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How To Make Homemade Bread At Home

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Bread Making Ingredients


HOW INGREDIENTS CHANGE BREAD CHARACTERISTICS
As I described in How to Make Bread and then again in Basic Bread Recipe, most bread recipes include 4 ingredients (not counting the sugar that the yeast ate) and a very straightforward mixing method. There are infinite types of yeast breads out in the world, everything from bagels to pizza, focaccia to cinnamon rolls, cheese bread to the laminated yeast dough croissants. If you study the recipes carefully, though, you will find that they are all based on these four ingredients. Yes, substitutions and additions can and should be made, but the basic four ingredients stand. Now, lets take a look at some of those substitutions and additions, as well as some tweaks to our baking procedure to give us exactly the taste and texture that we want.

Flour
Our standard recipe contains white bread flour. Many other types of flours can be substituted for part or all of the bread flour. Keep in mind that white bread flour will contain the most gluten, so breads made with a mixture of other flours will be more dense and will not rise as high. Some types of flour, such as rice and corn flour, do not contain any gluten, so to get a decent rise, you must use at least part white bread flour. Other flours you can use include whole wheat, rye, buckwheat, chickpea, bean flours, sprouted wheat, spelt, oat and soy. I am certain that there are others out there, as well.

Fats
Fat that is incorporated in bread dough will inhibit gluten formation. The resulting loaf will not rise quite as high as a loaf made without fat. On the positive side, fats, especially butter and olive oil, add a lot of flavor to the finished product. Fats keep the crumb tender and can help improve the shelf life of your bread by a day or so. Almost any fat can be added to a bread dough.

Eggs
Eggs added to dough help with rising. A bread dough rich with egg will rise very high, because eggs are a leavening agent (think genoise or angel food cake). As well, the fats from the yolk help to tenderize the crumb and lighten the texture a bit. Eggs also contain the emulsifier lecithin. Lecithin can add to the overall consistency of the loaf.

Sugar
Adding more sugar to a recipe than the yeast can eat will, no surprise, add sweetness to the finished product. Sugar aids in browning, can help tenderize the bread and also holds onto moisture to help inhibit staling. Be careful, thoughtoo much sugar will severely inhibit gluten production. So, unless you plan on adding additional gluten to the dough (in the form

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How To Make Homemade Bread At Home

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of vital wheat gluten or gluten flour), keep the sugar in the recipe to no more than 2 tablespoons/cup of flour.

Milk
Weve already established that liquid is necessary to make bread, but that doesnt mean we are limited to water. Replacing all or part of the water with milk will lend itself to a more tender, sweeter product. The sugar in milk, lactose, is not eaten by the yeast, so it is left to add a subtle sweetness to the finished bread. Milk also increases the nutritional value of the bread by adding additional proteins. A dough made with milk will brown more readily than one made with water.

Add-ins
This is where you, the baker, can get creative. If you are making a savory bread, you can add in anything from shredded cheese to roasted garlic to nuts to olives to, well, almost anything. If you are making a sweet bread, all sorts of toasted nuts and dried fruits can be added. And dont forget about herbs and spices, either.

The Crust of the Matter


Even using the same recipe, it is possible to get a different crust just by doing one of the following: Crackly, shiny crust: This is brought about by steam. If you dont have a steam injector in your oven, you are not alone. Ive heard of lots of different ways to get a really good steamy, humid atmosphere in your oven: boiling water in a cast iron skillet in the bottom of the oven, throwing ice chips into a cast iron skillet in the bottom of your oven, spraying the dough with water before putting it in the ovenIm sure you can think of more ways. For optimum crackliness, spray the dough and use one of the other methods. The water gelatinizes the starches on the outside of the dough, and this helps result in a crackly crust. You can also use a wash of water with a little cornstarch mixed in during the last five minutes of baking. Soft crust: This is as easy as not introducing extra steam or water. Dont spray the dough, and dont make steam. Another way of getting a soft crust and also imparting some flavor is to brush the crust with butter when you remove it from the oven. Golden, shiny crust: Apply an egg wash (egg and a little water beaten together) before baking, being careful not to let the egg wash get on the rim of the baking pan as this could, in essence, glue the bread down and inhibit a full rise. Soft, sweet crust: brush with milk with a little sugar dissolved in it before baking. Sweet, sticky crust: brush the crust with simple syrup or honey right when it comes out of the oven Shiny, soft crust: brush the bread with olive oil before and after baking

Changes in Process Equal Changes in Product


The single most important thing in making flavorful bread is time. It takes time for yeast to completely run its life cycle and develop a complex flavor in the final product. While it is possible to get reasonably good bread with just a single rise, the more ways you can find to give the yeast time to do their thing, the better your bread will be. Ways to increase the time it takes to make a loaf from start to finish include slower, cooler rises, refrigerating the dough overnight and using some leftover dough from a day or two before as part of your mix. You can also make a sponge and let it rest for several hours before continuing. A sponge is just a loose mixture that you make by combining your yeast, liquid and half of your flour. After the sponge has worked for 2-3 hours, you can add the rest of the flour and continue with the recipe.

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I hope that you now feel armed to approach bread baking with less trepidation. Now that you know the function of all the ingredients in bread, the process of making it and have a good very basic recipe with which to practice, it is time to practice and get a feel for dough that is ready to be kneaded and dough that has been kneaded enough. Once you can leap those two confidence hurdles, there will be no stopping you.

