17 Bread Making Tips to Bake the Perfect Bread All the Time
Soft, fresh, healthy… That’s what every bread should be.
You want to be sure you’re getting all the good stuff in every bite. No additives, preservatives and strange ingredients that you can’t even pronounce.
If it’s not from natural and organic sources, you’re definitely better off making your own bread!
Forget the store-bought bread that’s loaded with questionable ingredients. These bread making tips I’m about to share with you will get you making your perfectly baked bread all the time.
Yes, you can do it right from your kitchen!
Not only is this a cheap way to enjoy bread but you can rest assured that the bread you and your family is eating is the good kind – nutritious, organic, and always fresh.
That’s one way to show your love not only to your family but also to your body. When you feed it right, it rewards you with excellent health. And that’s how God wants you to be – healthy, thriving, and happy!
So let’s get to it and start baking an amazing bread that your family will enjoy!
Bread Making Essential – Get the Tools You Need
When it comes to baking bread, you don’t have to go far for tools.
You will need an oven and it’s optional to have a stand mixer to incorporate all the ingredients without having to do the mixing manually.
I highly recommend the Nutrimill Artiste that’s compact, portable, and efficient in doing its job in mixing bread ingredients.
To be honest, I had this stand mixer tucked away in storage for a while because I was using my other mixer more. Little did I know that this small but powerful mixer is just what I need for my everyday mixing tasks.
I mean, a big, robust mixer certainly means business when it comes to making large quantities for multiple meals.
But if you’re just baking or cooking for you or your family, you absolutely don’t need a huge stand mixer. A small one that’s got a powerful and reliable motor will suffice. The Nutrimill Artiste works for that purpose.
Since it’s small, easy to use, and compact, you can use it anytime, clean it with ease, and not have to deal with a tough cleaning process that bigger mixers usually come with.
So if you don’t have a mixer yet, I highly recommend that you get yourself this compact stand mixer that’s a great value for your dollar. It’s a breeze to use, a true workhorse in the kitchen, and perfect overall! But don’t worry, below you’ll find what to do if you don’t have a mixer to knead your dough.
Check out the video below to see the difference between the Bosch vs. Nutrimill Ariste stand mixers.
As for the other tools you need for bread making, these are your loaf pans, dough scraper, scale (you have to measure your ingredients to get it right), and your measuring cups and spoons.
Now that you’ve got the basic tools and equipment, let me reveal to you my secret bread making tips…
The Best Bread Uses the Right Yeast
Unless you’re making unleavened bread, you will need yeast to create the perfect dough.
I would use professional yeast or instant yeast such as SAF.
You can add yeast with your dry ingredients and the most important thing about it is that you don’t need to dissolve the yeast in water.
It simply needs to be mixed with your flour and salt which will allow the dough to rise over time.
Speaking of time…
You should allow several hours for your dough to rise. Some recipes require more yeast than you’re probably used to. But with less yeast, that also means waiting longer before you see some rising action in your dough.
Yeast is a live ingredient and it spreads and divides in time. As it divides, the dough rises and obtains more flavors.
If you want to promote an even richer flavor, you can use cold water to slow down the fermentation process.
How to Store Yeast
I usually buy yeast in bulk because it’s cheaper that way.
Plus, I bake a lot of bread at home, so I want to make sure I’ve got enough yeast on hand.
But be sure to store your yeast properly to keep it fresh and to prevent it from getting rancid. Use an airtight container to store yeast and then refrigerate or even freeze it to retain freshness.
This way, your yeast would still be good for months.
Honey and Oil in Bread
I just love honey bread!
In fact, I have an amazing recipe for whole wheat honey bread that my family loves.
If you want to try making this kind of bread, there’s a technique you need to follow to make sure your ingredients are mixed in well.
You’ll need both oil and honey for this kind of bread but when you put honey first, it tends to make the dough harder to mix.
So I would put oil in measuring cup first then the honey. This way, the honey can slide out more easily since it’s stickier without the oil.
Makes sense, right?
Good Bread is in the Kneading…
Kneading is a very important bread making tip that some people tend to disregard, so this leads to less-than-perfect bread.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, that’s ok. If you do, your stand mixer will do the job for you.
When dough is kneaded properly, you should be able to slowly stretch a small piece into a thin windowpane, thin enough to see light through. If it tears, you may need to knead longer.
In kneading bread, less is definitely more.
It is always best to stop kneading early than to over knead.
I would knead for whole wheat bread for about 6 to 8 minutes – nothing more, nothing less.
If you have a stand mixer, you can knead the dough for this amount of time on medium speed.
Start counting kneading time as soon as you have added the last of the flour.
Testing the Dough
So how can you tell if the dough is kneaded just right?
You have to test it.
Here’s what I do –
To check if the dough has risen to double in size, I would press my finger lightly and quickly into the dough. If indentation springs back, let the dough rise for an additional time.
If you notice that indentation remains or comes back slowly, it means the dough has risen enough and is good to go!
Get the Temps Right
As with any baked dish, you need to understand the importance of getting the temperatures right to achieve perfect results all the time.
How do you know if the bread is done or still needs to simmer some more time in the over?
With a thermometer!
Use a thermometer to determine the doneness of your bread.
When it comes to baking wheat bread, it should be ready to roll out of the oven at 190 degrees F.
