There are two areas in my life where I frequently feel like a complete failure. Number one is getting my kids to bed and number two is baking bread.
Me and the bread have a long history of ups and downs. In my younger days, it seemed like such fun thing, but I never could get a decent loaf on my own until I got a bread maker. I loved the simplicity and waking up to the smell of fresh bread. However, I detested the crusts and then resorted to doing all the prep in the machine but baking in the oven with good results. Then I moved to Kosovo and I couldn’t take the bread maker with me.
When I lived in Kosovo, I felt it was a necessity because there was only one kind of white bread available. Once again, I was unable to have success with yeast breads, so I turned to all manners of quick breads and decided I didn’t need to deal with yeast. Next I moved to Germany, and there was such a variety of whole grain breads available that I decided there was no point to go through the effort.
At my Thermomix demonstration, the rep made rolls by grinding while wheat and spelt grains, using fresh yeast, and the whole thing was done in just 30 minutes. I thought, now I have my answer, and I entered a big bread kick using Thermomix recipes. Fortunately most have turned out quite well, but now I have added the challenge of trying to use all whole grains, and I am meeting very mixed success.
It seems sometimes I get a perfect loaf, but half the time it is a failure and I can’t figure out how to guarantee success – especially if I use all whole grains. For example, yesterday I used a recipe which has made perfect sandwich bad in the past, but yesterday it didn’t rise at all (now I have learned I can just make crackers with that). Today I tried a recipe with a soaker and a sponge (I read somewhere that soaker whole grain wheat overnight before baking is supposed to help, and I even added several tablespoons of vital wheat gluten hoping to help), but no matter how much flour I added, the dough was so sticky that I couldn’t shape a loaf. I know I can keep adding flour, and that is what I usually do, but I have also read that the most common novice bread maker mistake is to add too much. It seems I need to usually add about double the called for flour get the right consistency, and I know I shouldn’t add that much.
I’ve decided I need to go to a bread making course to be able to witness and feel the proper dough consistencies, but living in Germany, I have no idea how to go about it. Plus, I am getting tired of trying with bread. I keep reading that it shouldn’t be hard, and I should be able to make much healthier and cheaper bread. So what is my problem? Does anyone have any secrets to baking whole grain bread? I am tired of experimenting and just want to have some success!!!