Happiness is a warm bread – fresh from the oven. You wait for it. You crib for it. You are scared that whether it will come out perfect or not. But once you are done – You see the magic…the magic which takes you to another World… A World of Texture, Softness, Crunch and most imp. Aroma. Magic of a perfectly baked bread is simply divine. Isn’t it?
I was introduced to bread baking almost 2 years back via a Food group on Facebook. Before that I never ever thought that bread baking would be so simple yet appealing. I used to see lot many pics of people posting their recipes however I was not ready to give it a try considering the hesitation. But one day I gather my courage and went for the grocery shopping for the bread – The core ingredient i.e. Yeast was picked. 🙂 Then the preps began and it happened.. in my own kitchen and in my own microwave… My first baked bread – It was a phenomenon – at least for me. 🙂 And then the story continued forever… Now it has become a ritual to bake and savor.. My weekends are normally defined by some or other bread baking recipe… 🙂 And just like the way I learnt it…I want to extend my knowledge to all of you. This blogpost is dedicated to sharing various tips and tricks to bake a bread which will redefine your cooking abilities. Let’s have a look!
Yeast – Your Yeast is your core ingredient for a beautiful textured and soft bread. It is very important to buy a good quality yeast. Yeast is used in baking as a leavening agent, where it converts the food/fermentable sugars present in dough into the gas carbon dioxide. This causes the dough to expand or rise as gas forms pockets or bubbles. When the dough is baked, the yeast dies and the air pockets “set”, giving the baked product a soft and spongy texture.
1. Storage: Do not store yeast in fridge. I have often came across people who have stored yeast in the fridge. Guys…it will be useless. Reason being: Yeast is a bacteria which functions at a warm place. If you will keep it in cold areas, it will be deactivated and can not be used further.
2. Type: Yeast is of 2 types – Active Dry yeast and Active Instant yeast. Active dry yeast needs to be proved in mixture of warm water and sugar. Instant yeast can be used directly in the dough. Though Instant yeast gives more better results yet when used appropriately, active yeast also win laurels.
3. Proving a yeast – This is one of the most crucial steps of bread baking. If this goes fine, everything will turn out perfect. Make sure your water is at the apt temp. It should not be too hot nor too cold. It should be warm. During winters, it can be 1% more warm then that during summers.
Bread Dough – Dough kneading is again one of the most important step for a beautiful bread. The more you will knead, the better it will come out. But again – It depends on what kind of bread you are trying for – A no knead bread or a regular one.
The best way to prepare a dough is:
- Mix all the dry ingredients of the dough together with a spoon > Now add yeast water in small amounts and keep mixing it with your finger tips > Always knead your dough with warm water.
- Always make sure to brush the platform (where you have to knead) with dry flour > If the dough is sticky don’t add dry flour much as it will make the bread dry while baking rather use some oil and knead it well.
- Once all the ingredients of the dough are together i.e. a rough dough is prepared, clean and clear your kitchen platform and start kneading your dough on that. The hard platform will give your dough the much needed boost and keep kneading the dough hardly for at least 10 mins. Throw it multiple times on the platform, knead it from your fist, beat it with rolling pin … Treat it badly 😀 and trust me it will come out perfect. Just make sure that while kneading for long time, you continue dipping your finger tips in oil and water and this will make sure that your dough remains soft and moist.
- Once the dough is kneaded well and is springy, wrap it up in a cling film and let it rest for at-least an hour at a warm place. The longer you will keep it, the better it will become. I prefer keeping it overnight.
- Once the dough is doubled, knead it back again to release the air bubbles in may have infused automatically.
- Let it rest for another 30 mins and start preparing your Stuffing.
Irresistable Focaccia bread by Waagmi Soni
Bread Stuffing – Stuffing is the most integral part of a bread rather a stuffed bread. You can have all the experiments and all the varieties. It can be veg or non-veg, eggs, fruits, veggies, plain garlic or whatever you want. It’s all up to you. The more you will experiment the more delicious your bread will be.
I being vegetarian have following stuffing normally:
- Potato Peas
- Spinach and Corn
- Tofu, Cherry tomatoes and Basil Pesto
- Home Made Tomato Sauce & Cheese
- Garlic flavors
- Mix vegetables
- Cabbage and coconut etc etc.
Unique breads by Mayuri Jhikoni
Bread Designs and Shapes
To design your bread or to shape up your bread is not a difficult task. Rather it’s a creative task. You think and then you put all your efforts to design. I have prepared lot of shapes like Stuffed Breads, Caterpillar breads, Bread baskets, Calzones, Flat bread etc yet I am still waiting to prepare the most unique bread.
Breads that make you drool – By Rupal Patel
Till now what I have realized is, take inspiration from the things around you. May be a basket of fruits can inspire you or may be a beautiful toy doll. Just look at the things around you and think about the way you can infuse them in your designs. Trust me, through this way, you will always come up with a fresh lot of baked breads.
Innovative Irish Soda bread buns with Cranberries & Fennel Seeds by Alka Jena
While baking the bread
While baking the bread, take care of the oven temperatures.
Key tip: Your oven should be pre-heated on the same temperature on which you want to bake your breads. If your recipe demands, 150 degrees, make sure your oven is pre-heated to 150 degrees only.
Perfect aromatic breads are her forte – Preethi Prasad
Let the first 10 mins to pass evenly. Post 10 mins, keep brushing your bread with a mixture of butter and milk. This provides extra moistness and beautiful color to your bread.
Look what Sujata Roy is sharing with us. 🙂
This is all about breads. Hope you guys will like it and it will be helpful to you! 🙂
Do share your recipes and pour in your queries. I will answer them all!
Merry Christmas & a very Happy New Year 2017
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No matter in which area of the World you reside, feel free to add on your tips and tricks on bread baking. This will surely help the whole food community. 🙂 Share your tips and tricks in comments. 🙂
(Header image cc: baker.edu)