Finding the perfect flour to water ratio is the key to a beautifully baked bread. It is crucial you do the proper conversions and weigh all ingredients according to the recipe.
Then, eyeball the consistency of your dough. You are aiming for a uniform dough that when kneaded is slightly tacky, yet not sticky. If you are using one the best stand mixers for bread dough, when the dough stops sticking to the bottom of the bowl, you know you have added enough flour.
While there is no issue with using dry yeast, most experienced bread bakers know that live (wet) yeast yields a better texture, more interaction with the dough, and a more delicious flavor.
3. LET IT RISE
Room temperatures, the ingredients you use, and humidity levels will all affect how your bread rises before it is ready to go into the oven.
To check if the dough is ready for baking, simply push two fingers into the dough approximately one inch. If the finger marks remain, you are ready to start baking. If they disappear, let it rise a little longer.
For those that have their dough in a pan, you may not want to stick your fingers into it to check if it is ready for baking. In this case, let the dough rise to just above the top of the pan. Then start baking.
4. WATCH THE OVEN
Baking bread is not about preparing the perfect dough and throwing it in the oven to bake away. One of the biggest mistakes new bread bakers make is not monitoring the doneness of the bread as the timer winds down. Most breads won’t bake evenly and need rotation while baking.
5. KNOW HOW TO STORE YOUR BREAD
Okay, so this tip really has nothing to baking bread, nonetheless it is very important if you want to enjoy your delicious treat.
If you don’t plan on eating all of the bread you have baked within a day or two, let it cool completely and pre-slice it if you wish to use it for sandwiches or toast later on. Then put it in the freezer for later use.
Baking your own bread can be a lot of fun so long as you have a little patience and a few helpful tips. Before you throw your apron on and get down in the kitchen, mentally prepare yourself with these useful tips for baking bread and give it your best shot!