How to Make Bread with
Step-by-Step Instructions and Recipes
We will show you how to make bread at home with step-by-step
instructions and bread making tips that will
soon have you making fantastic homemade bread all the time! Homemade
bread really does
taste better than store-bought bread, and there is nothing better than
the smell of bread baking in the oven.
first started making bread at the age of about 14 following a recipe
that unfortunately was not accurate. When it came to proving the dough
the recipe, instead of reading "put it in a warm place" as it should
have done, it read, "put the dough in a cool place". Never having made
bread before, and doing it on my own, I didn't know any better, so put
it in the fridge.
Of course the bread dough didn't rise, and
so I left it overnight, thinking that time would help. It didn't! Then
I thought, well perhaps the bread will rise after I put it into the
oven. So in the bread dough went, still flat. Well, when it came out of
the oven it remained flat and you couldn't even get a knife through it!
My father very dryly commented that perhaps I could submit it to our
local brick and tile factory as a new prototype for bricks!
I have been making bread now for the last 30 years and so pass on my
bread making tips to you.
Once you know how, then try our bread recipes and tell us about your
HOW TO MAKE BREAD: GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS
HOW TO MAKE BREAD - YEAST
The most convenient and easiest to
obtain, these days, is dried,
instant yeast. It comes in either tins or sachets as granules. Plain
dried yeast is better than that specified for bread. The latter is
often expensive, and you have to use more of it.
When buying yeast, check the 'use by
date' as if you use old yeast that is not fresh your bread will not
rise. After opening, you may keep your dried yeast in an air-tight
container in the fridge, or even in the deep-freeze if you are not
going to use if for a while. However, if you do this, make sure that
the quantity of yeast that you have taken out for use for your next
batch of bread is brought to room temperature first, before
you use it.
We have some bread
for you below on how to bake with yeast, as the yeast is the most
important ingredient to get right when learning how to make bread.
HOW TO MAKE BREAD - FLOUR
The best type of flour
to buy is your
bread flour, rather than white
flour which is better for cakes and pastries. Bread flour has a higher
gluten content which will give you a less crumbly texture and a better
Wholemeal flours should be fresh as
they go stale far quicker than white or bread flours. They are also
more moist and therefore you may have to add extra flour to the dough
for easier handling if you find that it is sticking when kneading. You
can also add gluten flour to certain bread recipes, especially those
using rye flour, however, this is optional and not strictly necessary.
If you are looking for gluten flour you will find it at your local
health food shops.
HOW TO MAKE BREAD - ASCORBIC ACID
This is another optional
your bread. However, if added it
will give your bread a much finer, even texture. This can be handy in
countries where the bread flour available is not of good quality. You
will be able to buy this at your local pharmacies if you ask for
ascorbic acid powder or crystals. For every 4 cups of flour used, add
1/4 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder.
HOW TO MAKE BREAD - SALT
As well as enhancing the
your bread, the addition of salt acts
with the yeast to promote an even texture. The ratio of salt to bread
is for every 4 cups use 11/2 teaspoons of salt. However, in Italy,
especially in Tuscany, traditional bread making there excludes the use
HOW TO MAKE BREAD - ADDING YEAST TO THE LIQUID
Yeast is a living
organism that can
be killed if the water that you use
is too hot, and if it is too cold you will wait much longer for it to
react. The heat of the liquid used to add your yeast to should be warm
to the touch, not hot. Sprinkle some on your wrist to test.
HOW TO MAKE BREAD - ADDING THE FLOUR
Make sure that your
flour is at room
temperature, especially if it has
been stored in the fridge or freezer. First add enough flour to the
liquid to make a thick batter, which then should be beaten thoroughly
with a wooden spoon. Cover and leave this batter to stand in a warm
place until it starts to froth with the yeast activated. Once it froths
start adding flour until the dough becomes dry enough for form a ball
that does not stick to your hands when handled and comes away from the
sides of the bowl cleanly. Any dough left on the bowl should be added
to the dough.
HOW TO MAKE BREAD - KNEADING THE DOUGH
If you have the right
flour and your yeast is fresh, kneading the dough
is the next important step in your bread making. When making bread you
cannot escape the fact that you will have to knead your bread for 10
minutes to get the gluten to develop in the flour and to create that
light, even texture in your bread that you are after.
The way to knead your dough is to take
it out of a bowl and place it onto a floured surface. With the heel of
your palm press down on the dough and then fold the top-end of the
dough circle back over to meet the bottom end, folding the dough
Then press down on the heel of your palm again, knocking
out the air bubbles and repeating the process. You can also use two
hands in the kneading process, although I often only use my right hand.
While you are doing this, you will also need to rotate the dough
quarter turn after each folding and pressing so as to make sure that
the bread is well-kneaded on all sides.
After 10 minutes your dough
should spring back when your lightly press down with a finger, and the
texture should be smooth.