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Basic Bread Recipe


September 30th, 2008 by RG in Baking Recipes How to Make Bread at Home

Baking homemade bread can be challenging to even the most experienced home cooks. Its not like making a stew or grilling up a steak. There is a lot of technique involved and lots of ways to mess up. Below is a recipe for making a basic 4-ingredient bread with step-by-step instructions that should take most of the mystery out of bread making. If you want to learn even more about the art of great bread making, check out my web site for my article on How To Make Bread. It goes in depth on ingredients, equipment, bread making techniques including mixing and kneading dough. Its a great primer for anyone interested learning how to make bread at home. Basic Bread Recipe 3/4 oz. active dried yeast Heavy pinch of sweetener consisting of sugar, spoonful of honey or dark corn syrup (just to kick-start the yeast) 2 cups warm water (about 115 degrees, F, is good) approximately 2 pounds bread flour 1 TBSP salt A little extra flour for dusting Mix the sweetener with the warm water until dissolved. Add the yeast, and stir again, until dissolved. Combine the salt with most of the flour - leave out about 6 ounces or so. In the bowl of a large capacity heavy duty stand mixer (or in a bowl or even on the table for you purists), mix the water into 1 pound of the salted flour until well combined. Mix well to start incorporating air. This step will assist in the final rise you will get. Add the rest of the salted flour, and mix again until the flour is incorporated. At this point, turn out the dough if youre doing it by hand. Knead in as much of the remaining flour as is necessary to achieve a smooth, non-sticky, not to wet or dry dough. Knead by hand or with the dough hook until the dough is very smooth and elastic and passes the windowpane test. Fermentation Stage
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Shape your dough into a smooth ball and let it rest, covered, in a warm place in a greased bowl until it has doubled in bulk. (Turn the dough in the bowl so all sides are greased, and let it rise smooth side up). When you poke your finger into the side of the dough and the dough doesnt spring back at all, youll know youre there. How long it will take depends on the temperature of the room, the temperature of the dough, the barometric pressure outside - lots of factors. A reasonable rule of thumb is give or take about 1 1/2 hours. You can do this step on the countertop or in any draft-free place. On top of the fridge is good, since heat rises, its probably a little warmer up there. Ive also done this step in a cold oven with the oven light on. Remember, though, the longer you can draw this out, the better the bread will be. If you have the time, a longer time at a cooler temperature is fantastic, say 3 hours at 68 degrees F. Benching Stage Now, roll the dough out of the bowl onto a surface very lightly dusted with flour and press out all the gasses. Now, decide whether you are making one jumbo loaf, two loaves (either in pans or just rounds) or rolls. Divide the dough accordingly, or leave it in one piece. Form each piece (again, its up to you how many) into a round, cover with a clean, lint free towel or even some plastic wrap, and let rest for a few minutes. Shaping Stage Next, shape each piece however you want. If you are making a round loaf, round your dough on the table. Youve probably seen bakers do this on TV and this is how to do it: take your ball of dough and place it on the table in front of you. Cup your hands around the dough on either side of the dough ball, with the pinky side of your hands touching the table. Without lifting your hands, begin to firmly push the ball in circles on the table. You can do this slowly or quickly. The end result will be the same, although you will get faster with practice. The friction between the bottom of the dough and the table should cause your dough ball to smooth and tighten. This will allow for a more even rise and a prettier loaf. If youre not getting any traction on the table, smear a bit of water on the table - just enough to make it a little damp, but not wet. If youre making a pan loaf, press out your dough and stretch it into a rough rectangle whose long sides are as long as your pan. Roll the dough up fairly tightly jelly-roll style, tuck the end under and place they cylinder of dough, seam side down, into your pan. Shape your rolls however you want. Proofing Stage Put your rolls or loaves on or in whatever youll use to bake them - baking stone, cookie sheet, loaf pan. Cover them with a clean, lint free towel or a piece of plastic wrap and let them double again. Since the yeast have been happily multiplying in your dough all this time, it will take about half the time it took during the fermentation period. Preheat your oven during the proofing time to 375 degrees, F. Ready to Bake When youre ready to bake, if you want to, you can slash the tops of your loaves with a very sharp knife. This is generally done for appearances, although it can boost the final rise in the oven (oven spring - the impressive rise you get during the first few minutes in the oven, before the crust sets), and help to keep

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the crust from stretching and tearing in the oven. Your bread is done when it is a lovely golden brown color, when it sounds hollow when you tap it on the bottom, and when the internal temperature has reached 200-210 degrees, F. This could take as little as 10-15 minutes for small rolls and upwards of half an hour for large loaves. When you can smell the bread and it is starting to look done, start checking. Once the bread is out of the oven, let it cool on a rack - if you have panned the bread, take it out of the pan to avoid having a soggy loaf. Cool to room temperature, then store in a paper bag at room temperature. Since this bread contains no preservatives, keeping it around for more than a day can be an issue. If you know you wont plow through all of it in a day, slice the loaves once they are cool, and store them in freezer bags in the freezer. That way, you can pop out a piece or two to make a sandwich. It defrosts in no time. Be sure to check out my web site for How To Make Bread.

65 Responses to ' Basic Bread Recipe ' Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to ' Basic Bread Recipe '. 1. Deb said,

on September 30th, 2008 at 3:58 pm I havent baked bread in many years and this is just the push I need to get going again! My husband wants whole wheat/grains - so I will have to investigate how to do that, but this is a good start thanks!! 2. Ginger said,

on September 30th, 2008 at 4:50 pm Thank you for posting this! I love to make bread, and my husband just expressed interest in learning to make it as well, You read that right, MY HUSBAND! Your instructions are so simple and I know, being a women I complicate things. Ill be the first to admit it. Thanks again!! Awapuhi 3. Think MPS said,

on September 30th, 2008 at 9:31 pm What a sense of timing! I just made my first bread last night (baguettes! corn bread and failed irish soda bread notwishstanding) and though it turned out well I was wishing I could find something to read a little more about how to do this. Cant wait to try again! 4. Jack said,

