Bread is known as one of the oldest artificial foods in the world and also a staple food in our diet which is basically prepared using simple four main ingredients like Flour, water, salt and yeast. However, the process of making bread can be little hard and time consuming especially for beginners which often seems to complain about kneading the dough, yeast problems or crust colour sometimes and ends up saying “I can’t bake bread”. But you should really learn how to make this simple food skillfully just like grandma!
Although nowadays people simply buy them from bakeries which offer a wide variety of almost all types of bread but majority still prefer to make it by themselves in their kitchens as they love to eat fresh and warm home-baked bread and if you’re one of them, then you’re in right place where we will discuss breadmaking and share some useful tips on how to get bakery quality, amazing and delicious bread with perfect crumb and crust at home. Firstly read these step by step instructions to make an awesome bread:
Kneading & Resting
To get the perfect bread you’ve to evenly mix all the ingredients and knead dough properly by hand. Kneading is a crucial step and used to add strength to the bread, not to mention it also makes it light, airy and chewy.
Firstly add enough flour to the dough and on to your hands to avoid sticking, Now pat the dough into a ball, then flatten it and roll it into your direction. Push it back in a rolling motion using heels of your hands and rotate the dough a quarter turn. Keep kneading the dough by repeating “fold, push and turn” steps until it became smooth and elastic. This kneading process will take 5-10 minutes and when you poke it, the dough springs back which shows it is properly kneaded and it’s time to let it rest.
For resting, cover the top of your bowl containing dough with a clean, damp cloth or plastic wrap and put the dough into warm and draft place to set.
Usually, Active Dry Yeast covers dough for 1-2 hour until double its size while for RapidRise Yeast, rest the dough for only 10 minutes.
Shaping & Testing the Dough
You should check the dough if it has passed process of double sizing, test it pressing the tips of your two fingers lightly in half-inch dough and if the impression of your fingers stays, it means the dough is doubled. It’s time to shape the bread which depends on the type of your bread. You can follow these steps for shaping regular bread loaves;
Sprinkle some flour on your working place and shape the dough into smooth ball, then transform it into a rectangle using a rolling pin. Tightly roll the dough at the short end of rectangle to shape the loaf and seal it close by pinching the seam and ends with your fingers. Place the dough in the greased baking pan.
Always follow precisely preheating and baking instructions in the recipe to get an excellent baked bread with a fine crumb and uniformly even crust. Put the baking pans several inches apart on the centre oven rack and keep checking baking progress especially check your loaves 10 minutes before recipe says they should be done as oven temperatures may vary. Make sure temperature should be 90°–205°F inside the oven for which you can also use oven thermometers for accuracy. If your loaves are turning brown excessively, remove them and shield with aluminium foil to and place them back in oven avoid darker crust which may look and smell like burnt.
Tap the side or bottom of the loaf after turning it out of the pan and if sounds hollow then your bread is internally baked and done.
Cooling and Storing Your Bread
Use a wire rack to cool your freshly hot baked bread in order to prevent your bread to get soggy due to steam present at the bottom of your loaf. You can preserve the freshness and goodness of your bread by these storing ways:
• Wrap and store in breadbox in room temperature.
• Seal it tightly and keep in a dry and cool place.
• Don’t put it in the refrigerator because the cool temperature can dry out your bread leading it to go stale faster.
• Put it in an air-tight plastic bag and freeze it for longer term storage.
Four Ways to Make Your Bread More Beautiful
Simple baking is not enough when it comes to enhancing the flavour and beautifying your bread more. If you want to, then you can try these ways to get wonderful loaves of bread:
1. Egg wash
One of the best ways is to brush your bread before putting it in an oven with an egg or egg white mixed with water to get a super shiny crust. You can egg wash bread even 5 minutes before it is fully baked in case you forgot to apply it before.
If you like to eat bread with slightly soft crust then try milk method by brushing your unbaked bread with milk which will give it a tender crust with shine and turn it into an extra delicious loaf for you to savour its flavour.
3. Butter or Margarine
This is one of the old baking secrets which is used to make bread tastier and giving them deep-golden colour with less shine. Brush your bread with butter or margarine before baking in the oven.
They turn everything special so sprinkle your favourite toppings like Poppyseed, Caraway, Sesame seed, Oregano, Onion, Basil or Garlic flakes with egg wash on your bread.
Still Looking for More Tips?
Still wondering why are you unable to attain successful bread baking even though you’re already following these instructions but not satisfied yet? The answer is you might be missing anything from this list which contains some best tips and tricks on how to boost your confidence and bake like a pro.
You can only get best results with accurate measurements by keeping the correct ratio of flour to water and other ingredients. Buy a digital scale for this purpose to note weighting records of your flour cups, measure liquid ingredients in see-through measuring cup at eye level. Remember that tighter control of proportions for is important for consistent and reliable bread baking.
Lay Out Everything
Make a habit of laying out all ingredients in correct proportion on your countertop for easy and convenient baking. Read carefully and precisely follow the instructions given for recipes.
Use Fresh and Organic Ingredients
Use the Quality ingredients such as fresh organic flour which is rich in enzymes and is best for rising loaves and gives excellent taste to the bread. Use high protein wheat or gluten for better dough rising and to make it lighter.
Know Your Yeast
Know the different kinds of yeast. Most bakers use wet yeast for better baking but they also prefer dry yeast for home baking. Regular bread baking requires active dry yeast which has long rising time but develops dough fully and does not collapse, unlike instant yeasts which collapse with long rising time.
Adding too much flour during kneading will make your bread heavy. Do not add all the flour in the first kneading because you will have to add some flour again during second kneading to avoid sticking dough. So reserve some flour for this purpose to get smooth and elastic dough and lighter bread later. Always knead with wet hands to avoid sticking dough.
Preheating is one of the important factors for successful baking. Always preheat your oven for at least 20-25 minutes before placing bread to bake. This will ensure awesome breadcrumb and if you want to attain a crisp browned, caramelized crust, then bake bread at 425F.
• Don’t ruin the taste and texture of your loaves by forgetting salt as it mediates yeast and makes sure the crumb is well formed. You can also brush water, egg or butter on loaves to create the desired crust.
• You can add optional dough conditioners for more enzymes and lighter bread.
• Usually coolar temperature of about 70 F is best and favourable for rising of dough.
• Slash the bread about 1/4 inch on the top with a sharp knife to prevent cracking during baking.
• Don’t forget your bread after placing it in an oven for baking. Keep checking baking progress.
• Bread baking needs time for fermenting and rising for fully developed dough. So don’t rush and start early in the day to enjoy baking rather than stressing your self.
Start with simple bread baking and easy recipes. Keep records of every thing in baking, use quality ingredients,make accurate measurements of all ingredients,proof your yeast, keep the dough in favourable temperature for rising and fermention and don’t add too much flour during kneading, give an egg,butter or milk washing to bread for desired crust,preheat oven and splash the bread to avoid cracking. Cool and Store in dry place to preserve freshness of the bread.