How to knead bread dough

The 5 most common mistakes when baking bread

... and how to avoid them

I don't think there's anything I love more than freshly baked bread. If it were up to me, I would eat it at every meal. The smell, the taste and the consistency of freshly baked bread are simply so distinctive - no other bread can keep up.

Since you put a lot of time and work into baking bread, there is nothing worse than if your bread does not turn out in the end. To prevent that from happening, today we're going through the 5 most common mistakes when baking bread.

Are there a few mistakes that happen to you again and again when baking bread or have we forgotten one more mistake? Write us in the comments!

Sometimes the simplest solution is also the best. Bread baking is almost more science than baking, so be sure to use a digital scale to measure your ingredients. This is how you make sure that everything is exactly right to the gram.

Usually, when baking, measuring the ingredients with cups and spoons is sufficient, but when measuring light ingredients such as flour, yeast, sugar and salt, this can result in larger variations in quantity. When baking bread, however, that can mean the difference between a wonderfully fluffy loaf and a loaf that is too firm.

You should also be careful not to use old yeast; it should definitely still be active. To find out how fresh your yeast is, you can add ½ teaspoon sugar to 125 ml of warm water. Now stir in your packet of dry yeast (2 teaspoons) - if it is still good, it will break into small bubbles within 10-15 minutes.

Kneading dough is probably the most common source of error and challenge for “bread-making beginners”. Why is kneading so important? First of all, it is about the protein molecules in the flour forming into gluten. Gluten forms the dough structure for your bread and is responsible for holding the fermentation gas in the further baking process so that the bread can rise. After baking, it ensures that your bread retains its shape.

Once gluten has formed in your bread dough, it will take on certain properties. Some bakers rely on the "window test" to determine if a dough has been sufficiently kneaded. To do this, take a table tennis-sized piece of the dough and carefully pull it apart until you can “see” through the dough. If the dough breaks, you'll have to knead it even longer.

If you use a food processor, you may “knead” the dough. The dough will then feel firm and tough because the gluten molecules have been damaged. The dough will no longer expand, but will break if you try to pull or roll it.

If the dough has not been kneaded sufficiently, it will not roll easily into a ball because the gluten molecules are not sufficiently developed and the dough will break apart. In this case, you can just knead the dough longer. However, if a dough is "kneaded over", it can no longer be saved and ends up in hard bread. You should therefore avoid this mistake at all costs.

3. Let the dough rise properly

When we mix the ingredients for our bread, a real science begins. The yeast begins to “eat” the starch sugar in the flour and releases it in the form of carbon dioxide. Proofing enables this release in the dough and ensures that your bread “grows” as it is baked.

However, if the dough does not rise at the right temperature or for long enough, it can cause some problems - then the yeast cannot work properly. It is best to choose a warm, draft-free place for the dough to rise. If it is too cold, the dough will only rise with a delay and if it is too warm, a kind of baking process begins that destroys the yeast.

You can recognize a perfectly risen dough by the fact that you can poke it with your fingers and the dough will spring back to its original shape within a few seconds without leaving any marks. It should be as soft as a pillow by now.

4. Make proper cuts in the dough and bake

Before the bread goes into the oven, you should cut into the top of the dough. To do this, you can simply make a few incisions with a knife, which will ensure that the carbon dioxide formed by the yeast can escape during baking.

You should also make sure that the bread is baked through before you take it out of the oven. In this case the bread has an internal temperature of approx. 90-100 ° C, which you can easily measure. If you don't have a suitable thermometer, you can turn the bread over and gently tap the underside. When the bread is baked through, your knocking sounds hollow. What you are controlling here is the sound that is made when there is no more liquid in the dough.

In the end it is unfortunately again: wait and see. Resist the urge to cut the hot bread fresh from the oven. Because even if the bread cools down, it still bakes, so to speak, because liquid is still evaporating from the bread. As soon as it has cooled sufficiently, you can cut it and enjoy your perfectly baked bread. Good Appetite!

Published on November 28, 2017