6 Tips Every Great Bread Maker Should Know

I’m getting pretty excited that September is almost here- because that means it’s almost time for autumn! I love this upcoming time of year- I love how everything gets colder and we make all things pumpkin and all the holidays come up so quickly after. It’s definitely my happy time;).

But one of the big things that gets me excited is I can bake again! We live in an upstairs apartment with nothing but a little swamp cooler to keep the temperature down. It’s definitely a blessing to have because it’s so much better than nothing, but turning the oven on basically overrides anything the swamp cooler does, so we tend to avoid baking anything during the summer months. But no more! :D

One of my favorite things to bake is bread- seriously, I don’t know that there is anything more comforting or that smells as heavenly as homemade bread. Pair it with some homemade honey butter or jam and you’re seriously on cloud 9. It’s the perfect after school snack or evening indulgence.

One of my favorite bread recipes is this White Batter Bread my mom used to make (the link is at the bottom of the article). I remember it just melting in my mouth. However, bread can be a little tricky to get just right. It literally is a science, and a tricky one at that! To help make your bread the best it can be, keep these tips in mind.

*Follow the recipe exactly. When cooking things on the stove there is a little more room for error, but when baking, you may not get the results you want unless you follow the recipe word for word.

*Make sure your oven is the right temperature. I’ve come to realize my oven can be anywhere from 25 to 50 degrees off from where I actually set it, so my husband and I invested in an oven thermometer. It’s a great way to ensure you’re actually baking your bread at the temperature it needs. I could have saved many a loaf had I invested in this little helper long ago!

*Activate your yeast with the right temperature. If your water is too cold or too hot, your yeast will not be alive and kicking and your bread won’t rise. Try for a lukewarm. One woman’s advice was to test it on your wrist and get it to the temperature you would for a baby’s bath- the water shouldn’t feel colder or hotter to your skin.

*Use the right size pan. Don’t try to stuff too much dough into one pan, because you’ll end up with a puffy overflowing mess instead of a beautiful and appealing loaf. Many recipes will indicate the bread pan size you should be using, and it’s best to stick with that;).

*Be picky with your flour. Two things- your bread will turn out much better if you use actual bread flour instead of your typical all-purpose flour. Also, be careful when measuring your flour. If your recipe provides ounces in addition to cup measurements, use a kitchen scale to get the exact correct amount of flour you need. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, make sure you sift the flour and fluff it up before measuring. You’ll also get the amount a little more accurate if you gently scoop the flour into the measuring cup with a smaller spoon. It’s a little more tedious, but there’s no sacrifice too great for homemade bread;).

*Be careful when letting your dough rise. Many times a recipe will say to let the bread rise until it’s doubled- don’t ignore this! If you let it rise too long there won’t be enough active yeast left to help it rise a second time or third time (depending on your recipe). Also, make sure your dough is rising in an appropriate temperature. You can actually kill the yeast by letting the dough rise in a place that’s too warm, so err on the side of cooler if you need to. I also read a tip that suggested just using saran wrap to cover the dough instead of a damp tea towel, because it makes for a much easier time getting the dough out (it doesn’t stick to the plastic wrap!).

Add Recipe to Cook'n

Do you have any tips you would add to this list? I’d love to hear them before I delve into another season of breadmaking;).

  •   imaginacres.com
  •   oneperfectbite.blogspot.com
  •   www.greateatswithpetes.com
  •   www.adashofcompassion.com
  •   fabulesslyfrugal.com
  •   www.mykitchenaddiction.com

    Camille Hoffmann
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author! camille@dvo.com

blog comments powered by Disqus