Fact: There is a direct correlation between temperatures dropping and how much time I spend trying to shovel warm bread into my mouth. Are you alone? No offense to the store-bought bread, but homemade bread is better than any other bread. Although many people find baking bread from scratch intimidating, it can be made easy with a few simple tricks.
We asked chef Dominique Moudart from Le Cordon Bleu London to share his tips and tricks for making the perfect loaf. Chef Dominique Moudart, a member de l’Association Ouvriere des Compagnons du Devoir traveled across seven French regions to learn about the bread production methods and bread varieties. He is also a French Master Baker. These are the essential steps Chef Dominique recommends to make making homemade bread easy.
Use a digital scale.
Weighing out ingredients–particularly flour–is far more accurate than using volumetric measurements (i.e. Your impractical measuring cups. Chef Dominique says that exact measurements are essential. A milligram can make a recipe a disaster. We promise that you will be glad you did. “It is really important to read the entire recipe from start to finish before you start. Follow the timings.
Experiment with various types of flour.
This will depend on the bread you are making. Higher amounts of gluten can give you a better rise. For example, bread flour. The high-gluten flour has a protein content between 14 and 16 percent. This flour is ideal for yeast bread. These bread use yeast as a leavening agent.
You can substitute all-purpose flour with bread flour (and vice versa) in a 1:1 ratio. Bread and pastries that require all-purpose flour will be able to take on a new life thanks to bread flour. You can substitute all-purpose flour with bread flour in our No-Knead Onion Rolls or Basil Beer Bread or Foolproof Whole wheat Bread.
Don’t over-or under-knead your dough.
Although it sounds obvious, this is a big mistake when making bread from scratch. This is a quick way to make sure you have enough elbow grease. Your dough should be able to stretch out to 2 to 4 inches without breaking apart.
Watch your oven.
Your oven may not be calibrated properly if your baked goods are consistently too dry or too light. To ensure that your oven is at the correct temperature, use an oven thermometer. Also, keep an eye on your bread as it bakes to ensure it doesn’t burn.
Use the correct yeast and store it correctly.
Fast-acting yeast is required by most bread machines. Before you bake, double-check the instructions. Old yeast won’t work well if it has expired.
It is Season well.
Salt is not only important for flavor, but also because of its chemical interactions with flours and yeast, which give bread structure and texture. Chef Dominique advises that salt should not be feared. You want to use just enough salt so the bread doesn’t taste bland. However, you should still test the dough to ensure you don’t overuse it.