Baking isn’t as simple as following a recipe you found online (we wish it was!). Have you ever noticed the recipe notes that follow many recipes? This is where the baker makes notes and helpful hints for tips and tricks that have seemed to improve the recipe or make the prep simpler. That’s because we all learn a thing or two over our baking career. That’s why we’re sharing a few helpful Do’s and Don’ts below.
Do spend enough time kneading the dough.
You need to spend at least 10 minutes kneading the dough in order for it to rise properly. Some recipes might call for only 3-5 minutes but this isn’t nearly enough time. Kneading the bread is done to develop the gluten. Underdeveloped gluten is weak and cannot trap and hold the gasses produced by the yeast. The little pockets of fermentation make your bread light and fluffy. So spend plenty of time kneading your bread dough. The Bosch stand mixer effortlessly kneads heavy batches of bread dough, freeing up your hands for more projects at home.
Do measure out the ingredients correctly.
The ingredients for making bread dough need to be measured out precisely for a successful final product. With even the slightest incorrect ratios of dry ingredients to liquids, you’ll end up with bread that doesn’t rise. A good digital scale makes it easy for you to get the most accurate measurements.
Do allow the loaf to proof completely.
After shaping your loaf, give the dough ample time for the final rise before popping it in the oven. We know it smells delicious and you’re impatient to see the final product but trust us, patience at this stage will pay off. Proofing is complete once the dough has doubled in size. Poke the dough with your finger. If the indentation slowly bounces back but only halfway, it is perfectly proofed and ready for baking.
Do remember to score your loaf.
Another great trick to producing a light loaf is scoring it to help control the expansion of the bread as it bakes and rises in the oven. An unscored loaf can burst, potentially ruining the final appearance.
Do NOT over-flour your wet dough.
Most novice bread makers are afraid of sticky dough so they keep adding flour. However, some kinds of dough are naturally moist when ready thanks to heat, time and the fermentation process.
Do NOT mix flours willy-nilly.
So you’re in an experimental mood and you want to swap out the flour called for in your recipe with another. Think it through first because different flours have different protein levels and this can affect the bread’s loftiness. Never substitute more than 50% of all purpose flour with whole wheat.
Do NOT take your bread out of the oven too early.
When it comes to bread, there’s a fine line between burned and perfectly done. If you have a hard time gauging the readiness of your bread, you can test it the same as you would a cake. Insert a skewer into the middle of the loaf. If it comes out clean, the bread is thoroughly cooked.
Do NOT double a batch until you know what you are doing.
If you’re new to baking bread or using a new recipe, do not double your batch. Too many things can go wrong. Instead, master the recipe you’re using and familiarize yourself with the way your ingredients combine and work together before tampering with the ratios of ingredients.
Making quality homemade bread is an art that you perfect over a lifetime. There’s always something new to learn every time you bake and you get better at it with lots of practice, patience and experimentation. If you excellent Do’s and Don’ts you’d like to share, leave a comment below!