Despite years of experience, a lot of cooks don’t try their hand at bread baking and when they do, it turns out to be stale or too hard. Making light and airy bread isn’t too hard if you know what you’re doing wrong.
With the right set of fresh ingredients, baking tools, and a whole lot of patience, you can bake a soft and airy loaf of bread that could compete with your local bakery.
Follow these six cooking tips to ensure that your bread comes out perfect every time.
Use the Right Kind of Yeast
Generally, there are three types of yeast, including fresh, active dried, and fast-acting or easy blend dried yeast. Pick the right yeast depending on the recipe and the type of bread you want to make, like white bread, wholewheat bread, rye bread, or kaiser buns.
Most bread-baking machines usually use fast-acting dried yeast since it’s the easiest type to use for baking bread at home.
Store the Yeast Correctly
Make sure your yeast hasn’t reached its expiry date. Although dried yeast is good for a few months, using old yeast likely won’t work well and will waste all of your hard work and time.
Good fresh yeast will only last a week or two if you keep it in the fridge. If you need it to last longer, you can freeze it for up to three months.
Try Different Flours
The brand and quality of flour you use can significantly make a difference to your bread. Flours that are naturally higher in gluten will give your bread a better rise than most standard bread flours.
If you use bread flour as a substitute for all-purpose flour, your bread and pastries will get a little more lift. You can use it to make whole wheat bread or Basil beer bread.
Measure Everything Carefully
Even little differences in the amount of water, yeast, and salt you use can make a significant impact on your finished product. Use warm water instead of hot water and don’t prove the bread in a very hot place as that can kill the yeast.
You don’t need anything special to check the water, just use a clean finger. It should be around body temperature. If you want a slower rise, you can use colder water.
Consider Using Vitamin C
If you want the dough to rise more quickly and give it a better rise, it might be helpful to use vitamin C as it can strengthen the gluten in it. It can be quite useful in bread-making machines, especially if you’re baking whole meal bread.
You only need a small pinch of vitamin C, which you can get in powder form from a health food shop or online. Lemon or orange juice could also be used as a natural substitute.
Take Your Time
The perfect results only come when you give the dough the time it needs to rise. You can tend to other things while you wait.
If it’s your first time baking bread or you’re in a hurry, it might be best to make Soda bread since it doesn’t need time to rise.