Food & Wine

Top Kitchen Tips for Baking the Perfect Loaf of Bread

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The thought of baking your own bread from scratch can be intimidating.  But the truth is, with a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of practice, you too can fill your home with the sweet smells of freshly baked bread in no time.

Baking the Perfect Loaf of Bread

Read on for some of the very best tips for baking bread in the comfort of your own home.

1. Use a Scale, and Your Eye

Finding the perfect flour to water ratio is the key to a beautifully baked bread.  It is crucial you do the proper conversions and weigh all ingredients according to the recipe.

Then, eyeball the consistency of your dough.  You are aiming for a uniform dough that when kneaded is slightly tacky, yet not sticky.  If you are using one the best stand mixers for bread dough, when the dough stops sticking to the bottom of the bowl, you know you have added enough flour.

2. Mind the Yeast

While there is no issue with using dry yeast, most experienced bread bakers know that live (wet) yeast yields a better texture, more interaction with the dough, and a more delicious flavor.

3. Let it Rise

Room temperatures, the ingredients you use, and humidity levels will all affect how your bread rises before it is ready to go into the oven.

To check if the dough is ready for baking, simply push two fingers into the dough approximately one inch.  If the finger marks remain, you are ready to start baking.  If they disappear, let it rise a little longer.

For those that have their dough in a pan, you may not want to stick your fingers into it to check if it is ready for baking.  In this case, let the dough rise to just above the top of the pan.  Then start baking.

4. Watch the Oven

Baking bread is not about preparing the perfect dough and throwing it in the oven to bake away.  One of the biggest mistakes new bread bakers make is not monitoring the doneness of the bread as the timer winds down.  Most breads won’t bake evenly and need rotation while baking.

5. Know How to Store Your Bread

Okay, so this tip really has nothing to baking bread, nonetheless it is very important if you want to enjoy your delicious treat.

If you don’t plan on eating all of the bread you have baked within a day or two, let it cool completely and pre-slice it if you wish to use it for sandwiches or toast later on.  Then put it in the freezer for later use.

And, as an added bonus, if you are interested in making your breakfast a little healthier, complete with a slice of your freshly baked bread, try adding a piece of Canadian bacon, lean prosciutto, or turkey bacon to your day’s first meal.

Baking your own bread can be a lot of fun so long as you have a little patience and a few helpful tips.  Before you throw your apron on and get down in the kitchen, mentally prepare yourself with these useful tips for baking bread and give it your best shot!

This guest post was written by Lindsay Liedke – a freelance writer that enjoys writing about WordPress among many other lifestyle topics.  When she is not writing, she can be found spending family time with her son while enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee.

Image Source By 3268zauber – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

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