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on October 1st, 2008 at 10:12 am I (a husband) have made bread for many years, after my wife developed tennis elbow from kneading the dough. She made both whole wheat and white bread for our family that included four children. Now, with the empty nest, I still make bread manually, but often will use a bread machine to prepare the dough but bake it in an oven in a regular loaf pan to eliminate the hole(s) that the machine makes. I can supply a recipe for whole wheat bread if anyone wishes it. It is just as simple as the RGs basic loaf, but with a few added ingredients. e-mail me at: j poulter at islandnet dot com. (remove the spaces to send) Old Jack. 5. Lowell said,

on October 1st, 2008 at 1:32 pm This is exactly how we made Italian bread in the bakery I worked at over 25 years ago. The recipe makes a wonderful bread thats a little dense in the center and wonderfully crusty on the outside. For much of my breadmaking, I use a bread machine. I run the dough through the second rising and then remove it to rest once more before molding it by hand. Then I pan it and let it rise once more, or I mold it and let it rise on a pizza peal with cornmeal on it. Bake it in the oven and you get a wonderful loaf with much less hassle than mixing by hand. I also have the benefit of setting the timer to mix it for first thing in the morning baking. 6. Mark P said,

on October 2nd, 2008 at 3:31 pm Till I got your news letter I didnt think anyone could be intimidated by making bread. Ive been doing it since I was 10. I am so glad someone is out here giving people a nudge towards making the staff of life at home. THe varieties are endless and even failed experiments can be delicious! 7. Lim said,

on October 3rd, 2008 at 4:56 pm when compare the bread to those from supermarket, I notice that homemake bread have lot of crumb when slicing. Can you please explain why. T.Q. 8. RG said,

on October 5th, 2008 at 4:10 pm Deb asked about whole grain breads and for the most part, its simple substitution. The only tricky part will be the amount of water needed to get a good consistency.

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As far as Im concerned, the skys the limit when it comes to flours/whole grain additions. Two caveats: if youre going to add something like wheat berries, wheat bran, oatmeal or other hard, dry ingredients, mix everything up as a sponge first (all the ingredients, but only 1/3 to 1/2 of the flour) and let it ferment away for a couple of hours. That will give those ingredients time to soften up and hydrate, minimizing the chance that those pointy bran pieces will cut through the lovely gluten strands. Caveat 2: when substituting for other flours besides wheat-based flours (oat, rye, corn, etc), only substitute for up to 50% of the total weight of the flour. Otherwise, your loaf will be pretty dense since the highest concentrations of gluten are found in wheat flours. Be sure to check out Bread Ingredients and How They Effect The Final Outcome at http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/bread_making_ingredients.htm 9. giz said,

on October 5th, 2008 at 10:42 pm Such a great post and at a good time - we had a bread disaster today and couldnt figure out what went wrong. I do think I know now. 10. Kagetora said,

on October 8th, 2008 at 7:36 pm Does any know the recipe for making bread in a rice cooker i cant find it any were and i misplaced my recipe for it. if any one knows how to make it or where to find the recipe please post. Thanks in advance. Kagetora 11. Nancy said,

on November 12th, 2008 at 7:37 pm My problem making bread is the final step, it doesnt seem to rise in the pans and are somewhat flat. A lot of improvement since my first loaf many years ago though. At least now its edible. To Deb: One of our personal favourites is spent grain bread. My husband makes beer from scratch and I use the grains and each bread is different because of the spent grains. Type in Spent Grain Bread on the web and youll find recipes. Some are heavier than others and I only toast this bread. I have made it for friends and get a lot of compliments on it, even though its funny shaped (flat) and didnt rise enough. 12. Robert said,

on August 3rd, 2009 at 10:07 am

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Darn!! I was looking forward to making bread but it would be useless to me unless I knew about putting in preservatives since my wife and I would probably be the only ones eating it and we really dont eat that much bread in one day. Can you help me concerning the preservatives? 13. RG said,

on August 4th, 2009 at 7:44 am Hi Robert, I have no idea what preservatives you can add. I leave that up to the Wonder Bread people but I will see if one of my chef friends have an answer for you. 14. Agnes said,

on September 1st, 2009 at 8:22 pm Hi friends, I am interested to bake breads, however, I do have a problem. I am living in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia and I find it difficult to buy Bread Flour. Please advise whether I can substitute it with other type of flours. 15. Sheri said,

on October 3rd, 2009 at 2:04 pm re flour: Agnes I live in the Middle East and usually just end up using regular plain flour. The loaf is heavy but good. You could try going to a bakery and asking them to buy flour, which I have done at the large grocery stores here. Good luck. 16. RG said,

on October 4th, 2009 at 11:20 am Thanks Sheri for your helpful response. 17. Amanda Lentz said,

on January 11th, 2010 at 2:44 am I was very reluctant to make bread at first. I learned how to cook and bake almost everything else i wanted to before even attempting bread. However this recipe makes bread making as easy as can be. Thank you for the in depth instructions on the techniques and also the problems that can occur while making bread. This recipe and the explanation was vital to making my first loaf. Thank you again!! You are very welcome Amanda. Thanks for writing. - RG 18. Phil DePalma said,

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on January 25th, 2010 at 6:47 pm I have attempted many time to make homemade Italian bread and the inside always comes out off white and dense. How do I get the inside milk white ?? Hi Phil, two questions - What type of flour are you using and what type of Italian bread are you using as your benchmark for milk white? - RG 19. Rachel said,

on February 2nd, 2010 at 4:10 pm I too am curious why homemade bread is always so crumbly. Its delicious, but its not the same as storebought (in a good way, except that the crumbs are frustrating). Is it the preservatives in the store-bought bread? 20. Jenni said,

