My Dad’s Top Bread Baking Tips

Discover the inner bread baker in you. Follow my dad’s top bread baking tips to achieve artisan bread quality at home in the Thermomix.

My dad trained as a professional baker from the age of 14. He did an apprenticeship in a bakery and worked as a professional baker for more than a decade. His speciality is proper German bread. He has taught me how to make bread since I was very young. I will share some of his most important tips and tricks with you to make you the next artisan baker.

Bread Baking Tips

Types of flour

First of all, he taught me something about the flours you use in bread making. Before you even go into thinking about sourdough, you need to learn the basic rules of flour. He told me, the darker the flours get, the more time it will require to rise and the harder it is to activate the gluten. Different flour types behave in very different ways, which we need to understand when deciding on the ratios we use to make our bread.

Rye flour contains much less gluten than plain flour, which makes it much more difficult to use in bread making. It does not form bubbles as easily. Therefore, it is recommended to use rye as part of a percentage in bread making. However, it produces a lovely dark crust and ferments much easier than plain flour.

The difference between whole wheat and white flour is mainly in the fibre content. Wholewheat flour has a higher protein content than white flour as well and creates a more dense and flavourful bread. It is the healthier choice, but again is slightly more difficult to work with than white flour.

The golden rule

The first thing my dad taught me was to be patient. It is the golden rule in bread baking. I know you are probably thinking this is just some made up fact and you can definitely get your bread done within 30 minutes. I have learned many times the painful way that patience really does pay off when it comes to bread making. Giving the bread time to rise and relax will affect the outcome and you will notice a difference in the taste between a rushed bread and a relaxed bread.

Pizza Dough

If you don’t believe it, then think about how you feel when you rush out to get ready on a date. How do you feel and what does that do to your overall emotions and perception you create. That’s right, slightly stressed, perhaps even a bit smelly because you released some adrenaline. If you had taken your time, you probably would have been a lot more relaxed and therefore given a much better impression of yourself. It is the same with your bread. Give it the right time to get ready and I will guarantee you, it will knock you off your socks.

Keep salt and yeast apart

The second rule my dad told me was to always keep the yeast and salt apart. The reason behind this is that salt is known to be responsible for killing yeast. Without going into the scientific background of why this is, just bear in mind that when you are preparing the dough, always add salt last on top of the flour so that it cannot come in direct contact with the yeast before kneading. Basically yeast feeds in order to grow. Adding too much salt produces water and inhibits the yeast from being able to feed. The process, called osmosis could therefore be slowed or even reversed.

The ideal kneading time

My dad did not have any luxuries like kitchen processors or huge dough hooks in his baking experience. That was in the 60s and the bakeries he worked in did everything by hand. Therefore, I learned how to knead bread properly. Since I owned my Thermomix, things changed quickly. I discovered the ideal kneading time is 2 minutes in the Thermomix. However, if you are still using your hand, there are a few important tricks.

 

Firstly, once the dough is formed, knead until it is completely smooth and you cannot see it ripping anywhere. This means that the gluten is activated and glues the dough together to form a smooth ball. Another important trick is not to add any flour to your initial mass. If it seems very sticky and you are worried, it will not become a smooth dough, do not worry, once it is proved, it will be a lot smoother. You just need to keep kneading until it comes together. The kneading time for a one-pound loaf of bread usually takes around 10 minutes. You can see how the Thermomix saved me a lot of muscle pain here.

How to achieve the best crust

I think you will agree with me when I say that bread is nothing without a crunchy crust. To achieve that very easily, I use a casserole dish with a lid or, as some called it, a Dutch oven. When I baked bread without this dish, the crust never turned out as perfect and golden brown. I preheat my oven to the highest temperature with the dish inside to get it up to a really hot temperature. Once my bread has finished proofing, I take out the dish from the oven, open the lid, insert my bread and quickly put it back in the oven with the lid, adding a few ice cubes to the bottom of the oven. You can also add a splash of water if you do no have any ice cubes to hand. That creates steam and will make the bread double in size and develop a nice crack like authentic artisan bread. After 10 minutes of baking the bread at highest temperature with the lid on, turn the temperature down to 220°C and take off the lid. This will now brown the bread and ensure an even bake.

Foolproof bread recipe

Enough talking, it is time to put all the tips you just learned into practice. As my dad always said, practice makes perfect. This is the recipe he first introduced me to when I started making bread at home. It has always worked and you can easily double or halve the recipe as you desire. It makes great pizza dough as well. Follow the link to the recipe to unleash your inner artisan baker.

rate and comment

6 Comments

  1. Annabel on February 8, 2016 at 4:12 am

    Thanks, Sophia. Great tips there.

  2. Sue on April 4, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Hi
    Do you happen to have a good pumpernickel recipe I have looked at quiet a few but I haven’t made one yet.

    • admin admin on April 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

      Hi Sue, yes I do. I have actually developed one for Super Kitchen machine. Here is the link:

      • Jean-Claude Niederer on June 13, 2017 at 4:13 am

        Good morning Sophia,
        I am reading this thread and was also looking for a pumpernickel recipe.
        Thank you very much
        Jean-Claude

  3. Chew Jen ley on January 29, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    I tried your batard French bread recipe from the book and always ended with a bread with doughy center, what could have went wrong?

    • admin admin on April 23, 2018 at 7:10 am

      I would say it was underproved and underbaked. Next time, leave it to prove for longer and bake for longer 🙂

Leave a Comment





- more delicious recipes

take them for a spin

bowls

Grab all of your favourite thermomix gadgets online on my beautiful new store now

bread set
thermi ergoslide