Making toasty and delicious bread is no loafing matter. Even to the most seasoned dough enthusiasts, breadmaking can be quite a challenging knead-venture at times. From creating golden crusts and achieving soft, pillowy interiors, mastering the art of breadmaking requires more than just the right ingredients. If you’re a budding baker interested in finding out more about the art of baking breads, let us slice through the rules to breadmaking to help butter up your baking skills!
1. Weigh every ingredient in grams using a digital weighing scale
In the world of breadmaking, precision reigns supreme. Unlike the forgiving nature of other culinary endeavours, making bread requires accuracy down to every gram in order to achieve success. Any miscalculation can leave you with a failed loaf.
Weighing your ingredients ensures a dough-lightful balance: not too crumbly or doughy, not too dense or airy, and not too flavourful or bland. So, toast those unreliable measuring cups and spoons aside and grab a trusty kitchen scale when you’re baking bread.
2. Pay attention to the type of flour used
Flour has a mighty influence over your bread’s destiny, and your choice of flour is the most important decision you’ll have to make even before baking. Every type of flour has a unique protein content, which directly affects the dough’s gluten development and the bread’s overall texture. High-protein flours, like strong bread flour, creates a robust gluten network fit for hearty loaves and artisanal breads. On the flipside, low-protein flour, such as cake flour, produces a tender and delicate crumb ideal for pastries and lighter bread. Depending on the type of bread you’d like to bake, your choice of flour will differ.
We recommend using the Nippn Murasaki Botan flour. It is a premium Japanese bread flour that has a rising reputation for its water-absorbing abilities, giving your dough the moisture it needs to reach its full potential. It is easy to handle even at 80% hydration, and it produces moist, fluffy, and flavourful breads, perfect for sourdough breads.
3. Use leavening agents
Leavening agents, such as starters and commercial yeast, are magical ingredients that can transform mere doughs into glorious, flavour-packed loaves. Starters are living cultures that infuse your dough with depth and complexity, delivering toasty goodness of a tangy aroma and a chewy crumb-tastic experience. It is mostly used to make sourdough breads. Commercial yeast or baking powder are little helpers that help bread rise to the occasion, giving your airy and tender bakes. We prefer natural leavening agents such as sourdough starters to improve the bread texture, enhance flavours, make it more digestible, and give it an extended shelf life.
Learn More: How to Make Your Own Sourdough Starter
4. Don’t be stingy with water
Water is the ingredient that kneads life into your loaves and ensures they emerge from the oven all toasty and perfect. It affects gluten development, the texture of your bread, and your dough’s ability to rise and expand.
A well-hydrated dough provides a softer, more extensible texture, delivering a bread with an open crumb and a tender chew. On the other hand, a dough lacking water will yield a dry, dense loaf.
So, make sure that you’re following recipes closely and adding an appropriate amount of water for a bread-thtaking treat.
5. Knead or fold the dough as much as you have to
Kneading and folding the dough is a good workout for your arms and a labour of love that gives you loafly bakes. With each knead and fold, you’re activating and developing gluten strands, forming a network that traps gas bubbles produced by leavening agents during fermentation. This gluten network is what gives your bread its coveted texture, with a satisfying chew and a tender crumb.
But that’s not all! Folding your dough tightens it to give it a strong structure that will help your bread to rise evenly in the oven. It will also distribute the ingredients evenly to ensure that flavours are harmoniously intertwined.
6. Allow enough time for dough to rise
When you mix your dough with a leavening agent, such as a starter or yeast, it yeasts up the sugars in the dough to produce carbon dioxide. This gas becomes trapped within the gluten network, leading to the expansion and rising of the dough, giving you a light and airy texture. Rushing through this fermentation and rising process will give you lacklustre results. Hence, if you want to achieve a dough-licious outcome, it is important to allow ample amount of time for the leavening agent to do its job.
7. Always preheat oven to the correct temperature
It is extremely important to preheat your oven and only roll your dough in for baking when it reaches the correct temperature. This way, you’ll avoid getting into a sticky situation with unevenly baked bread. Popping the dough into the oven at the right temperature allows it to rise and brown evenly. Insufficient heat can leave you with a dense, undercooked interior, while excessive heat can toast the crust prematurely, leaving the insides underbaked.\
Interested to learn more about baking your own loaf? Become a bread master with Bespoke Bread’s bread making classes in Singapore! From scaling ingredients to baking your dough in the oven, we’ll share with you all the tips and tricks to achieving that perfect bake.
Alternatively, try your hand at baking your own sourdough bread with our sourdough starter kit!