Folding a Bread Dough – What, Why and How

Folding a bread dough is an old trick that has become very much a modern "must-do." Many recipes specify a long fermentation period followed by a brief kneading and another, shorter fermentation period. The brief kneading is the fold.

Why should you do it? During a fairly long fermentation, say over an hour, the yeast will eat up the carbohydrates near it and will begin to slow down its rate of gas production. However, the gluten in the flour and the water may not have fully reacted to achieve a good cellular structure in the dough. The yeast will also have given off enough carbon dioxide, alcohol and other by-products that the yeast activity will start to slow down. By folding the dough, the baker shifts the food supply for the yeast, the carbohydrates, so that the yeast has access to a new supply. Folding also degasses the dough, which expels the alcohols and the carbon dioxide, leaving the yeast with a clean place to grow. The baker also works the dough strands and makes them stronger, which can do really good things to the finished bread.

How to Fold.

There are at least three ways to fold.

1. A Pocketbook or Letter fold. This is the fold that Jeffrey Hamelman, the baking education director at King Arthur Flour, espouses. It is a good fold. To do this fold, please place the dough on the floured counter or work surface and pat it flat. Take about a third of the dough on the left side and bring it over the dough. Work this dough vigorously with your fingers to expel the gas. Take a third of the dough from the right side and do the same with it. Make sure you brush off all the extra flour that you can so that none gets incorporated into the dough. This will leave you with a rather long dough. finish the fold by taking the top third of the dough and bringing it down the dough towards you. Again, expel as much gas as you can and brush off any extra flour. Take a third of the bottom dough and bring it up to the other dough and do the same brush and expel. You now have a folded dough.

2. A Roll-Up fold. This is my personal favorite, since it's very simple. I sincerely put out the dough, then roll it up into a long tube. Then pat this tube down so it is slightly flat and roll up so that in effect you make a ball. You can do this a couple of times if you wish. This will drive out the gas and other by-products of fermentation, rearrange the nutrients for the yeast and realign the dough strands.

3. The Drop-Hook fold. This is the easiest, and works well it you are fermenting the dough in the bowl on a stand mixer, as I do repeatedly. Merely drop the dough hook into the dough and turn on the mixer for a few seconds. Then turn off the mixer, reach in and turn the dough, drop the dough hook into the dough and repeat the few seconds of mixing.

When to Fold.

Various experts give different time schedules for folding. One popular timing is to divide the total fermentation time into four parts and fold after the end of the third part. If the total time is two hours, each part is thirty minutes, one-half hour. Fold after 90 minutes, one and one-half hours. Then ferment for the remaining 30 minutes, one-half hour. This timing will never get you into too much trouble.

Certain other exports are made with folds at the half-way point, so that the above bread would be folded at one hour and then allowed to ferment for another hour. This seems to be more popular for doughs with a lot of fats and oils and sugar.

A few doughs benefit from a fold at the half-way point and another fold half-way through the remaining fermentation period.

A lot depends on the recipe, the conditions in your kitchen and your technique. The best thing to do is to start with a simple fold at the three-quarter point and see how that works for you. You can then experiment with various schemes until you hit one that works in your kitchen for each recipe. More than likely, you will find that the four-part timing works fine.

Try folding the dough the next time you make bread, I think you'll like the improvement.



Source by Howard B Harmon

Foods That Cause Acne

The embarrassing condition of acne has been blamed on a wide variety of causes throughout the ages. Many people unjustly blame individuals with acne-prone skin of being dirty or failing to wash their faces properly. This is obviously far from the truth as acne can strike anyone, regardless of their personal hygiene habits. Others believe that eating large amounts of chocolate will ensure an acne breakout. This is also not the case, but research has linked acne to choices a person’s diet. We are going to discuss some types of foods that cause acne.

