Tips & Tricks

Bread Making – Easy Step-by-Step Instructions

Kneading

These are the steps to follow when kneading the dough. To start, add just enough flour to the dough and your hands to keep the dough from sticking, then:

  • Pat dough into a ball, which may feel sticky.
  • Flatten dough and fold it toward you.
  • Using the heels of your hands, push the dough away with a rolling motion.
  • Rotate dough a quarter turn and repeat the ‘fold, push and turn’ steps.
  • Keep kneading dough until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  • Use a little more flour if dough becomes too sticky, always working the flour into the ball of dough.
  • The process is complete in about 4 to 10 minutes, or when the dough is smooth, satiny and elastic, and when you poke it, the dough springs back.
You’ve given the dough quite a workout, now it’s time to let it rest.

Resting

To create maximum resting conditions for the dough:

  • Cover the top of the mixing bowl loosely with a damp, clean cloth or plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Set the dough in a warm, draft-free place.
  • With Active Dry Yeast® keep dough covered until it doubles in size, anywhere from 1–2 hours.
With RapidRise® Yeast, let the dough rest for 10 minutes. It is not required to double in size.

Shaping

The type of bread you are making may vary the shaping process. For regular bread loaves:

  • Lightly flour the work surface; shape the dough into a smooth ball.
  • Use a rolling pin to form a rectangle.
  • Beginning at the short end of the rectangle, roll the dough tightly to make a loaf shape.
  • Pinch the seam and ends of the rolled dough with your fingers to seal it closed.
  • Place dough, seam side down, in greased baking pan.
  • If you are using a recipe that requires a distinctive shape, follow these same basic instructions but shape accordingly.

Testing

To determine if your dough passes the ‘doubled in size’ stage:

  • Press the tips of two fingers lightly and quickly about 1/2 inch into the dough.
  • If the impression you made stays, the dough is doubled.

Baking

  • Follow precisely the recipe’s directions for preheating and baking.
  • Use an oven thermometer for accuracy.
  • Place the baking pans several inches apart on the center oven rack.
  • Oven temperatures may vary, so check your loaves about 10 minutes before recipe says they should be done.
  • If loaves are browning excessively, remove them from the oven and make an aluminum foil ‘tent’ to shield them, and then return them to the oven.
  • Internal temperature should be between 190°–205°F; baked loaves should be evenly browned.
  • After turning bread out of the pan, tap the bottom or side of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, the bread is done.

Cooling

Cool bread on a wire rack to prevent it from getting soggy from steam accumulating on the bottom of the pan.

Storing

To keep your freshly baked bread at peak goodness:

  • Keep it wrapped and stored in a bread box at room temperature.
  • Seal it tightly and keep it in a cool, dry place.
  • Keep it out of the refrigerator; cold temperature dries bread out and hastens staling.
  • For longer term storage, freeze it in an airtight plastic bag or tin foil.

No Knead Batter Method

These are recipes that create a batter rather than a dough. Instead of being kneaded, the batter is vigorously beaten or shaken to develop the gluten. Batters may vary in consistency depending on the recipe. Some require refrigeration, which enables you to do most of the work ahead of time.

Looking for ways to make your bread even more beautiful?

Egg Wash

To give the crust a super shine:

  • Brush it with one egg or egg white beaten with a little water before you put your ready-to-go bread in the oven.
  • If you forget to do so before baking, you can still apply the egg wash 5 minutes before the bread is to come out of the oven.

Butter or Margarine

For less shine but a good deep, golden-brown color and very good flavor, brush butter on loaf just out of the oven.

Milk

For a loaf that’s really delicious, brush the unbaked loaves with milk. It will make a slightly soft or tender crust, with a somewhat dull shine.

Toppings

Brush unbaked loaves with an egg-white wash and then sprinkle with the topping of your choice:

  • Poppy seed
  • Caraway seed
  • Sesame seed
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Onion
  • Garlic flakes

Slashing

For a decorative, professional look, glaze and slash the top, after dough rises, with a single edge razor blade or sharp knife. Cut about 1/4 inch into the dough.

No matter what the recipe, make sure you always:

  • Measure dry ingredients in a dry ingredients measuring cup or spoon.
  • Measure liquid ingredients in see-through measuring cups at eye level.
  • Use a thermometer for precise temperatures.
  • Follow each recipe exactly.
  • Preheat the oven.