Making your own bread is one of the most rewarding skills to master in the kitchen, and you don’t need lots of gadgets or ingredients to do it! Bread making basics are a bowl, measuring spoons, a measuring jug and something to bake the loaf on or in – either a loaf tin or a baking tray. You could also try a baking stone, which you place in the oven increasing the bottom cooking temperature and meaning you can bake directly onto the hot stone; they are great for sourdoughs, flatbreads and pizzas.
For ingredients, you only need a good quality bread flour; yeast – cultured or naturally occurring as in a sourdough starter; water and sea salt.
Bread Making Basics - Which Bread Flour Should I Use?
Always use strong bread flour, either white or wholewheat. Stone-ground flour will give you better flavour, colour and texture. Bread flour has a higher gluten content than regular plain flour, which makes the dough stretchy and gives your finished loaf lightness and volume. You can make different types of bread with spelt and rye flours, which have lower gluten content and result in a denser loaf.
Bread Making Basics - Which Yeast Should I Use?
The ingredient that makes bread rise is yeast, and there are three types of yeast that you can use. Fresh yeast is available from bakeries and in-store bakeries in some supermarkets. It can be kept wrapped in the fridge for up to a week and for a month in the freezer. Fresh yeast isn’t suitable for using in a bread making machine. You will need 25g fresh yeast for every kilo of bread flour. Dried active yeast comes in a tin and you mix this with warm water and a little sugar before combining with the flour, which means you can kick-start the yeast and check it is still alive (bubbles form on the surface of the water). Keep your open tin of dried active yeast in the fridge and use within three months. You will need two tablespoons of dried active yeast for 1 kilo bread flour. Finally, you could use sachets of fast acting yeast, which you add directly to the flour – they are easy to use and suitable for bread machines. You will need 2 x 7g sachets of fast acting yeast for every kilo of bread flour.
Bread Making Basics - Tip and Tricks
Bread Making Basics - Easy Recipes to Get You Started
Once you've mastered the basics the bread making world is your oyster. Here are a few of our favourite easy bread making recipes to get you started!
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