Disclaimer* Not all of these Tips are originally mine, some were researched from other blogs and google, and some were passed down from my Mother. I am sharing the ones I find most helpful but would Love to hear your favorite tips in the comments below as well!! Bread baking takes practice and patience, but once you figure out what works for you and your kitchen, you will have delicious results… So good luck and happy baking! 🙂
Tip Number 1
Make sure you have a good yeast before you get started! For a year or so when I first started bread baking, my bread kept failing. Once I replaced my yeast I noticed a big difference!! I prefer to use active dry yeast in all my bread recipes and find it at a local bulk food store.
Tip Number 2
Water temperature is very important when mixing with yeast for bread or pizza dough etc. Too hot and it will kill the yeast. Too cold and the yeast won’t activate. I like to test it on my finger and think “would I give my baby a bath in this?” Room temperature or between 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit is key.
Tip Number 3
If kneading the dough by hand, be sure to put some muscle into it and aim for about 15-20 minutes of kneading. It is important to distribute the yeast evenly so that the gluten is well formed and for the dough to have an elastic, soft texture.
Tip Number 4
Be sure to allow your bread adequate rise time to avoid it becoming dense or the wrong texture. I aim for around 2 hours for soft, Homemade loaf breads and 30 to 40 minutes for pizza dough, soft pretzels, bread sticks etc. However this can change with altitude or the temperature of your kitchen. Another good way to tell if your dough has risen adequately is if it has doubled in size.
Tip Number 5
I will pretty much move heaven and earth to be able to use a good, glass bread pan to bake bread in. The reason I love them, is that you can tell if the bread is done by looking at the bottom and sides to see if they have also browned slightly and the dough is no longer sticking to the sides. Another reason for using glass bread pans is if you use the right fat, such as butter or vegetable shortening, to grease them with, you should have no problem removing your loaf.
Tip Number 6
I like to abide by the 20 minute no peeking rule while baking bread. Once twenty minutes has passed and you want to check on your loaves, be sure to shut the oven door as quickly as possible again to let minimal heat escape.
Tip Number 7
Oven temperatures vary and if you find your oven seems to bake things too quickly, you can turn the temperature down for bread about 10- 25 degrees. You can always play around with it and find the temperature that is your bread baking sweet spot! Mine is most often 325, Rather safe than sorry.
Tip Number 8
If you are baking a crusty bread and want to achieve that hard crust, preheat your oven and place your bread inside, then toss in a few ice cubes and quickly shut the door. Allowing the ice cubes to steam and create that satisfying crunch on your crust.
Let me know if I’ve missed any 🙂