Foods that are highly acidic tend to cause acne as they create an imbalance in your body’s pH levels. The foods you should avoid include the following:

  • Vegetables: lentils, squash, corn
  • Fruits: currants, plums, prunes, cranberries and blueberries
  • Grains: barley, cornstarch, oatmeal, wheat bran, amaranth, rice, rye, wheat germ, noodles, macaroni, spaghetti, bread, soda crackers, white flour, rolled oats and wheat flour
  • Beans & Legumes: chick peas, green peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, red beans, soy beans, black beans and white beans
  • Dairy Products: butter, ice cream, processed cheese, butter and ice milk
  • Nuts & Butters: peanuts, pecans, walnuts, cashews and peanut butter
  • Animal Proteins: bacon, beef, pork, salmon, lamb, fish, clams, cod, mussels, sausage, scallops, turkey, venison, shrimp and lobster
  • Fats & Oils: canola oil, lard, olive oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, hemp seed oil and safflower oil
  • Sweeteners: corn syrup, sugar and carob
  • Alcohol: spirits, hard liquor, wine and beer
  • Condiments: vinegar, pepper, ketchup and mustard
  • Drinks: coffee and soft drinks
  • Drugs & chemicals: aspirin, pesticides, tobacco and herbicides

If you want to prevent or minimize acne breakouts, you should replace acidic food with alkaline food choices. Some examples include carrots, cucumbers, garlic, lettuce, tomatoes, apples, grapes, lemons, pineapples, raisins, strawberries, peaches, oranges and almonds. You may be surprised to see so many citrus fruits on this list. The reason is that the specific citric acid they each contain has an alkalinizing effect on your body that will actually reduce the level of acidity, rather than increase it.

Rather than making an effort to avoid one specific type of food, it is better to avoid groups of acidic foods that will enhance your acne. Replace some of the choices in the first list with more alkaline foods from the second list. You will soon discover that small changes in your diet can produce big results!



Source by Jordan S Ashton

Chicken Soup Recipe – Making Your Own

This article is not so much about my own Chicken Soup Recipe, but more about how you can develop your own unique version. I think everyone who likes to cook chicken should be able to make a good soup with it. It’s a great way to use up leftovers, and an even better way to make sure you get enough vegetables in your diet.

While there are countless variations of techniques and ingredients in chicken soup, there is one constant that no one can do without: a good stock or broth. Without this your soup will have a watery taste, and that is no fun to eat. Also, a tasty broth is more likely to be healthier for you, since where there is flavor there is usually also nutrients. A good stock typically contains some gelatin, which comes from dissolved collagen from bones and connective tissue. Gelatin is great for carrying both flavor and nutrients because it can interact with organic molecules better than water can.

So does that mean you have to make your own chicken stock in order to have a good chicken soup recipe? Not necessarily, as there are many good chicken stocks available at grocery stores. I prefer the kind you get in boxes, but the canned stuff is usually good too. I’ll use the powdered or cubed stuff in a pinch, but I find they have too much salt and other flavor enhancers for my liking. I’m also not sure how much gelatin they contain, if any.

However, if you do prefer to make your own stock, there are many excellent Web sites available that give instructions. Basically all you have to do is simmer chicken bones along with some onions, carrots and celery for an hour or two. Regardless of how you make it, there is one piece of advice I can give you that will always work: after the stock is made, remove the solid ingredients, and boil off some of the water to reduce the amount to half. Concentrating the stock will intensify the flavor, making everything you use it in that much more flavorful.

After the stock, your next choice is which vegetables to use. I’ve already mentioned the classic onion, carrot and celery mix, but there are so many other choices available. From time to time I enjoy some chopped spinach in my chicken soup, or any other leafy green I happen to have on hand. Frozen peas are another great option, but remember to add them about 5 minutes before the soup is done cooking, unless you prefer your peas mushy. Tomatoes are another great vegetable to use in chicken soup, and they have the added benefit of bolstering a weak-tasting stock. You can also use “substitute” vegetables to replace some of the classics: fennel in place of celery, leeks or shallots for the onions, parsnips for carrots, etc. And let’s not forget about all the peppers out there, both hot and mild!

When it comes to vegetables, I usually just add whatever I have in my refrigerator. Any leftovers or veggies that are about to expire become candidates. I usually avoid root vegetables as they take longer to cook through, but if they are already cooked then they are fair game too. If not, then just chop them up into small pieces so they cook more quickly.

Next in the list of ingredients to select is the type of starch to add. There are so many to choose from that there is no way I could list them all, but one thing to think of is how much the starch you choose will thicken the broth. This will depend on how quickly it dissolves into the broth and how long you will be cooking it for. Most people don’t want to thicken their chicken soup too much, so pasta is the usual choice for most people. If there is one variant of chicken soup that is more famous than all the others, it would definitely be chicken noodle soup.

