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French Bread Baking At Home


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I am presently in Vietnam where you can get lovely fresh baked baguettes, batons and etc. I was at the supemarket today and watched as the bakery section prepared an endless flow of the above...I was within the heaving mass wanting to get at the scrumptous crusty product and I noticed that they had an apparatus designed specifically for purpose.

In Thailand I have a basic, non-digitally controlled cooker(see the 'oven' thread elsewhere) with an oven and all the ingredients for making bread are easily obtained. As I am not a rocket scientist I presume that other expat bread lovers have considered the same question...what does it take in terms of procedure to produce nice crusty french bread? undefined please advise regarding dough preparation, raising and baking (using a mold I would presume to preserve the classic look and feel of the loaf). I am aware that there is probably loads of info on the internet but I address this to expats in Thailand that have been succesful in execution.

To those of you that would snarl 'Why come to Thailand if you want to eat bread!!!???' I would say give it a rest...as other TV threads have indicated there is a rising swell of expatriates that want prime rib, burgers, hot dogs, edible bread, english curries and etc (cue the Marseillaise/Internationale...sung by the previously oppressed but now in triumph)

beware...we have nothing to lose but our chains to inedible thai 'cuisine'...I shall take my warm and crusty product, wallop it in my Suphanburi homemade calif/texas chilli and sneer...disrespectfully...

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I have made some french breads a couple of times now and we are quite pleased with the result.

You can get all the ingredients as you stated in the supermarkets and you would some breadimprover as well (tip from a genuine baker)

the dough is prepared by my breadmachine and is a basic receipe only I add an egg and some olive oild for a more 'light and airy' bread and taste. Follow any receipe and at the final bake-off add a cup with water in your oven this will make the crust more crunchy. You do not need a mold just make the shape you like (baquette or pain) You can add some eggyok on the crust for some visual effects

Just try and follow any receipe from the web and try my additions

bon appetite,

J

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I have made some french breads a couple of times now and we are quite pleased with the result.

You can get all the ingredients as you stated in the supermarkets and you would some breadimprover as well (tip from a genuine baker)

the dough is prepared by my breadmachine and is a basic receipe only I add an egg and some olive oild for a more 'light and airy' bread and taste. Follow any receipe and at the final bake-off add a cup with water in your oven this will make the crust more crunchy. You do not need a mold just make the shape you like (baquette or pain) You can add some eggyok on the crust for some visual effects

Just try and follow any receipe from the web and try my additions

bon appetite,

J

thanks for the reply...is the bread machine that you speak of available in BKK? I understand that you just throw in all the ingerdients and the machine mixes and kneads...correct? Where does one find bread improver in Thailand? Also...do you just set a container of water in the oven next to the bread during baking to get the nice crunchy crust?

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I have made some french breads a couple of times now and we are quite pleased with the result.

You can get all the ingredients as you stated in the supermarkets and you would some breadimprover as well (tip from a genuine baker)

the dough is prepared by my breadmachine and is a basic receipe only I add an egg and some olive oild for a more 'light and airy' bread and taste. Follow any receipe and at the final bake-off add a cup with water in your oven this will make the crust more crunchy. You do not need a mold just make the shape you like (baquette or pain) You can add some eggyok on the crust for some visual effects

Just try and follow any receipe from the web and try my additions

bon appetite,

J

thanks for the reply...is the bread machine that you speak of available in BKK? I understand that you just throw in all the ingerdients and the machine mixes and kneads...correct? Where does one find bread improver in Thailand? Also...do you just set a container of water in the oven next to the bread during baking to get the nice crunchy crust?

The BM I bought it in Europe in 1999 or os, but in Emporium or Siam Paragon they sell them as well

Also in Serie center 1st floor I believe

The breadimprover you can buy at Lotus, Carrefour and such

The water goes below/next to the bread for the last 30 minutes (forgot to mention that)

Usually you cook the bread on 200C for a while and than at 150 for another 30 minutes, thats when you put the water in

Let me know the outcome OK

J

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I too would like to hear more... we've followed several different yeast-bread recipes and the results are boring and bland. I do think I've gotten better at the kneading part to get a good texture, but it is bland even when I used strong flour and kneaded it enough (I think). I want to make a nice sourdough. Is the only hope to follow one of those recipes to make "starter", where the flour and yeast has to churn away for many days until it is a stinky sludge?

Has anyone here made a wild yeast starter Thailand and had satisfactory bread? I'm a bit hesitant to try to learn this on my own since I might not recognize a true failure and end up poisoning myself. :o

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  • 2 weeks later...
"Breadimprover" - I've never heard of that before, do you mean yeast?

No, I mean breadimprover in the bigger supermarkets they sell the stuff next to the flour

There is a differene between breadimprover and yeast. All bakers use breadimprover to get their bread up :o

It's named like a chemical fomule like 3Kc or something, but easy to spot beacuse it says; breadimprover.

You replace like 15% of the flour wiht this stuff and all will turn out OK

J

Edited by jumbo
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"Breadimprover" - I've never heard of that before, do you mean yeast?

