Guidelines for Baking Homemade Bread Loaf
Updated: Jul 11
We hope that everyone is doing well and safe during their quarantine. With many of us left to stay at home, this has been a great opportunity to improve some our skills and hobbies. At Soltans Kitchen, we've bee trying to learn a bit more on baking homemade bread.
One of the most inviting smells without a doubt is the smell of homemade bread. It is like a magnet for many people from all different traditions. A lot of us have tried different recipes of bread and perhaps have passed it to others as well. But creating bread is much more scientific then it sounds. There are a lot of factors and variations that we need to pay attention to. We’ve provided some of these here for your convenience. After researching about many kind of loaves of bread, the recipe we decided we found to be top-notch is made with milk instead of water, and requires very little kneading. So in our today's post I wanted to share some guidelines we found to be useful to keep in mind when you want to bake your homemade bread. And also, we wanted to share some common questions bread bakers have and their answers. SUBSTITUTION GUIDE
WATER VS. MILK
Milk causes a softer loaf, due to the milk fat content, which also gives bread a richer flavor. Also, Bread made with milk, browns easier than bread loaf slicer made with water, as lactose or milk sugar will caramelize as it bakes.
OIL VS. BUTTER
Butter has a lower smoke point than oil, meaning it will brown before oil. While butter and oil are interchangeable in the same quantity when making bread, but with butter you get a more tasty flavor.
HONEY VS. SUGAR VS. SUGAR REPLACEMENT
Honey and sugar are fairly interchangeable. You can replace sugar with honey in the same amount. Sugar replacements vary and usually come with instructions for substitution and what amounts to use. The kind of sweetener you use in making bread will alter the end result. Honey may add a floral element, depending on the source of your honey, while artificial sweeteners may add a metallic after taste.
WHEAT VS. WHITE
Wheat flour is heavier and more coarse than white flour and will produce a more dense bread. You can use all wheat, a combination of half wheat and half white flour, or use all white flour. The results are pictured below.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A STAND MIXER? CAN I MAKE HOMEMADE BREAD BY HAND?
You don’t need a stand mixer, you can knead this bread by hand. It is physically more work, but it doesn’t require a lot of kneading. You only need to knead the dough until all of the ingredients are combined and a dough ball forms that is smooth and elastic and slightly tacky to the touch.
Q & A :
1. My dough was very sticky. I added more and more flour hoping that would help, but it didn’t and I was afraid of adding too much. It didn’t look like they dough in your video. What am I doing wrong? A) If you are sure that you measured all of your ingredients accurately, then it could just be due to altitude or temperature. When making bread, you have to go with how the dough feels more than following the recipe exactly because there are so many variables in bread making. If you feel like your dough is way too sticky, then it just needs more flour that day. If your dough is too dry, don’t be afraid to add more liquid.
2. Can I leave the loafs to rise overnight outside or I put it in the fridge and bake them in the morning? A) Yes, you can put the dough in the fridge for the first rise overnight. Make sure it is in an airtight container or just covered tightly with plastic wrap so the dough doesn’t dry out. In the morning, take it out and let it come to room temperature and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
3.One question,I found a recipe bread to be a little salty, is there any reason for that amount and would it be OK if next time we did 1/2 tablespoon of salt?
A) We’ve found that everyone has a slightly different preference on how much salt to add to bread. You can certainly use less if you found it to be too much for you!
4. After baking, I see some dense spots in the bread. What do you think went wrong?
A) It sounds like you may want to use a little less flour next time. You can feel a soft loaf in the dough and exactly how much flour you add can change based on a variety of factors, including the humidity that day. Add just enough flour so that your dough is soft and tacky, but not sticky enough that it sticks to your hands.
5.)Can you use a mix of lard and butter instead? Example 1tbs lard plus 2tbs butter?
A) Lard can be substituted for other fats like butter in the same quantities. Lard does have a distinct flavor though which may impact the flavor of your bread.
6. How would you recommend storing it?
A) Store in a bread bag, or in a plastic airtight bag. It is best if eaten within 3 days. You can also freeze the loaf if you won’t eat it in time.
7. How you get even slices? A) There are multiple ways to get even slices of bread. You could try practicing but if you want a tool to make things easier there are multiple products in the market. If you are professional baker then probably an electric bread slicer would work for yourself. But, if you bake as a hobby, then there are plastic and wooden bread cutting guide for homemade bread available in the market. With plastic bread slicers for homemade bread ones, they can be a bit too small and too slow to use, and there is also a risk of contamination of food. Whereas, with wooden or bamboo bread slicers all those issues are resolved. We do sell our own Bread loaf slicer for homemade bread and you can look at if you are interested on our products page. Feel free to contact us if you want to consult about what bread slicing guide would be the most suitable for yourself.
8. How long does this stay fresh? How should it be stored?
A)Homemade bread will typically stay fresh for only a few days. It should be stored in an airtight bag. You can also freeze a portion of your loaf if you don’t think you’ll eat it all in time.
9. Can I use Carnation milk?
A) Evaporated milk is basically double the strength of regular milk. So you can substitute the milk in this recipe with half evaporated milk, half water. But if you use all evaporated milk, it’ll probably still be just fine.
10. Can almond milk be used instead of dairy? Quarantine baking out of regular milk
A) Yes! Dairy milk is best, but at times like these you’ve got to use what you have on hand. If possible, stick to regular unsweetened almond milk.
11 . Can buttermilk be used instead of milk?
A) Yes, it will provide a slightly different result.
If you are looking for a simple recipe to start baking homemade bread, we found this one by "The Stay Home Chef" very nice. Feel free to check it out! https://thestayathomechef.com/homemade-bread/
Do you have any other secret tips that we can share? Did you find this post useful?
Feel free to comment down below.