New to bread making, these bread making tips will give you the confidence to make your own bread.
Bread Making Tip #1
Don’t Be Afraid To Make Bread
If you think that bread making is hard, think again. Bread making is not something you should fear. Once you understand the basics you will get it right every time. And, so what, if there are a few fails along the way (believe me, I’ve had my fair share), use this page to work out what went wrong.
Bread Making Tip #2
Always Use Fresh and Active Yeast
When making bread you should always be confident that the yeast is alive and active. If you are uncertain about the freshness of the yeast, it can be tested to see if it is active. For instructions on how to activate yeast read my page on How To Use Instant Yeast.
Bread Making Tip #3
Don’t Forget To Add The Yeast
Don’t laugh I’ve done it a few times, especially when I’m in a hurry and dump everything into my bread machine. Only to realize I’m not getting that yeasty smell during the first rise cycle.
I use a dry instant yeast, and it’s usually the last thing I put in the bread machine. It’s a brand I have been using for years. I know that it works every time without fail so, I never test to see if it is active.
I suppose if I did test it, it would be ready and waiting on the bench and would not be forgotten and left in the fridge.
If you do happen to forget the yeast don’t throw the dough away, knead the dry yeast granules into the dough.
What I do for the bread machine is stop it and reset it to the start of the cycle, then add the yeast and restart the machine.
The kneading cycle will work the yeast into the dough, just keep an eye on it. If you think it needs a little help, use a rubber scrapper to press the yeast to the dough while the machine kneads.
Bread Making Tip #4
Use The Correct Flour
When making yeast bread, use bakers’ flour also known as bread flour or strong flour. This contains more protein and gluten than other flours, which gives the bread it’s elasticity and helps provide structure for the dough to rise.
You can use plain or all-purpose flour, but the results will be a little different. I personally find that the bread made with plain flour is best eaten on the day it was made.
Bread Making Tip #5
Adjust The Liquid Accordingly
The amount of liquid you use in a recipe can vary so, use the liquid measurement as a guide only. The more you bake bread you will soon realise that some days you will need less and other days you may need to add more liquid.
There are a number of factors that effect amount of liquid to use these include: humidity, temperature, and other ingredients like butter and eggs.
- Humidity, temperature and even altitude can affect how much liquid the flour will absorb. In hot dry weather, you may find that you will need a little more liquid than you would for the same recipe on a cold wet day.
- If the recipe has eggs and the eggs are larger than stated in the recipe you are adding more liquid to the recipe. If the eggs are smaller you may need to add a little more liquid to the dough.
- If the recipe calls for softened butter and you add melted butter, you have increased the moisture content.
So, how much liquid do I use?
For Most Bread Dough’s you will need to create a dough ball that is soft and slightly sticky but not to sticky to the touch initially. However, this can vary depending on the type of bread you are making.
As a general rule combine all the bread dough ingredients with the exception of liquid, then gradually add about half to three quarters of the liquid and combine it with the other ingredients.
If the dough looks too dry, add a little more liquid, continue to add more liquid until you get soft slightly sticky dough. This consistency of dough when kneaded will lose its stickiness and turn into a smooth ball.
No-Knead Dough’s are much wetter than dough’s that require kneading. However, you can still add too much water to them depending on what you are making. You basically want a wet sticky dough that still holds its shape when formed into a ball.
If you have added a little too much liquid it won’t be too much of a problem if you were making a loaf, as the dough can be poured into a bread tin.
On the other hand, it could be a real issue if you wanted to make bread rolls from the dough, it could be too wet and not hold its shape at all. If this is the case, pour the dough into a bread tin, and make bread instead. Then the next time you make the recipe, remember to be careful when adding the liquid.
Note: I actually prefer some no-knead loaves that are made with a slightly wetter dough – they bake up so soft and light in texture like my sweet potato bread with pecans and raisins or these easy soft dinner rolls.
Bread Making Tip #6
For most recipes warm liquids are used to encourage rapid yeast growth. By warm I mean it should be blood temperature and not much hotter than this. If you where to use liquids that are too hot you risk killing the yeast.
To test the heat of a liquid, insert a clean finger into the liquid, if it feels comfortable it’s correct, if it feels too hot let it cool down before using.
Although there is nothing wrong with using ingredients that are cold or at room temperature, which is what I do most of the time. It just means that the bread dough can take a little longer to rise – but I do have some tricks to help speed up the rising process, read my page on proofing dough tips (coming soon).
Bread Making Tip #7
Salt In Bread
The function of salt in bread is to give it flavour and nothing else. If you are on a salt reduced diet, it is OK to reduce the salt or leave it out completely.
You may have read that salt can kill yeast and to keep them separate when adding to the mix. From my own experience I have found this not to be true.
You might like to watch this short video “Does Salt Kill Yeast” it demonstrates how yeast and salt react together.
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Easy Yeast Bread Recipes To Try
- Very Easy No Knead Hot Cross Buns
- Easy Homemade Naan Bread
- Bread Machine White Bread Recipe
- Crescent Roll Dough
- Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- No Knead Sweet Potato Bread with Pecans
- Easy Soft Dinner Rolls – No Knead
- No Knead Focaccia Bread
- Easy Homemade Cheesy Breadsticks
- Easy Homemade Pita Bread With White & Rye Flour