Bread making in 6 steps

If bread making is new to you, it may be helpful to get a bird’s eye view of the process before you start working with different recipes.  There are six basic stages:

  1. Mixing: mix flour with yeast, add water, add salt
  2. Kneading: work the sticky mass until it develops into a smooth, strong & bouncy dough
  3. Resting: rest dough in a large bowl until it has doubled in size (this allows the yeast to produce carbon dioxide which fills the mixture with gas, allowing the dough to rise)
  4. Shaping: gently ease the dough out of its container and then cut to size (if required) and mould into desired shape
  5. Resting: rest the dough so that it can rise again (this is called proofing)
  6. Baking: bake until the inside is set and the crust is brown – test for readiness by tapping on the underside (a hollow sound means the loaf is ready)

The type of loaf will depend on the kinds of ingredients and proportions used.  How the bread is kneaded also influences the texture of the bread.  The more air you incorporate into the dough as you fold, compress, stretch, fold, compress, stretch… the finer the texture of your bread will be.  Beware of overworking (the dough will become sticky again).   Some breads call for minimal kneading for a courser texture.

Room temperature effects the rising time.  The warmer the room the better.  At chef school, we light up the gas stoves while we are working and then we leave our dough to rise near the stove.  We also spray water into the ovens before baking as this prevents a crust from forming too soon.

I am busy learning the basics and have made several boo boos along the way.  But I’d still rather eat a not-so-perfect bagette from my own oven than a mass produced loaf from the supermarket down the road.  

Give it a bash!

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2 thoughts on “Bread making in 6 steps

  1. A note on storing your homemade bread:

    Wrap your loaf in a paper bag or store it in a breadbox. Only wrap bread in plastic if you plan to freeze it in which case you can also wrap it in foil.

    Keep bread in the fridge if you plan to toast it or reheat it – otherwise store it at room temperature.

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