Want to wow family and friends with fresh homemade bread? The following baking tips will help you make a perfect batch, all the time.
The dough matters the most
If you don’t remember whether your flour is self-rising or all-purpose, test it. You’ll find that self-rising flour tastes salty as it contains salt and baking powder to enable it to rise.
Heat aids the rising of dough more quickly. If your dough rises too fast, however, it’ll hurt the flavor and that’s why it’s not good to microwave the dough for several minutes on less power. Instead, put the pan or bowl over the flame of a gas cooker or heating pad on medium heat.
When handling dough, use some olive oil instead of extra flour to stop the dough sticking on you.
Avoid getting stuck
Make use of the oily remains of butter and margarine and save their waxy wrappers. Keep the wrappers in a plastic shopping bag and put them in the fridge. When a recipe requires that you grease the pan, you can then use the wrappers.
When you place bread in your oven, put another pan with 6-8 ice cubes on one rack. The resulting steam helps to make loaf bread at home more even, giving it a much crispier crust.
Keep it light
If your recipe requires lots of butter that might not be good for your arteries, substitute it with a 50/50 mix of buttermilk and applesauce. Best used in spice baked or light-colored products, this alternative yields a fairly chewier texture, which is why you’ll want to substitute all-purpose flour with cake or pastry flour.
If your favorite cinnamon coffee cake, carrot-zucchini muffins, or banana nut breads are very delicious but heavy, use buttermilk instead of milk in the recipes. This will make the texture of your bread lighter. Experiment to know what yields the best results: milk and equal parts buttermilk, all buttermilk, etc.
A traditional favorite
Cooking with clay pots is a tradition that dates back millenniums. Just wash an unglazed pot in warm water and soap and air dry. Then grease the lip and interior of the pot till the clay doesn’t absorb any more. Put the pot on an aluminum topped baking sheet and place inside a cold oven. Then heat to 205 degrees Celsius and immediately turn it off. Repeat the oiling and heating once more, and your pot will be ready to use.