Why Baking is the Best Method to Make Bread

There are many reasons to love baking your own bread. It’s a great way to learn about the science of food, balance your sense of smell and taste, develop your fine motor skills, and leave the store bought stuff behind. But perhaps its greatest benefit is the aroma that fills your home as the dough bakes. The scent of fresh baked bread usually lingers for hours after making it. It’s such a recognizable fragrance that many people have asked us where we get our homemade bread. It’s a simple question without a single definitive answer. However, we do know that baking your own bread is one of the best ways to make it. It’s likely that you have all the necessary ingredients in your pantry already. So, what are you waiting for? Here are the best methods to make delicious homemade bread at home.

What is Baking?

Baking is the process of making bread or other baked goods using dry yeast or a combination of dry and liquid ingredients and a steam oven. Yeast is added to the liquid ingredients and a mixture is placed in a container or bowl and then put in a warm place for about an hour to activate the yeast before the recipe begins. Flour, water, and other ingredients are then mixed to form a dough, often called a “scratch” or “ starter ” dough. Some recipes will simply require the addition of yeast or an egg. The dough is then allowed to rise for about an hour, giving the yeast enough time to activate without the risk of fermentation occurring naturally. The dough is then placed in a pan and baked.

Baking with yeast

This is the most traditional method and will create the most authentic tasting bread. The process is done with dry yeast so it won’t activate like sourdough bread. Baking yeast creates a chewy and dense loaf of bread that is perfect for sandwiches or French toast. To get the maximum flavor and texture, make sure to use a high quality baker’s yeast. Mix together flour, sugar, salt, and any other dry ingredients. Measure out milk and water and place in a saucepan. Heat the water on a stove or in the microwave until it’s warm to the touch. Add the milk to the flour mixture and stir gently. Attach a thermometer to the side of the saucepan to monitor the milk and make sure it raises to 160 degrees F. Remove the thermometer from the milk once it reaches 160 degrees F. To activate the yeast, place the milk and water in a bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Stir the yeast in with a spoon and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. The yeast should begin to foam. Scrape the foam into the dry ingredients and whisk until everything is well mixed. Place a large bowl in the sink with warm water mixed in. The bowl should be large enough to fit the dough. Once the water is set, place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a slightly damp cloth and allow the dough to rise for about an hour. Once it’s risen, place the dough in a buttered or greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Baking with baking powder

This is a chemical leavener that is used in many commercial baked goods. To make your own bread with baking powder, combine one part baking soda to four parts an acidic ingredient. Baking powder is usually a combination of bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, or yogurt. When you combine baking soda and an acidic ingredient, it generates carbon dioxide. This causes the dough to rise and expand. The baking powder has a short shelf life where it begins to lose its effectiveness over time. If you don’t use the powder immediately, you should discard it within a few months of purchase.

Baking with soda

This method is often used in breads that are especially dense. Soda is a naturally occurring source of carbon dioxide. It combines with water to form carbon dioxide, which causes the dough to rise. The main drawback of this method is that it tends to make bread with a yeasty flavor. This is due to the yeast created by the fermentation process. It’s best used in recipes where it doesn’t matter how the final product tastes. This includes quick breads and white breads.

Baking Cookies

This is a quick method that only requires the use of baking soda. When making quick breads and cookies with baking soda, make sure you use high quality baking soda. Low quality brands won’t work as well. Quick breads are easy to make and can be used for many things like sandwiches or dipped in chocolate. These are usually baked in a pan and often cut into squares. Quick breads are a great option when you need to make a loaf of bread but don’t have time. To make a quick bread, you take a flour mixture, add baking soda, or an egg, and a sweet liquid. Quick breads are usually served warm but can also be cooled and stored in an airtight container.