on February 3rd, 2010 at 8:38 am Hi, Rachel:) Your crumbly problem probably does have a lot to do with the crazy ingredients used in store-bought, mass-produced bread. Some breads dont even actually rise conventionallyeven though they have some yeast in them, time is money, so the manufacturers have figured out a way to make bread rise very quickly by whipping in a bunch of air. Thats why lots of store-bread, esp. your generic white sandwich bread, is so squishy. Homemade bread stales pretty quickly, since it doesnt contain preservatives. That can contribute to the crumbliness. When I make bread for sandwiches, I go ahead and slice it after it cools. Then, I wrap it well and put it in the freezer. When its sandwich time, I just take out what I need. That way, the bread stays as fresh and un-crumbly as possible. Breads that contain some milk, butter, and/or eggs tend to be less crumbly than lean breads that contain only flour, salt, yeast and water. If youre wanting to make a non-crumbly sandwich bread, make one that contains some fatthat will help. If your bread starts out crumbly, it might be that youre not using enough water (or conversely, youre using too much flour). If you have a tendency to keep adding flour to prevent the dough from being sticky, just stop it. Know that having the dough a little too sticky is much better than having the dough too dry. If the dough isnt wet enough, it wont rise well and will end up heavy and crumbly. If you knead by hand, rub your hands with a little oil. Itll keep the dough from sticking to them and help you resist the urge to add too much flour. You might need a bench scraper to help you knead, but your bread will be better because itll be lighter and be able to rise to its fullest potential. That was a very long answerI hope it helps:) As always Jenni, thanks for a great response. Be sure to check out Jennis Baking Site called Pastry Chef Online. - RG 21. Mcgalliard said,

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on April 6th, 2010 at 6:21 am Hey I really liked the info you had today. Thanks for having a really great site. You are welcome - RG 22. John Hutchison said,

on June 9th, 2010 at 11:29 am This is really good basic information for baking bread. I printed it off and will try it tonight. Nice web site. Thanks Hi John, you are welcome. - RG 23. mrs adams said,

on July 9th, 2010 at 9:56 am Thank you so much! I tried making a loaf of bread the other night. I failed miserably. This seems so simple. Im going to try it right away! Great Mrs Adams. Let us know -RG 24. Kimberley said,

on September 21st, 2010 at 8:59 pm Thanks for making it simple enough that non-chefs can attempt it. Ive got white bread down, but my husband wants sourdough. His mother kept a starter in the fridge at all times and fed it potato flakes. Can I just use a mix or something, keeping a starter alive sounds like a lot of work.? Thanks again for the simple real-life instructions. You are welcome Kimberley and I wild as Pastry Chef Jenni to answer your question about the mix. - RG 25. Peter said,

on November 8th, 2010 at 1:18 pm My daughter is allergic to all preservatives so this bread is perfect for her. My problem is that it seems so heavy. How can I make it lighter. I assume that what I really need to do is to get the bread to rise more and from the comments above it would appear that it needs more water. Am I correct or should I be increasing the yeast content? 26. Jenni said,

on November 9th, 2010 at 3:47 pm To make a loaf lighter in texture, Id definitely use more water. I always err on the side of a dough

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that is a little bit too slack (wet) rather than one that is too dry. The wetter your dough, the more room the gases from the yeast have to expand and get caught in the gluten. And that means a lighter-textured bread. Great question, Peter, and I hope my answer helps. 27. joseph said,

on January 4th, 2011 at 7:35 am hmmmmmmm i really need it as a profession, but dont have idea on how to start, but lucky enough i come across this site and being explain on how to go about baking. Am happy and will like you guys to keep posting me on how to make so many things at home for breakfast for my parent, brothers and loved once. 28. Rene said,

on January 25th, 2011 at 2:58 pm I have a fairly simple bread recipe that I have had great success with two times in a row. Today however, I mixed it up exactly the same as before, and it was so runny! Only slightly thicker than pancake batter! I thought I had to have mis-measured somewhere, so I trashed the batch and redid it. It happened again! The only thing that was different was the type of flour I used. I used a Seal of Michagans flour previously and a New Rinkel flour today. Could the change in flour create THAT much of a difference? Please help if you can! Thanks Hi Rene, good question and I do not have an answer but will ask my friend Chef Jenni who is a professional baker and pastry chef to give you a response. - RG 29. Jenni said,

on January 26th, 2011 at 11:05 am Im not familiar w/these brands of flour, but the flour can absolutely make that much difference. If the recipe calls for a higher-protein flour and you use a lower protein flour, you could indeed end up w/soup. Another thing that could make a difference is the humidityboth in the air and in the flour. If the flour and the air are already damp-ish, the flour wont accept as much liquid, and youll end up w/soup. The trick is in knowing which is the issue. If its a matter of humidity, you can actually go ahead and pour your dough into a pan, let it rise and then bake as usual. Youll end up w/a bread with a much more open, lacy crumb, but it will be fine otherwise. Just know that you wont want to use it for sandwiches, unless you want all your peanut butter and jelly to leak out through the holes! If youve used a cake flour or lower-protein all purpose flour in place of a higher protein (gluten) bread flour or even higher protein all purpose flour, youll most likely want to start again. Lower protein flours dont develop as much gluten, so there wont be as much of a gluten net to catch all the air bubbles being produced by the yeast and youll end up with a dense, flat loaf.

