5 Mistakes Every Beginner Makes While Baking Bread

Baking is booming as many people work from home and spend more time indoors because of the Coronavirus. While we are finally able to attempt baking recipes, it can be daunting for those with less experience. Bread is a popular dish that many people are now trying for the first. Why? It requires only three ingredients, flour, water, and salt. Or four, if you include dry yeast. Although it’s simple to make the first time, it can be difficult to master. This makes it an ideal quarantine project. Do not be afraid to ask for help if you are feeling intimidated.

These are 5 mistakes to avoid when baking bread for the first time.

It kills the yeast.

Unleavened bread is an indicator that your yeast has died. Calleo says that yeast dies and bread won’t rise. The first step to bread making is activating the yeast or “blooming”. You will be instructed to add dry yeast to lukewarm warm water. You can kill the yeast if your water is too hot. Your yeast will not activate if it is too cold.

How to avoid it: You don’t even need a thermometer. You just need to make sure that the water isn’t too hot or too cold. You want it to be just right, like Goldilocks or the Three Bears. You won’t even kill your yeast. It will flourish. This is what you have.”

The wrong flour is used

It all comes down to texture. To me, bread is all in texture. Calleo says that different flours have different gluten properties. Although you may not be aware of this, there are many types of flour that you can purchase. The protein content and the milling process are what make them different. A standard all-purpose flour will not work for every recipe. To ensure that you have the correct flour, make sure you read the directions for the recipe.

What can you do to avoid it? “I use bread flour whenever I bake bread. Bread flour gives bread the perfect texture and chewiness that you want. Buy it. Trust me, this flour will be used more than all-purpose flour once you begin baking bread

Too little kneading

Calleo says that texture is key to this part. “You want the perfect texture when you bite into your bread. This is why you need to make sure that you have strong gluten proteins.

How to avoid it: If you’re using a stand mixer, there shouldn’t be any problem. Calleo says that you can set the timer and the machine will do the rest. If you’re kneading by yourself, however, it is important to ensure that you are working for at least 15-20 minutes. You’ll be fine if you clear some space on the counter, dust it with flour and put on some good music or a podcast.

The rise, or “proof”, can be cut short

The time it takes for your yeast to grow and begin breaking down or fermenting the flour in your dough is called the “proof”. Do you want fluffy, homemade bread? Calleo says that you should let the dough rise.

Poor fermentation and under-proofing are often caused by a young or weak starter. This results in dense, gummy crumb structures. This is a common mistake made by beginners,” says Davidson.

How to avoid it: Your yeast must have time to grow and develop before the dough is baked. Calleo says that if you reduce the time for the yeast to rise, the bread will not rise in the oven. The yeast must rise for a long time before the dough can be baked. This creates bubbles in your homemade bread. If you don’t give it enough time, you will end up with a dull, flat loaf of bread.

Bake with a new, or slow starter of sourdough.

It’s normal to want to start baking your first loaf of bread once you see the starter showing signs of life. This is fine, but it can lead to poor bakes. Sourdough is naturally leavened so it is important to have a mature, active starter before baking. Poor fermentation and dense loaves will be the result of starters that are too young or not well developed.

How to avoid it: “Allow your starter of sourdough to mature. This can take at least one to two weeks if you made it from scratch.” says Davidson. It should rise and fall on a regular schedule, and only require approximately 2 meals per day.