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chefpeon

Bread in half the time?

11 posts in this topic

Ok, so I have a pretty extensive background in artisan bread baking. I'm a blissful bread baker who enjoys the zen I feel with my doughs and the satisfaction I get from kneading, proofing and baking the old fashioned way. I'm a real purist and have always been taught that good bread baking depends on judgement, patience and experience more than anything else.

I answer baking questions on a volunteer basis at AllExperts.com. I get ALL SORTS of inquiries, from complete novices to other pros. I just recently got a question from a lady who makes her whole wheat bread on a food processor and was wondering why, after kneading the bread on her food processor for only 60 seconds using the metal blade, her breads always had this giant tunnel in the upper third of the loaf. My experience told me it was probably very underkneaded and the underdeveloped dough did not create the webby matrix in which to trap the yeast gases and instead created the giant tunnel because no webby matrix existed.

That's my best guess anyway. She then replied that she had this book called, "Bread in Half the Time", and it was about using food processors, bread machines, and microwaves (MICROWAVES???) :huh: to make bread from start to finish in under 90 minutes.

I'm a purist, but I'm not going to close my mind to new ideas and technology. Once I get that mindset, I might as well quit the biz, you know? So, my question is, has anybody tried this stuff?

Does anyone have the book? What are your opinions about using food processors and bread machines as opposed to the hand method? Do you really get a GREAT loaf, or is it just ok?

And regarding the use of the microwave to proof bread....how is that done? That's a concept I have a hard time getting my mind around!!!!

Your input please? :wub:

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Ok, so I have a pretty extensive background in artisan bread baking. I'm a blissful bread baker who enjoys the zen I feel with my doughs and the satisfaction I get from kneading, proofing and baking the old fashioned way. I'm a real purist and have always been taught that good bread baking depends on judgement, patience and experience more than anything else.

I answer baking questions on a volunteer basis at AllExperts.com. I get ALL SORTS of inquiries, from complete novices to other pros. I just recently got a question from a lady who makes her whole wheat bread on a food processor and was wondering why, after kneading the bread on her food processor for only 60 seconds using the metal blade, her breads always had this giant tunnel in the upper third of the loaf. My experience told me it was probably very underkneaded and the underdeveloped dough did not create the webby matrix in which to trap the yeast gases and instead created the giant tunnel because no webby matrix existed.

That's my best guess anyway. She then replied that she had this book called, "Bread in Half the Time", and it was about using food processors, bread machines, and microwaves (MICROWAVES???) :huh: to make bread from start to finish in under 90 minutes.

I'm a purist, but I'm not going to close my mind to new ideas and technology. Once I get that mindset, I might as well quit the biz, you know? So, my question is, has anybody tried this stuff?

Does anyone have the book? What are your opinions about using food processors and bread machines as opposed to the hand method? Do you really get a GREAT loaf, or is it just ok?

And regarding the use of the microwave to proof bread....how is that done? That's a concept I have a hard time getting my mind around!!!!

Your input please? :wub:

Got that cookbook, used it for a couple of recipes, the technique works fabulously if you want to proof bread really quickly (so for stat pizza dough), but it develops NO flavour at all.

Oh yeah, and by the way, I use my processor to mix almost all my bread doughs. I like the speed.

So what you do to proof, put a cup of water in the microwave along with your bowl of dough. You then microwave on a very low power for a very short time, then let it rest a while before repeating.

I'm not a home right now, but I can send you exact info from the cookbook when I get back next week if you want. Just PM me.

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I'm a bread purist as well, but I get good, and sometimes better results mixing in a food processer than by hand.

I mix sourdough for 2 minutes, then prove for 2 hours bulk and 2 hours in a banneton. Energy input is around 10Wh/kg. The dough comes out almost like cream, but firms up as it stands and the glutens cross-link.

I've documented the bread in other topics.

A microwave is a closed cupboard with an energy source. You can prove just as easily in there, with a basin of wrm water to maintain the temperature as with any other cupboard.

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I don't have a bread machine anymore, now that I have a huge stand mixer on the counter and use the dough hook to knead, but when I did I thought the bread machine did a great job of kneading. I didn't like to bake in it, but for the knead/proof phase it was excellent. Only for small batches of dough, but home bakers often only want a small batch of dough.

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I agree with Abra. I have "several" bread machines, including one with two separate pans.

When I was still doing some catering, I would want to prepare several different types of bread at the same time and would weigh and measure out all the ingredients into plastic bags ahead of time so I could simply add the liquid to the pan, dump in the dry ingredients and set the machines, one right after another, being sure to start the ones requiring the longest knead time first. I could then get on with the rest of my tasks while the machines did all the hard work kneading, rising, kneading the second time, then turning off so I could pull the dough, shape the loaves and bake all at once.

