There's something magical about the bread you get at your local bakeries - they're always sooo soft and fluffy.
Many of these breads, especially packaged ones, are made with a ton of chemical additives such as calcium propionate, amylase, and chlorine dioxide which help keep them soft, light, and fluffy for days.
Baking bread is not as difficult as you might think! You don't even need a mixer, just some good ol' handwork will get you soft and fluffy bread without all that extra chemicals you don't want. Who says it's impossible to get bakery-soft bread at home? Follow these 5 tips and you're on your way to carb heaven.
1. Bread flour over all-purpose flour
All-purpose flour, as its name speaks for itself, is suitable for making all types of baked goods such as cookies, cakes, and bread. It has a lower protein content as compared to bread flour; the high protein in bread flour helps to create more gluten and rise in your baked breads, producing a lighter and chewier loaf.
While you are able to substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour, it is highly recommended to follow the type of flour required by the recipe in order to yield optimum results.
2. Do the Windowpane Test
The windowpane test is very useful when making bread. Also called the Membrane Test, it is used to test if your bread dough has been sufficiently kneaded. Insufficient kneading will result in underdeveloped gluten, creating a dense loaf.
To prevent that, check your bread dough by taking a small ball of dough. Next, using your fingers, gently stretch it out in circular motions. Your dough is good to go when it yields a translucent membrane, similar to that of a windowpane. If your dough breaks/tears easily, then continue kneading for a couple of minutes before repeating the test.
Watch video tutorial:
3. Use warm/room temperature water instead of hot water
In all our bread baking kits, yeast is used to help the bread rise.
And how does yeast help create those air bubbles in your loaves? Yeast cells that are present in yeast are alive, and will metabolize the simple sugars they interact with, releasing gases into the bread dough, giving your bread rise. Therefore, using hot water in your recipe will kill these cells, preventing them from reacting and bubbling up, resulting in failed bread.
4. Use weights instead of measuring cups
Whenever possible, it is always recommended to use weight measurements instead of measuring cups when weighing ingredients.
Using measuring cups can be very inaccurate if you do not use them properly. Depending on the way you measure your flour, the resultant weights can be very inconsistent and even differ by 10 grams or so, thereby affecting the end result of your baking. Using too much flour will result in a heavier and denser bread dough, which is not what we want.
Therefore, always remember to ensure that your ingredients are measured precisely!
5. Eye your oven
It's very tempting to throw your bread in the oven and leave it there until the timer rings, especially after a long kneading session. Don't do that! Every oven is slightly different and has hot spots, so keep an eye on your loaf, and rotate it if one side appears to be browning too quickly.
Knead Your Stresses Away
Baking bread might look scary, what with the proofing and kneading involved. But trust us, once you have gotten the hang of it, you'll realise how fun and simple it is! You can fill them with tons of fillings and shape them in a myriad of different ways. The possibilities are endless.
Always wanted to try baking your own loaf of bread but don't know where to start? Our baking kits come with all the ingredients you need so you don't have to fuss about getting the correct ones, and sweat over weighing your ingredients correctly.
Check out how our Cinnamon Roll Knots are made!