Baking your own bread can seem like a very intimidating prospect. And yet, more and more people are exploring the possibility of enriching their lives by baking their own bread on a regular basis. Why not read through these handy tips and figure out whether or not baking your own bread could be the perfect way to start off towards a healthier lifestyle wherein your family is more in touch with its food?
It’s tempting to start with the most simplistic bread recipe when you’ve never baked before, but don’t be too quick to dismiss more complicated types of bread. Some techniques require some experience and you’ll want to avoid those if you’re not used to baking or accustomed to baking bread, specifically. But this doesn’t mean that only the most commonplace bread is a good place to start. It’s important that you enjoy both the process of baking and the result of your exploits. So have a look for a simple recipe for a type of bread you would enjoy eating whether you’d baked it or not – and you’re sure to enjoy it more.
Proofing your yeast can be rather more difficult than you may have suspected, as the instructions and indeed the method for preparing it for such are quite simple. But there are ways around this, as well. Your yeast needs a warm, damp environment. In my house, my husband likes to run the dishwasher just before he gets ready to bake bread, and when he wants to proof the yeast he puts the mixture, held in a measuring jug, in the just-run dishwasher where it finds the perfect combination of heat and moisture to proof excellently. His bread is, as a consequence, always soft and light. Thinking laterally like this will allow you to come up with special methods that will facilitate your baking routine quite a lot.
Many recipes call for your dough to rise twice. You let it rise once, then punch down the dough, knead it once more, and let it rise once more before baking. But transferring your dough from the pan in which it rose to the baking tray punches it down a bit more again and its shape will be affected as a result. Why not get your baking tray ready by greasing it and dusting it lightly with flour before you punch down the dough? You can then pop it into the baking tray after you’ve kneaded it, let it rise in there, and stick the entire thing in the oven when it’s risen to your satisfaction. This allows the dough to retain its shape and its airy texture as it bakes, avoiding the unpleasant side-effects of shifting your dough about just before it’s baked.
Buying specific cookbooks for bread, or books such as Nigella Lawson’sDomestic Goddess which contain quite a few bread recipes, could help. You’ll be in good hands and be able to bake a variety of types of bread, with the recipes presented in a format you can get familiar with.