But noodles are far from being the only choice. Brown rice is my go-to starch for chicken soup. Like barley, it will thicken a broth given time, but it normally takes more than an hour for that to happen. I like how it swells in the liquid of the soup, and how it adds just a touch of viscosity to it. It helps the flavor of the soup cling to the tongue for just a little bit, enhancing the taste experience.

Lentils are a very healthy starch to use, and there are a lot of varieties to choose from. Red lentils will practically dissolve into the soup, while the little green gems known as Puy lentils will keep their shape almost forever. At the other end of the spectrum are potatoes, which given enough time will thicken a soup enough to stand your spoon in it.

If you want to go for big-time comfort food, then dumplings should be your selection. Personally I have never made dumplings, but I know some people that swear by it.

Lastly, you need to decide what spices and herbs to go for. Chicken has such a neutral flavor that you should pay more attention to matching your spices to your vegetables you used. The basic spices that are considered “classic” would be parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme…just as in the song. These work very well when you use the classic veggies. But when you use other vegetables, then there are some really good combinations available. For instance, if you used tomatoes then you would be making a mistake to leave out the basil. Spinach and marjoram work very well together, while tarragon and fennel make a good pair.

But don’t think just about spice and herbs. If you want a really refreshing flavor, add a bit of lemon juice. Don’t forget about the garlic either, as it works with almost all other ingredients. And lastly, don’t be afraid to add a bit of spice. You don’t need to add so much that it burns the palate; just a little will heighten all the other flavors.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I left chicken itself out of the discussion. Any cooked or raw chicken will do, but you’ll find that white meat is the best in soups. Dark meat, while tastier, has a much higher fat content and tends to make a soup feel greasy. White meat for soups and pastas, dark meat for everything else is the rule that I go by.

I hope you aren’t disappointed that there wasn’t a recipe that you could follow to the letter in this article. The truth is I don’t usually cook that way anymore. I found I made much better meals once I understood the basics of whatever meal I was making I could improvise and make improvements and substitutions based on my tastes, who I was cooking for, and what I had in stock.



Source by Erik Christensen

5 Cooking Methods Common To African Cuisine

Which methods of food preparation are commonly used in Africa? Here is an introduction to a few cooking methods common in African cuisine:

1. Roasting

Roasting refers to cooking food over an open fire, without water. The fire may be an open wood fireplace or a hearth, or a charcoal burner. Foods that are often roasted in Africa include meat, fish, tubers such as sweet potatoes, arrow roots, Irish potatoes and cassava, as well as some types of banana.

2. Boiling

Boiling refers to cooking food with water, without oil. Frequently, an earthen ware cooking pot may be used. Cooking utensils made of metal or other materials are also gaining in popularity.

Foods that are boiled include vegetables, pulses such as peas and beans, tubers such as potatoes and cassava, and grains such as rice. In northern Uganda, odii – groundnut paste, is added to the boiled dish as a sauce.

3. Steaming

In southern Uganda, steaming is an important method of food preparation. Cooking bananas – matoke – are steamed inside banana leaves, over a pot full of boiling water. Fish, meat and vegetables are also wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.

Steaming is a recommended cooking method because it is said to better preserve the nutritive value of foods.

4. Immigrant populations to Africa have brought with them their own ways of preparing food, such as frying food. Frying food was traditionally uncommon to African cuisine, but has now been adopted by almost everyone. Frying refers to cooking food with cooking oil, as well as the possible addition of onions and tomatoes.

It is now common to fry all types of foodstuffs: meat, fish, pulses, vegetables and pastries.

5. Baking

While baking is slowly making inroads into African cuisine, it is still very much a new cooking method, not yet very widespread except in bakeries. Baking is certainly not yet as widespread as in western societies, where not just bread and cakes are baked, but also pies, pastries, melted cheese dishes and other foods.

The food preparation methods in Africa demonstrate the changing face of African cuisine, with adopted cooking methods such as frying now playing a major role in African cooking.

Traditional methods of food preparation such as boiling and steaming were fat-free, and therefore also a lot healthier.

