Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bread: improved

I was strolling through the supermarket, with only 50% of my children, so arguably 200% more time.

A small packet in the flour aisle caught my eye...


Bread improver, hey?

It was cheap. I had nothing (except my still-slightly-cakey loaves) to lose. I bought it. Whoo! The excitement! I can just hear you clutching your seat from here!

But my goodness, did it ever live up to its name. (The improvement bit, unfortunately not the wallaby bit. That would have been nice.)

Using the recipe on the packet

Check. It. Out!

Soft, fluffy, not-in-the-slightest-bit-cakey bread! I was so excited. There may have even been a bout of kitchen dancing.

Ok, there was definitely kitchen dancing.

My bread is now shop quality. It's lost it's home-made feel. I'm quite happy about this, I was brought up on shop bread and I do like it. Mr A was very happy with my old "damper bread", but he's not complaining about this either. It's a solid improvement. Ahem.

The cost for the bread improver is 14c per loaf, which seriously increases the cost-per-unit, but since a loaf of the comparable pre-made bread we used to buy costs $6.29 (!) it's still a considerable saving.

Also, the wallaby is cute. It's the little things in life.

So, my dear internet friends, are you using bread improver too? Was I just really late to the party? And, more importantly, is there some other magic powder out there that I have overlooked? A special powder that cooks dinner for me? A vacuuming powder? Hit me with it! I need to know.

{By the way, this post wasn't sponsored or paid or anything. I'm just seriously digging this discovery and thought you might like to know too.

Also, Katherine? You won comment of the week! Have a look in my side bar to see what it was that made me laugh...}

29 comments:

  1. I'm interested, but what exactly is in it? Chemicals? Things with numbers after it? Let me know.

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    1. Ummmm *runs to get packet*

      Wheat flour, soya flour, emulsifier (480), ascorbic acid, mineral salt (516), enzyme.

      What enzyme, I don't know...

      And that's the lot! 5g per loaf.

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    2. HMMM 'Emu Saliver' (emulsifier) what exactly is that stuff??? I'll just stick to buying preservative free commercial bread, supplemented by home made bread (where the only additive is time), the kids still love to eat it even if it isn't like shop bought bread. I'm working on trying to make bread more regularly at home, I'm still in the experimental stage too, looking for the right recipie for us. It's fun isn't it.

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    3. I've had a look at the additives in the bread we used to buy, and it had 400, 471 and 481.

      Before I bought it I had a think about adding the improver, because of the additives, and decided it was the lesser of two evils. Without the improver, the bread I made wasn't suitable for jaffles (aka toasties),or steak sandwiches, both of which we eat regularly. This meant I was buying a loaf, with extra additives, just for these and making the rest of our bread at home. I reckon the improver will see us eating less additives across the board, even if we do have some in almost every loaf.

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    4. Good point, I hadn't considered it that way before.

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    5. An Emulsifier is something that allows substances to mix, such as oil and water. It can be a natural thing rather than a chemical thing. It's what it does, not what it is. The 480 is the AU for Dioctyl sodium sulphosuccinate.

      If you want a natural emulsifier try something such as lecithin

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  2. It's a hilarious box, it looks straight out of the 1970's.

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    1. I know! I love it! I think "quaint" is the word...

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  3. Comment of the week! Wooh! *does Marcia Brady-style hair flick*

    I was just staring at the same wallaby box last week wondering if it would work. Think I'll pick some up today. I'd like to make our bread but it always turns out a bit wrong. Cakey, as you say. Maybe the magic wallaby box will fix it for me. I will report back.

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    1. Dude, prepare to be ahhhh-mazed. Follow the directions on the packet, they're good ones.

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  4. Soy flour is used in most commercial breads and helps make it soft.

    My mother-in-law loves adding extra gluten to her bread. Makes the crust more satisfying and the bread a better texture in general. Also makes whole wheat bread lighter--all whole wheat can lead to some serious leaden loaves.

