9 Bread Baking Tips and Tricks

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I have recently delved into bread making. There were a few hits and mostly misses at the start. When I mentioned to my dear family that we would be having homemade bread with dinner, the kids would roll their eyes and my husband would encourage me to just relax and he’d pick up a loaf on the way home. In case you can’t read through those lines, he means oh please, not again. I remember one particular loaf of olive oil and sea salt that was so bad even the dog wouldn’t eat it. Who knew baking powder could expire?

Bread making is an art, but there are some great tips, tricks and secrets to help you on your way. Here are nine secrets I've learned as well as a few great recipes to try.

The good news is that I’m always learning and improving. Mostly I’ve picked up some great tips, tricks and secrets along the way. Here are nine secrets I’ve learned as well as a few great recipes to try.

#1 Mixing Rules

For whatever reason, when mixing dry ingredients, if you put yeast and salt on top of each other it affects the rising. I’m not sure why this would be, but trust me: put them on opposite sides of the bowl. If you are using a stand mixer, combine the salt when you add the flour.

#2 It’s All About the Yeast

SAF Yeast is the best yeast ever. It doesn’t have that funky coating that other yeasts have. If you store it in the freezer you can just throw it right in without having to proof it. Proofing is testing the yeast by adding warm water and waiting 5 minutes to make sure it foams.

#3 Dough Enhancer

A product on the market called dough enhancer or dough conditioner can make a big difference in your bread. It makes dough light and fluffy, even if you are using wheat flour which tends to be a bit heavy.

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#4 Control the Flour

The recipe is often a suggestion where the flour is concerned. Humidity, altitude and temperature can all affect how much flour you need. Use about 1 cup shy of what the recipes calls for and then slowly add more until the dough pulls off the sides of the bowl and is no longer sticky. It may be less or it may be more than what the recipe calls for.

#5 Measure Correctly

Do not pack the flour when you’re measuring! I’m guilty of digging down into the container and then smooshing down onto the side to level it. Big no no! Instead, use a flour scoop to pour the flour into the measuring cup and use a butter knife to skim off the extra.

#6 Fresh is Best

Fresh ingredients really are essential. Old yeast makes bread crumble and fall apart. Old baking powder makes your bread into a dense brick. The fresher the ingredients the better the end results.

#7 Coat Correctly

Use cooking spray instead of flour to coat your hands and counter tops when rolling and kneading. I always visualized the housewives with flour on their aprons. It just seemed like you were suppose to, but too much flour makes for a dry not-good-crunchy bread. Plus, you end up leaving the house with flour on your bum (tell me I’m not alone here). Using oil gives the bread the right kind of crunch.

#8 Control the Rise

If you have a cold and/or drafty house like mine, getting your bread to rise can be problematic. Turn on your oven to 170º/warm before you start mixing ingredients and turn it off before you knead/roll. When it’s time to rise, just put it in the oven. The warm oven facilitates rising and the enclosed space eliminates drafts. This tip alone saved my bread making future.

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#9 Boiling Water

My last tip is a professional bakers tip: To get that fabulous golden brown split down the bread just place a tray of boiling water on the oven’s bottom shelf just before baking. Homestead Wishing offers some great tips to storing homemade bread.

Are you ready? Here are some recipes to try:

Bread making is an art, but there are some great tips, tricks and secrets to help you on your way. Here are nine secrets I've learned as well as a few great recipes to try.

Honey-Wheat Oatmeal Bread & Amish White Bread by Runamuk Acres
See Recipes

Bread making is an art, but there are some great tips, tricks and secrets to help you on your way. Here are nine secrets I've learned as well as a few great recipes to try.

Gluten & Dairy Free Bakery Swirl Loaf by Spring Mountain Living
See Recipe

Bread making is an art, but there are some great tips, tricks and secrets to help you on your way. Here are nine secrets I've learned as well as a few great recipes to try. No Knead Simple Whole Grain Bread by Northern Homestead
See Recipe

Bread making is an art, but there are some great tips, tricks and secrets to help you on your way. Here are nine secrets I've learned as well as a few great recipes to try. 1 Hour French Bread by Food Storage Moms
See Recipe

Be sure to check out Recipe Tips for tutorials on shaping bread. They cover everything from the basic sandwich bread to amazing “fancy” shapes. Check out these easy to sew linen bags. Linen allows the bread to breathe without becoming stale. I made a few myself and I love them.

Do you have any secrets to making bread? Share them in the comments below.

Bread making is an art, but there are some great tips, tricks and secrets to help you on your way. Here are nine secrets I've learned as well as a few great recipes to try.

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I am a non-traditional homesteader. What is a non-traditional homesteader? I'd like to think we are the people who don't fit the mold. I am a busy mom on a small bit of property with not a lot of financial resources, but I am figuring out how to live the life I want. A homesteader's life.