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Thanks Jenni, great insight. Anyone interested in learning more about baking tips and pastry making techniques visit Jennis blog, Pastry Methods and Techniques. - RG 30. derek said,

on February 15th, 2011 at 10:01 am I havent been making bread long, but even following recipes to the letter, my bread always turns out dense and heavy. please help. Hi Derek, thanks for writing. Its difficult to analyze whats going on with your bread without seeing the recipe you are following. If you send it to me via email, Ill ask one of my baking chef friends for some suggestions. - RG 31. Norma said,

on March 18th, 2011 at 1:34 pm While we have been in Florida, my husband and i cant find a good crusty Italian bread, i have resigned myself to making my own,but it comes out heavy and course,this has helped me to discover what i have been doing wrong. Hey Norma, thats great and thanks for letting me know. - RG 32. FS said,

on April 14th, 2011 at 12:26 pm I tried making this bread with flour and it turned out pretty well. But when I try the same with whole wheat, my bread was dense and kinda sticky. Can anyone please tell me why and how can I make whole wheat bread better? Thanks! 33. Jenni said,

on April 14th, 2011 at 1:11 pm Very good question, FS. If using 100% whole wheat flour, know that it does not contain as much gluten as bread flour. Thats because, ounce for ounce, some of the mass in the WW flour is taken up with wheat germ and bran that are not present in bread flour. To allow for this, I always bake w/50% bread flour and 50% WW to get a nice balance between rise and nutrition. You can, of course, use all WW flour, as long as you dont mind a denser bread and a stickier dough. You didnt do anything wrong; its just the nature of the flour. 34. alison said,

on April 18th, 2011 at 8:28 am

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Guys, Please check your web settings. I just clicked print recipe, which has the printer friendly logo, and it printed all the comments (many pages) as well. Please separate the two. Such a waste of paper! Hi Alison, thanks for pointing that out. Not sure how to separate them out but I am working on a total revamp of the site and blog and will try to incorporate that into the settings. - RG 35. Bill said,

on May 2nd, 2011 at 1:07 am Thanks so much for this informative article about making bread. Ive read lots of bread articles and recipes but this has been the most helpful of them all. Especial helpful was finding out that hard winter wheat is higher in protein and that having enough water is important in helping bread to rise. Thanks, Bill You are very welcome Bill. Thanks for sharing. - RG 36. Bill said,

on May 2nd, 2011 at 1:10 am Your recipe calls for 2 pounds of flour, can you give me an approximation of how many cups that is? Thanks, Bill Hi Bil, good question. I ask Pastry Chef Jenni to respond. - RG 37. Jenni said,

on May 2nd, 2011 at 8:42 am I really dislike volumetric measures for flour because it is such a fine particulate and it compacts so much. As a result, a cup of flour can weigh anywhere from 3.5-5.5 ounces! Given that, Id say youre looking at roughly 8 cups (for general baking purposes, I weigh my flour at 4-4.5 oz per cup). Thanks Jenni - RG 38. Dave said,

on July 14th, 2011 at 6:01 pm Is it possible to freeze the dough before cooking? I am trying to make bread first time ever, wish me (roofer) good luck! Hey Dave, this being a baking question, I asked my friend chef Jenni to respond. Heres what she explained to me Dave, you can absolutely freeze bread dough before baking, but you will want to remember two

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things: 1) Start with a bit more yeast than the recipe calls for (maybe 25% more), since most likely some of the yeast wont survive freezing. 2) Make sure you give the dough time to come to room temperature and then rise before baking. Another thing you can try is to bake your bread/rolls/what-have-you until completely risen and set, but not browned at all. You can then remove it/them from the oven, cool completely, wrap well and freeze. If youve done this with rolls, you can just pop them back in a 375 degrees F oven straight from the freezer and bake until browned. With a large loaf, thaw first and then finish baking. 39. Mr green said,

on July 26th, 2011 at 4:36 pm I am 22 years old and have seen my grandmother make fresh bread years ago and never thought I would be up to her standard since I have barely any cooking experience . I have made pizza bases before that failed but me and my girlfriend have just tried this recipe and it seems to have gone really well. thank you very much for your guide. my girlfriend is really impressed now and I will definitely try this again at some point and cant wait to show my gran I think she will be shocked. Sounds good, Mr Green - RG 40. Bleu said,

on August 6th, 2011 at 9:40 am Great site! Great tips too! I have been trying to make bread and they all turn up heavy. I used my Kenwood to knead for 10 minutes and even hand knead another 10 minutes, but I can never achieve the window pane result. How long does hand kneading takes to achieve window pane results? Hi Bleu, I asked Pastry Chef Jenni for an answer and here is what she said, The short answer is that they are probably using too much flour/not enough water (classic beginner mistakeI made it plenty of times myself). Once they have the proper balance of water to flour, it could take 7-10 minutes to achieve a good windowpane. Also, be sure to read my post on Bread Making here 41. Pat Healey said,

on September 2nd, 2011 at 2:49 pm In the news today, people being warned off eating bread because of the high salt content used. Luckily I do not buy bread anymore because of bloating and certainly will not buy it anymore because of the high salt. Your recipe also suggest 1 TBLS salt - that is surely a lot isnt it? I would try to make my own bread but I would not put any salt in it. P 42. Dave said,

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on September 12th, 2011 at 10:53 pm Thanks - I just baked bread tonight for the first time and it turned out great! The outside was quite hard, but I think maybe I cooked it a bit hot? Great directions and great recipe! Hi Dave, glad it worked out for you. - RG 43. Francis said,

on November 9th, 2011 at 11:43 am Just looking for how to make bread on the net i found your site. So far Ive downloaded it and I believe it will help me at the end. Thank you. Francis. Nigeria 44. Tony said,

on November 27th, 2011 at 4:49 pm I have never made bread before and would like to try it.Can I mix the ingredients in a pasta maker? 45. Nina said,

on November 28th, 2011 at 7:55 pm Hi there, great post. I too find baking bread daunting but am starting a new project and this seems perfect. In regards to using higher protein flour, can I combine protein powder like those in health food stores to regular flour to get the same effect, or is the protein in bread flour a different type/inherently incorporated in the flour structure? 46. Jenni said,

on November 30th, 2011 at 5:46 pm Good question, Nina! The protein in protein powder is usually soy or milk-based and is very different from the protein in wheat flour, so, while I guess you could add some just to increase the general protein in your recipe, it wont help with the structure of your bread. The good news is that most all purpose flour should be adequate for baking. King Arthur makes a very good all purpose flour. Try not to be too daunted by bread making. People have been doing it for literally thousands of years. Put yeast together with flour and water, and youll get a dough that will rise. The rest is just details. Try and have fun with it:) 47. Malva said,

