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Fool Proof Bread

For years, making bread was like flipping a coin - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I read many receipts to try to figure out what works and what doesn't. Some of them blame it on the salt - if you put in too much too early, it might kill the yeast. Some blame it on the fat - too much fat would also kill the yeast. After countless trial-and-errors, I finally get to the point where each loaf comes out well risen and the whole family can now count on it for breakfast. Trust me, once you taste your own bread, you'll never want to go back to the store bought!

It turns out that there are two tricks that can help to ensure success.

#1 start a simple yeast batter on the side. This helps to ensure there will always be live yeast going on no matter what you do with the dough.

#2 patience. Never rush, just take your time. It takes about 90 minutes for the first round of kneading and proofing. It then takes about 30 minutes to do second proof. Finally, it takes about another 30 minutes to bake.

I will start with an easy one - coconut toast loaf. This can be a base for any variations.

Water - 1 cup

Sugar - 2 table spoons

Yeast - 4 tea spoons

All Purpose Flour - 6 cups ( you can replace this with bread flour for better texture)

condensed milk - 6 oz

coconut milk - 8 oz

Dried milk powder - 1/4 cup

coconut oil - 1/2 cup

First mix the sugar with water in a glass bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds. Put in the yeast and stir to resolve. Pour half of the yeast water into a bread machine. With the remaining half, mix in 1 cup of flour and set aside to rise.

In the bread maker, add the coconut milk, condensed milk, then the remaining flour and milk powder. Turn on the "dough" mode and let it go through the process. When the dough start to take shape, about 10 minutes into the process, add in the yeast batter that was put on the side to rise. Let the two mixtures come together into a smooth dough, if it is too wet, you can add a little bit more flour. The dough should be soft.

Once the dough is smooth, add in the coconut oil and let it continue to knead until all the oil got absorbed into the dough. Wait until the full "dough" cycle completes, about 90 minutes in total. Sometimes I restart the machine after the first kneading so it gets through another round before the proofing starts.

You can now either bake the bread in the machine as it is, or, like what I prefer, take the dough out and shape them into nicer looking breads. The easiest way to shape the bread is to roll the dough out with a rolling pin and then roll the sheet up before putting it into a bread pan. Reason for this is to get rid of the large bubbles in the dough so the bread can rise more evenly.

Let the dough proof for about 30 minutes in the oven. Take it out, set the oven to bake mode at 350 degrees. Brush the dough with milk. You can dust it with some sesame seeds if desired. Once the oven gets to the right temperature, place in the bread pan with the dough and bake it for 30 minutes.

Once the time is up, take the pan out and let it cool down and then enjoy!

Another variation of this is my Black Rice Bread. The only change is to first ground up about 1/2 cup of black rice and 1/2 cup of black beans. Then cook them with the coconut milk first to make a paste. You would put the paste into the bread maker after the yeast water and replace the condensed milk with 1/2 cup of sugar (you can put in more if you prefer sweeter).

Again, don't rush and take your time. To avoid the bread sticking to the pan, you can line the pan up with some parchment paper first, it makes it so much easier to clean.

The bread takes on nice purple color and the kids will love it.

Practice makes everything perfect, start your bread making today!

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by CarolineZ

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