Bread baking can be a tricky business. But is there anything better than walking into a home with the smell of freshly baked bread? We don’t think so. Master the art of bread baking and make your home feel a little homier with these simple bread baking tips to take your bread to the next level.
1. Use a Digital Scale
Using a kitchen scale will help you follow a recipe to exactness. It will also help you recreate a masterful bread once you’ve already made it! Using volume measuring can be unpredictable and impact your outcome. For consistent goodness, weight your ingredient on a digital scale. Say goodbye to you measuring cups and spoons—now you’ll just a need a scale and a bowl for perfect bread every time.
2. Different Kinds of Yeast
Did you know there are different kinds of yeast? Not all yeast is created equally. Do a little research to determine what kind of year you need for your recipe or desired bread time. Know the difference between active dry yeast, instant yeast, and fresh yeast. Most stores will only sell two types—active dry and instant. The types of yeast you use will change how your bread rises, how much time it needs to rise, and how it bakes. Be sure you’re familiar with your choice before diving in.
3. Don’t Use Too Much Flour
This is a common mistake made in bread making. Don’t put too much flour in your dough! It may seem like a wet dough, but too much flour will lead to a tough and tasteless bread. Often times when you are continually adding flour, you are also in trouble of over working your bread, which will also result in a tough dough with few air bubbles. Depending on your recipe, your dough may be a wet dough. But not matter what, it should be soft. The more you work with your dough and the more flour you add to it, the tougher it will get. Avoid dry and tough bread by using the right amount of flour.
4. Try a Baking Stone
Using a baking stone for your bread will help to increase the heat retention—meaning your bread will have a nice brown, crisp crust. You can also preheat your stone before placing the dough on it for an extra nice crisp and even bake. A stone will also help you achieve an even bake. If your recipe calls for a bread pan, you can also place a stone under the pan.
5. Create Steam in Your Oven
The key to a nice crisp in your crust is steam. Steam will also make for taller, lighter loaves. Most artisan breads are baked in a steam oven—something you likely don’t have at home. But don’t worry, you can create the next best thing! Place a baking pan full of water on the bottom rack of your oven before preheating it. The water will begin to evaporate and create steam inside your oven. You can also spray a little spritz of water in your oven just before placing your bread in.