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Mark Harding

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Though chemistry teachers might have to regularly field questions about the chemistry of ‘Breaking Bad’ these days, baking bread is probably more likely to figure on a list of their recreational activities. Bread-making is a process that seems simple, essentially involving the mixing of just four ingredients. However, there’s a lot more chemistry
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In some commercial or industrial bread the 'other' ingredients are present as the industrial process is the dominant factor in the this type of bread. But with well - read long slow (especially sourdough) fermented - bread they are unnecessary. The philosophers stone is bread made by organisms not processing aids.

Flour, water, salt converted by Micro-organisms into nutritious food. Time is important, which today escapes many! 
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Easy no knead 100% whole grain bread using oven

The day before baking - starter (levain)

I keep a starter "stock" (see the river cottage bread book, for example, for instructions on how to prepare a starter) in the fridge. The starter contains about 2 cups of flour. The day before baking I split the starter in half and add 1 cup of whole grain flour to each. I then add two-thirds of a cup of water to each half and mix until homogeneous. Both are then covered and then placed in the fridge.

The day before baking - soaker

I mix 2 cups of whole grain flour with about 1 cup of water and mix to a paste-like consistency. I usually prepare this directly in the baking tin - in this case the bread machine tin, with mixing attachment in place.

Notes:
The amount of water added can be varied depending on how wet you like the dough. Mine is quite wet. When leaving the stock for a long time (I've left it for 3-4 weeks) it helps to keep it on the dry side. The two side by side below have two-thirds and three quarters of a cup of water respectively, and I think you can see the difference. I've prepared the starter and the soaker up to 36 hours in advance of baking, but usually about 12 hours in advance on the evening before.

Bake time

This is where the recipe changes from the one using the bread machine that I posted. On a Sunday I have all morning so I like to use the oven to cook at a higher temperature and let the (wet) bread mixture rise without any instant yeast. I've been using my bread machine baking tin in the oven because it is high sided and helps with the bread shape.

Mix the starter and soaker in the baking tin (the soaker is quite stiff, so although there's no kneading you might need a bit of elbow grease - or a mixer!). I also add some salt and honey at this point. Half to one teaspoon for me, but let's say "to taste". Leave to rise somewhere warm (I have a forced air outlet that is pretty warm all winter) for maybe 2 and half hours (the dough may not rise that much).

Pre-heat the oven to 450F and bake for 10 minutes; then turn the oven down to 375F and cook for another 30 minutes.

The bread

Baked in the oven at 450F the bread gets a very nice, slightly sweet, crust. It doesn't rise as well as the bread machine loaf (see the two loaves side by side in one of the pictures below), and it is a bit more involved (not much) but I prefer the taste of this loaf.

Store in an airtight container so the bread doesn't dry out. Slice, bag and store in the freezer if keeping for more than a few days.

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Mark Harding originally shared:
 
Great book, includes the science of baking bread. I think I either got the idea of wetting / soaking wholegrain flour before use (autolyse) from him (or if not maybe Michael Pollan).
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Mark Harding originally shared:
 
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Easy 100% whole grain bread using bread machine

The day before baking - starter (levain)

I keep a starter "stock" (see the river cottage bread book, for example, for instructions on how to prepare a starter) in the fridge. The starter contains about 2 cups of flour. The day before baking I split the starter in half and add 1 cup of whole grain flour to each. I then add two-thirds of a cup of water to each half and mix until homogeneous. Both are then covered and then placed in the fridge.

The day before baking - soaker

I mix 2 cups of whole grain flour with about 1 cup of water and mix to a paste-like consistency. I usually prepare this directly in the baking tin - in this case the bread machine tin, with mixing attachment in place.

Notes:
The amount of water added can be varied depending on how wet you like the dough. Mine is quite wet. When leaving the stock for a long time (I've left it for 3-4 weeks) it helps to keep it on the dry side. The two side by side below have two-thirds and three quarters of a cup of water respectively, and I think you can see the difference. I've prepared the starter and the soaker up to 36 hours in advance of baking, but usually about 12 hours in advance on the evening before.