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on December 6th, 2011 at 1:59 pm When I attempt to bake a basic loaf of white bread, the crust comes out to thick and too hard, please tell me what I am doing wrong. Thanks Malva. 48. laurie said,

on December 12th, 2011 at 6:21 pm how long does the yeast sit in the warm water and sugar before it is ready to add to the recipe. 49. Gregg said,

on December 13th, 2011 at 9:43 pm Flashback: Last year, while deciding where to live and making my first visit home in years, my sister was generous enough to give me her Industrial Grade T-90 Xclass Dough Mixer with multiple affixations for various unknown purposes in the event of an Alien Invasion. I said thank you, and headed home. My wife has since used the wondrous device to make dough for sundry Chinese dumplings and dishes. I knew how to set it up, lock the hubs, insert the gizmo, counter-sink the doddads and plug it in. She provided the baking knowledge. Since then, weve eaten well. I have on occassion been inspired by the desire to eat fresh bread. I made some in Korea a solid brick of anti-matter resulted. None the less, I blessed my product with butter and gnawed away until I could stand no more. I would not make bread again until several months ago, when I bought a box of Krusteez Eazy Breezy Simpletons Mix, and it tasted exactly as predicted. But I still longed for REAL breadthe kind King Arthur might rip apart, the kind Fairy Tales mentioned, the kind that would soon be coming to our neighborhood down the street in the form of Prenza Bakery, or some such. I yearned for the bite of wild yeast melting in my gullet. So, tonight I ventured into the realm of Bakery again. I had purchased two 2 lb bags of pastry flour on a whim two weeks ago. Today, I went shopping and I picked up some yeast, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Basic bread I thought. Only this time, IT WOULD BE HUGE! I opened the bag, poured the full amount into the Stainless Steel maw of the mixing bowl. I added the full tablespoon of salt. I tested the hyperdrive just to be sure the force field would withstand the massive pressures soon to come. All was wella gentle hum assured me so. Now for the yeast. Again, a tablespoon full, sprinkled into a warm bowl of two cups water with a mix of clover honey to entice the little beasts to breed. I covered it and waited. (This is still the most exciting part of baking I can think ofthings actually grow in front of your eyeslike sea monkeys.) Ten minutes later I checked the frothy brothy brew and the scent of ambrosia nay, pure mead! filled my passages. I was tempted to drink a cup of it then and thereoh, the aroma!!! Imagine sunshine dripping melted rainbows in your nose! This bread would be flakier than I! So, now for the real testhow well will my version of the Hadron Kolliderscope work? I turned on the machine, set the rotation to minimum as the bowl was rather full already2 lbs is pretty much
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the max capacity for this baby. I began to pour the 2 cups of ambrosia into the mix. I swear I could hear little yelps of joy as the yeasty beasties leaped to their fate. Soon, however, the yeast mixture was gone. I kept my hands near the edge, but at an OSHA respectable distance from any moving parts, and used my palms to force the rising mixture back into the bowl. Not fast enough though. Within a few minutes there was mixture, semi crusty stuff the consistancy of saw dust, rising all around. I held my own against this incursion for the better part of 10 minutes, expecting at any time a blob of gloop to be visible, but no such thing occurred. I shut down the reactor, raised the bridge, dusted the excess off the mantle, and noticed that NOTHING had clung to the mixing hook? Where could it be? I grabbed a fork, gently submerged the tool into the void, and still nothing! My dough had taken a wormhole exit, hitched a ride on a rogue Higgs-Boson particle, did a Houdini! It wasnt there! So, I pulled it all apart, swept a clean area on the counter and dumped the sawdust remains into a pile. It was, I must say, very well mixed into a uniform consistancyjust no dough. Maybe all it needed was more water. So, I made a little volcano, filled the mouth with another cup of warm water again, and started the old fashioned mixing method I learned in ceramics class back in Your County Community College. I got a wad of something stuck together about the size of a softball. Clearly I underestimated the tenacious resistance this new state of matter had to becoming a solid. More Water!! Four and 1/2 cups later.I finally had a single bolus of something that looked wheaty, but also still like sawdust, sitting in the mixing bowl. It is about the size of a football, Official NFL issue. The plug now sits hidden by a large napkin, on the back counter of the kitchenwaiting for me who waits for it to grow into something consumable. I think I will have to remove a few racks in the oven when it comes time to bake. Oh, and Id better buy a few more quart sized butter tubs. Hope to still be here when morning comes. If not, follow the dusty trail of my nemesis. 50. Neeraja said,

on December 16th, 2011 at 11:52 am Dear RG, Thank you very much for the interesting and useful information about the bread making. For the first time in my life , I shall try makin it with confidence. I shall definitely let you know about the outcome. Thanks once again. Neeraja 51. Jenni said,

on December 21st, 2011 at 5:08 pm @MalvaIt sounds like you might be baking the bread too long or at too high a temperature. To get a thinner, softer crust, try brushing the top of the loaf with either milk or melted butter before baking. Hope that helps. @Lauriethe whole point of putting the yeast and a little sugar into the water is to make sureto

