THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A "CLASSIC" METHOD AND TJ's METHOD FOR MAKING BREAD AT HOME :
A - The mixing is often done quickly by pouring the dry ingredients into the container and stirring briefly with a spoon.
B - The mixture does not exist, all the ingredients are put in the bowl while waiting to pour the water and knead by hand or with a robot.
In both cases, A and B, it is believed that the dry ingredients will mix well during kneading. So why bother to mix before?
A - Pre-mix the dry ingredients with a spoon. (robot and hand method).
- Mix the dry ingredients with the robot using a whisk on speed 1 (robot method).
- Mix the dry ingredients in a zip sachet or in an airtight container (hand method). And this by shaking from right to left and from top to bottom.
To give you an image between the 2 ways of doing it, it is enough to imagine very simply that:
- The meal (s) is a herd of elephants.
- Salt is a herd of buffaloes.
- The yeast is a herd of antelope.
These animals do not absorb the same amount of water or at the same speed.
And what are they doing? They head for the only water point that exists 100kms all around.
Elephants from the north are the closest. Buffalos from the south are 50kms away and antelopes from the west are 70kms away ....
A - After mixing (or not) the dry ingredients, add all the water and start mixing with the robot (usually a few minutes on speed1) or by hand.
B - After mixing (or not) the dry ingredients, add the water little by little (usually by pouring directly in 3, 4, 5 times) and we start mixing in the robot or by hand.
A - Water is slowly and gently added with a syringe by running it along the wall of the bowl for mixing in the robot. And this at the slowest speed. This operation takes between 3 and 5 minutes.
B - Add the water slowly and gently with a syringe, making it rain on the dry ingredients for mixing by hand. We work with, for example, a very solid metal tablespoon. We mix gently. We prick with the spoon in the dough. We return, we break, we stir, we scratch. We first see small balls appear and then this mixture turns into glitter species. Until it turns into a ball. This operation takes approximately 5 minutes.
And this is where you need to understand the difference between the classic method and the TJ method.
With the classic method, animals do not arrive at the water point at the same time. The elephants will be the first to drink. They will absorb a lot of water. Will there be enough water for the buffaloes? What about antelopes? They will try to absorb the water that remains in the mud?
With the TJ method, all the animals arrive at the water point at the same time. It's a beautiful meeting that mixes all the animals that no longer arrive in separate groups. And everyone can drink next to the other even if they are not part of the same herd.
The same goes for mixing dry ingredients and water for bread.
By doing with the TJ method, we give the chance to each particle of all the ingredients to be able to absorb water. As with different animals, not all bread ingredients absorb the same amount of water nor at the same speed.
Not to mention the different ingredients, this is already true simply in terms of flour.
For example, a very white flour T45 absorbs less water than an integral flour T150.
It is for this reason that we will often tend to put a lot more water with a high fiber flour. In reality, if the mixtures of the dry products are well made and then the mixture with the water is done gently, we can use the same amount of water (see a little more but not much) for a bread made only with T45 flour or a T45 mixture with T150.
When done with the conventional method, if the mixture of dry ingredients is poorly made and the water added too quickly, we will often see parts of the dough drier and other more humid.
We will knead and knead again. At worst, we will add water or flour, which will further distort your basic recipe.
The contribution of water have an immediate action on flour, the gluten network, salt, yeast.
An action that will be refined throughout the process but it begins to act as soon as we put water.
So, assume that each particle must have a chance from the start to be able to give a dough that will make a correct bread.
3 - Kneading.
A - After mixing (or not) the dry ingredients, add all the water and start kneading with a robot or by hand. In the robot it is very rare that the speeds are slow. People are often in a hurry and the too fast speed of the robot does not allow the dough to work properly. Whether by robot or by hand, if the mixing of the dry ingredients and then the water has not been done correctly, this kneading step will not be ideal if it is too fast.
B - After mixing (or not) the dry ingredients, add the water little by little (usually by pouring directly in 3, 4, 5 times) and start kneading in a robot or by hand. But even adding the water little by little, if the speed of the robot is too fast, it is not good. And by hand, we can also encounter difficulties.
In both cases, A and B, we often see people adding flour or water. But nobody thinks that if he does that, there is either a problem in the basic recipe or he is using the wrong method.
C - People want to get, right after kneading, a dough like the one they saw in such and such videos. It is also one of the reasons for adding flour or water.
It is a mistake. The dough does what it wants!
A - Use the slowest speed of the robot. For some robots, speed 1 is fine. For smaller and less powerful robots, speed 2 will be perfect. The kneading of all my doughs lasts 10 minutes.
