How to Bake Great Bread at Home
Many people are extremely intimidated by bread making. I’ve heard folks say everything from “I’m afraid of yeast,” to “I can’t make bread.” And that last is usually before they even try their hand at it. With the proliferation of helpful tools–everything wonderful bread cookbooks to stand mixers to electric bread makers to baking stones–one would think that bread baking has become more accessible. The basic ingredient list is very simple and easy to find. Of the four main ingredients, water, flour, salt and yeast, I’m willing to bet that everyone has at least three of them in their kitchen or pantry right now.
Maybe what’s needed here is not gadgets, but knowledge. An understanding of how the ingredients work together along with some tips on technique will hopefully help you become more confident and successful with your bread baking.
#1. Buy a Scale.
A successful bread dough is all about the ratio of flour to water. You will get more consistent and reliable results if your measurements are accurate.
If your bread recipe is written in cups, do the conversions. Measure flour in a cup and then weigh it. Write down the weight. Do this three times, and then take the average of the three weights. If your three cups weigh 4.3, 4.5 and 4.4 oz each, the average weight is 4.4. Now you can use that weight to do your conversions. If the recipe calls for 7 cups of flour, you know you will weigh out 30.8 oz.