Bread is a scary thing for the novice baker. All that kneading, rising, rules about yeast is enough to make most of us turn and run the other way. There are very simple rules and techniques to making the perfect loaf of bread. If you still find yourself weary, there are quick and easy to make bread recipes and handy gadgets that can make you look like a professional bread maker.
Quick Bread Recipes
Quick breads refer to breads that require minimal preparation time. They are often made of batter rather than dough. To achieve similar rising properties, they are leavened with chemical agents such as baking soda or baking power instead of yeast. The chemical agents are typically incorporated into the dry ingredients and then added to the wet just before baking. The reaction between these chemicals and the wet ingredients causes the batter to rise immediately. Therefore, for many quick breads, the wet and dry ingredients are initially mixed separately and then combined at the very end. In addition to the quick rise, quick bread batters can be very thin. These batters can generally be poured directly into loaf pans or muffin tins. Others will be more dough-like in their consistency and may require a quick knead prior to baking.
Quick breads are probably one of the easiest foods to make. Many cooking students begin their culinary education whipping up quick breads as early as home economic class in middle school. Common quick breads are banana bread, apple spice bread, pumpkin bread, corn bread and biscuits. One of the biggest draws of these types of breads is they taste even better a day or two after they have been baked. This fact makes baking quick breads appealing because you can make them on the weekend when you have plenty of time and then enjoy them during the workweek when you are on the go.
Flatbreads are another quick and easy option for the beginning bread baker. Flat breads, such as pancakes can be made from scratch with ingredients found in most pantries. Simply whip together some flour, sugar, baking soda, an egg and some oil and you have the makings of one of the most popular flatbreads out there. You can really jazz up your everyday pancake by adding a variety of other flavorful ingredients such as cinnamon, fresh and canned fruits, granola or oats. Pancakes are often served with maple syrup or a nice sprinkling of sugar over the top.
Norwegian Flat bread Lefse
Flatbreads can also be made with some common leftover ingredients. One very common flatbread is made from leftover mashed or riced potatoes called lefse. Lefse are a Scandinavian flatbread. Taking your leftover potatoes and adding flour, fat, sugar and salt, rolling them out and cooking them on a griddle, make these. Lefse can be bland on their own, so they are often served with brown sugar. The sugar is sprinkled on the top of the war lefse, rolled up and popped into your mouth. Not only are the delicious, they are a great use for all those leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving dinner.
You may be surprised to learn that pizza is a flatbread. Other flatbreads we all know of include pita bread, lavash, bhakri, naan and tortillas. These breads have been around for hundreds of years. They are easy to make because many flatbreads are unleavened—made without yeast or sourdough culture. These breads are often a staple in the diets of people all over the world.
Home Bread Making Machine
For the more adventurous baker, but one not quite willing to take on bread making from scratch on his or her own, there is the bread making machine. Bread machines have become one of the most innovative small kitchen appliances in recent years. With minimal effort and mess, you can have fresh baked bread in just over two hours. A bread machine is comprised of a metal box, an area for programming and a powerful blade for stirring and kneading the dough. All of this is done right in the pan where the bread will bake. All you need to do is measure the ingredients right into the bread pan, set the machine according to the recipe and remove the loaf of bread once it is finished baking. It is that simple.
Home bread making can be daunting for some folks, but there are quick and easy alternatives available to anyone who wants that delicious smell of fresh baked right in their own home.