No, I mean breadimprover in the bigger supermarkets they sell the stuff next to the flour

There is a differene between breadimprover and yeast. All bakers use breadimprover to get their bread up :D

It's named like a chemical fomule like 3Kc or something, but easy to spot beacuse it says; breadimprover.

You replace like 15% of the flour wiht this stuff and all will turn out OK

J

I have worked on an doff in my family's baking business over the years - 15% bread improver seems an awful lot - doesn't it impair the taste.

IMHO, ditch the improver and bake naturally - it won't last as long but once you master making bread, the stuff with no chemicals added will always taste better :o

Baguettes are made with ovens that are inject with steam during the baking process - put an ovenproof bowl, half-filled with water - see if that can help.

Also, french baguettes are kneaded in a special way - you can roll a piece of dough out into a long, thin sausage shape; fold each end in about 2/3s, and flatten out with your knuckles then roll into a baguette shape - don't forget to cut slits in the top of the bread - this will prevent air-bubbles forming.

Good luck!

Edited by The Dan Sai Kid
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"Breadimprover" - I've never heard of that before, do you mean yeast?

No, I mean breadimprover in the bigger supermarkets they sell the stuff next to the flour

There is a differene between breadimprover and yeast. All bakers use breadimprover to get their bread up :D

It's named like a chemical fomule like 3Kc or something, but easy to spot beacuse it says; breadimprover.

You replace like 15% of the flour wiht this stuff and all will turn out OK

J

I have worked on an doff in my family's baking business over the years - 15% bread improver seems an awful lot - doesn't it impair the taste.

IMHO, ditch the improver and bake naturally - it won't last as long but once you master making bread, the stuff with no chemicals added will always taste better :o

Baguettes are made with ovens that are inject with steam during the baking process - put an ovenproof bowl, half-filled with water - see if that can help.

Also, french baguettes are kneaded in a special way - you can roll a piece of dough out into a long, thin sausage shape; fold each end in about 2/3s, and flatten out with your knuckles then roll into a baguette shape - don't forget to cut slits in the top of the bread - this will prevent air-bubbles forming.

Good luck!

Yeah, you might be correct, I kind of thought it was 15% but anyway it wil show on the box howmuch to use. And I am out of it and not at home anyway....so I guessed

I think if you read the thread you will see thay have some problems with the rising when making it the traditional way. Maybe your knead tip will solve that

I will surely try it, any tips on making the bread rise to an acceptable level??

J

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"Breadimprover" - I've never heard of that before, do you mean yeast?

No, I mean breadimprover in the bigger supermarkets they sell the stuff next to the flour

There is a differene between breadimprover and yeast. All bakers use breadimprover to get their bread up :D

It's named like a chemical fomule like 3Kc or something, but easy to spot beacuse it says; breadimprover.

You replace like 15% of the flour wiht this stuff and all will turn out OK

J

I have worked on an doff in my family's baking business over the years - 15% bread improver seems an awful lot - doesn't it impair the taste.

IMHO, ditch the improver and bake naturally - it won't last as long but once you master making bread, the stuff with no chemicals added will always taste better :o

Baguettes are made with ovens that are inject with steam during the baking process - put an ovenproof bowl, half-filled with water - see if that can help.

Also, french baguettes are kneaded in a special way - you can roll a piece of dough out into a long, thin sausage shape; fold each end in about 2/3s, and flatten out with your knuckles then roll into a baguette shape - don't forget to cut slits in the top of the bread - this will prevent air-bubbles forming.

Good luck!

Yeah, you might be correct, I kind of thought it was 15% but anyway it wil show on the box howmuch to use. And I am out of it and not at home anyway....so I guessed

I think if you read the thread you will see thay have some problems with the rising when making it the traditional way. Maybe your knead tip will solve that

I will surely try it, any tips on making the bread rise to an acceptable level??

J

The heat here starts killing the potency of your yeast as soon as the packet is open - I usually keep mine in the freezer.

If you can get yeast in small portion sized packets then that would help. When you add the yeast to water you want it warm enough to stimulate the yeast, but not too hot so as it kills the yeast.

My Dad always maintains that dried yeast is no substitute for fresh yeast anyway - but I haven't a scooby onhow to get it in LOS.

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J

[/quote

My Dad always maintains that dried yeast is no substitute for fresh yeast anyway - but I haven't a scooby onhow to get it in LOS.

I could make fine bread a long time ago in my homecountry. In Thailand it is impossible for me. The bread I get is very hard, like stones.

I have only tried dried yeast - I have never seen fresh yeast here in Isaan, where I am living.

Maybe the problem is the yeast? Anybody knows?

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"Breadimprover" - I've never heard of that before, do you mean yeast?

No, I mean breadimprover in the bigger supermarkets they sell the stuff next to the flour

There is a differene between breadimprover and yeast. All bakers use breadimprover to get their bread up :D

It's named like a chemical fomule like 3Kc or something, but easy to spot beacuse it says; breadimprover.

You replace like 15% of the flour wiht this stuff and all will turn out OK

J

I have worked on an doff in my family's baking business over the years - 15% bread improver seems an awful lot - doesn't it impair the taste.

