The sweet-smelling aromas, the messy hands, the playfulness of carving shapes, plaids and getting creative is one of the best parts of bread baking.

You see, baking bread is fun and should not be viewed as stressful because you want to get the perfect lift in your oven. You can improve your skills and become better with our simple bread baking tips. So, let’s turn your kitchen into a bakery! Become a better and more confident baker and erase the notion that baking from scratch was ever intimidating or difficult.

Baked goods require a level of patience that you may need to acquire during this process. As many recipes call for smaller amounts of yeast, the less yeast means a longer time before you see the dough rise. The great thing about this is that it allows time for more flavours to develop. Retarding fermentation by using cold liquids or refrigerating your dough may also improve flavour development as well.

 

  1. Always Have the Correct Butter Consistency

Butter is one of the most important aspects of baked goods and so it’s important that your butter is prepared as the recipe suggests it should be. Butter can dramatically affect the texture of baked goods, so make sure the temperature of your butter is prepared properly. Different consistencies of butter could call for either; softened, chilled/frozen and melted.

  1. Adjust your oven’s temperature.

If your baked goods are coming out too dark, wet or taking longer than the recipe says adjust your temperature accordingly. Some ovens are older and need some more love and patience than the professional ones on the market these days. Additionally, bread may need lower temperatures when your oven is properly preheated.

  1. Preheat the oven.

Preheating the oven is an essential part that contributes to the result of your baked goods. Heating the oven for 30 minutes to an hour is crucial for professional-looking and tasting results. Cold ovens are just not going to cut it in this regard.

  1. Let the bread cool before slicing.

Once your bread has come out of the oven, allow it to cool for two hours before slicing. At this point, the bread is still baking and drying out. If you cut into it before that, it will look underdone or worse, soggy.

  1. Do not over knead

Refrain from over kneading and especially after the first rise. This could ruin the texture you want to create and the bread could lose its moisture and become a crumbly end product. If a recipe says “to punch down” deflate gently and knead a few times to redistribute the gasses.

 

Develop your own bread specialty. Practice makes perfect. Use a recipe that you like over and over again and make it your own!

 

Try our Challa Bread recipe here.

challa bread

 

Bread Baking Tips From Chef Jody O’ Connor:

 

  • Make sure to read the recipe thoroughly before beginning: Reading ahead will help you know the how, why, where, and when of what you are about to do. It will take you 1-5 minutes and could save you from wasting your ingredients (and money!) on a failed recipe.

 

  • Learn How to Measure: As you know, baking is a science. Excellent baking requires precise ratios, proven techniques, and well-tested recipes. Unlike cooking, you cannot just bake something by throwing some ingredients together, mess it up, then eat it anyway.

 

  • Room Temperature is KEY: If a recipe calls for room temperature eggs or any dairy ingredients such as milk or yogurt, make sure you follow suit. There is a good reason!  Room temperature ingredients emulsify much easier into batter, which creates a uniform texture throughout your baked good.

 

  • Always Have Ingredients Prepped: Measure your ingredients before starting a recipe. Read through the ingredients, then get them prepared on your counter. There’s truly little room for error when you begin recipes this way, you are not scrambling and rushing during the recipe process.

 

  • Weigh Your Ingredients: A small kitchen scale is priceless! It is, by far, the most used tool in my kitchen. A gram or ounce is always a gram or an ounce, but a cup is not always a cup. precision is everything.

 

  • Keep Your Oven Door Closed: What can completely throw off the oven temperature is constantly opening and closing the oven door to peek inside. I know you are excited about what’s baking! It is so tempting to keep the oven ajar to see your cake rising, cookies baking, and cupcakes puffing up. But doing so can let cool air in, which interrupts the baked goods from cooking and/or rising properly.

 

Watch our Chef Jody O’ Connor demonstrate a Challa Bread Recipe from our Facebook Live Cooking Demonstrations: