FAQ's

The following are some of the questions we are asked. If you have a question not covered here please contact us: CLICK HERE

  • Ancillary Equipment

    To enable the operation of the dozens if not hundreds of individual machines involved with the major milling processes described above, there are a further multiplicity of other machines that provide complementary services such as conveying stock; supplementary grinding and sifting services, filtering and exhausting and compressing and cooling the air used for conveying and power, blending and mixing and storage of raw materials and finished product (flour should be aged like wine!) not to mention the multiplicity of command and control systems that are used to ensure that it all works!
    A properly equipped mill will utilise many hundreds if not thousands of devices set up so as to reliably process Good Grain into Great Flour.

  • Bread Improvers

    Bread improver is a blend of ingredients that activate the gluten and help produce gas which assists and improves the processes of dough kneading and fermentation. The result is a lighter loaf with better texture and keeping qualities. They are used more often in grain mixes or breads with addition of fruit, seeds or nuts to a loaf to give strength and volume. Laucke include bread improver in our bread mixes, but it can also be purchased separately.

    Typically a bread improver contains minute quantities of:

    Enzyme (Amylase most commonly used)

    An enzyme is a protein that promotes a biochemical reaction, it is naturally found in the germ of wheat or malted wheat flour and is extracted from sprouted barley. It is dried, ground and added to Australian bread making flours. It is naturally present in Australian flour but not at sufficient levels for good bread making.

    Amylase enables the yeast to operate effectively, without requiring added sugar. It is a food source to encourage the growth of yeast to increase fermentation.

    Emulsifiers

    Emulsifiers help condition and strengthen the dough, improve crumb whiteness, retain moisture, soften crumb texture and control fat crystallisation. The improved water retention improves the keeping qualities of a loaf.

    481: made from mixing lactic and stearic acid together.
    472e : made from mixing glycerol and tartaric acid.
    491: Made from Stearic Acid and Sorbitol (derived from glucose – fruit source) a processing ingredient during manufacturing of our yeast.

    You can produce bread without bread improver by adding a little sugar and oil in its place. Not as complex as a bread improver. The sugar acts as a food source for the yeast to encourage fermentation, the oil will help to improve loaf volume and keeping qualities. Add 3tsp of sugar per 1kg of flour and 30mL-40mL of vegetable oil (and reduce the water by the same quantity).

    Soya Flour

    Soya flour is made from roasted and ground soybeans; it is used in a minute amount (approx 1.5g/600g of bread mix) to improve texture, crumb brightness and also to help make the dough more extensible.

     

  • Bread Making Process

    The six stages of bread making are the same for when bread is made by hand, assisted with a mixer or in a bread machine, using Bread Mix or when making from ‘scratch’. Bread machines and mixers make some of the more physically demanding steps easy. The bread at the end result is the same- fresh, healthy and very appetizing.

    1. Accurate weighing of ingredients

    The best quality product is achieved when the Bread Mix, water and yeast are used at the recommended proportions, each ingredient relative to the others is more important than the overall quantities.

    The instructions with each pack of Laucke Bread Mix provide a recipe with weights and volumes. The use of an accurate set of scales to weigh the Bread Mix and Water will provide the most reliable results, even though weighing ingredients may be more time consuming than using cup measures.

    Laucke recommend using Tepid warm water when making bread by hand, mixer or if your bread machine does not have a pre-heat setting.

    2. Mixing and kneading the dough

    Kneading distributes the yeast evenly through the dough and develops and strengthens the gluten in the flour to form the framework of the bread. A well developed dough can be identified by pressing your finger (firmly) into the surface of the dough - if it springs back, it has been developed/kneaded sufficiently. Underdeveloped dough will result in a holey, crumbly texture and poorly structured bread

    Place all dry ingredients into a mixer or bowl keeping the yeast away from the salt where possible, add water and mix/knead the dough until well developed. The time taken will depend on machine or hand as well as temperature of ingredients and quality of ingredients.

    Using a Bread Machine: Add all the ingredients to the bread machine in the order recommended by the bread machine manufacturer. Set the machine on the dough setting to make the dough for you.

    Using a Mixer: Attach the dough hook to the mixer, and place the yeast, Bread Mix and water into the mixing bowl. For optimum performance, the temperature of the dough after mixing should range from 28 to 30ºC. During warmer weather it is preferable to use cool water, and during colder weather use tepid (warm) water. Turn the mixer on Speed 2 to mix and knead the dough for at least 6 minutes or until it is fully developed. A useful method to determine if the dough has been developed fully, is to conduct a Window Test

    Kneading by Hand: When kneading by hand, considerable effort is required to achieve the desired smooth and elastic dough necessary for best results. Hand kneading dough can take up to 10 to 20 minutes to ensure the gluten in the flour is sufficiently developed. Conduct a Window Test to determine if the dough is fully developed. The best way to knead is to use the heel of your hand to push the dough away from you and then lift it with your fingertips and fold it over itself towards you. Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat.

    Window Test

    1. Pinch off a piece of dough.

    2. Using both hands, grasp opposite sides of the piece of dough with your fingertips.

    3. Slowly pull your hands apart and stretch the dough by approx 3 - 5cm.

    4. The dough should look like a window with a thin membrane in the centre.

    STOP KNEADING: If the dough forms a window-like membrane and stretches without breaking.

    KEEP KNEADING: If the dough doesn't stretch easily and tears.

    3. Proofing the dough

    When finished mixing and kneading, gently shape the dough into a round and place in a lightly oiled bowl, that is double the size of the dough to allow for expansion/proofing of the dough and seal with lid, plastic wrap or damp tea towel to prevent a skin from forming on the dough whilst resting as it will affect the proofing process. Then place it in a warm, moist, draught-free place to allow the dough to rise/proof. This could be in an esky or microwave with a bowl of hot water to provide the humid environment. The ideal temperature for proofing/rising bread dough is around 30°C. Leave the dough to proof until it is double its original size.

    This can take anywhere between 40-80 minutes, depending on the temperature of the proofing environment, temperature of ingredients and type of recipe. When the dough is ready, it will retain a finger imprint when lightly pressed. If left to rise for too long, the bread texture will be uneven and have large holes. If not left for long enough, it may have a heavy, dense texture. The slower the rising, the more even and close the bread texture will be.

    4. Divide, knock back and shape dough

    Once the dough has doubled in size, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently degas by pressing the dough out evenly with your hands. Divide the dough into required size pieces. Round the pieces of dough into a ball, this is a gentle “knock back” or degas for the dough as well as an intermediate shape. Cover the dough, allow it to rest before final shape/mould.

    The knock back releases excess carbon dioxide produced by the yeast during rising so the final bread won't have a "yeasty" flavour. The intermediate shape brings the dough together and the rest allows the gluten to relax making the final shape/mould easier.

    5. Final proof

    Shape the dough by flattening out the round of dough and shape or cut into the desired shapes. A light spray of water on the loaf will allow seeds to be sprinkled if desired. Leave the bread to rise in a warm, moist environment until the loaf almost doubles in size. The time may vary depending on environmental conditions - humidity and temperature.

    6. Bake

    In a hot preheated oven until golden and baked through. The best way to tell when the loaf of bread is baked is to tap it on the base with your knuckle - if it sounds hollow, it is baked. Turn the loaf immediately onto a wire rack to cool. If left in the pan, the loaf will sweat and the crust will become soft and soggy.

    A good rule of thumb is time bakes and temperature colours; therefore if bread is too dark and not baked, reduce temperature of oven and increase the baking time.

  • Break Grinding

    This is what was, in earlier times, the first and only stage of the milling process.
    Grain is progressively passed through a series of several individually fluted “Break” grinding surfaces (either Roller grinding or Stone grinding) with different grinding gaps, where the grain is broken open and the adhering endosperm scraped off the branny layers.
    The endosperm may be ground finely enough to approximate fine flour if the grinding gap is reduced and enough grinding pressure is applied as with a traditional stone grinder.
    With “modern” milling, after every grinding passage, the stock (ground / sifted product) is sifted and graded so as to then stream the most suitable stock to the next grinding passage.

  • Care and Storage of Products and Ingredients - Climate

    Climate

    Normal pantry storage is fine, extremes of heat, humidity and light need to be avoided.

    All wheats and milled flours and therefore Bread Mixes have natural moisture content. The natural level of moisture in a Bread Mix is 12 to 14%. High levels of humidity must not be allowed to accumulate within the storage area or within the actual storage container used to store the Bread Mix. If necessary, store in the refrigerator in tropical environments.

    Care must be taken if Bread Mixes are taken from our packaging and stored in a sealed container (eg resealable plastic), as natural moisture from within the product will accumulate as excess humidity in the air above the Bread Mix, leading to high moisture levels in the top layers of Bread Mix and possibly condensation. The container should allow the product to ‘breathe’.

  • Care and Storage of Products and Ingredients - Flour and Bread Mix

    Flour and Bread Mix

    Flour and Bread Mix are regarded as shelf stable food products, but they will degrade with inappropriate storage. Knowing how long a product may be stored is equally as important as knowing what conditions to keep it in.

    Flour will mature with age; it reaches maturity for performance over several months and will hold for many more months and even years. With Laucke Flours and Bread Mixes the ‘Best-before date’ indicates the period the product is expected to perform to its maximum potential. It is a suggested date we recommend the product be consumed before, even though the integrity of the product is not necessarily compromised after that date.

    For more detailed information CLICK HERE

     

  • Care and Storage of Products and Ingredients - Pests
    Pests

    Insects are in most environments and will always be attracted to a flour-based product. Naturally the best method is prevention. The humble bay leaf is an environmentally friendly method for helping deter insects and meal moths from flour and meal, bean and grains to dried fruits, especially figs and raisins.

    To eliminate insects and their eggs take away food and minimise levels of warmth and moisture. Insects are normally active between 18 and 38°C, and at high humidity. Therefore, areas where insects may exist should be clean, cool and dry, and any safe haven should be eliminated or at least regularly cleaned.
    • Put lightly infested product in the freezer for several days to kill insects. 
    • Moths lay eggs on packaging and produce cocoons “webbing” and larvae. The larvae are grubs and maggots, they can penetrate packaging. The pack may be sprayed with Pyrethrin, and the “webbing” brushed off. 
    • The flour mite is microscopic and breeds very rapidly in humid conditions, affecting the aroma and baking quality after a short period. The Bread Mix may have a greyish powdery deposit over the exposed surface, and enzymes secreted by the mites will degrade the Bread Mix quality. Discard the affected product.

    For more detailed information CLICK HERE

  • How can the weather affect the quality of my loaf?

    The weather affects the way the ingredients of bread interact in the processes of fermentation and can therefore be a major contributor to variable quality.

    Cold weather

    Yeast works best within a narrow temperature range, between 25°C to 30°C.

    During cold weather, the dough may not effectively knead, the yeast will not work as expected during the proof
    (rising) cycle, and the bread will be smaller than usual. If your bread maker does not have a pre-warming cycle, the
    mixing bowl may need to be pre-warmed and warm water used instead of ambient tap water. It is important that the
    warm water is only tepid or warm to the touch, as excessively hot water (greater than 50°C) will damage the yeast.

    Hot weather

    Avoid making bread in an excessively hot part of the day. If the dough gets much over 30°C during kneading and
    above 35°C during proofing, quality will be compromised as heat generated by the bread making process will cause
    the yeast to work too quickly. A medical thermometer can be used to establish the temperature of the dough.
    To reduce or eliminate heat effects, use refrigerated water to create a cold dough (the pre-heat cycle of the machine
    will bring the dough to the right temperature), and use the machine in a cooler environment.

    Heat can also affect Bread Machine settings. Some machines alter their start and cycle times based on machine
    temperatures and these cycle variations will change loaf quality.

    Humid weather

    In periods of humid weather it is very difficult to retain a crisp crust. The crust will soften up straight after removal
    from the bread maker. This is a similar effect to placing warm bread into a plastic container.

  • How to change Recipes with Different Size Mixing Bowls & Loaf Sizes

    Most bread machines are able to produce ‘medium’ and ‘large’ loaves with some ‘extra large’. The loaf and dough weights for these sizes are approximately 750g, 1kg and 1.2kg. The Laucke standard 600g bread mix recipes provide about one kilogram of dough.

    The dough weight for each recipe is the sum of the weights of the Yeast, Bread Mix and water. The weight of a final bread machine loaf is about 12% less than the dough weight, as moisture is lost during the baking.

    Laucke 600g Bread Mix pack and the appropriate water can be used in small, medium, and large bowls, with yeast quantity varied for the bowl size. The density of the loaf will be greater in small bowls, and less in large bowls. If the bread density is not suitable, increase or decrease the amount of Bread Mix.

