Love in the Kitchen - making fast, healthy, homegrown meals you'll enjoy

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bread Recipe Mistake... or Was It?

I have a favorite bread-machine bread recipe.  I found it several years ago, and it is my go-to recipe whenever I bake bread.

Italian Bread
  • 1 1/8 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dough conditioner (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  1. Place all ingredients in bread pan in the order listed (or as per the directions for your bread machine.)  Select Medium Crust setting, the French Bread cycle and press Start.
  2. Observe the dough as it kneads.  After 5 to 10 minutes, if it appears dry and stiff or if your machine sounds as if it's straining to knead the dough, add more liquid 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a smooth, soft, pliable ball that is slightly tacky to the touch.
  3. After the baking cycle ends, remove the bread from pan, place on cake rack and allow to cool 1 hour before slicing.
That's the recipe.  I use the dough cycle, let it rise a second time in my covered stone French bread pan and then bake for about 35 minutes at 350F.

The problem is, I was halfway into making the bread and realized that I didn't have enough bread flour.  I didn't have enough all-purpose flour either.  What I had was cake flour.

I asked the internet.  The internet said:

Cake flour is high in starch and low in protein and when chlorinated (bleached) allows cakes and other baked goods to set faster, rise better, the fat to be distributed more evenly, and there is less vulnerability to collapse.

Bread flours have from 12-14 percent protein. They will feel decidedly more elastic while kneading, and will give full, rounded loaves. These flours are made from hard winter wheats from northern states.

But it didn't really say I should (or shouldn't) substitute one for the other.

So, rather than forgoing the bread altogether, I used cake flour instead of bread flour.  I didn't think the results would be great... but they were!  The bread turned out very light and very tender, with a crispy crust.

Can you see how delicate it looks?

I may not use cake flour every time, but when I want a soft and delicate bread, I will certainly be happy to use it again!

Have you had a mistake in the kitchen turn out to be a surprise hit?

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  1. My mistakes never take a turn for the good, sadly.
    And I never knew the flour difference!