minutes involved in the preparations. Mostly it’s waiting for the gluten and the yeast to do their thing. And it’s so worth it when you get to eat the fresh warm bread.
Now that we know more about the character and behavior of gluten, the protein in flour that makes dough doughy, it’s easy to see that the key to making bread more easily and with better results is water – using a little more water. This is called high hydration bread making. And this plan allows the bread to more naturally and automatically create great results because it relies on the nature of gluten formation to do what it does when it has sufficient water – and that is: build the structure of bread. And that means we don’t have to work as hard. And we certainly don’t need to buy an expensive mixing machine and unnecessarily use electric power. When the dough has enough water, very little kneading is required. So I invite you to read up on the things I’ve learned through all my experimentation. This is just the beginning of a longer post that I’m calling Twenty-first Century Bread Making 101. So if you’d like to learn how to make great bread easily and consistently then click here to continue.