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ISO: bread making ingredients in GTA

hi chowhounders,

i recently (reluctantly) acquired a cuisinart bread machine. it's a long story! anyway, it's opened up a whole new world of baking for me ...

i've tried a few of the recipes from the booklet that came with the machine. they're just so-so. i'm not thrilled with the shape of the loaf (i will try using the machine to make the dough and then use the oven for baking - i may also just try making the dough in my kitchenaid stand mixer) and i'm also not thrilled with the hardness of the crust (will try a different setting).

i've poked around a few other threads on CH's homecooking forum and have put a hold on a few recommended books at the local library. i've also checked out some recipes online (as per other chowhounder's recos)...

right now, i've got AP flour, WW flour, and multi-grain flour. i also have oatmeal, semolina, and cornmeal (two kinds). i've got yeast from the grocery store (there was only one brand available). however, some of the recipes i'm looking at have some other ingredients and i'm not quite sure where to start looking for them ... specifically:

- rye flour
- spelt flour
- kamut flour
- vital wheat gluten
- liquid lecithin

also, a friend of mine mentioned that using different yeasts may result in different tasting (better?) bread...but, where do i buy "different" yeast and/or the above ingredients in the GTA? west-end would be preferable ... but i'll likely make a trip down to SLM sometime in the next few weeks...

thanks for your help!!!

lilaki

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  1. Hit a Bulk Barn that has high turnover. You should be able to find many of the ingredients you're looking for. A Health food store or Whole Foods might be of help as well. It doesn't hurt to venture into a bread store or bakery that makes breads and inquire about various yeasts. They may be able to direct you or else share their secrets with you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: 1sweetpea

      hi 1sweetpea,

      thanks for the reco.

      i haven't been to a bulk barn in a few years ... this may be a stupid question - how do you know if they have high turnover??

      1. re: lilaki

        It's not a stupid question at all. For starters, is the store busy? This may seem odd, but I'm a fan of the "sniff" test. Have you ever had a bag of AP flour sitting in your cupboard or pantry for way too long? I can't describe the stale or rancid smell to you, but it definitely smells "off". At the store, scoop some rye or kamut flour into a bag then smell it. If it doesn't smell good, call one of staff over to point it out. It's really annoying to purchase something, then find it it's bad while in the middle of baking, or worse, afterward. Low turnover could mean the flour's been in the bin for ages, but at least you can inspect for yourself. If you buy from a health food store, the packages will be sealed and you won't know until you get home and open them up. If you do decide to shop at a health food store, check for dates on all packaging and keep your receipts, in case anything is stale. I've had this problem at all kinds of stores, so I'm not targeting Bulk Barn or health food stores in particular. Loblaws, Metro or Sobey's can be just as guilty.

    2. St-Lawrence market has an extensive bulk-flour selection in the basement.. same guy who runs the dried beans/rice counter. You can get pretty much anything there.

      1. hi all,

        thanks for the tips ... i will check out a bulk barn (or two) and also SLM next time i'm down there...

        what about yeasts? does it matter? can i just continue using the grocery store brand i've got? any recos on where else to buy yeast?

        tks!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: lilaki

          Seconded -- I've been trying to find any place to purchase bricks of living yeast (as opposed to instant freezedried yeast)... anyone have any idea?

        2. Highland Farms has Rogers brand rye flour from BC, it has worked well for me.
          I've had spelt flour from the health food section of Loblaws. (and maybe I've seen kamut there too?)
          Wheat gluten you can get at a place on Kensington Ave that has lots of bulk bins.

          Not sure about other items.

          I've always used the same bread machine yeast from the grocery store and had good results.

          I always set my crust control to the lightest setting.
          Definitely get a bread machine cookbook!

          2 Replies
          1. re: maple99

            hi maple99,

            thanks for the tip on flour ... i'll remember that next time i'm out near a highland farms.

            i made a small loaf last night, set the crust control to the lightest setting and the thing still came out burnt! i think i'm calling cuisinart soon...

            tks again!

            1. re: lilaki

              If you're really getting into bread baking I'd recommend actually cooking a loaf in your oven instead of in the bread maker.. the crust never comes out right on those machines in my experience.

              A good starter would be a no-knead bread recipe, eg. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/din...

          2. one more question ... where do i get sour dough starter in the GTA?

            tks!

            1 Reply
            1. Sour dough starters are hard to keep going, but you may be happy with one for a few weeks.

              B.B. has gluten flour, very high protein, use sparingly.

              Robin Hood has a high protein unbleached white flour, called Best For Bread, which is essential to mix into rye or whole grain loaves.

              You can learn to derive the protein content of flour from the white nutrition table on commercial brands.

              You should get a reliable bread book, especially Bread Baker's Apprentice. Several experienced users post on www.cookskorner.com

              Most important, measure flour by weight, not volume. A good scale can be found for about $20. I use a Starfrit, from Zellers, and it is a great help.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jayt90

                I have been using my breadmachine for a year now. For many breads I let the machine do the heavy work (kneading) and then I bake it in the oven.

                I have found that "bread for breachmachines flour" works best. It really makes a difference.

                I have only found 2 bulk stores that sell it. One at Yonge & Cummer Avenue (south of Steeles) and another one on Bloor St. West, one block east of Jane.
                The second store also carries whole wheat flour for breadmachines. I also buy my rye flour, cracked wheat at the bulk store.

                I got a number of recipes for breadmachine off the web, but my favourite book is from the Toronto Public Library:
                Betty Crocker’s Bread Machine Cookbook. (N.Y., 1995).
                641.815 CRO

              2. Grain Process Enterprises in Scarborough, Ontario has a full selection of flours and bread making/baking ingredients. They are listed in Canada411.

                1. Do different types of yeast work with breadmachines? I would be interested to know.

                  My Breadmachine manual says to only use "Fleischmann's Bread Machine Yeast".

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Smachnoho

                    IIRC active yeast has a thicker protective shell around the yeast and requires dissolving in liquid before use, whereas instant yeast can be mixed dry right into your dough due to its thinner shell

                  2. hi all,

                    just a quick update ... i went to the bulk barn @ weston and the 401 yesterday ... i was very impressed with there selection of ingredients - not just for bread making either! anyway, needless to say, i'll be back there soon ... gread product selection and knowledgeable staff.

                    thanks to all!