The Steps to Bread Making
If you’ve been following along, you know that we’re on a Bread Baking Journey this month. Yesterday, I attempted to make the complicated science of baking bread into some easy to understand “Basics”. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to read through yesterdays post to familiarize yourself. Now that we understand the ingredients and the roles of each, let’s look at the actual steps to making our dough.BASIC STEPS FOR MAKING BREAD: 1) MEASURING/WEIGHING OF INGREDIENTS – Accuracy is really important in baking. The most accurate measurement is by weighing ingredients on a food scale (I use digital), but for the purposes of this blog, I’ll use standard measurements (cups not pounds/ounces) . This usually takes about 5 minutes. 2) MIXING/KNEADING – This step includes proofing the yeast, mixing all the ingredients together and working it into a single dough mass. This usually takes about 15 minutes. 3) FIRST PROOF OF DOUGH – This is the initial rise of the dough – it should double in size. This usually takes about 2 hours. 4) PUNCH DOWN OF DOUGH – To release the gasses and re-distribute the “food” for yeast. This usually takes less than a minute! 5) 2ND PROOF OF DOUGH – (If called for in recipe) Allowing the dough to rise again. This usually takes about 1-1/2 – 2 hours. 6) DIVIDING THE DOUGH – If necessary, dividing into loaves or rolls. This usually takes 5 minutes. 7) SHAPE THE DOUGH – Shaping the dough into the desired form. This usually takes less than 5 minutes. 8) FINAL RISE OF THE DOUGH – Allowing the dough to rise one last time before baking. This usually takes about 1 hour. 9) BAKING! This usually takes about 35-40 minutes.
It may seem silly to allow the dough to rise and then punch it down, but the purpose of doing this is to release the gasses that have been formed to allow them to begin again ~ that causes the flavor to develop even further. Some recipes will call for a single rise, others a double.
Notice that I gave approximate times for each step. That’s because everyone thinks bread takes forever to make. The truth is, most of the time consumed in bread making is in it’s rising, and of course, you can do multiple things during that time (or nothing). So, don’t be overwhelmed by the steps or the timing.
Tomorrow, we’ll begin baking bread and the challenge is to enjoy the process, not sweat the timing.