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About Jessica Lane

I am a non-traditional homesteader. What is a non-traditional homesteader? I'd like to think we are the people who don't fit the mold. I am a busy mom on a small bit of property with not a lot of financial resources, but I am figuring out how to live the life I want. A homesteader's life.

Comments

9 Bread Baking Tips and Tricks — 34 Comments

  1. As goes salt, so too is sugar too much and retards the yeast bloom. So to counter this in “sweet bread” dough recipes like Brioche, Massa Souvada, Challah etc. make sure to use a Osmotolerant yeast like Le Saffre “Gold Label” Instant yeast.

  2. I have made bread for years. Now that I am older with no kids at home, I have gone back to making bread. These are my tips. I keep my yeast in the freezer, it never goes bad. I use warm water to soften the yeast. Not to hot, like a baby bottle temperature. When the weather is wet and rainy you will use more flour. When kneading the bread, I use oil on the counter. I also smack that bread on the counter to relax it. That makes it so nice and soft. When it comes from the oven turn it to cool on all three sides every few minutes. By the way I never use a mixer to make bread, it is all by hand.

  3. Sugar feeds the yeast, thats why you add it to yeast and luke warm water about a cup . If it foams up in about 10 mins its good if not yeast is too old .After the dough is formed into ball ,grease bowl and put in oven to rise add cake pan of boiled water to bottom of oven ,this is what the bakers used to do .Also important turn on the oven light before hand as this will give you enough heat for first rise and second as well.Replace boiled water for second rise this is what is called proofing.The bread will rise in about half the time. Use an box cutter if you want cuts in the bread , sharp.

  4. 1. Use Kosher salt for breadmaking
    2. Honey instead of sugar in bread receipe. Slightly more flour may be required.
    3. Oil instead of solid shortening in recipe
    4. Oil surface of bread dough ball before rising. Prevents crust from forming

  5. My mother taught me to make bread many, many years ago. She always said to loosen the flour by “fluffing it up” before measuring. I measure out the amount the receipe calls for in a separate bowl and use a little of that flour for kneeding.
    My father in law told me to proof the yeast by adding 1/4 tsp.sugar to the mix. Great for me because I’ve never used a thermometer. One less item to wash!
    Thank you for all the hints. This old cook learned a few things.

  6. I wish I could get some tips for baking gluten free bread. These tips are great but gluten free bread is really awful. I miss bread.

  7. My wife is handicapped (cancer/w/chemo) an can no longer cook or bake. So I have taken over the homemaking chores, I love the smell of bread baking, but the taste or texture does not always come out the way I expected . I so much appreciate all the cooking tips that you post. I need all the help I can get. Thank you so very much. My wife also thanks you. After all. she has to eat what I make an effort to prepare.

  8. I started making w/wheat bread for my husband because he had problems with his stomach. I now know the better the flour, the better the bread. Same goes for yeast. Also salt. Non-iodineized salt is best.

  9. I found this tip when making doughnuts: make a roux of 25g flour and 125ml water, stir constantly to a temp of 165f. It will turn gelatinous. Let cool and add half to your heated liquid prior to adding to flour. This is a tangzhong and will make your loaves lighter and fresher longer. The remainder of the roux can be refrigerated and kept for a few days.

  10. Great advice!
    I have learned a couple things too.
    -I put my dough in the micro (not on) door closed turn the light on. The heat from the light warms it to the prefect temp for dough to rise.
    -after all the flour has mixed in I add 1 tbls olive oil, even when recipe doesn’t call for it. It makes the bread crispy on the outside.

  11. You’ve got some beautiful loaves, Jess! Salt kills yeast, that’s why you should keep them separate. And it is best to add it after the yeast is completely incorporated. I don’t add salt to my breads until they’ve been in the stand mixer for 2 minutes, or if I were hand kneading it would be after three minutes.

  12. These are really great suggestions! I had no idea about the salt and yeast, and totally agree on limiting the amount of flour you use, both in the bowl and when you’re kneading on the counter. I learned the boiling water trick when I worked at an Italian bistro– we bought our loaves of ciabatta par-cooked and then finished them off in our oven with hot water in a pan below. Your loaves look beautiful!

  13. These are all so important and easy to slack on! I am guilty of measuring wrong too – probably why a batch of cookies I made last week turned out totally flat 🙂

    • i am a bit guilty since measuring ing., is not my priority. Luckily, it turned ok with the family. I dont know if youre familiar with the bread maker machine, convection cooker like, I was able to baked easily with little effort, I feel like i could bake bread everyday.

  14. Jessica, you had me laughing out loud with your husbands “Just relax, I’ll pick up a loaf on the way home.” He must be a very sweet and tactful man! I’ve been making bread since I was a teenager, and #4 is THE most important. I flour my hands and countertop for kneading without ever adding too much flour because I count the flour used that way toward the amount of flour in the recipe. And I write my recipes in that way so that my readers won’t forget and end up making a brick!

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