Bread is the base ingredient of numerous traditional food habits in many different cultures. One might be proud when she succeeds in making her own home-made bread, just like many ancestors did it before. The making of bread is done in several steps. To succeed in making bread at home, you must first gather all the ingredients and utensils, and strictly follow the method of preparation.
The preparation of the dough and required ingredients
To prepare your home-made bread, it is imperative to gather all the necessary ingredients like flour, water, salt and yeast, of course. We must respect the amount of each element. There are ingredients that you can add to improve the dough but are not mandatory, such as butter, milk, etc… Bread making takes place in seven steps.
The ingredients for a successful bread
It is imperative to have all the necessary ingredients on hand for a successful bread. Normally, for a loaf of bread you will need:
To 10 cups of flour, it will take 1pt to 1 1/3 pt ( 500 to 650 ml ) of water and about 8 ounces (250 g) of yeast.
There are a wide variety of flour that you can use. Wheat flour is the most common because it can make a lighter bread. To make gluten-free bread check our 4 gluten-free bread recipes for breakfast. By cons if you choose a whole wheat flour, water supply will be higher. The temperature of the ingredients plays an important role in bread making. Thus, it is important not to use too cold liquids.
Choose a spring water rather than bottled mineral water or tap water. When you dissolve yeast, make sure the water is lukewarm, neither cold nor hot otherwise the dough will be difficult to work on. Finally, remember to add salt because it flavors and enhances the quality of the dough.
To improve the taste and quality of your bread, you can also add other elements. So you can add:
- Sugar which will give a softer texture to the crumb and rise at the same time the color of the crust;
- Butter or a few drops of oil that will also give a soft texture;
- Liquid or powdered milk to give a good color to the crust and an original taste to the bread;
- Eggs if you want a bun;
- Soy lecithin, for effective conservation of your bread.
The steps in making bread
To make bread, you must follow several steps before baking the dough. We must scrupulously observe the information and the time limits indicated.
Kneading and rising
The kneading of the dough lasts about 20 minutes. It is this step that determines the texture of bread. Kneading by hand is very tiring: bend and pull the dough, and repeat until obtaining a smooth paste. If you have a robot at hand, it would be much better. The KitchenAid Quart Mixer is equipped with a hook especially designed for kneading dough. This excellent and versatile mixer appliance will be very helpful in your kitchen, not only for making bread.
Then the rising of dough is done for about 2 hours in order to have the first round. After this step, the dough should double in volume. Place the dough in a large container you have greased so that it does not stick, then cover with a cloth or plastic film. You should also make sure the dough is resting at the proper temperature, 90° F (30°C ) would be ideal.
You can place it in an oven, away from air or in any other place at room temperature. You should not place it in a too cold or too hot place as this could delay the lifting.
Degassing and shaping
After the first round, you must perform the degassing. You’ve got to press and knead the dough to release air. Attention degassing must be done quickly. It is important not to overwork the dough. Generally, 1 or 2 minutes is sufficient. It is after the degassing that you can divide the dough into loaves.
After degassing, let the dough rest for a few minutes and then proceed to the shaping and give the dough the shape you want. It is precisely at this stage you can add additional ingredients such as chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, etc..
The primer and the scoring
The primer provides the second rising of the dough. The length of the primer depends on the duration of the rise. In general, it must pass about half the length of the first round. If your dough is successful it should usually double in volume. Using the blade of a sharp knife, incise the dough to avoid a sudden explosion in the oven: this the scoring.
Before starting the cooking, preheat the oven first at 460° F (240 ° C) , then place a bowl of water in the oven to create a little steam. So when you bake bread in the oven, this will allow the crust to be less dry and be fine and golden. You can then put the dough and after about twenty minutes, remove the bread carefully. Let cool to let carbon dioxide and water vapor to evaporate before enjoying your homemade bread!
What about the bread maker appliances?
Bread makers are usually combo appliance that allow the prepare the dough —mixing, kneading, rising— and bake the bread. Of course you lose the “traditional baker’s touch” but the results are very satisfying if you’re looking for a “set and forget” solution, ideal when your schedule is overloaded!
Here are some inspiration for mixing and bread making appliances, recommended by our readers:
KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer, Empire Red
This substantial piece of equipment make child’s play of creaming butter, kneading dough, and whipping cream. Comes with 3 attachments: a flat beater for making batter, meat loaf, and all textures in-between; a wire whip for egg whites, mayonnaise, and more air-infused creations; and a hook for mixing and kneading yeast doughs. Read reviews and get a price on Amazon.
Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker
Providing myriad options, this automatic bread maker mixes, kneads, rises, and bakes bread in three loaf sizes up to 2-1/2 pounds. Other settings permit rapid baking and baking sandwich bread with a soft crust. It mixes, kneads, and rises doughs for pizza, focaccia, croissants, and other pastries without baking them. Get a price on Amazon.
Sunbeam 5891 2-Pound Programmable Breadmaker
With twelve different cooking functions, you can make any type of bread with just the touch of a button. Also features the ExpressBake Breadmaker Cycle, which bakes bread in under one hour. The non-stick, removable baking pan and easy-clean touch control panel make clean-up simple. Read reviews and get a price on Amazon.
Chicago Metallic Commercial II Non-Stick Perforated Baguette Pan
This Chicago Metallic Commercial II non-stick perforated baguette pan allows air to flow freely around the bread to create golden brown crusts. It measures 16 by 9-Inch and bakes 3 loaves at a time. Get a price on Amazon
Mure & Peyrot Bread Scoring Lame
This lame holds a replaceable standard razor-blade, the angle can be adjusted by applying gentle pressure to the handle. It comes with a removable, protective cover, one blade and handle and is made of food safe components. Discover this scorer on Amazon.