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Dutchess_III's avatar

When using a recipe, do you view it as a suggestion guide, or follow it to the letter?

Asked by Dutchess_III (41649points) September 16th, 2018

I am making home made bread for the second day in a row. I made some yesterday when I had my son and his brood over for dinner, and it lasted about 10 seconds it was so good. Trying to recreate whatever the heck I did yesterday. Since the grandkids had a big hand in the final kneading, I have to try and duplicate what they did too.

I have a recipe I refer to for suggestions, but I switch things up. The things that are bolded are things that were in bold on the recipe.

It calls for a cup of warm water. I use a cup of beer I’ve nuked for a minute.

It calls for 2 tablespoons of white sugar. I use a half a handful of brown sugar and then I pour some honey in for good measure.

I used as much yeast and flour as it calls for, though, adjusting the flour as needed.

I know of a person, however, who would never dream of diverting from a recipe, not even half an inch. When she visits and I cook she is just in shocked amazement at my methods!

So what do you do?

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25 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

More times than not as a guide.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Take notes when you bake!
Don’t guess when baking (bread, cookies, cakes and rolls) switching from white sugar to different amount of light brown could change the recipe completely. Honey is a liquid like Karo syrup which can impact the final product.

Cooking meatloaf or roasting veggies you can get wild as far a changing the recipe.

canidmajor's avatar

@Tropical_Willie, I do it all the time in baking with no ill effects. Follow the basics, you should be fine.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I witnessed a chocolate cake that flopped because “I only change to… instead of . . . . ”.

They came out like brownies or a baked fudge.

kritiper's avatar

I make changes as required by my tastes, if desired, keeping in mind that certain requirements of the recipe cannot be fudged.

canidmajor's avatar

I guess I’ve just had extraordinary good luck.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, my bread came out heavenly. I very rarely have flops and I switch stuff up all the time.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When I was growing up we had a German lady for a neighbor. She and her brother actually walked out of war torn Germany when she was 13 or so. She used to make the best bread in the entire universe.
After I got married I went to track her down to ask about it. Turns out they had moved to St. Louis, so I had to track her down there. This was in 1981 so no internet, no Facebook.
I did finally get a hold of her and she just kept saying it was just a regular bread recipe, nothing special. I asked her if she’d just give me the bread recipe and she seemed to actually get impatient with me! Maybe she thought everybody knew how to make bread! I didn’t. I had no clue.
I spent YEARS trying to recreate that bread! I tried using dark German lagers…I remembered the bread being dark. I just couldn’t do it.
Fast forward 35 years and I stumbled across her daughter on Facebook. I immediately asked her about her mom’s bread. She said she probably put extra eggs and egg yolks in it because she did that with everything.
Well, I so rarely make it any more I keep forgetting to do that. And I forgot this time.
But I’ll be making more this upcoming week end and you can bet I won’t forget again!

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Great story.

I personally avoid bread with egg in it (I hopefully can tell, if it looks yellow I ask, but I’m sure I don’t always know) but I’m sure it’s delicious. Or, maybe you mean a cake-like bread like zucchini bread or Irish brown bread, does that have eggs?

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. It’s bread bread. The kind you can make toast or sandwiches out of. This we’re going to use to dunk in to delicious roast beef juice from a roast I made yesterday. There is nothing better on this earth.
Eggs do not turn the bread yellow.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III That’s the problem, it’s not always yellow. Egg bagels and some other breads with egg I can tell. I think Hawaiian rolls sometimes have egg. Most breads don’t have eggs. Or, not the ones I eat anyway.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I guess you know all there is to know about breads.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Something I haven’t done in a while is make bread with scalded milk. I usually use warm beer. I’m going to use scalded milk and a thousand eggs next time. Maybe that’s one of the secrets too. I’ll have to ask her daughter.

ragingloli's avatar

As something to scoff at and then blame for the inevitable failure.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ragingloli I’ve never had one go bad on me yet. Not breads, anyway.

@JLeslie, I found this Examples of yeast bread containing eggs include the Jewish bread for Sabbath and holiday, challah, and the French pastry bread, brioche.

JLeslie's avatar

Yeah, I don’t eat Challah or Brioche. That’s what I said, not the breads I eat. I mean I’ll have a bite if it’s a holiday or a celebrations, and it’s the polite thing to do, but that’s about it. I eat rye, white, French, various grain breads, Italian bread, some artisan breads, English muffins, bagels, etc. If it’s a new bread I haven’t tried before I look to make sure it doesn’t have cholesterol.

That’s me, I’m not saying it’s odd for bread to have eggs, it’s just different breads than I regularly consume.

I’m sure adding egg to bread was very practical. Adds protein, eggs help the bread rise, adds a rich taste, it makes sense.

Edit: Some English muffins have egg.

YARNLADY's avatar

For Baking I stay close to the recipe in amounts, but sometimes substitute liquid or sweetener. For meals, strictly suggestions only, everything subject to what we like and what is on hand.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Holy shit. The daughter just answered my question. I think the mystery liquid was…..sourkraut juice. I had no idea it was even a thing, but apparently it is….Holy shit. Decades of searching may have come to an end.

Now, HOW to I duplicate that hamburger gravy they fed us at school in the 60’s???

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Don’t use hamburg use ground horse meat.

ragingloli's avatar

Of course sauerkraut juice is a thing.
It makes for a perfect hearty drink.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Now she’s saying she’s joking but damn it. I’m gonna try it!

Nuh uh @Tropical_Willie!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have tried using the cheapest hamburger I could find, and powdered milk. I just can not duplicate it! Of course they don’t serve it any more. I’m sure it’s considered unhealthy.
* Eye roll *

Adagio's avatar

There is infinite room for adaptation when it comes to making bread, as long as you use the appropriate amount of yeast and water/liquid for the quantity of bread you want to bake.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Dutchess_III Hamburger gravy: after you cook the hamburger, use the leftover liquid (fat and juice) as your base, add a like amount of flour in the same pan, about a cup or so of milk, and use salt and pepper to taste. The measurements are two,two,two (fat,flour,milk/juice)

Dutchess_III's avatar

I will try that. When I experimented in the 80’s I did not drain the grease which is not something I would normally do. (Normally I would drain the grease.) I thought that might be the secret. I didn’t think of reserving it though and mixing it that way, but I will try it again. Thanks.

I have never used a recipie or measured for my baked beans. My basic recipie is just Van Camps beans with some ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. That’s how Mom made them. She verbally told me the ingredients and over the years I expanded them to include smoke sauce, onions, green peppers, and raw bacon.
I need to remember to start reserving some of the beans before I ad the onions, green peppers, etc., for the kids. I keep forgetting about the kids!

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