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  5. I'd be doing a dance too, I've tried 2 different recipes in my bread machine and both were very heavy so I'm definitely going to give it a try. I've been meaning to try making by hand but am scared that I'll go to all that trouble and it will turn out the same so if I can add that I reckon I've got a better chance. I thought that wallaby looked familiar my bread flower is the same brand he's very cute. So I'll be getting some of that tomorrow and giving it a go, thanks for the hot tip. Jodie xx p.s. a magic powder would be nice hey lol.

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  6. It doesn't matter what I use, my bread is always cakey! Maybe it's my bread maker, maybe it's me?Since having gestational diabetes with my 2nd, I became addicted to Burgen Soy Linseed bread. Start the day every morning with two slices.

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    1. Make sure you're using bread flour, (it's got more gluten) and knead the beejebuz put of it. Maybe your bread maker doesn't knead quite enough? I let mine go for 10 mins in the kitchen aid.

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    2. Another thing to try is adding potato water to the flour, instead of plain water. Potato water is the liquid left in the pot after boiling potatoes.

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  7. I tried bread improver too, the last time I made bread ( Naan) and it was a great texture. I thought it was gluten which is what makes bread more like bread and less like cake. I must admit that I didn't read the label, and mine did not come with a cute wallaby on it. You can buy bread flour too as opposed to all purpose flour. Guess I need to do some more research.

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  8. Noted! Also on the bread front, what are you using to "house" your flour?

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    1. A 28L click top storage tub from Bunnings. It sits on the bottom pantry shelf perfectly, and I just slide it out a bit and open one end to access the flour. It works really well, actually!

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  9. I use Wallaby brand flour, in the big bag.....although you sometimes have to pick out the bits of fur....I am going to go and search for the bread improver, my bread is okay, but I am all up for a better loaf...for sure........your bread looks fantastic.....any fur?

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  10. I haven't tried this - I do have a slightly cakey texture to my bread. I have a very lovely recipe though that I make by hand and it is fine for everything, but as you say it tends not to toast the same etc. I should try it, I've been and seen the mill as they also make the CWA scone mix (which I also don't use due to having a secret CWA recipe) and I thought, being a CWA member I needed to at least see the mill lol - not sure that makes sense but anyhow....I think I will try this too, they should send you free stuff for this awesome demo!

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    1. So, the question is.... Do they make *the* secret CWA recipe? Or is yours even more secret? I'm intrigued!

      Also, where is the mill?

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    2. LOL the recipe they use for the scone mix is (I believe) one of the popular (and many) scone recipes circulated throughout branches and years...possibly South Australian CWA due to the mill being in Strathalbyn SA (lovely little town and a must see if you are touring the area). Mine is a 'never-fail'recipe taught to me by a long time CWA member from WA...so different again. I have her permission to share at will though as there is nothing worse than a badly made scone (see rock cake)....direct quote :)

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  11. Bread Improver is 100% gluten:) I have never used it and now that it looks like we are heading down the celiac road with wee boy and trying to eliminate the nasties in the house I probably won't. Yay to non-cakelike bread.

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  12. I have been reading about the stuff that bread improvers are made from - including chicken feathers and pig intestine!
    You can also simply use some easily found ingredients to get the same effect - as long are there are no gluten problems.

    approximate measurements - doesn't have to be exact.
    milk powder - approximately 2 tablespoons per pound of flour
    ascorbic acid - 1/2 teaspoon per pound of flour
    vital wheat gluten - 2 rounded teaspoons per pound of flour
    1 teaspoon powdered lecithin per pound of flour.

    Don't not mix this ahead of time because the ascorbic acid and lecithin may interact if stored together.

    This will give more rise to a loaf, especially with heavy whole grain flours and produces a nice crust that is crisp but tender

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    1. Ok, research done, I was going to reply here but I started writing an essay... Instead I'll post about it on Saturday!

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  13. $6.29 for a loaf of bread???? I gripe about paying $2.45! I fear this may be our future with inflation in the states.

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