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The New FG Roberts Gluten Free Cottage Loaf Mix

Hints & Tips

These hints & tips will no doubt be added to as our customers give feedback on the numerous clever things they discover about this new bread mix.

*Accurate measuring using digital (battery operated) scales make life much easier than guessing with cup measurements. You can weigh your dry ingredients and liquid measures to get the right dough consistency from the start rather than having to mix extra water into a dry dough... which can be more work!

*Storage. The ability to store fresh bread may vary with weather and climate. A basic rule is the warmer the temperature surrounding the bread, the 'fresher' it will remain but the quicker it will attract mould growth.

Storage in cool temperatures (like refrigerators)slows mould growth but also dries and stales bread quicker.

After the bread has completely cooled from baking, place in an airtight bag, gently suck the air out and seal with a tie. In moderate warm surrounding temperatures, the bread should be edible for up to 3 days without reforming. Cooler environments will reduce this and require quick refreshing/reforming in a microwave oven for approx. 10-20 seconds per slice. Allow to cool on a rack and enjoy as normal.

*What if I Knead the Dough? Unnecessary but it should not be a problem if you do.
Unlike gluten based breads which require kneading to develop the gluten to enable it to stretch and give a good rise and light texture, our FG Roberts Cottage Mixes do not need this to attain a stretchy dough.

As long as the dough is pretty well mixed, it only needs a single rise and bake.
If you find a light knead is easier than mixing the dough thoroughly in your bowl with a spoon(arthritis sufferers), then mix as best you can in the bowl first , tip it out onto your floured board and by giving it a light knead for a couple of minutes, you will give the dough a better mix before it rises. This will still result in a light, even textured bread.

*What if I overproof the dough?
Leaving your dough to rise for too long may result in excessive shrinkage during baking or dough collapse, or very open texture, or loaves that refuse to brown at all (due to yeast food depletion).
Can I knock it down and start the rising cycle again?
This is not recommended and results will depend on how much it overproofed, how much yeast food remains in the dough to feed the yeast for another rise, and if the dough has dried out too much for another rise. More than one rise can cause the dough to be too rubbery and lose the fine, light texture.

*Freezing: The cooled loaves have excellent freezing and thawing characteristics for at least 2 weeks. Thaw  slowly in a microwave oven, or wrap in foil and thaw in a normal oven on moderate for approx. 20 minutes, or place on a wire rack, cover with a cloth and allow to thaw naturally.

*Sandwiches for Lunches. The breads are excellent for lunches when made on the day intended for eating or the day after. They should retain their soft, flexible character and will not crumble. Crusts may be a little dry on day 2 if they are overcooked but in moderate temperatures will not require reforming/refreshing.

Simply slice and add toppings, wrap in plastic and place in lunch boxes or bags.

*Cracking of the Crust: Some initial cracking of the crust may be evident as loaves cools in some ovens with some loaf types. Keeping the crust moist during rising and having moisture available in the oven during baking usually prevents this.

*Large Holes in the Bread: Using too much yeast, too much water, or too much vinegar in your recipe can result in a large cave in the centre of the bread or rolls. 
Free standing breads like Viennas, Bloomers, Cottage loaves etc. require a slightly firmer dough and so a little less water compared to tin loaves and rolls. See the main recipes. 
When making salad rolls or hamburger buns, do not over-flatten the dough using a rolling pin as this may affect the rising and result in large holes inside your rolls.

*Bread not rising enough: The most common causes of this is 
    1. poor yeast (either dead, dying or not a very active brand), or a good yeast which has not been kept cold enough. Yeast needs to be kept refrigerated if it is not vacuum sealed (rock hard) otherwise it will need food or die. The cold simply puts it  into hibernation till you activate it in warmth. Even supermarket shelves can have in-active yeast which has been there too long or have sat in a warm environment.

    A good yeast will stay active for 

    - a few weeks on your pantry shelf

    - around 6 months in your fridge

    - around 12 months in your freezer (it does not need thawing before use)

    2. Dry dough. If you are a little under the required liquid when making your dough... especially when rising it in tins, your rise will be poor and the loaf texture yellow and coarse. 
A common cause of dry dough is inaccurate measuring of ingredients. We highly recommend using digital scales for both the dry and liquid ingredients.See main recipes.

    3. Cold Dough. If your dough gets cool or cold during the mixing, or the shaping on the board, or during the rising stage (check with the back of your hand), then the yeast will not activate and can take hours to rise.
Keep your dough warm at all stages so it will be fully risen within 60 minutes.

*Over-proofing the Dough. Leaving your dough to rise for too long may result in excessive shrinkage during baking or dough collapse, or very open texture, or loaves that refuse to brown at all (due to yeast food depletion).

*Yeast. Use a good quality dry active yeast (we prefer the French & Dutch varieties) as this will ensure good and reliable rises with the minimum of yeast and no extra sugar will be required. Keep remaining yeast in a jar in the fridge or freezer (it does not need thawing out - just use straight from the freezer) and it should keep in excess of 6 months (fridge), and 12 months (freezer).
Bakers compressed or fresh yeast gives excellent results but it only keeps for a few weeks. You also need to use about double the portion compared to dry active or granular yeast, but it can give even better rising, texture and colour to your breads.

*Equipment Cleanup is extremely easy as the wet dough will dissolve in water after a short period of soaking.

*Loaves should be removed from tins soon after baking and cooled on appropriate racks enabling air to circulate evenly around loaves. Crusts exit the oven quite hard and crisp but soften substantially at the sides (tinned loaves only) on cooling. Slicing of any kind should not be attempted for at least 1 hour. Electric knives slice best.

*Loaf Side-Suck. The higher the sides of the baking tins you use, the more the cooling loaves will suck in at the sides .... up to around 1cm each side. This can be reduced by removing the loaves from the tins during the final 15 minutes of baking but some suck will likely remain. It is one of the costs of having better keeping bread!
Lower sided tins or pans have less side-suck.

*Slicing the bread is best done using an electric knife and only when the bread has completely cooled. We recommend doing 2 or 3 slices and then wiping the blade with a wet cloth to remove vegetable gum build-up before continuing.

*Slicing of fresh bread with industrial slicers. At this stage we are unable to determine suitability for this but domestic electric knife experience would indicate some blade crumb sticking evident if sliced before 10 hours cooling. 

*Toasting ability of these breads is a little longer than equivalent wheat breads but this is less of an issue than with most current batter-style mixes available which tend to burn the crusts easily.

*Adding Seeds:   Many varieties of seeds and grains can be added to the dry mix to produce extra healthy and tasty loaves. We recommend starting by adding 10% extra weight of seeds to the dry mix and add extra or reduce from there if required. This 10% added should not require any extra liquid but it does depend on the seeds. Some seeds are water absorbers (e.g. linseeds) and may require a little extra water for the mix. Some adjustments may be necessary to achieve a moist firm silky smooth dough. 

 If you wish to add seeds to the loaf top, just before placing in the oven - spray or brush water or milk generously over the risen dough and sprinkle on the seeds. The water or milk will help stick the seeds on the dough during baking. 

Adding seeds all around the outside of the loaf is a lovely variation. Simply sprinkle seeds onto your board. Pick up the dough... spray the top... roll the wet top onto the seeds...spray the dry section... roll dough around over the seeds and voila! Example

*Added Browning: Brushed on milk at the fully risen dough stage will also give extra browning to the bread. Also egg, and or egg white whipped with a fork and then brushed on will give a very golden brown finish but will burn quite easily. This is best added at the last 10 minutes of the baking cycle.

nd instructions.