They will continue to play a vital role because many foodstuffs found on the continent are best prepared in this way. For example, dried foodstuffs almost always have to be boiled first.

However, new cooking methods also open up a wider variety of taste and cooking experiences.



Source by Lamaro Schoenleber, Ph.d

Baking Bread and the Weather

Homemade bread baking in the oven has the most wonderful scent in the world to it. More and more people are discovering that baking bread is not as difficult as it looks. However, the weather makes make or flop homemade bread made from scratch.

If the weather is too cold and damp your bread will not rise properly so before you even begin to make and bake your bread. You need to make sure your kitchen is nice and warm. About one hour or two before you begin your bread turn up the heat in your home. If you do not want to warm the entire house then you can set your oven to warm and leave the oven door cracked just a bit.

Then once the kitchen warms up enough prepare your bread ingredients and make sure that, your water and milk are warm. Put the warm water and milk together and add your sugar. The warm water, milk, and sugar are what activate the yeast and the yeast is what makes the bread rise.

Combine all of your ingredients and then let the bread dough sit and rise on the top of your stove with the oven door still open and the oven on warm. If it does not seem to be rising, as it should there is a trick that you can use to help the bread rise.

Take a large pan of warm or mildly hot water and place it on the bottom rack of the oven. Place your bread pans with the dough in them on the top rack and let the dough rise in the oven with the door open. This is only after your dough has risen the first time and was placed into the loaf pans to rise again ready to be cook.

When your dough has risen the last time, it is then ready to cook and it is already in the oven set your timer for twenty minutes and let the bread fill the house with that wonderful smell of fresh baked bread. Remove the pan of water before baking the bread. Take the bread out after it bakes and remove it from the loaf pans. Let the bread cool before cutting. An electric knife is the best kitchen gadget to slice through the bread quick and easy.

You are, done baking bread and the weather does not have to be a challenge is it simple and easy and your homemade bread will turn out right even in bad weather.



Source by Irsan Komarga

A Dough Story – Mom Bakes Bread in Snowstorm

Meteorologists predicted a lot of snow for our area this weekend and the first thing my family asked me related to bread, not money. "Do you have all the ingredients to make Aunt Bea's pocketbook yeast rolls?" My answer, of course, was yes.

Taking care of errands on Friday, I confess I stopped by the grocery store to buy a roast to cook in the crock pot. There was no need for me to rush and buy milk and bread because I have learned to be prepared for most unexpected emergencies. There is a verse in Proverbs which says, "Wisdom is the tree of life to those who find it, and happy are those who embrace it."

Among the staples I keep in my pantry are cans of Pet Milk, water, batteries, vegetables, rice, flour, sugar, and Fleishmann's Rapid Rise Yeast.

After I walked in the kitchen, I turned the temperature on the crock pot to high and gingerly placed the eye of round roast in the Corning Ware dish, covered it with dry onion soup mix and water.

Checking the time on my wristwatch, I knew there was ample time to refuel my daughter's car before picking her up from work as well as finishing reading a book, "The Shack" a friend had recently shared with me.

We drve from cloudy skies to skies filled with millions of snowflakes in a matter of ten minutes. It looked like a cloud of light burst in front of us. Although our intentions were not to travel into a storm, there was nothing we could do to avoid it.

As we rolled into the garage on Friday evening, I was thankful to know that while dinner was cooking there was enough time to mix up a batch of Aunt Bea's pocketbook yeast rolls.

It is Sunday morning now and the snowy ice mixture was so bright that it woke me up. My daughter asked if it was okay to warm up the leftover yeast rolls for breakfast today rather than eating cereal. It sounded like a good idea because it freed up a block of time for me to accomplish another task.

Our kitchen smelled like a bakery this morning after only a few minutes. When we ate our breakfast of yeast rolls, honey, and hot tea, everyone was satisfied and returned to their schedules. Although it was only a half hour we spent together, I felt richer for the experience because I was able to share a portion of my heart through fond memories of my Aunt Bea.

I have been asked why I do not bake the bread more often, which has given me reason to pause and think. As a matter of fact, the last time I remember baking these yeast rolls was on December 18 last year when snowy weather kept us together.