You’ll know that the dough has either not risen long enough or you used too much dough if the bread has cracks on the sides.
It’s why I can’t stress enough the importance of using the right amount of yeast when making bread. Never go too much or too less of what is needed.
Practice makes perfect!
Sweet Bread Turned Brown? Super Technique to Keep ‘Em Nice and Golden
I like sweetbreads a lot.
It’s a popular type of bread in my family, and I’m sure your kids are going to love this bread.
But when sweet bread turns out brown, it doesn’t have that same soft texture you want.
To prevent the bread from over browning, I would tent the top with foil during the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking.
This is an amazing technique I learned over the years, so I get nothing but golden sweet bread that’s cooked to perfection.
Cutting Technique for Some Types of Bread
Okay, so you’ve kneaded your dough and now it’s time to cut it in pieces to make those rolls.
Maybe you’re thinking of baking cinnamon rolls or pizza rolls, and now all you need to do is to cut the dough up and shape it into your desired size and style.
Forget the knife.
Dough ends up sticking to the knife, which only messes up the cut.
I would use dental floss to cut dough perfectly. It always comes out clean and flawless!
Follow Every Step to a T
If you’re a newbie in bread making, you need a recipe to guide you every step of the way.
Always remember that when it comes to making bread, there will always be some variations you need to implement depending on some factors. For instance, the flour you use may have some difference in the moisture content.
So be prepared to make some changes or shifts as you go along to make sure your bread turns out great.
You’ll also want to know how your dough should look and what your dough should feel like. As you become more experienced, this will become second nature to you. Don’t be afraid to adapt and make changes as you go.
Over Mixing is a Crime in Making Bread…
You have your idea of a perfect bread – soft, just the right level of chewiness, fresh.
And to bake tough and hard bread without the intention of making it tough… That’s bad news.
So if you’re making pastries that require softness in them such as cookies, muffins, and cakes, be sure to mix the batter correctly.
For the most part, over mixing ruins the quality of your bread.
Not only does over mixing cause these baked goods to be tough but it also causes gluten development.
Never ever over mix your batter and your baked goodies should turn out just the way you want them.
Start with an Easy, Simple Bread Recipe
A super important bread making tip for beginners is to stick to an easy, uncomplicated bread recipe to start.
Baby steps are what you need to eventually bake more complex types of bread.
For instance, you are better off with bread recipes that use only 4 basic ingredients including flour, salt, yeast, and water.
You can experiment with more intricate bread recipes next time but to start, go for a simple recipe that will guarantee you of excellent results.
It’s a great confidence booster, gets you ready for the bigger recipe next time, and you won’t have to sweat it out during your first attempt to baking bread.
Rehydrate Flours When Necessary
Are you thinking of making whole wheat bread?
That’s super yum and very healthy but there are some tricks you need to know when baking this nutritious bread.
To bake perfect whole wheat bread, you need to make sure that your flour is rehydrated. By rehydrating the flour, this helps awaken the enzymes that soften the bran and work on the complexity of sugars in the flour.
It’s also important to note that bran flakes are a little like razors. These tend to cut the gluten strands and prevent the stretching of the dough with white flour.
The Importance of Weighing in Making Bread
Although measuring is essential for making the perfect bread, weighing is just as important.
In fact, it is much more necessary to weight your ingredients to ensure the excellent quality of the bread you make.
This is why I highly recommend that you get yourself a scale to determine whether you’re putting in the right amount of ingredients or not.
Use a digital scale to weigh your flour, salt, and all the ingredients for your bread.
But most importantly, never add a huge amount of flour to your dough. Otherwise, your bread will end up being dry and tough. Definitely not the kind of bread you want!
Sourdough is a Good Addition to Your Bread
To retain the freshness of your bread, a little bit of sourdough would be ideal. Along with keeping the bread fresh, sourdough also adds an interesting taste to your bread.
If you want to make rye bread, it could sure use sourdough in it. The acid in sourdough prevents the breaking down of the molecules in starch, which eventually forms the gluten-like component in it.
As for the outcome of your bread made with sourdough, you will not find it gluey. What you get is just the perfect level of chewiness and softness.
Some people would even use a sourdough started along with yeast. But you will need to add the yeast to prevent the dough from being too sour while allowing it to rise.
The Perfect Dough
Make the dough rise better by keeping it wet.
But aside from adding some water or keeping the dough rehydrated, it’s also in the kneading method that is essential in achieving perfection in your dough.
I would deflate or punch the dough down gently and then knead it quite a few times to make sure the gasses are redistributed properly. Shaping the dough instead of kneading it after it rises initially can help when it comes to baking the best artisan bread like your focaccia.
And most importantly, use a stand mixer that will keep your dough tacky instead of hard and tough. Kneading it for a specific length of time as stated in the recipe may also be necessary to achieve the consistency and texture that you desire for your dough.
Make the Perfect Bread with Practice and Experience
Over time, your bread making skill will improve.
But you just have to start and practice as often as possible to keep getting better at it!
So by using a recipe that you love the most over and over and practicing this skill each time, you will be able to make the finest bread that you’ll be proud of.
Your family will fall in love with your bread and look forward to the day that you pull one out of the oven.
Keep practicing, apply these bread making tips, and you’ll be a professional bread-maker in no time!