B - For kneading by hand, I do it with a tablespoon, in the wake of the mixture of dry ingredients with water. When the mixture is well done (which takes about 5 minutes), I crush my ball of dough with the spoon by making folds, as if I were doing it with my hands. This operation takes approximately 5 minutes.
C - At the end of kneading, tell yourself one thing, do not try to get a ball of "ideal" dough. Do not try to obtain a shape, a texture as you would like it to be.
I repeat, the dough does what it wants. Have you followed the TJ method so far?
If so, you should have a dough that can be very firm or soft, dry or sticky, that stretches well, that breaks, it doesn't matter. Above all, do not add flour or water.
AT - ???????????????
A - I absolutely wanted to aerate my dough. After testing a multitude of things, I found the right solution. I called it the "GRID".
This operation must be done in 2 phases. The first time, immediately after kneading.
The second time, 1 hour after the first rest of the dough (except for express breads).
It's very simple to do. We put the dough as is on the work surface. Using a dough cutter or a spatula, you make cuts horizontally then vertically in the dough.
And then we fold it on itself by half. We cut again and so for 5 minutes. Each time we fold, we trap air in the dough.
The result will be a paste that will work well with a lot of bulk.
This also makes it possible to refine the kneading (especially that by hand) and further develop the aromas.
A - After kneading, place the dough in a container covered with plastic food film or a towel (dry or wet).
B - The container is placed in a warm place, next to a radiator, sometimes in a dryer or the oven that has been heated a little.
C - We let it rest until we are going to shape the bread.
Fermentation is a very complicated process. I will try to shorten my explanation as best as possible.
There are several kinds of fermentation. For bread there is lactic fermentation (when using sourdough, it is a slow process) and alcoholic fermentation (when using yeast, it is a much faster process than sourdough).
In both cases, it's alive! It is a process that needs the sugars (among other things, glucose) contained in the flour. This will produce gases (among other things, carbon dioxide) and cause the dough to swell. For this fermentation work in the best conditions, it must be done in an atmosphere lacking oxygen. You have to imagine that in the absence of oxygen (at least in an environment where there is little) microorganisms want to survive. This therefore releases energy through the fermentation process. It's a bit like another way of breathing.
All this work phase will give bulk to your dough but also develop aromas. It will trap gases which will then want to escape during cooking. And by the time they escape, your bread will swell. Sometimes leaving large air pockets in the crumb (large alveoli), sometimes very small (tiny alveoli). Sometimes in an anarchic way and sometimes in a regular way. All this depends on the flour used, the resting time of your dough, etc ...
From there, I think that the container with cling film or a towel is not the best solution for the fermentation of our dough. Of course, it is the simplest way used since time immemorial, but since then, we have invented buckets with lids.
A - I therefore enclose the dough in a bucket with a tightly closed lid, just after kneading and the first grid. Of course, this system does not completely eliminate the oxygen but it still limits the air supply much more than the cling film or the towel. I let my dough rest for 1 hour. There is no need to look for a warm place to store the bucket. The ambient temperature is ideal. My tests give good results with ambient temperatures ranging from 17 ° C to 24 ° C.
B - After 1 hour of rest, if the bucket is tightly closed, the slightly domed lid must be found. Besides, when you open, you hear the pressure of the escaping gases. I take it out of the bucket for a second grid. It's a way to give it a second wind and I put it back in the bucket.
C - After the second grid, the dough is left to rest for 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours ... overnight.
It depends on the time you have in front of you. My preference is between 3 and 4 hours of rest. Always useless to look for a warm place. Place the bucket in the cold oven or on top of a cabinet, in a cupboard. Safe from drafts.
On the other hand, if you make a dough the day before to bake a bread the next day, in the case of a very hot summer day and night, place your bucket in the refrigerator to avoid rising too quickly and too long.
A - You degas (or not) the dough by pressing on it with your fists then you take the dough out of its container and place it on the work surface to start shaping.
A - When you raise the dough without grid lines, for example 3 hours, in general you will discover a dough well raised with a flat and fairly regular surface. When you open the lid, you should hear the degassing. And you will also see the dough falling in the bucket under the action of this degassing and this even before you have touched the dough. Using a long spatula you can take all the dough out of the bucket at once and this action will further degas your dough.
B - When you raise the dough with a grid, for example 3 hours, in general you will discover a dough that has risen even more than without a grid. And its surface is often curved (as if it formed a dome). When you open the lid, you should hear the degassing. And you will also see the dough falling in the bucket under the action of this degassing and this even before you have touched the dough. Using a long spatula you can take all the dough out of the bucket at once and this action will further degas your dough.
