The Best Guide to Making Bread
The skill and knowledge on bread making is an invaluable asset. Making your bread is one of the most interesting and rewarding activities inside your kitchen, although it is time consuming. Unfortunately, success when making bread is influenced by quite a number of factors. Bread is a product of the water, yeast and flour and the knowledge of these factors is crucial in making the best bread. More often, certain kinds of flour work best with a given environment, water and tools. Below is a guide to obtaining a nice and satisfying loaf of bread.
Mix flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Make a well at the center where oil and water are added. The ingredients are thereafter stirred in the bowl. The dough should be quite loose and wobbly, but a kneadable piece of dough will require more water. Kneading the dough is important as it develops a web of gluten and makes the dough suppler. The flour chosen should be in the purest form. Good and all-purpose flour without any enrichment can still be used for bread making. Direct contact between yeast and salt should be avoided as it inhibits fermentation process. Conversely, sugars perform the opposite action, helping the yeast come back to life. The amount of sugars used will affect the final texture of your crumb.
The dough made in step one is then tipped onto a lightly floured working surface and kneaded to a satin smooth texture. Some bread will require longer kneading especially if they go through a total fermentation time of three hours or less.
The dough is placed in an oiled bowl to proof for an hour. Proofing is done on the baking bowl though the alternative of using a floured bowl is viable. The dough is turned carefully over the bowl; the rule of thumb is the less you handle it, the better it is.
The dough is knocked back after which you should gently mould it into a ball. Place the dough in a knocking tray with parchment for further proving.
The loaf is dusted with flour and cut across, after which you should preheat the oven to 220oC and bake for about25-30 minutes. It should be baked until a golden brown color appears. The trick to developing a good crust lies in creating humidity in a very hot environment. It is important to let most bread rest until cool for creamy crumb.
An alternative to this guide would be;
- Measure the ingredients.
- Pre-fermenting (optional stage) it is through this that the bread gets its spongy consistency.
- The ingredients are then mixed and kneaded, gluten gives bread its characteristic structure.
- Proofing is done on the dough.
- The dough is punched down and turned down.
- The dough is exposed to proofing at room temperature (optional)
- Dividing and pre-shaping the dough.
- The dough is let to undergo the final rise.
- Glazing (optional) -This aims at producing different effects on bread crust.
- Stenciling and slashing (optional step), it is done primarily for decorative reasons.
- Baking is done to cook the dough and achieve good volume and an attractive crust.
- Cooling, slicing and storing the bread. Cooling ensures that the cooking process is complete before cutting
That’s it, hope this guide was useful for you and will make your job a little easier when you make your first bread. In case you don’t have a bread maker yet I recommend you read those bread machine reviews over here, I’m sure they’ll guide you just as well as I guided you in making bread.