The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

bread baking tips

Muffin Man's picture
Muffin Man

     When I started baking a few years ago, I was a strict adherent to recipes.  I still do not deviate much as results are then unpredictable.  One area in which I do deviate is in the amount of flour.  I measure (weigh, if possible) all other ingredients, but since flour is the largest single component, and the one most affected by outside influences (humidity, temperature), I find that adding flour by the cup (less as the dough comes together) gives me a much better finished product.  I am not advocating that new bakers do this, but as you see the results differ from batch to batch of a given recipe, you will develop a feel for when the dough has incorporated all of the flour necessary for a great loaf.  This has probably been obvious to everyone else, but I am in the slow learner class.

     As a home baker, I cast envious eyes at the professional's proofing box and its reliable second rise.  I have taken a suggestion I found online and modified it to work for me.  I acquired two clear plastic storage bins (Wally World) a couple of feet deep.  I marked the lower one where the bottom of the other fell and filled the lower one with hot water to the mark.  The second is placed in the first one and breads to be proofed are placed in the (dry) bin.  I also use quarter sheet baking pans for rolls and such.  One goes on the bottom and a wire cooling rack suports another.  This setup will maintain a 78 - 80 degree temperature for up to 45 minutes.  Tme loaves in the top nay be misted and/or rotated as needed and the water may be changed in the lower one if a longer proof is needed.

ques2008's picture

I'm new, I'm hungry for bread tips

March 9, 2009 - 2:42pm -- ques2008

Hi everyone,

I signed up 3 minutes ago.  I used to hate cooking and baking and being in the kitchen more than 3 minutes.  I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden I'm into bread and all things bread.  The site looks friendly and comprehensive in scope.  I like the fact that Peter Reinhart's book is featured (Bread Baker's Apprentice) because I bought his book last week and devouring it.

I've baked bread about 6 times now and enjoying every minute of it.  Something about kneading dough that's therapeutic...


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