A - After removing the dough from its container, we use the different baking techniques to shape the bread. We make flaps, folds, we roll the dough, we use precise gestures to obtain this or that form. With the palm of your hand, with your fingertips. So we give strength (or not) to the dough. When the dough is too soft, we use molds, casseroles. With or without cover.
B - We flour (flowering) often a lot. We flour by hand. We flour the work surface, we flour the dough, we flour the containers, we flour the plate that will receive the bread in the oven, we flour the bread before baking, we flour the walls, we flour on the ground, we flour the shoes, we flour the hair, we flour the clothes, ...
A - Before anything, so far we haven't messed up much, we tell ourselves that we want to keep not messing up.
B - We cut a parchment paper which we will put on a plate which we will use to bake. We take out its small sieve, a bowl and we put flour in the small sieve. Flour the parchment paper lightly and evenly. We put this plate aside.
C - So we took the dough out of the bucket and now let's check if it sticks. To do this, place a hand on each side of the dough and press lightly. By making this first gesture we know if the dough sticks, not at all, a little, a lot, passionately, to madness.
D - For a bread that we are going to make lengthwise, if the dough does not stick, we grab it at each end and stretch it for the first time. We release, we take it back and we stretch it again. We help with the dough cutter to remove it from the worktop if necessary. You can help yourself by slightly flattening the dough with your hand during this operation. When you have reached the desired length, you work the shape a little on the sides and at the ends with your hands. It is quickly placed on parchment paper and covered with a cloth while waiting for the oven.
E - For a bread that we are going to make lengthwise, if the dough sticks, we flour the work surface very lightly with a sieve and we place the dough on the flour. We flour the top very lightly, also through a sieve. We grab the dough at each end and stretch it for the first time. We release, we take it back and we stretch it again. We help with the dough cutter to remove it from the worktop if necessary. You can help yourself by slightly flattening the dough with your hand during this operation. When you have reached the desired length, you work the shape a little with your hands. It is quickly placed on parchment paper and covered with a cloth while waiting for the oven.
F - For a bread that we are going to make into a ball, if the dough does not stick, we place the hands on each side of the dough. We start to rotate it to give it a round shape. In general, the underside of the dough is glued to the work surface. By making this gesture, it will peel off on its own. When it is unstuck, work begins in tension. You have to imagine that you have to slide the skin (the surface of the dough) from top to bottom. As if we were trying to stretch the surface to make it very smooth. In this action we do 2 things at the same time, we rotate and we stretch. You have to stretch to the maximum. It is not uncommon to see bubbles trying to pass through the dough on the surface during this work. This idea came about because I wanted to make a very thin crust for my bread. The result does not necessarily give a thin crust, but this work in tension must give you a very puffy bread during baking. It is sometimes very surprising! When the tension work is finished, place the dough on its baking paper and cover with a cloth.
G - For a bread that we are going to make into a ball, if the dough sticks, we do not flour the work surface. The flour is sifted very lightly over the top of the dough. The hands are placed on each side of the dough. We start to rotate it to give it a round shape. In general, the underside of the dough is glued to the work surface. By making this gesture, it will peel off on its own. When it is unstuck, work begins in tension. You have to imagine that you have to slide the skin (the surface of the dough) from top to bottom. As if we were trying to stretch the surface to make it very smooth. In this action we do 2 things at the same time, we rotate and we stretch. You have to stretch to the maximum. It is not uncommon to see bubbles trying to pass through the dough on the surface during this work. This idea came about because I wanted to make a very thin crust for my bread. The result does not necessarily give a thin crust, but this work in tension must give you a very puffy bread during baking. It is sometimes very surprising! When the tension work is finished, place the dough on its baking paper and cover with a cloth.
H - In short, we flour very little. The gestures must be quick because the more you touch, the more you work the dough, the more it becomes sticky. I find that many people use too much water in their recipes. For me, the amount of water is less important than the way we are going to mix it with dry products.
I - After shaping, when you will let your dough rest under the towel, according to the recipes, you will discover all kinds of results. Well curved dough that holds shape well and in which you can make beautiful cuts. Completely fallen dough which is wider than it is tall and in which notches are unlikely to be made.
In any case, do not trust the appearance of your dough before cooking.
If you have done the right thing by respecting each step of the TJ method, your dough should swell when baked to give you good bread. It doesn't matter how it looks before baking.