Bake time

I like to set up my bread machine before going out running on a Saturday morning, so there's a fresh loaf waiting when I get back.

Mix the starter and soaker in the baking tin (the soaker is quite stiff, so just a rudimentary mix). I also add some salt and honey at this point. Half to one teaspoon for me, but let's say "to taste". Finally I add half a teaspoon of active dried yeast in a little warm water (just to help the wild yeast out).

Bake on the whole grain setting for a 2 lb loaf with dark crust (I use a breadman TR2700).

The bread

I often get some "ears" on the loaf because of the wet dough in the mixer, but they're easy enough to cut off (and munch). Pictures below including a "crumb shot".

Store in an airtight container so the bread doesn't dry out. Slice, bag and store in the freezer if keeping for more than a few days.

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Mark Harding

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Mark Harding originally shared:
 
A lot of great information.
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Mark Harding

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As we took a look at the complex chemistry of bread-making last week, this week it seemed to make perfect sense to look at some of the chemistry that results from putting the end result of that process into the oven! There are a host of compounds that contribute towards baked bread’s
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They have lots of lovely chemistry (do those two words go together...?) infographics on the website.
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Mark Harding originally shared:
 
Coincidentally, a good friend of mine was good friends with the author at University. They had lost touch until the author appeared on the river cottage tv series. The book includes a recipe for one of my friends favoritrs - Staffordshire oat cakes. Nice.

This was the first book I read on baking and amongst other things I learnt how to make a starter from it.
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Marko,majstore!
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Mark Harding

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Mark Harding originally shared:
 
A lot of great information.
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Mark Harding

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
Easy 100% whole grain bread using bread machine

The day before baking - starter (levain)

I keep a starter "stock" (see the river cottage bread book, for example, for instructions on how to prepare a starter) in the fridge. The starter contains about 2 cups of flour. The day before baking I split the starter in half and add 1 cup of whole grain flour to each. I then add two-thirds of a cup of water to each half and mix until homogeneous. Both are then covered and then placed in the fridge.

The day before baking - soaker

I mix 2 cups of whole grain flour with about 1 cup of water and mix to a paste-like consistency. I usually prepare this directly in the baking tin - in this case the bread machine tin, with mixing attachment in place.

Notes:
The amount of water added can be varied depending on how wet you like the dough. Mine is quite wet. When leaving the stock for a long time (I've left it for 3-4 weeks) it helps to keep it on the dry side. The two side by side below have two-thirds and three quarters of a cup of water respectively, and I think you can see the difference. I've prepared the starter and the soaker up to 36 hours in advance of baking, but usually about 12 hours in advance on the evening before.

Bake time

I like to set up my bread machine before going out running on a Saturday morning, so there's a fresh loaf waiting when I get back.

Mix the starter and soaker in the baking tin (the soaker is quite stiff, so just a rudimentary mix). I also add some salt and honey at this point. Half to one teaspoon for me, but let's say "to taste". Finally I add half a teaspoon of active dried yeast in a little warm water (just to help the wild yeast out).

Bake on the whole grain setting for a 2 lb loaf with dark crust (I use a breadman TR2700).

The bread

I often get some "ears" on the loaf because of the wet dough in the mixer, but they're easy enough to cut off (and munch). Pictures below including a "crumb shot".

Store in an airtight container so the bread doesn't dry out. Slice, bag and store in the freezer if keeping for more than a few days.

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Mark Harding

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Mark Harding originally shared:
 
Inspiration
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Mark Harding

Resource Suggestions  - 
 
Mark Harding originally shared:
 
Great book, includes the science of baking bread. I think I either got the idea of wetting / soaking wholegrain flour before use (autolyse) from him (or if not maybe Michael Pollan).
2
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