At the office I have an "Express" bread machine that will mix, knead, rise and bake a loaf in 90 minutes, start to finish. However it doesn't rise a lot - so the trick is to use a double batch and set the baking time for a bit longer and one ends up with a denser loaf with finer crumb.

This is not a technique for plain breads, but for the hearty, whole-wheat and seeded breads, that have a lot of flavor, the results are excellent.

The machine has a 58-minute cycle but I have never used that.

Oster 2-pound Express bread machine

I have tried the microwave proofing but do not like the rubbery feel of the dough and I was not happy with the results, either texture or flavor.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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She then replied that she had this book called, "Bread in Half the Time", and it was about using food processors, bread machines, and microwaves (MICROWAVES???) :huh: to make bread from start to finish in under 90 minutes.

I'm a purist, but I'm not going to close my mind to new ideas and technology. Once I get that mindset, I might as well quit the biz, you know? So, my question is, has anybody tried this stuff?

Does anyone have the book? What are your opinions about using food processors and bread machines as opposed to the hand method? Do you really get a GREAT loaf, or is it just ok?

And regarding the use of the microwave to proof bread....how is that done? That's a concept I have a hard time getting my mind around!!!!

Your input please? :wub:

Got that cookbook, used it for a couple of recipes, the technique works fabulously if you want to proof bread really quickly (so for stat pizza dough), but it develops NO flavour at all.

Oh yeah, and by the way, I use my processor to mix almost all my bread doughs. I like the speed.

So what you do to proof, put a cup of water in the microwave along with your bowl of dough. You then microwave on a very low power for a very short time, then let it rest a while before repeating.

I'm not a home right now, but I can send you exact info from the cookbook when I get back next week if you want. Just PM me.

I borrowed a book like this from the library two years ago. There was one additonal instruction that seemed to work: The dry ingredients went into the processor and a cup of very hot water was added slowly through the tube. In about a minute the dough ball was ready, and kick-started.

I used the low power (#1) microwave method to keep the mass growing, but flavour development was not the objective in these quick breads.

It could be, however, if a skilled baker could spread out the process and let the flavour develop.

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I used the low power (#1) microwave method to keep the mass growing, but flavour development was not the objective in these quick breads.
Got that cookbook, used it for a couple of recipes, the technique works fabulously if you want to proof bread really quickly (so for stat pizza dough), but it develops NO flavour at all.

I think that's the thing I'm most doubtful of, and concerned with; that the speedy process of all this compromises the flavors you get with extended fermentations.

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. . .

I think that's the thing I'm most doubtful of, and concerned with; that the speedy process of all this compromises the flavors you get with extended fermentations.

No doubt there is a compromise BUT when the compromise is between a "decent" home made bread and a loaf of cotton batten from the variety store I am happy with the compromise.

I would never compare the bread I make with an artisinal loaf but it is more than adequate for us.

A very good friend brought me a copy of "Secrets of a Jewish Baker" which gives three methods for most recipes - hand made, FP or KA (or equivalent) and I have been producing amazing bread using the FP. It's fussless and highly convenient and I can have a fresh loaf of bread on the table every night. I have a crummy oven, live in a tiny house with temperature fluctuations from here to eternity and despite many hours trying to make artisinal breads I found the results hopelessly inconsistent. With the recipes in this book and my FP I have total confidence that there will be bread on the table and that it will garner compliments from whomever is joining us for a meal. One day I am sure I will return to trying my hand at artisinal breads but for every-day bread I am delighted with the results I get with the FP.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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"no time" processes need not compromise flavour.

A typical bread formula has a sponge step where the yeast or sourdough culture is fermented with some of the flour and water (typically up to 50% of the flour) for a time before the main dough is made. Even large commercial operations, such as the "flour brew process" use something similar with the fermenting starter/preferment being held in large tanks

Its here flavour develops, rather than in the main fermentation

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"no time" processes need not compromise flavour.

A typical bread formula has a sponge step where the yeast or sourdough culture is fermented with some of the flour and water (typically up to 50% of the flour) for a time before the main dough is made. Even large commercial operations, such as the "flour brew process" use something similar with the fermenting starter/preferment being held in large tanks

Its here flavour develops, rather than in the main fermentation

Perhaps that's the answer, Jack. Many of the recipes in "Secrets" use a sponge.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Perhaps that's the answer, Jack. Many of the recipes in "Secrets" use a sponge.

yeah, the best BM breads I make incorporate a Biga--are mixed and proofed in the machine, get another short rise after shaping and are baked with a baking stone.

But there are many breads that still taste pretty good made standard BM style--I've been making a good rye lately that's nice and firm and slces beautifully--Beth Hensberger's book is a great resource for anyone wanting to try BM baking.

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