Do not try to direct everything. The dough also has to do its share, of course.
So do not forget, the work must be done quickly because the more you touch, the more you work the dough, the more it becomes sticky. And in this case, you will have to flour a lot more than necessary. And in reality it is not the dough that is asking for this, it is simply because you have worked the dough more than it needed.
A - After shaping the dough, the bread is put in the oven in different ways. In a mold, on a plate, in the drip pan, in a closed or not casserole ... It is very rare to see someone put the oven rack in the last rail at the bottom. In general people put the rack in the second rail and sometimes in the middle of the oven. We often see baking in molds or casseroles and the reason is simple. Their dough contains too much water and it would be impossible to catch with the hands to place it in the oven. Other times, we see that the dough is placed on a baking sheet or the drip pan outside the oven during preheating.
B - The steam, we place the drip pan at the top or at the bottom and we put water in it. Sometimes we put a glass container, earthenware, metal with cold or hot water. Sometimes we use vaporizers. Often cooking is done with water inside the oven which is of no interest.
C - Cooking is sometimes done in a preheated oven, sometimes starting cold. The cooking temperatures vary according to the users and the recipes. Always according to the users, the cooking is done in natural convection (heat which comes from the bottom and from the top) or in rotating heat.
A - My favorite way to put bread in the oven is to put it naked. That is to say as is, directly placed in the oven. Obviously I also sometimes make breads in a pan or casserole dish. I always place the oven rack in the rail at the very bottom with a baking sheet placed on it (but you can also use your drip pan). You should know that many ovens heat very high at the top to reach the desired temperature and then they stabilize. The problem is that sometimes the system uses the grill element (even if you are not in the grill position) to reach this temperature and you risk burning the bread above it. When the desired temperature is reached, this grill resistance does not work any more, or very little. But if you tend to open the oven door too often to check your cooking, it's possible that it will start to heat very hard and there you can burn your bread. It is for this reason that I place my grid at the bottom.
As I said above, too much water in the dough prevents proper handling and we will tend to want to bake in molds or casseroles.
Whether my dough is soft or not, I place it naked without any difficulty in the oven. To do this it's very simple. Before taking the dough out of the bucket, I prepared a cardboard plate covered with aluminum. On this plate I put a sheet of parchment paper. I flour my parchment paper lightly with a small sieve. I know in advance what shape I will give my bread. And with the habit, I know that according to whether I make a bread with 200grs, 350grs, 500grs of flour, I will need such or such size of parchment paper. My parchment paper is always bigger than my bread. Let the paper stick out. When the shaping of the dough is finished, the bread is placed on the baking paper to preheat the oven. And then we cover it with a cloth.
At the time of placing in the oven (we will carry out this operation quickly so as not to lose heat in the oven), we quickly open the oven door, we pull the grid. We take the cardboard plate covered with aluminum with the dough on it. The cardboard plate is presented in front of the grid. We grab the parchment paper and drag it from the cardboard tray to the baking sheet in the oven. So whether your bread dough is soft or not, it doesn't matter. During this whole working phase it will remain flat and will be very easy to put in the oven.
B - Steam, the first thing I gave up was the use of drip pans containing water. Simply because I know how the ovens work and that way of doing things made no logical sense to me. The drip pan is an accessory used to collect fat and juice when cooking on the grill position or at least with heat from the top (cooking on a grill or roasting pan). The broiler pan is placed under the grill or under the roasting system and never at the bottom or at the top. It can be used to cook in it and in this case it is preferably placed in the middle. In the case of steam for bread, if placed at the bottom, the resistance of the bottom must first heat the space between the bottom of the oven and the bottom of the drip pan, then heat the water and only afterwards, the heat can go to the rest of the oven. If you place the drip pan at the top, it's the same principle reversed, but worse.
The upper element must first heat the water, then the drip pan and then the heat will drop into the oven. But this is worse because often the thermostat probe that detects the oven temperature is at the top.
This probe will end up in a very small space between the top of the oven and the drip pan. Suddenly, the temperature can stagnate much more strongly in this place. The probe will detect that the temperature has been reached in the oven when it is wrong. It can be 230 ° C at the probe and only 170 ° C in the oven! The baking time of a bread is not that of a roast, it is much shorter. So it is important that the temperature of the oven is well distributed. Especially since for a roast you can extend the cooking time, baste the meat, etc ... For a loaf of bread, you can't catch anything. I would say that the first 2 minutes of cooking are decisive for the rest of the cooking. These first 2 minutes must meet 2 conditions: the right temperature and a good homogeneous humidity level in the oven. It is at this precise moment that the crust of the bread will begin to be born.
