To sign up for our daily email newsletter, CLICK HERE
Even the most passionate bakers can struggle when it comes to baking the perfect bread.
Bread baking is notoriously tricky. The process involves a lot of precision, from kneading for the correct amount of time to setting the optimal oven temperature.
Many articles about baking the perfect loaf of bread focus on the importance of purchasing the best bread mixer. While this will definitely be helpful, there are several other ways to ensure that your loaf comes out of the oven looking and tasting incredible.
Read on to learn our 7 top tips for baking the perfect bread! And note Level 2 Essential Food Hygiene training online is an online training system that is specifically designed for businesses on how to maintain Hygiene in the business.
1. Weigh Out Ingredients
If your bread baking attempts haven’t turned out as planned and you’re not sure why, it could be that you’re not measuring out your ingredients accurately enough.
Many bread recipes instruct bakers to measure ingredients volumetrically. This might be a slightly more time-efficient method, but the problem is that cup measurements in baking are not very accurate.
A better way to measure out your ingredients is to weigh them with a digital scale. This will ensure that you follow your recipe to the gram and that the final result is as expected.
2. Prioritize Quality Flour
Using regular, all-purpose flour might not produce the results you’re looking for when it comes to baking bread. Even standard bread flour can miss the mark sometimes.
If possible, we recommend using a type of flour that’s high in gluten because it rises better than regular flour.
High-quality bread flours have a protein content of around 15% and contain enough gluten to ensure a significant rise. Most extra-strong flours are gluten-rich and can easily be purchased at your local store.
3. Check Your Yeast
In addition to making sure you’re using the right kind of flour, it’s very important to check that the yeast you are using is suitable for your recipe and bread-making technique.
If you’re using a bread mixer, for example, you will need to use fast-acting yeast, which isn’t a requirement when making bread by hand.
It’s also worth checking the best before date on your yeast container since expired yeast will be less effective.
While we’re on the subject of yeast, it’s also crucial to store your yeast correctly. Assuming you’re using fresh yeast, you should store it in your refrigerator.
If you need to prolong your yeast’s shelf life for longer than 2 weeks, put it in the freezer, where it will keep for 3 months.
4. Add Vitamin C Powder
This is a lesser-known tip for baking the perfect bread, but it really works!
Vitamin C actually fortifies the gluten in flour, which means that adding some vitamin C powder to your dough will help it to rise higher and faster.
Using vitamin C probably won’t make much difference to white bread, but the results speak for themselves when this tip is used for whole meal bread.
Please note that this technique may not be effective when making bread by hand, but if you’re using a bread mixer, it will do wonders.
You don’t need to use too much – just a pinch should be enough. A small dash of lemon juice will have the same effect if you don’t have any vitamin C powder available.
5. Knead Carefully
A very common mistake in bread making is either not kneading the dough enough, or kneading it for too long.
Check the consistency of your dough as you go. Once you can stretch the dough about 3 inches without it pulling apart, you can stop kneading.
6. Conduct a ‘Poke Test’
Before putting your bread in the oven, you’ll need to proof the dough. One of the most important parts of the proofing process is the ‘poke test’.
Gently poke the dough with the tip of your finger. If the indentation springs back slowly, your bread is ready to bake.
7. Supervise the Baking
An uncalibrated oven is often the culprit for failed bread-making attempts.
You can check the temperature inside the oven using an oven thermometer. However, it’s still best practice to watch the bread while it’s baking. This way, you can ensure that it doesn’t burn prematurely.
Baking the perfect bread involves paying close attention to all areas of the process, from the ingredients you choose to the consistency of the dough.
Remember to select gluten-rich flour, use the correct yeast, weigh your ingredients digitally, and add vitamin C if necessary.
Before putting your bread in to bake, test the dough using the stretch and poke tests. Then, measure your oven temperature and watch the bread until it’s ready. After that, you can prepare your bread and enjoy the meal.