I realized there were three questions to be answered in order for me to commit to the time required for the bread baking process.

1) Who will be eating the bread?
2) What is the occasion for the bread?
3) When will the bread need to be ready for consumption?

Even though we drve into a storm, it turned out to be a good thing. We have spent more time together as a family than our regular sessions permit. It has been inconvenient in several aspects but this one weekend which gifted me with a much needed reply.

A mixture of inconvenience, laughter, laundry, yeast rolls and family tell the wholeough story.



Source by AH Scott

Dave’s Killer Bread OR Ezekiel Bread, Which Is Better for You?

Has this happened to you? You got connected with a health and fitness guru and have been following their prescriptions to a better life. They have sold you on the idea of eating only carbohydrates from a good source. One of those good sources came highly recommended and you have been eating Ezekiel Bread for a while now.

You’re at the gym one day, having a great workout and making a new friend. As you chat about your eating habits, this new friend swears by Dave’s Killer Bread. Now you are wondering if perhaps you could make a better choice for your carbohydrate sources by switching to Dave’s Killer Bread. As you ponder this new thought, you hear the voice of your current health and fitness guru in your head speaking to you about how Ezekiel Bread is the only way. What do you do? Well, that is where I am able to help you. I’ve wondered the same thing myself and went about looking into the similarities and differences. I’ve made my choice and you can make yours.

Let’s take a look at what the breads have in common. They both use “all organic whole grain” sources for their ingredients and that is a great thing. They both use sea salt in the bread making process. They both offer several varieties of bread for you to chose from. You know what folks say, “variety” is the spice of life. So both breads bring that spice to you. Both brands make a multi grain bread, a whole wheat bread, and a multi seed bread. Both breads are carried in only certain stores making their availability limited. Many big chain food stores will carry either one or the other brand.

Now let’s take a look at the differences. All breads from Food For Life (manufacturers of Ezekiel Bread) use only sprouted ingredients and no flour of any kind in any bread. Dave’s Killer Breads use either cracked, crushed, cultured or rolled whole grains for their breads. So, which is better? That is debatable. It is believed that sprouted grains are more readily digested by the body. If you do have trouble digesting grains, this may be a slightly better choice for you. Beyond digestion the differences are negligible.

Food For Life offers five varieties of bread: 7 Sprouted Grain, 3 varieties of Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain (Flax, Low Sodium, & Sesame), and Sprouted Whole Grain&Seed. Dave’s Killer Bread offers eight varieties of bread: 21 Whole Grain, Good Seed, Power Seed, Blues Bread, Cracked Wheat, Sprouted Wheat, Good Seed Spelt, and Rockin Rye.

All of the five varieties of bread from Food For Life do not use any sugar of any kind. All of the 7 varieties of Dave’s Killer Bread use either organic dried cane syrup or organic cultured wheat (or both) as a natural preservative. For any of Dave’s breads the amount of sugar added averages 4 grams per slice. For those of you cutting carbs to get that ripped body ready for the stage, you may want to choose bread’s from Food For Life exclusively in that 12 week pre show prep time.

All of the five varieties of bread from Food For Life do not use any oil, while three varieties (Cracked Wheat, Blues, & Rockin Rye) of Dave’s Killer Bread do use a small amount of organic expeller-pressed canola oil. This small amount of oil in those two breads add a negligible amount of fat to the bread.

The final difference between the breads is the serving size. All breads from Food For Life have a standard serving size of 1 slice equal to 34 grams. All breads from Dave’s Killer Breads have a standard serving size of 1 slice and the grams vary from 42 grams to 50 grams, with the typical being 45 grams.

With all of that great information at hand which bread are you going to choose? There is one more factor to take a look at and that is the cost to purchase a loaf of bread. On average most stores that carry either of these breads will charge you just under $6.00 for a loaf of bread. That is on the high side as far as breads go.

For me, this is the major factor in my choice. Both bread companies make a comparable good carb source bread. My local Costco store carries a few varieties of Dave’s Killer Bread and because they can make a large bulk purchase they also offer the least expensive pricing for a loaf of bread. On average I pay about $3.75 for a loaf of Dave’s Killer Bread. So for now, I’m a Dave’s Killer Bread fan.



Source by Jen L Thorne