Using A Food Processor To Make Fresh Homemade Bread

History Of Bread

Humans have been perfecting bread making techniques for over 10,000 years. The art of combing simple ingredients to create savory loaves has long been practiced throughout the world. Every culture has a bread or breads specific to their region, normally using native grains and yeasts. Cherished recipes are passed down from generation to generation

Through much of history each household has had someone charged with food preparation for the family, including the production of bread. Relegating this duty to large mass producing companies is a relatively recent phenomenon. Many people in modern society find it difficult to find time to make any food from scratch, let alone tackle the seemingly monumental task of producing fresh-baked bread completely from scratch. These same people watch TV an average of 2.8 hours per day, but that’s a story for another time.

Luckily, there have been developments within the home kitchen appliance industry that can assist with most any task, and bread making is no exception. I am not referring to Breadmakers, since they tend to produce substandard bread lacking many of the characteristics you look for in the perfect loaf. No, the appliance which has revolutionized home bread making is the ingenious muti-tasking machine known as a Food Processor.

Basics Of Bread Making

First, let’s delve into the basics of bread making. It is the culinary art of combining ground grains (flour) and liquid with a leavener (most commonly yeast.) The goal is to create an elastic structure which can trap gasses produced by the leavening agent. The historical way of achieving this is by kneading the bread for 15 to 25 minutes. This develops the gluten in the flour which in turn provides the necessary elasticity.

The kneaded dough is then allowed to rise. What is happening during this phase is what gives bread the majority of its flavor. The yeast consumes the naturally occurring sugars in the flour and liquids and produces gas as a byproduct. These gasses are trapped within the elastic structure forming a light and airy interior. This process is actually a fermentation, similar to that used to make wine or beer. Fermentation produces a very distinct and desirable flavor. Allowing this process to occur more slowly will allow more flavor to be developed. Modern breads are normally given anywhere from 1 to 24 hours to rise, depending on the amount of yeast and liquid used.

Bread dough is often flattened after the first rise and left to rise again. The purpose of this is to develop more elasticity and produce more flavor. The second rise usually occurs within the baking vessel, where it will conform to the desired shape. It is then baked, thereby perfuming your home with the most heavenly aroma.

Simplifying The Process

There is little you can do to speed up the bread making process and still achieve optimal results. You can, however, limit your involvement in the process. Who cares if bread takes a long time to rise if you don’t have to be home while it rises?

The most time-consuming and tedious task necessary for bread making is the kneading process. Luckily, this is also where modern technology can step in and help. A food processor equipped with a dough blade can do all the hard work for you. Simply put all the dry ingredients into the work bowl of your favorite food processor and pulse until combined. Mix together the wet ingredients, turn the food processor to “on”, and drizzle through the feed shute. Leave the food processor running for 2 minutes. This will first mix the dough then knead it for you. That’s right, you can replace twenty minutes of hand kneading with two minutes in the food processor!

You can take any bread recipe and adapt it for use in your food processor using the simple steps outlined above. After kneading, follow recipe instructions for rising, shaping and baking the loaf.