Yes I am passionate about bread and baking bread all sorts of ways ?. My passion has made my bake A LOT of bread, and have now found some basic rules of thumb that really works for me when I bake.
Taste is not a solid universal matter and thanks God for that. ?So my tips are good for me but might not be for you. But try it out maybe you get convinced.
- Use less flour than you think
Back in the 80’s when I made my first bread I learned that a bread dough should be kneaded very thoroughly by hand. The longer time the better. To be able to do that you had to have a quite firm and non sticky dough. Which is really fine from a kneading perspective. But your bread also ended up being quite dry right after you had baked it and the texture became dull too.
Tip: Make the dough very sticky-like oatmeal. Knead it in a bowl with a machine or a big spoon.
2. Use sourdough
Some people don’t like sourdough in their bread, but I think it really adds in flavor to it. Yes the bread gets a bit more sour taste but also a much more rich and full body bread taste. Sourdough dough can also work as a substitute for yeast, but that is not why I use it. It IS the wonderful taste.
Tip: Use sourdough in your dough to get a really great and rich bread taste. (See my recipe for how to make sourdough if you want to make your own. It is very easy!)
3. Let the dough sleep over
You CAN make loafs and rolls in a couple of hours but if you let the dough rest over night you get so much more taste!
I put my dough in a Tupperware and let it sleep in the fridge with a lid on. Then I take it out in the morning and form the loaf/rolls and let it rise for 1/2 hour or so and then it is ready for the oven.
During winter time I put the dough on a table in the winter garden. The temperature there is around 10 degrees Celsius which is really good. If you let it sleep in a temperature that is close to room temperature your yeast will overrise and you will end up with a very dense bread at the end.
Tip: Let your bread stay cold over night to get much more taste.
4. Machine kneading
If you like the crumb of the bread to be like this: You bite with your teeth and then you pull the bread away to get your bite – then continue reading ?. Some people don’t like that, but I love it. In my world that is how bread should be.
In order to get this bite-and-pull experience, you need to get the protein in flour into a special state. You CAN do with your hands but it will take at least 30 min of really hard kneading with a spoon. So if you have a KitchenAid or a Kenwood, you should use that.
Knead the dough with the machine until the dough slips the side of the bowl. It is about the same time as the dough begins to be transparent.
Tip: Knead using a machine to get the bite-and-pull bread crumb.
(Me and my daughter Bertha looking at the dough kneading in the Kenwood)
5. Bake the bread HOT
Most recipes will say that you should bake bread in temperatures around 200 degrees Celsius.
If you like the bread to have a dark/brown crust you should turn your oven to max temperature. Mine goes to 300 which is fine.
At that temperature rolls are finished after ca 12-15 minutes and a loaf after about 25 minutes.
Tip: Bake your bread at max temperature to get the crunchy crust and great taste.