Does the process of baking bread at home intimidate you? It doesn’t have to be so hard! With our top bread making tips for preparation, baking and storage, you’ll be whipping up fresh homemade loaves in no time.
- When preparing bread dough, use a very large bowl and a sturdy wooden spoon or a heavy-duty mixer.
- Add the flour to the dough in small amounts, about a half cup at a time. For bread, flour should not be sifted.
- Butter gives bread the best flavor, but other fat such as shortening or oil can be used.
- Grease baking pans with unsalted fats (not butter) because salt will cause browning.
- Yeast is a living plant that makes bread and rolls rise. Cold temperatures retard the growth of yeast. Warm temperatures stimulate its growth. Provide a warm environment for bread dough to rise. Warm the bowl with water before mixing the dough.
- Check expiration dates on yeast. If it’s close to the date, proof the yeast by dissolving it in a half cup warm water with 1 teaspoon sugar. Let the mixture stand for five minutes. If the yeast is active, bubbles will appear on the surface as the mixture swells.
To help the dough rise, boil a cup of water in the microwave to create a moist environment. Then, leaving the microwave off, put the dough to rise in the proof box with the cup of water moved to the side.
- If a tender crust is desired, brush tops of loaves with melted butter, either before or after baking.
- Bread should be baked near the center of the oven for even heat distribution.
- Bread is done when the loaf begins to shrink from the sides of the pan. A thermometer through the bottom side will register 190 degrees.
- Immediately after baking, remove the bread from the pan and allow it to cool on a rack, away from any drafts.
All breads freeze successfully. Some types, like French bread, do not keep well unless frozen. When cooled, wrap bread airtight, pressing air from the package. Label and date your package. When thawing, leave in the packaging until completely thawed.