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Since DIYs are becoming a trend nowadays, most people are trying to learn how to make everything homemade, including the food items and beverages that we commonly buy ready-made in the market. Bread, which we usually consume during breakfast and is one of our staple foods, is an example of these food items.
Learning how to bake homemade bread, especially when you are a beginner, can be quite challenging because it requires your full attention. But, it is also a fulfilling experience. The prospect of sharing your tasty homemade bread among the precious people you love is what entices you to keep going.
Here is a step-by-step procedure to guide you
Prepare The Ingredients
To bake bread, you must first need to prepare all the baking tools and equipment, and all the baking ingredients that you will need and use in this activity. There are many varieties of bread, and each variety differs in the measurements of ingredients. However, most varieties of bread share the same required baking ingredients, including:
One of the solid ingredients needed in baking bread is wheat flour. Flour is a powdered food substance made from grains. It contains two significant strands of proteins, specifically Gliadin and Glutenin. When these proteins are combined by adding water to the flour, gluten is formed.
This formed substance named gluten is actually critical to modern breads as it serves as the bread’s backbone. It holds the bread together and helps in trapping gas bubbles, making the dough rise during fermentation. There are different varieties of flour, and each variety differs in gluten content.
The suitable types of flour that you can use in baking bread include all-purpose flour that contains 9-11% gluten content, bread flour that contains 11-14% gluten content, and whole wheat flour with the highest gluten content of 16%.
Yeast is a leavening agent that helps the dough rise during fermentation. It also helps in strengthening the proteins in the flour. When yeast is added to the mixture of water and flour, it creates ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide that formulate air bubbles. The gluten in the flour traps these air bubbles and makes the dough rise.
Salt and Sugar
Salt and sugar both enhance the flavor of the bread. However, they work differently, especially in the process of fermentation. On the one hand, sugar serves as the yeast’s food and is converted into energy, releasing carbon dioxide gas. On the other hand, salt regulates the yeast’s growth and strengthens the gluten in the dough.
Oil is added to your dough mixture to keep it moist. It is a shortening substance that adds richness, moisture, and flavor to the bread. Varieties of bread that do not have oil during its making have a dry and tough texture.
For the gluten to formulate in the flour, the flour needs to be hydrated by pouring an ample amount of water. Water helps in dissolving and mixing all the solid ingredients of bread. It also determines the viscosity and consistency of the dough.
Make The Dough
After gathering all the ingredients, secure a safe and clean space to do the mixing. Prepare your mixing bowl and make sure that it is thoroughly cleaned. Also, prepare the yeast by adding warm water and sugar to it. Stir until the mixture of yeast and sugar is fully dissolved in the water.
In the mixing bowl, combine all the solid ingredients, including the flour, the salt, and the prepared yeast. Add the water to the combined solid ingredients and mix it well in a counter-clockwise direction until you get a sticky texture but not too wet and not too dry dough.
Let The Dough Rise
When you get the dough’s desired texture, let it rest by covering the lid of your mixing bowl with saran wrap. Leave it for about 12-18 hours. After that, check the dough. It should have doubled its volume.
Sprinkle some flour on your kitchen’s countertop. When the countertop is ready, pour the dough on it and begin kneading or folding it. Then, shape the kneaded dough into a ball and set it aside again in a clean and covered mixing bowl for another 1-2 hours.
Let the Oven Do its Thing—Bake!
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare your loaf pan by spraying cooking spray on the inside of it. When the dough is ready, pour it on the loaf pan. Place the loaf pan on the preheated oven rack and let the oven bake the dough for about 30-40 minutes.
Let It Cool
Once the homemade bread is fully baked, take it out of the oven and pour the bread out of the loaf pan. Let it cool on a cooling rack. And once the bread is cool enough, you may now enjoy sharing and eating it.
Baking would require you to be patient in the process of learning how to master it. You may even encounter a lot of trial and error before achieving your homemade bread’s exact desired texture and taste. But do not stop in the middle. Continue learning and practicing how to bake until you become a pro in the field.