    Vary the yeast for your desired volume and product type by reducing the yeast from 1¼ tsp to ¾ tsp, or in ‘small’ bowl from 1¼ tsp to ½ tsp. Suggested yeast quantities vary for individual machines.

    The best baking results for your preferences come with experimentation.

  • More information from Bakerpedia

    Click here to go to Bakerpedia

  • What causes Mould Formation?

    The formation of mould is not characteristic to any specific feature of bread making. The baking process effectively kills any normal mould spores, so any mould formation is caused by mould spores that arrive after the loaf has cooled. Contact with mould spores occurs with utensils such as a knife, or the storage within a container that has spores. A vinegar wash will disinfect the affected area.

  • What causes 'Off' Odours in my loaf?

    Any “off” odours indicate a problem with fermentation or degradation due to enzymes associated with other microflora, bacteria or mites. Such degradation also negatively affects processing and baking performance. The bread should not be consumed.

    Bread Mix or Bread storage containers should be inspected for mould or other contamination such as Mites. Yeast may also be at fault, as it may have oxidised during storage. If another batch of yeast does not cure the problem, consider that the actual Bread Mix may have become contaminated.

  • What causes Overly Sticky or Moist Crumb?

    Where bread is produced and stored in a warm and moist environment, the internal crumb of the bread may become sticky during storage. It may develop an increasingly distinctive aroma similar to over-ripe fruit and a progressively darker crumb colour.

    This sticky crumb is caused by a strain of bacteria called Bacillus mesentericus, creating a condition known to professional bakers as “rope”. A severely degraded crumb may produce slimy strands with the appearance of string. Unlike moulds, the spores of this specific micro-organism can tolerate and may survive the baking process. The micro-organism secretes similar enzymes to yeast and given enough time the normal internal structure of the loaf will break down completely.

    It is practically impossible to eliminate the spores completely; under normal conditions they do not cause problems. To control occurrences of “rope”:
    •Prevent contamination by washing, with vinegar, surfaces that may contact the ingredients, dough or bread
    •It is likely that the air may contain a high level of spores that originate from degraded food ingredients and products; an evaporative air conditioner may transmit or harbour an “infection”. The sources need to be identified, eliminated or cleaned.
    •Reduce excess heat and humidity from the storage and bread making environment.
    •Select a longer, hotter baking cycle rather than a short, cool cycle.
    •Do not store bread in a plastic bag.
    •Vinegar may be included as an ingredient. Substitute 20mL of vinegar for 20mL of water in the dough. The slight increase of the dough's acidity may control activity of bacteria in the bread.

  • Why are there holes in my loaf?

    Holes can be formed in the crumb of loaves by the action of the kneading blade in the degassing prior to the bread machine's rest and proof cycle, by changes in temperature, by extra water, by extra yeast activity or incorporating extra ingredients. These holes are normally of an acceptable size, if not drop water by 10mls and the yeast by ¼ teaspoon.

    Shorter baking cycles may result in holes where the crumb has collapsed. Sometimes larger holes are formed if the structure has not been not strong enough when it is roughly shaken, as it is removed from the Bucket when hot, or if the bread is sliced when still warm.

    To minimise collapsing, grasp both the handle and the base of the bucket, and hold the Bucket on its side just above the workbench. Then quickly pull the Bucket backwards and away from the workbench. The loaf should drop on to the bench as the bucket is removed.

  • Why is my Bread Underbaked on top of the Loaf?

    If the top of the loaf is not an appetising golden tan, or in severe cases it is white with no crust, the flavour, aroma and mouth feel will be compromised.

    The dough may have hit the lid and collapsed, try reducing the yeast by 1/4 teaspoon. It may also be due to radiant heat being lost through an inspection window in the lid, affecting the baking and browning process. The larger the glass area, the more likely this is the problem. This heat loss may be reduced by ‘blanking out’ the window with aluminium foil, applied to the inside of the lid.

  • Why is my loaf going stale, or has poor crumb texture?

    Dough that is not optimally kneaded will be lower in volume and have poorer crumb structure and will stale more quickly, as the flour protein has not been properly “developed”. The greatest compromise in the design of a bread machine is in the kneading process. The kneading blade or paddle needs to mix, incorporate the ingredients into a dough and effectively knead the dough to develop the gas trapping abilities.