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provethat the yeast is alive and kicking. Thats why its called proofing! So, once you see activitya creamy, foaminess on top of the water, you can go ahead and add your yeast/water/sugar mixture. 52. old rat said,

on January 7th, 2012 at 6:11 pm How does altitude affect rising? I live at 6500 feet..I have to add more flour to cakes, as well as having a cup of water in oven for breads..my bread adventures have ended up with heavy thick crusts. Perhaps Ive added too much flour? Also, do I have to keep yeast at warm temp continuously? My yeasts have not bloomed well. Any suggestions? Thanks for a wonderful well written site. 53. Alex said,

on January 10th, 2012 at 2:28 pm Hi, great site. My wife and I have been baking bread for about a year now and love it. We use a dutch oven to bake the bread (heat it up to 450f for a halfhour before adding the dough). Does anyone have thoughts on benefits/differences when baking in a dutch oven vs on a sheet? We find it comes out great but so we havent strayed. 54. Colleen said,

on January 15th, 2012 at 6:23 pm HELP! I am a pretty good cook, I would say more than average. I usually make recepies of my own, send them to several people, not afraid to try something new. BUT=I cannot make bread turn out! I read this entire blog and all the comments and hints before I started. This morning I tried it. I havet baked it yet. Heres what happened. I followed everything to a T and used my highspeed mixmaster with the dough attachment. The bread dough just crumbled, it never stuck together. It did when I did the first pound, I got up to one cup shy of 2 pounds and it just would not stick. I took it out of the mix master and kneeded it for a good hour, still never turned elastic nor did it form together entirely. I put it in a bowl to rise. I did rise double in size, but resembled a brain. I punched it back down and tried to get a smooth roll but it never turned smooth. Still trying to make it rise again. I am sure when I cook it it will be heavy as a brick. All you people out there, tell me what in the heck I am doing wrong. I am going to master this!!!! 55. mr. chow said,

on January 18th, 2012 at 4:57 pm thank you for this great post! 56. mr. chow said,

on January 18th, 2012 at 4:58 pm

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my bread id srumdidlyumptious! this is all thanks to u? 57. Colleen said,

on January 29th, 2012 at 5:53 pm never got any replies why I so miserably failed! Hi Colleen, Im so sorry I didnt get back to you sooner. I did see your email but I have been very busy since my dad passed last week. I get many emails and posts and I will try to get to yours as soon as I can. Thanks, RG 58. Jenni said,

on January 30th, 2012 at 11:56 am Colleen, Im thinking that you added too much flour. Sometimes my bread needs more flour and sometimes less flour, depending on humidity and a bunch of other factors. Thats why I hesitate to write real amounts for bread recipes. You will learnas I did, although it was a long and painful road!that the dough has enough flour/water in it when it, well, looks and acts like dough. If its crumbly, you can add more water until it smooths out. If its too wet, add flour until it starts behaving like a proper dough. And, if you are ever concerned that you *might* not have enough flour in your dough, always err on the side of a slightly wetter dough. Wetter (or just stickier) doughs rise higher since the carbon dioxide let off by the yeast has more room to expand in a wetter dough. It just takes practice; you will get it. I hope this helps:) 59. Jenni said,

on January 30th, 2012 at 12:01 pm Alex, Personally, I say if it aint broke, dont fix it! Ive never baked in a covered container of any kind, but I know that many of the no-knead doughs are baked this way. I think that the benefit might be that the liquid that evaporates during the last oven spring and baking process gets trapped by the lid and then lightly coats the surface of the dough. This leads to a nice, crackly crust. If you like your crust, keep doing what youre doing. If youd like to try baking on a sheet (with a dough that will hold its shapelots of those bake-in-a-Dutch-oven breads are made with a very wet dough that will spread if not contained in a vessel), you can achieve the same kind of effect by brushing the dough with water or by placing a pan with a few ice cubes in it on the very bottom of the oven. The cubes will melt and the water will condense on the dough, giving you a Dutch oven crust. For a softer crust, brush with milk or butter. For a shiny crust, brush the dough with egg white. For a deeper color and shine, brush with a beaten whole egg. For added flavor in the crust, you can also brush with well-salted water. Hope this helps. 60. Carol K. said,

on February 3rd, 2012 at 4:49 pm I have been making bread for about 3 yrs. now. Mostly no problems at all. Every once in awhile,
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when the bread is baking, the top/side will start to lift off and separate from the rest. It has happened in both bread pans and in baguette pans. Cant figure out why this happens on occasion. 61. Sally said,

on February 8th, 2012 at 9:19 pm Ive heard about warming the flour before mixing with the other ingredients. Do you think this really helps? Also, does using an instant type of dry yeast powder that goes straight into the mix compare well to the frothing kind. Really enjoyed reading this site and all the comments. 62. Hope said,

on February 12th, 2012 at 10:08 pm this is my first attempt making bread ^.^ you made it so much more simple than i had thought it would be, i have a bread maker, but i got it from a thrift store and i think there are pieces missing. anyway, this was so simple!!! 63. Jenni said,

on February 22nd, 2012 at 2:49 pm Hi, Sally. I think warming the flour might be useful in very cold weather, since the flour is the predominant ingredient, it can affect the temperature of your water. Adding a bunch of cold flour on top of water/yeast at 120F (for example) can lower the temperature enough to affect your rise time. The good part of that is that the slower the rise, usually the more flavor the bread. But, if you have only a certain amount of time to do your baking, warming the flour might not be a bad idea. Since I prefer a slow rise, I almost never proof my yeast anymore. I just add itdryto the mix. I do know that so-called instant yeast is processed to allow it to do its thing in a shorter amount of time and to allow you to skip the proofing step. But again, shorter rise equals less flavor, relatively speaking. So, I vote that if you have the time, use the old fashioned yeast and just add it to the mix (as long as you know that its good). If you dont have the time, even bread made w/instant yeast is going to be better than mass-produced bread, so go w/the instant. @HopeI am so happy it turned out for you!! We dont need no stinkin bread machine! 64. Jenni said, lol

on February 22nd, 2012 at 2:55 pm Oh, and @Carol Kthis could happen because you didnt adequately/evenly press out all the gases before your final rise. Whatll happen, as youve found out, is that, in the oven, all those gases will rise and shove your crust away from your bread, leaving you with a lovely pocket underneath the top crust. So, just be sure to a)press out all the gases evenly before the final rise and b)make sure you dont overproof, because this can lead to extra gases trying to burst out in the oven. Hope that helps. 65. Lee said,