I, like everyone else, tried to put water (hot or cold) in different containers to have this humidity in my oven and I was never satisfied with the results.
I used a spray in the oven, on the dough and the results were not good.
So I seriously wondered why we should put water in the oven?
We have to put water in the oven simply because we are told to do it!
And there, I am very surprised to see that even great professionals, people who do magnificent things with breads, do not know how to do it when they are at home !
In the bakery it's simple. Professional ovens are equipped for this. We press a button and it's done! But I see a lot of professionals who sometimes make breads at home and they recommend putting water in the drip pan, in a container, in the spray bottle ...
And there, I tell myself that really the machine has replaced the man.
They know that this action is absolutely essential for baking bread. But they don't know how to do it at home.
In reality, this humidity is necessary: to cover the surface of the dough which will cook less quickly at the start of cooking. This should prevent a crust that is too thick and too hard. A crust that is seized less quickly must be able to allow the bread to develop more.
The notches (grignes) should develop better (at this level I still have to improve a lot !!!!). And finally, this humidity will give a nice color to your bread.
So by continuing to offer us dripping and other systems, I see that many have not understood how it works.
I am obviously the first to not have understood at the start! But by dint of seeing that all the systems proposed were not the best, I took a serious look at this problem.
So we know that we have to bring water to the oven and we know why.
But the real questions are: in what form, how and when?
After searching a lot, I found the answers:
- In what form: in the form of almost immediate vapor.
- How: using a syringe.
- When: We spray the syringe water into the bottom of the oven immediately after placing the bread in the oven. This water syringe is projected while keeping the oven door half closed. This will allow us to close the oven before the steam (which occurs immediately) comes out of the oven.
We thus created a real burst of steam. It lasts a few seconds and is more than enough for the dough to be uniformly covered with moisture. Nothing more is needed than that.
I do not have a modern oven and I do not know if the ovens equipped with the steam function can give a boost of steam or only cook steam?
Before using the syringe, I threw a glass of water in the bottom of my oven. It’s also steamy but the problem is that you have to open the oven door completely. This is a problem because by the time you pour the glass of water, the steam is already out of the oven. In addition, a glass of water is too much. It may splash on the bread due to thermal shock.
And the bottom of the oven can undergo deformations. Mine is already well deformed (which does not prevent my oven from working well). So I send my syringe without worrying about this problem.
If you are worried about this, you can send your water syringe in the corner between the bottom wall and the one that goes up (right or left). You can also put a container (not too large) at the bottom of the oven. A metal container (avoid glass or earthenware containers). And you can send your water syringe in this container. You can also put small volcanic stones in this container. The important thing is to send this syringe of water on something very hot to create steam almost immediately.
The appearance of white streaks in the bottom of the oven is also something that will happen when doing this. It is simply the limestone of the water that will solidify as the steam blows. It can be removed very well by cleaning before a mixture of salt and vinegar.
C - Cooking, my favorite cooking temperature is 230 ° C. I now use natural convection (heat from above and below). I gave up fan-assisted baking which is not the best for baking bread. Firstly because it scares off the steam and secondly because it dries the surface of the bread too quickly during baking.
A loaf of bread on a baking sheet can be baked in 20 minutes (in a pan or casserole it is longer).
Then it's according to everyone's tastes.
After shaping the dough, I leave it under a cloth and I immediately put the oven in preheating (usually 25 minutes). Sometimes I happen to leave the dough under the towel for 30 minutes and only then do the preheating for 25 minutes (I do this when I know that my dough is not likely to crust during rest. And this depends on the flours used ).
Bread that is baked after 20 minutes can be very good, but it is possible to let it bake again. Sometimes I leave it 30 minutes and even 40 minutes if I want with a thicker crust and a good taste of toast. After cooking, I put it on a rack to let it cool (I find it much better after at least 1 hour of cooling).
Regarding the ovens, I use an electric oven so for cooking with gas or other bread ovens, I can not advise you too much.
Putting refractory bricks in your oven is also a good idea for baking on stones. The bread placed on the stones will benefit from the slower diffusion of heat from the bottom.
Regarding the electrical resistances of ovens, you should know that often they do not heat regularly over their entire surface (and this is valid even in hot air).
They may have places that heat up more than others. So it is not uncommon to see that the bread (or other gratins and pies) are more cooked in certain places (and sometimes even burnt).
So get to know your oven. And don't hesitate to move, to turn your bread.
BREADS TJ METHOD