There is nothing more satisfying than being able to taste your own fresh homemade bread from a bread machine. Once you get to know how to work with the ingredients needed, you will become more comfortable and skilled with baking. These tips on how to bake yeast bread will be able to start you in the right direction to having oven-fresh bread on your kitchen table.
In order to use yeast in the baking process, it must first be activated with a liquid. The process of activating yeast is called “proofing”. They even have a bread proofing basket to aid this! When working with active dry yeast, the yeast is mixed with warm water and sugar. Usually, the package of yeast you are working with will tell you the exact instructions and measurements. This mixture is stirred until all of the yeast is dissolved into the water.
Once the yeast is activated, it will be time to mix all of the ingredients together to form the dough. There are three good ways to mix your dough. First is by hand, which would take around ten minutes to knead. Next is by electric hand mixer, which should take you no longer than five to seven minutes. The fastest way is by food processor, which takes about a minute to mix.
After all of the other ingredients are added to create the dough, you must make sure that the dough is allowed to rise until it has doubled in size. After it has risen the first time, you are to compress it down into the size of a loaf then allow it to rise a second time. A good tip for bread rising is to avoid metal bowls and use plastic containers or anything else that will not conduct heat and cook the dough.
When shaping your loaf, you want to form a very smooth top on the loaf, with all the seams of the dough pinched closed. It is nice to cut slashes on the top of the loaf to allow it to expand as well as give it a decorative touch. When cutting into the dough, be sure not to cut deeper than ¼ of an inch and use a very sharp blade to make clean cuts.
You can use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or a baking sheet that is lightly greased. When baking, place the loaf in the center of the oven. If you have the best convection oven, use them. This allows the fan to circulate the heat evenly throughout the oven. If cooking more than one loaf at a time, leave at least two inches of space between the baking sheets.
Baking bread can be accomplished if you follow very carefully to the instructions and it doesn’t hurt to know a few tips as well. If you make a mistake, as more than many do, be sure to pay attention to what you did wrong and just try it again. Baking takes practice and lots of work but is very rewarding in the end.