HOW TO MAKE BREAD - RISING THE DOUGH
Grease the bowl that the
bread was originally mixed in with a little
oil. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the bowl when it
rises. Place your smooth, springy dough into the bowl and lightly oil
the top. Now, either cover the bowl with cling wrap or a kitchen towel
to keep the heat in, to prevent a skin from forming and to aid in the
The dough should be left
in a warm
place free from draughts. I often place my bread in a sunny window, or
if I am in a hurry, and I want my bread to rise that much quicker, I
fill the sink up with a little hot water, place the bowl in the water
and cover the whole sink and bowl with a heavy blanket to trap in the
heat. However, don't make the water too hot, because if you hasten the
rising process too quickly you can end up with a sour-tasting loaf.
You will need to wait
for the bread to
double in size. This can take a couple of hours, depending on
conditions. If you want to leave this dough overnight to rise, then
place it in a fridge for 12 hours. It should have doubled within that
time ready for you to use in the morning for that nice loaf of homemade
HOW TO MAKE BREAD - PUNCHING DOWN THE DOUGH
Once your dough has
doubled in size you will need to remove the
covering and knock out all the air that has formed in the rising
This is called 'punching down' and is done so that when you do
bake your bread you will get an even texture.
If you want great looking bread, then don't leave out this important
process to making your homemade bread.
HOW TO MAKE BREAD - SHAPING THE DOUGH
You are nearing the end of making your homemade bread. If you are using
a loaf tin, grease it well and add some flour to the tin afterwards,
shaking out the excess. This also helps to prevent the dough from
sticking to the loaf tin.
If your tins are small, you may have to
divide the dough. Remember that your dough will be left to double in
the tin again before it is cooked. So this should give you an
indication as to whether you have the right sized tins.
Take your dough, flatten
it out to a
rough rectangle, making sure that the long side is the same size as
your tin. Roll it up like a Swiss roll and pinch the edges together
well. Place it in the oiled tin, seam side down and press it gently in
the tin. Oil the top, cover and leave to rise again until it reaches
the top of the tin.
HOW TO MAKE BREAD - BAKING YOUR BREAD
Once your dough has
reached the top
of the tin it is time to place it
into a pre-heated oven. Here your bread will still rise a little more
before the heat kills the yeast and the rising action is stopped.
not open the oven for the first half of the baking process to prevent
your bread from collapsing.
HOW TO MAKE BREAD - TESTING YOUR BREAD
Once you are sure that
your bread is ready take it out of the loaf tin
and tap the underside of the bread with your knuckles. If you bread
sounds hollow, it is cooked. The top should also be golden brown. If
you are not sure, return the bread to the oven to bake for a further 10
minutes. If you think that your bread is browning too quickly, you can
cover it with a sheet of tin foil placed lightly on the top.
USEFUL BREAD MAKING TIPS USING YEAST
The most important tip I can give you is that your yeast must be fresh.
cells are living organisms which multiply under favorable conditions,
and produce carbon dioxide, which leavens the dough, as well as alcohol
which is responsible for the unmistakable smell of yeast dough while
To be successful in yeast baking the yeast cells require
moisture, food (sugar or carbohydrates) and the correct temperature. If
you don't have these 3 things, your yeast will not activate and you
won't have good bread.
The best temperature for yeast activity
is just above blood or body temperature (approximately 39 degrees C. -
42 degrees C.) Temperatures above this will harm or destroy the yeast
cells. Temperatures below this will retard the activity. You can freeze
dough, as well as put it in the fridge, however, you have to bring it
back to room temperature and leave it until the bread dough has doubled
If you are in a hurry or when the environmental
temperature is very low, yeast quantities may be increased in
moderation. However, there are several ways in which you can help the
dough rising process without adding more yeast, which can compromise
Instead, wrap your bowl with cling film, then wrap in
a duvet or blanket and place near your woodstove, or fireplace hearth.
If you have some sun, you can dispense with the blanket and place the
bowl in a window where the sun is shining. Or, you can fill
sink with fairly hot water - not too hot as you don't want to activate
the yeast too much, and place the bowl inside the sink so that the
water comes half-way up to the bowl. Place a blanket or towel over the
top of the sink to keep the warmth in.
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OUR RECOMMENDATION: BEST SELLING BREAD BOOKS
Baking bread at home can save hundreds
of dollars on groceries every year. Artisan Bread in Five
Minutes a Day will help you re-create great artisan breads in
your own home, without investing serious time or money.
The process is simple. You mix water,
yeast, salt, and flour in a large bowl with a spoon or just your hands.
It doesn't take five minutes. You let it rise for a couple hours, then
put it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Whenever you want a
nice crusty loaf of bread, just tear off a chunk, let it rise again,
and bake it. Not only is this much cheaper than store-bought bread, but
you get to control the ingredients, and there's nothing quite like the
smell of fresh-baked bread just out of the oven.
With this easy method, each loaf;
deliciously crusty-on-the-outside, moist-and-chewy-on-the-inside, will
cost you only about 50 cents and five minutes a day.
Now you can fill your kitchen with the
irresistible aromas of a French bakery every day with just five minutes
of active preparation time, and Artisan Bread in Five Minutes
a Day will show you how.
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