In the fall and winter, there is a direct correlation between the temperature dropping and my desire to eat slices of warm homemade bread.
What if I am alone? Even though store-bought bread is better than homemade bread, it doesn’t compare with the taste of fresh-baked bread. Even though many find it difficult to prepare bread from scratch, there are a few easy tricks that can help it become second nature after a while.
The Cordon Bleu London’s master baker, Dominique Moudart, shared his insight into how to make the perfect loaf of bread. As a member of the Association Ouvrière des Compagnons du Devoir, Chef Dominique toured seven regions of France to learn about bread varieties and production methods, gaining a thorough understanding of artisan bread. Additionally, he has a diploma from the French Master Baker program. Here are the essential steps to baking homemade bread that Chef Dominique offers.
Tips To Make Homemade Bread
Use a digital scale
It is far more accurate to weigh ingredients, such as flour, than to use volumetric measurements (such as measuring cups). Chef Dominique stresses the importance of exact measurements. A milligram here or there can be a disaster. Convert recipes without weights by weighing as you go. You’ll be glad you did! I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to read your recipe from beginning to end before you begin. Make sure you follow the timing exactly as well.”
Experiment with Different Types of Flour.
You should adjust this according to the type of bread you are making. The higher the gluten content of the flour, the better the rise. Suppose you take bread flour as an example. In yeast breads, which use yeast as a leavener (like French bread or sourdough), high-gluten flour is one of the best options since it has an average protein content of 14 percent to 16 percent.
When you substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour (and vice versa) using a 1:1 ratio, your breads and pastries will rise even more. You can also use bread flour to replace all-purpose flour in recipes calling for all-purpose flour in yeast doughs. Our Foolproof Whole Wheat Bread, Basil Beer Bread, or No-Knead Onion Rolls can be made using bread flour instead of all-purpose flour.
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Avoid Over- or Under-kneading Your Dough.
It may sound obvious, but many people make this mistake when baking bread from scratch. Here’s a simple test to make sure your elbow grease is enough: You should be able to stretch your dough out between two and four inches without it breaking. You also need to use the right mixing bowl. If you are looking for the best mixing bowls for bread making, we have a recommendation for you!
Watch Your Oven.
You might not have the correct calibration of your oven if your baked goods consistently come out too light, too dry, or for longer than the recipe calls for. You should use a thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of your bread is perfect, and watch your baked goods while they are baking to ensure that they don’t burn.
Use the Right Yeast
Before you start baking, be sure to double check whether the recipe calls for fast-acting yeast. Also, ensure the yeast is not old, as it won’t work properly if it has expired.
Season it well.
Aside from flavor, salt has many chemical interactions with flour and yeast that give bread good structure and texture. Chef Dominique reassures you, “don’t be intimidated by salt.” To prevent the bread from being bland, you should use just enough yeast so that it isn’t overdone.
Use the Poke Test When Proofing the Dough.
In bread baking, proofing is the last resting before baking. When dough is over-proofed for too long, it will eventually sink back down, which will limit the rise of the bread. A similar effect will be achieved by under-proofing. Give your loaf a soft poke with your fingertip to ensure that you are getting it at the right time: it should leave a small indentation and slowly spring back.
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