    Properly developed dough will ensure all potential gas is trapped effectively. For this to occur the dough must remain in contact with the kneading blade and the blade must thoroughly distort the dough during kneading.

    Open the lid of the machine within the first 5 to 15 mins of the kneading cycle to check if the blade is actually kneading the dough and the dough is forming. Dough should not bounce around in the bowl on top of the kneading blade. If it is, add extra water to soften the dough. Too much water and the dough will be too soft and pliable to have any mixing resistance.

    Shorter cycle times (1 to 3 hours) on many bread machines may also cause these problems due to insufficient kneading.

  • Why is my loaf too heavy or too light?

    The three variables affecting loaf density are the quantities of the bread mix, water and yeast. Changes in any of these will affect the loaf density.

    Bread mix

    The quantity of bread mix has a bigger impact on the size, rather than the density but with experimentation you can produce a “heavier” loaf by increasing the bread mix quantity by 20% or more and recalculating the water required.

    Yeast

    An increase or decrease in yeast of ¼ teaspoon w ill produce a lighter or heavier loaf.

    Water

    Water has the biggest impact on the density of a loaf but care needs to be taken not to create a dough that is either too dry (tight) or moist. The weather and the amount of grain in your bread mix will determine how much water can be absorbed into the dough.

    To check if the optimum amount of water has been added, open the bread machine lid at the start of the kneading cycle to see the dough forming. The time the dough takes to pick up all the wet dough from the bottom of the bowl is the best indication of potential loaf quality. The dough ball should be sticky, soft and smooth.

    Standard Water Ratios


    Product                                     Water Ratio
     
    Barossa S/Dough RYE               .80
     
    Super Soft White                        .67
     
    Crusty White                               .69
     
    Crusty White 2.4kg                     .70
     
    Fibre White                                 .74
     
    Multigrain                                   .67
     
    Multi Soy & Linseed                  .72
     
    German Grain                             .66
     
    German Grain 2.4kg                   .77
     
    PhytoSoy                                     .75
     
    Bio-Fort Golden WM                  .74
     
    Rye                                              .80
     
    Wholemeal                                  .74
     


  • Why is my loaf volume too much or too little?

    Faults in the yeast are often blamed for the lack of volume in bread but often it is a lack of water or water quality. For more information go to Start with Quality Ingredients

    Bread machines require soft and sticky dough to operate effectively. Add more water than would be possible for “hand made” conditions.

    Not enough volume

    First check you have the right quantity of dough for your bowl size and the right amount of water in the mix to create the best kneading consistency. Signs of insufficient water include less flexibility in the dough, which makes it harder to knead and leads to insufficient development of the gluten. The end result is the yeast is unable to provide enough gas to properly inflate dry, tight dough.

    Small loaves can result from not performing the kneading and rising cycles effectively. To fix, either more yeast or more dough weight (Bread Mix and water) may be required. When adding more Bread Mix, always remember to also adjust the amount of water.

    Loss in loaf volume may be caused by machine problems. After a year or two your machine’s seal, on the drive shaft of the kneading blade, may become less flexible and could leak. Dough and water can then pass through and clog up the machine. The shaft may even seize.

    Weather can affect your bread, adjust for weather variations.

    Too much volume

    First check you have the right quantity of dough for your bowl size and the right amount of water in the mix to create the best kneading consistency.

    Laucke recipes have been developed to make a loaf that will just touch the lid of most bread machines. If your loaf is consistently rising to hit the lid of your machine, try reducing the yeast by ¼ teaspoon. Progressively reducing the yeast by ¼ teaspoon will help find the perfect measure. Removing ¼ teaspoon of yeast will reduce the loaf height by about 1 ½ cm. Depending on the machine and the environment, yeast may be halved from the recommended.

    If the dough has filled the headspace of the machine and overflowed the bowl and the yeast quantity has been reduced unsuccessfully, or the bread is too dense, then reduce the overall dough size. Reduce the amount of Bread Mix, the water and yeast and try again.

    If you use fresh yeast rather than dry, you can also end up with a larger loaf volume. This can also happen with a new sachet of dry yeast. If it does, reduce the yeast by ¼ teaspoon.

    Weather can affect your bread, adjust for weather variations.