IMHO, ditch the improver and bake naturally - it won't last as long but once you master making bread, the stuff with no chemicals added will always taste better :D

Baguettes are made with ovens that are inject with steam during the baking process - put an ovenproof bowl, half-filled with water - see if that can help.

Also, french baguettes are kneaded in a special way - you can roll a piece of dough out into a long, thin sausage shape; fold each end in about 2/3s, and flatten out with your knuckles then roll into a baguette shape - don't forget to cut slits in the top of the bread - this will prevent air-bubbles forming.

Good luck!

Yeah, you might be correct, I kind of thought it was 15% but anyway it wil show on the box howmuch to use. And I am out of it and not at home anyway....so I guessed

I think if you read the thread you will see thay have some problems with the rising when making it the traditional way. Maybe your knead tip will solve that

I will surely try it, any tips on making the bread rise to an acceptable level??

J

The heat here starts killing the potency of your yeast as soon as the packet is open - I usually keep mine in the freezer.

If you can get yeast in small portion sized packets then that would help. When you add the yeast to water you want it warm enough to stimulate the yeast, but not too hot so as it kills the yeast.

My Dad always maintains that dried yeast is no substitute for fresh yeast anyway - but I haven't a scooby onhow to get it in LOS.

Hi there,

Being a Baker & Confectioner before i changed into Purchasing i still have a good memory about the French Bread( which i have done for 14 years on a various Cruise Vessel - 5 of those years on a French Cruise Vessel ) . I don't think Commercial Bread Improver differs much the one you buy in shops for home use.... usually adding 3 % of the Flowerweight is common , you also find Bread Improvers where you add only 1,5 % of the Flower Weight . Usually this is stated on the Packet anyways. I used most of the time (including my Homebaking) dry Instant yeast (good brands are l'hirondelle or Saf) these Instant yeasts i have seen at a local Bakery shop but i also saw them at Makro , same applies for the bread improver.As for the Instant Yeast add it and mix it with all dry compounds...flour, salt, & Bread Improver and than add the Water. Dry Instant Yeast ...if i am remembering correctly it was uused 30-40 % of the weight that you would use from the Fresh yeast (but also good to douple check on the Package) For Bread Improver you might have to look on the Package of the origination of it ....my favorite Company is Puratos , but there are other good ones too.

For the French Bread do not add any eggs....add 2 % of butter ...that keeps the Bread fresh without making it soft on the Crust. Do not add any sugar which can be used as the substitute for the Bread Improver- that takes care (next to other advantages) of the browning of the Crust.

Proofing and Baking ...assuming you're at home. Let the shaped Baguettes rise (under a cotton Towel or similar) until about 60 % of its full size and then make the Cuts on top with either a Blade or a very sharp Knife(carefully! ). Baking , with a Convection Oven send the Baguettes with a good amount of steam at 230 degress Celsius after 8 minutes open the Vent to release the Steam . Let the heat drop to 195-200 Degrees Celsius . After a totoal 20 minutes and turning then Baking Tray you bake the Baguettes on once (back to front) the Bread should be ready .

Hope that helps for our future Home Bakers....

Good luck,

rcm :o

Edited by rcm
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I only have found dried yeast and in small packs, the bread I made in the beginning was soft, you could eat it but it just didn't rise. So I found out about the breadimporver and that helped

However the DanSai Kid had a special way of kneading for frnech bread and i asked him if he had a special way for regular bread a well to make it rise

So basically breadimprover helps

In my home country I used an-all in one pack which also worked terrific, but haven't found that here yet as well as fresh yeast; never even heard of that.....anyone knows where to buy that in Thailand?

J

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I only have found dried yeast and in small packs, the bread I made in the beginning was soft, you could eat it but it just didn't rise. So I found out about the breadimporver and that helped

However the DanSai Kid had a special way of kneading for frnech bread and i asked him if he had a special way for regular bread a well to make it rise

So basically breadimprover helps

In my home country I used an-all in one pack which also worked terrific, but haven't found that here yet as well as fresh yeast; never even heard of that.....anyone knows where to buy that in Thailand?

J

It is true that kneading and shaping of the bread plays a significant role too....but so does the quality of Flour....

Many factors that are involved to make the result good or even better (and maybe even bad... :o )

Never stop trying...it'll come right ,

rcm :D

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The biggest problem for home maked breads in Thailand is:

Getting a good and fresh flour! Most of the flours in supermarkets are far to old and they just don't work.

Fresh yeast is not easy available, I am using dry yeast and it's fine. Nearly all of the big bread factories here are using it.

Bread improver: Should be used about 1-2% from the whole recipe amount(average bread recipe=

1Kg flour and 600ml water).

When I bake my bread at home I don't use it.

Start baking always with a high heat and with some steam, then gow down gradually with the heat.

I've stopped to make my own bread at home, to many friends found out and asked for it :o

You also can make braed with out any yeast:

Google for: berliner+sour, a bit more complicated but a great result if you like a german style bread.

Gerd

(Chef&Baker)

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