bread question--how to get the chewy-ness?
I've been using my breadmaker for a while. It's easy, no fuss, and I've found recipes I like. But I had some store-bought bread the other day, and it reminded me that I really like that slight chewy-ness around the crust. My crusts are dry and flake off; especially in the corners the bread dries out and gets a bit hard before the browned edges. Not chewy, just hard and dry--esp. if it's threatening to go stale. Is there anything I can do? I have a feeling it would mean sacrificing the convenience of the breadmaker, but I'm willing to give it a go.
PS: to anyone debating the merits of a breadmaker, if you choose to get one do make sure to spend the extra money for one that adds extra ingredients (nuts, dried fruit, etc.) separately. I manually have to add them in so they don't get crushed by the blade, which means if I want any interesting bread I can't use the timer function and go to bed. It's really a pain!
Not all recipes are meant to be chewy, especially those made with milk. I agree with the others about not baking in the bread machine. I am not saying I NEVER do that, but a stone baked bread ALWAYS has a much better crust. If you want to retard the dough, I suggest you mix it up in a 45 minute cycle and place it in the fridge for the day. I put mine in ziplocks sprayed with a bit of oil first. Also, there is the old dough method whereby you save a piece of dough from one batch (it freezes fine) and you add it to the new batch, remembering to save a piece off that loaf in turn. Breads made with bigas and poolishes likewise have more complexity and well, I don't have sourdough on my breath for nothing! PS, don't store your bread in plastic and cook each loaf to an internal temp of about 205 degrees. Use an instant read thermometer for this. I don't care for dough enhancers other than occasionally using vital wheat gluten or diastatic malt. I don't like those Lora Brody mixes, they are expensive and no one needs all those enhancers in one loaf unless they are baking with 100 percent lead.
I have been working on chewey, rustic bread for years. I make great bread, but I'm still seaching for perfection. Before you get frustrated, keep in mind that the real stuff is high in gluten, and usually from starters aged a few days. One trick you might try is to put about 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup flour and 1 tsp yeast in the machine the day before you make your dough. This puts a little age on the sponge.
Use you bread machine to make the dough but bake the bread in the oven. Also it helps to have some steam in there to get the chewiness, spritzing with a spray bottle of water occasionally while baking is a help. Next is taking the bread out of the pan before it is totally baked and finishing it on a rack, or better yet a pizza stone will help to ge that chewy crust.
I have a breadmaker, but I only use it to get the dough ready. I always bake the bread in the oven. I use a Pan de Mie for baking sandwich bread- It has a cover, which gives you a close grained, soft bread. It is great for making homemade whole wheat sandwich bread. I also use stoneware baking pans for other loaves. I also use the pan which holds 2 baguettes. I let the dough rise once more in the baking dish before baking. My crusts are not at tll dry, ant the breads are always delicious. Sometimes I use bread enhancers- there are types for Italian bread, sourdough. The King Flour Baking co. has many options (kingarthurflour.com) I have had my machine for at least 6 years, and love it, but as I said, I always bake the bread in the oven. good luck