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Cleaning up messy bread dough.

COUNTRYSIDE: I enjoy baking bread about once per week. Although I can make it by hand without a mixer or machine, I prefer to let my bread machine do the work. I put all the ingredients in the machine, then set it to the dough or manual cycle. When it stops, I put the dough in a bread pan, let it rise again, then bake it. This saves a lot of work and cleaning up. At only $35, my machine (I have a Sunbeam, 1.5 lbs. basic machine) is used once a week or so, and was well worth the money. The bucket in the machine has a non-stick surface and often needs only a quick swipe with a towel. Also, when washing the utensils, etc. after cleaning up, I allow them to soak for a couple hours in hot, soapy water to loosen the gunk, then I go in bare-handed and scrub the majority of the mess off the utensils and bowls before finishing up with the sponge. This saves the sponge, and having a gunk-basket in the drain saves the gunk from going down the drain. I also searched high and low for a good recipe. Try going to www.kingarthurflour.com for a list of recipes and tips on bread making. They do very well over there at trying to find good, healthful recipes that use as few ingredients as possible while taking an efficient amount of time. Having good quality ingredients and good quality utensils helps too. Hope this helps even a little!--K. Salber, Vermont

COUNTRYSIDE: We also had problems cleaning our bread making utensils and bowls. Like most people we cleaned with a sponge and hot soapy water. We read that using hot water, which when mixed with flour makes glue, so use cold water instead. We first scrape or wipe out bowl and utensils to get excess flour material off them then run cold water over it and it comes right off without much effort.--Michael & Lori The Amish-way Homesteaders, New York

COUNTRYSIDE: This is a sure fire method of keeping from getting messy dough to clean up. I work with third graders in Pioneer Park and teach them how to make bread when we have an educational day.

The first group of kids puts in flour and makes a one-third cup indent in the flour for the molasses. Then they pour in the molasses, the hot-warm water and sprinkle the yeast over it.

The second group stirs in the "lard" (Crisco) and the salt, and stirs it into a wad. The kids pour a cup of flour on the tabletop and I gather the wad up and tell the kids they can "dry clean" the bowl and spoon. They get flour on their hands and rub, rub, rub the bowl all around until it shines. Same with the spoon--no more sticky dough on the bowl.

The next group kneads, and the last group makes the dough into 50 little rolls. To make rolls I flatten the dough out and cut it into 50 little squares. They knead the little wad three times, stick it on one finger, squeeze the bottom of it with the other hand and pull the finger out, forming little mushrooms.

Here is the kneading method. 1. Place the heels of your hands on the edge of dough close to you. 2. Your fingers gently reach to the top and pull the dough towards you. 3. Pick up the dough the long way between your hands so it looks like a taco. Always have the smooth side down on the table. (Some kids get it right away, some don't.)

Our cleanup is in a small washbasin (running water is at the pump), so we don't need messy dough! I have read COUNTRYSIDE since the 70s. I need it as a support group!--Betty Eichenberger, Washington

COUNTRYSIDE: I wish to encourage Ms. Forster not to give up on bread making. I too had to learn the hard way to make bread--by trial and error. I doubt that my mother ever made a loaf of bread in her life (even though she was an excellent cook). She came from an upper-middle class background and raised a daughter who read of the "poor people in the Appalachian Mountains" and thought them rich, Now I am one of the "rich people" in the Appalachian Mountains and love every minute of it.

When first starting to make bread I too had the problem where the bowls were hard to clean up. In teaching others to bake bread, I find the most common error is not allowing the bread dough to rest after initially mixing it. The flour in the bowl needs time to absorb the moisture. Without the rest period, you will misjudge the amount of flour needed. Stop adding flour as soon as the bread pulls from the pan and use the dough to clean up the bowl. When you remove the dough from the bowl to knead it, the bowl should be almost spotless.

Do you add a lot of flour when you knead the loaf? Try this: knead the loaf while still in the bowl. I use a kneading bowl which can be bought from Shetlers or Lehman's. When the dough forms a ball but is still sticking, I lightly dust the dough with flour until it pulls away from the bowl as I knead. Therefore the dough itself cleans the bowl.

I do a final kneading just before I set the dough to rise, but I do not flour the counter, I spray it lightly with Pam. In this kneading I am shaping the loaf more than developing the gluten. I spray the bread pans with Pam and put the loaves in them to rise. I put my loaves through three risings and each time I return them to the bread pans. I knead them on the counter sprayed with Pam rather than dusted with flour. The pans are sprayed again with Pam on the final rise. Until you get the hang of it, I would put all the sticky utensils into a five-gallon container filled with water. Let them soak! I wipe the containers clean so that none of the dough is on the pans when they come out of the five-gallon container. Then I pour the water outside or down the toilet rather than the kitchen sink. The yeast in bread does wonders for the septic tank.--Nancy; Troutmantswn@aol.com

COUNTRYSIDE: When I make bread, I simply soak the bowls in lukewarm water and toss in the utensils. I knead the dough on a cutting mat and just soak that as well. After I get the bread into the oven, I dump the mess down the drain with plenty of water. A side benefit is that the yeast is good for the septic system. After the soaking, everything wipes clean very easily. --Lorraine R., Wisconsin

COUNTRYSIDE:: I did find a couple of ways to help with the mess:

1. Spray all utensils, bowls, etc. with a non-stick spray like Pam.

2. Cut a garbage bag so it will lay out flat. Do everything on that surface. When the kneading is complete, just roll up the bag and throw it away.--Lois Lamberty, Texas

Using a large freezer-type baggie may be a better choice, as garbage bags may not be safe for food.

COUNTRYSIDE: Here is my dough cleaning tip. First, it would help if a garbage disposal is installed (I have one) when making my bread/bake goods, etc. I put water in one of my big pots and set it aside. As I use/finish up with my tools I drop them in the pot. By the time I'm totally done mixing, placing items in the oven and cleaning up the kitchen counters, most all the dough has dissolved in the water or softened enough to swish off of the utensils. I put them in the dish water, swish again wash and power spray with the sink sprayer, pour the pot of water into the disposal, and the job is done. Easy work!--H. Marie Plowden

COUNTRYSIDE: I also love baking bread. I experiment a lot and make up my own recipes. I have found over the years that if I add enough flour the dough is not sticky and is also much easer to clean up. I put my sponge in the dishwasher when I am done (this not only cleanses the sponge but makes it last longer also.) I try to use a damp paper towel to wipe down the utensils. This saves the sink and also a lot of time, at least for me.

On the board I knead on I scrape with a scraper--this cleans the board and the scrapings go in the trash, not the sink. I also let any leftover dough on the bread board dry then I scrape it into a sifter. I save the leftover flour and use it to knead with next time, and the dry dough again goes in the trash not the sink.--Shyrl Pearce, shyrljim@burgoyne.com
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Title Annotation:Country conversation & feedback
Author:Vermont, K. Salber; Michael; Lori; Eichenberger, Betty; Nancy; Wisconsin, Lorraine R.; Lamberty, Loi
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Mar 1, 2005
Words:1524
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