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Baking Essentials - Equipment

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks
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© Provided by DKBooks

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Equipment

The equipment and tools required for breadmaking are as simple as the essential ingredients. The basic equipment needed to make most of the breads in this guide includes an accurate scale, a measuring cup and spoons, a large glass bowl, a wooden spoon, a dish towel, a baking sheet, a sharp blade, and an oven. The remaining equipment shown will help you tackle additional skills and special recipes. Be sure that you have a large, clean surface to work on that allows you plenty of room to move around; a marble slab, plastic board, or wooden table is best. Although a bare countertop is also fine, avoid tiles because the dough can stick to the grout.


Measuring

Breadmaking should begin with careful measuring. For the best results, it is essential that the ingredients are in correct proportion to one another. When following a recipe, it is important to use one system of measurement, either nonmetric or metric, throughout. These are not interchangeable systems. Before using the scale, check that the needle is on zero when it is empty. Never measure dry or wet ingredients over the mixing bowl. When using a measuring cup, always bend down to pour the liquid at eye level.

Breadmaking should begin with careful measuring. For the best results, it is essential that the ingredients are in correct proportion to one another. When following a recipe, it is important to use one system of measurement, either nonmetric or metric, throughout. These are not interchangeable systems. Before using the scale, check that the needle is on zero when it is empty. Never measure dry or wet ingredients over the mixing bowl. When using a measuring cup, always bend down to pour the liquid at eye level.


Scale

An accurate scale is essential for weighing small amounts.


Measuring cup

A cup with clearly marked units is important for measuring liquids.


Measuring spoons

Always level off ingredients in measuring spoons.


Mixing and rising

Choose glass or plastic bowls and wooden spoons for breadmaking. Metal bowls and spoons react with yeast, creating a metallic aftertaste in a batter. It is also advisable to avoid letting dough rise in metal bowls since they conduct heat, causing dough to rise too quickly. To prevent a dry crust from forming on a dough, cover the bowl with a clean dish towel during rising and proofing.

Choose glass or plastic bowls and wooden spoons for breadmaking. Metal bowls and spoons react with yeast, creating a metallic aftertaste in a batter. It is also advisable to avoid letting dough rise in metal bowls since they conduct heat, causing dough to rise too quickly. To prevent a dry crust from forming on a dough, cover the bowl with a clean dish towel during rising and proofing.


Glass bowls

These offer an all-around view and withstand vigorous use.


Glass jar

Useful for making and storing sourdough starters.


Wooden spoon

Essential for mixing batter.


Dish towels

Use to cover doughs during rising and proofing and to wrap soft-crusted breads warm from the oven.


Other helpful tools

Pastry scraper

A pliable, plastic scraper is ideal for handling sticky dough.


Pastry brush

An all-purpose boar-bristle brush is best for applying glazes and washes.


Scissors

Kitchen scissors can be used to create decorative slashes in dough .


Scalpel

Use to slash the top of a risen dough before baking.


Instant-read thermometer

Practical for checking water temperature when preparing yeast.


Sieve

A stainless-steel sieve is best for sifting flours together.


Rolling pins

Wooden cylindrical rolling pins are best for shaping dough.


Bread knife

A serrated knife will penetrate a hard crust and slice through bread cleanly.


Appliances

Electrical equipment can be useful for mixing and kneading bread doughs. While a food processor ensures thorough mixing and partial kneading of a dough, a heavy-duty mixer allows a baker to develop the full elasticity of a dough through constant kneading for a longer period of time. However, electric mixers and processors can overwork and overheat the dough when set on a high speed. See Using a Bread Machine for tips on how best to use them.

Electrical equipment can be useful for mixing and kneading bread doughs. While a food processor ensures thorough mixing and partial kneading of a dough, a heavy-duty mixer allows a baker to develop the full elasticity of a dough through constant kneading for a longer period of time. However, electric mixers and processors can overwork and overheat the dough when set on a high speed. See Using a Bread Machine for tips on how best to use them.

Food Processor

Heavy-duty Mixer


Baking

After the ingredients have been carefully measured and mixed to the proper consistency, the final stages of breadmaking also require the same careful attention. Preheat the oven in advance and use an oven thermometer to check its accuracy. A kitchen timer allows you to keep track of the baking time, as well as the rising and proofing times. Thicker baking pans and trays are best, since they resist buckling in the oven at high heats and prevent loaves from burning on the bottom.

After the ingredients have been carefully measured and mixed to the proper consistency, the final stages of breadmaking also require the same careful attention. Preheat the oven in advance and use an oven thermometer to check its accuracy. A kitchen timer allows you to keep track of the baking time, as well as the rising and proofing times. Thicker baking pans and trays are best, since they resist buckling in the oven at high heats and prevent loaves from burning on the bottom.


Water sprayer

A fine-spray nozzle is advisable for adding moisture to the oven while a bread is baking. Avoid spraying the oven light or heating elements directly .


Kitchen timer

A clearly marked kitchen timer with a loud alarm will ensure accurate baking, rising, and proofing times.


Oven thermometer

A thermometer will detect any variations in oven temperature .


Loaf pan

Pans made of medium-weight metal are most frequently used in this guide.


Corn stick pan

Each depression in this cast-iron pan shapes a single serving of corn bread.


Terra-cotta tiles

Tiles help radiate heat evenly and retain moisture in the oven, producing superior, thick-crusted, free-form breads .


Muffin tin

Use a muffin tin with a nonstick surface and deep cups for muffin recipes.


Bread board

Wooden boards are best for slicing bread because they are kind to the serrated blade of a bread knife.


Baking sheet

Use a heavy-duty, nonflexible, metal baking sheet for free-form loaves and rolls.


Brioche molds

The sloping sides of these classic molds induce a maximum final rise and height during baking.


Wire rack

Use a wire rack to cool breads in order to prevent a soggy bottom crust .


French Baguette tray

This perforated tray ensures an even heat throughout baking, resulting in a crisp, golden outer crust.

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