Homemade plain white bread. Cut into thick slices, perfect for French Toast.
Floss Rings made from sweet bun dough. Looks like spider legs. Many of our buns are made from this dough
Generally, bread and bun making uses high protein flour also called the bread flour (recent price increase from RM2.20 to RM3.00 per kg. *Sigh*), sugar, yeast, milk powder (optional) & salt as dry ingredients. Liquid like water & milk, eggs and finally fats like shortening or butter or cooking oil can be added. Recipes will generally vary depending on the portions added.
Of course, there are also other variations in the recipes which can create a whole range of bread items such as the American donuts, Italian pizza & foccacio (which usually incorporates fresh herbs), Turkish pita, English muffins, French bread, baguettes & cobs, danish & croissants. I love the smell of fresh bread and of course the smell of the house after baking breads and buns. Hmm so homey!
However, there are a few tips that can help to ensure good results:
1) Use castor sugar as granules are bigger which allow longer kneading.
2) Use cool water to make bread and bun because with long kneading, cool water will prevent the yeast to take reactions causing the rise in dough. Icy water will increase proofing time later on. Best is cool.
3) Do not put in the entire measurement of water called for in the recipes all at once. Always leave about 10% which can be incorporated later after the dough has formed. This is because different flours take in different amount of water.
4) Knead for about 15 to 20 minutes. The dough is only ready if it passes the film/membrane test. Take a little dough from bottom and roll into a little ball, stretch the dough gently until a thin membrane is formed without breaking. Repeat for the dough from the top. Thin film/membrane shows that the gluten in the dough had developed. If membrane broke easily, continue kneading for another 3-5 min. Repeat test.
5) Good shaping method will ensure nice end results especially buns (we do not want wrinkly surface). The roll and pull towards you motion can smoothen dough.
6) When proofing/resting, always keep dough in enviroment that is free of moving air like fan or air conditioner. Flowing air will cause the dough to dry out. Keep it covered with cloth that has water sprayed on (not wet, just slightly damp).
7) Usually, most recipes will ask you to proof till the dough double in the bulk or to wait for XX minutes or hour. But that is not the entire story. Depending on where we are baking, the proofing time do vary. Warm and humidity Vs Cold and dry has a distinct effects on the proofing time. The best test for me is the Poke Your Finger Test. After about 1/2 hour to 45 min of proofing, gently poke your finger on the dough. The dough will not sink and the finger mark will spring back ever so slowly. If the mark springs back very quickly, the dough is not ready. Wait for another 20 min to repeat the test.
8) Always use preheat ovens to bake. Bake till golden brown. 165 deg cel with fan is a good temperature. Baking usually take about 12 to 15 minutes for buns and 30 to 45 mins for breads. 45 min for bread that is baked with a covered top.
I had make a fair bit of blunders so hopefully, these tips will help. And of course there are surely things that I dont know. Let's share! Happy baking!