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on March 13th, 2012 at 11:49 pm Thanks for the great info. Ive made bread for 25 years, off and on. My bread of late has been has been good, but not great. It looks like Im not letting it rest and maybe not kneading long enough. Looking forward to making many more good loaves! Fairbanks, AK Leave a reply
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How To Make Homemade Bread At Home

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Bread Making Ingredients


HOW INGREDIENTS CHANGE BREAD CHARACTERISTICS
As I described in How to Make Bread and then again in Basic Bread Recipe, most bread recipes include 4 ingredients (not counting the sugar that the yeast ate) and a very straightforward mixing method. There are infinite types of yeast breads out in the world, everything from bagels to pizza, focaccia to cinnamon rolls, cheese bread to the laminated yeast dough croissants. If you study the recipes carefully, though, you will find that they are all based on these four ingredients. Yes, substitutions and additions can and should be made, but the basic four ingredients stand. Now, lets take a look at some of those substitutions and additions, as well as some tweaks to our baking procedure to give us exactly the taste and texture that we want.

Flour
Our standard recipe contains white bread flour. Many other types of flours can be substituted for part or all of the bread flour. Keep in mind that white bread flour will contain the most gluten, so breads made with a mixture of other flours will be more dense and will not rise as high. Some types of flour, such as rice and corn flour, do not contain any gluten, so to get a decent rise, you must use at least part white bread flour. Other flours you can use include whole wheat, rye, buckwheat, chickpea, bean flours, sprouted wheat, spelt, oat and soy. I am certain that there are others out there, as well.

Fats
Fat that is incorporated in bread dough will inhibit gluten formation. The resulting loaf will not rise quite as high as a loaf made without fat. On the positive side, fats, especially butter and olive oil, add a lot of flavor to the finished product. Fats keep the crumb tender and can help improve the shelf life of your bread by a day or so. Almost any fat can be added to a bread dough.

Eggs
Eggs added to dough help with rising. A bread dough rich with egg will rise very high, because eggs are a leavening agent (think genoise or angel food cake). As well, the fats from the yolk help to tenderize the crumb and lighten the texture a bit. Eggs also contain the emulsifier lecithin. Lecithin can add to the overall consistency of the loaf.

Sugar
Adding more sugar to a recipe than the yeast can eat will, no surprise, add sweetness to the finished product. Sugar aids in browning, can help tenderize the bread and also holds onto moisture to help inhibit staling. Be careful, thoughtoo much sugar will severely inhibit gluten production. So, unless you plan on adding additional gluten to the dough (in the form

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of vital wheat gluten or gluten flour), keep the sugar in the recipe to no more than 2 tablespoons/cup of flour.

Milk
Weve already established that liquid is necessary to make bread, but that doesnt mean we are limited to water. Replacing all or part of the water with milk will lend itself to a more tender, sweeter product. The sugar in milk, lactose, is not eaten by the yeast, so it is left to add a subtle sweetness to the finished bread. Milk also increases the nutritional value of the bread by adding additional proteins. A dough made with milk will brown more readily than one made with water.

Add-ins
This is where you, the baker, can get creative. If you are making a savory bread, you can add in anything from shredded cheese to roasted garlic to nuts to olives to, well, almost anything. If you are making a sweet bread, all sorts of toasted nuts and dried fruits can be added. And dont forget about herbs and spices, either.

The Crust of the Matter


Even using the same recipe, it is possible to get a different crust just by doing one of the following: Crackly, shiny crust: This is brought about by steam. If you dont have a steam injector in your oven, you are not alone. Ive heard of lots of different ways to get a really good steamy, humid atmosphere in your oven: boiling water in a cast iron skillet in the bottom of the oven, throwing ice chips into a cast iron skillet in the bottom of your oven, spraying the dough with water before putting it in the ovenIm sure you can think of more ways. For optimum crackliness, spray the dough and use one of the other methods. The water gelatinizes the starches on the outside of the dough, and this helps result in a crackly crust. You can also use a wash of water with a little cornstarch mixed in during the last five minutes of baking. Soft crust: This is as easy as not introducing extra steam or water. Dont spray the dough, and dont make steam. Another way of getting a soft crust and also imparting some flavor is to brush the crust with butter when you remove it from the oven. Golden, shiny crust: Apply an egg wash (egg and a little water beaten together) before baking, being careful not to let the egg wash get on the rim of the baking pan as this could, in essence, glue the bread down and inhibit a full rise. Soft, sweet crust: brush with milk with a little sugar dissolved in it before baking. Sweet, sticky crust: brush the crust with simple syrup or honey right when it comes out of the oven Shiny, soft crust: brush the bread with olive oil before and after baking

Changes in Process Equal Changes in Product


The single most important thing in making flavorful bread is time. It takes time for yeast to completely run its life cycle and develop a complex flavor in the final product. While it is possible to get reasonably good bread with just a single rise, the more ways you can find to give the yeast time to do their thing, the better your bread will be. Ways to increase the time it takes to make a loaf from start to finish include slower, cooler rises, refrigerating the dough overnight and using some leftover dough from a day or two before as part of your mix. You can also make a sponge and let it rest for several hours before continuing. A sponge is just a loose mixture that you make by combining your yeast, liquid and half of your flour. After the sponge has worked for 2-3 hours, you can add the rest of the flour and continue with the recipe.

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I hope that you now feel armed to approach bread baking with less trepidation. Now that you know the function of all the ingredients in bread, the process of making it and have a good very basic recipe with which to practice, it is time to practice and get a feel for dough that is ready to be kneaded and dough that has been kneaded enough. Once you can leap those two confidence hurdles, there will be no stopping you.

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How to Make Bread at Home - bread making techniques explained in detail Basic Bread Recipe - step-by-step instructions for making great homemade bread

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