Thursday, March 25, 2010

Susan's Favorite Bread Baking Tips—What Are Yours?

Freshly Baked Oatmeal Toasting Bread
Freshly Baked Oatmeal Toasting Bread (recipe here)

A few months ago I spent some time updating the Ten Tips on How To Bake Better Artisan Breads at Home post that I published on Farmgirl Fare back in 2005, and it was interesting to see the little ways in which my bread baking has changed over the past several years.
I'm still following most of the tips, though I don't use my beautiful wooden bread bowls as much as I used to, preferring to let my dough rise in straight-sided plastic containers with snap-on lids instead. And I rarely bother to make steam in the oven anymore.

I've also started baking all of my pan loaves (these
Chicago Metallic commercial loaf pans are the best) on a hot baking stone to simulate the 7-foot wide ceramic hearth deck oven waiting for me in our almost finished commercial kitchen. The results are fantastic.
If you're a new bread baker looking to improve your loaves, you might take a look at the tips—which are simply things I've learned that have made my breads better.
Do you have any bread baking tips you'd like to share? We'd love to hear them!

Looking for a favorite new loaf? You'll find the index of recipes for A Year in Bread here. And if you have a beloved bread recipe, we hope you'll consider sharing it in our Friday Favorites series, which you can read more about here.
© 2010, the bread baking blog where there is no perfection, just loaves that keep getting better and better.



Anonymous Christine said...

Hey Susan,

Thanks for sharing. I don't have bread baking tips since I'm looking for some. I'm into baking too. I usually bake cakes but I'm gonna try to do some bread. Wish me luck!

Thanks again,


3/26/2010 7:58 PM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

Hi. I am a beginner bread baker and so far it is going pretty well, however, I would like to try using a baking stone. How to I go about doing this? Advice??? Thanks!

3/29/2010 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

I created a monster when I hinted to my hubby that I wanted a breadmaker for Christmas! I got one, alright and now nobody wants anything but homemade bread! I do like to do it the "old fashioned" way sometimes, but when time is of the essence, it's the expressbake for me! LOL Thanks for the great tips!

4/14/2010 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Pete and Izzy's Mom said...

Great tips! I've been baking bread for years and I never knew about waiting until after the autolyse to add salt. Can't wait to try that!!

4/22/2010 9:37 AM  
Blogger Mom to Many said...

Hi Alexandra, Here is my recommendation for a stone. I love mine. It came with instructions about heating and using it.
I keep mine in a taller cabinet on it's side set on a rolled up dish towel to protect it and the cabinet.
I heat my oven 400 before I get my first ingredients out to start a batch. It needs to be well heated.
I am not a fan of quarry tiles or terra cotta. I feel some level of concern about the raw materials being recycled. Recycling is great, but sometimes older materials were not carefully kept lead free. So I would go for an inexpensive stone like the one at BB&B. There is always a possibility of bumping a corner.
I too am a beginner when it comes to artisan breads. (I have baked bread for more than 20 years. But I've always been a sandwich bread girl.) 1/2 of my children are teenagers now and all but one are in school. This is a good window for experimentation time for me. It has been a very natural transition for me.
IMHO start with something basic like a french bread. Choose a trusted recipe. I recommend watching some bread videos on youtube or someplace similar. I have loved seeing baguettes shaped by experienced hands.
Most of all, don't forget the salt and ENJOY!

5/11/2010 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom is going to love this recipe. Thanks.

12/06/2010 11:56 PM  

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