master your
BREAD TECHNIQUE

Baking skills like kneading may seem like a new world of terms and techniques, but these methods are easy to master. Soon the reward of oven-fresh baked goods and the pride of doing it all from scratch will be yours to savor.

PROOFING

KNEADING

RESTING

SHAPING

BAKING

STORING

TIP:

A slower final proof will yield a more flavorful result by allowing for more fermentation. So, while it’s tempting to try to rush the process by making the proofing environment a little warmer, you’ll be rewarded in the end with a more delicious loaf. Be careful not to overproof, however. When the dough is nearly doubled in size, it is ready to bake.

GENERAL BEGINNER BAKING HOW-TOS

yeast

No matter the recipe, make sure you always:

  • Measure dry ingredients in a dry-ingredients measuring cup or spoon
  • Measure liquid ingredients in see-through measuring cups at eye level
  • Use a thermometer for precise temperatures
  • Follow each recipe exactly
  • Preheat the oven

WHAT IS PROOFING?

yeast

“Proofing” is a term that can be used multiple ways. Proofing can refer to activating yeast in lukewarm water or liquid to ensure that it is active. More commonly, proofing refers to the final fermentation step before baking where shaped dough is set aside to rise before baking.

First, why knead?

1. To distribute yeast to fresh carbohydrate molecules to yield a great rise

2. To strengthen and lengthen gluten molecules in the dough to develop the dough’s structure

TIP:

Hands or bowl covered in caked-on dough? First, dust or rub off as much as you can, then wash in cool water with soap. Using warm water strengthens gluten, making it harder to wash off.

how to KNEAD DOUGH

Remarkably, there are even bread recipes that get great bread texture without kneading, but most breads require a bit of kneading by hand or stand mixer.

Kneading By Hand

Kneading wouldn’t seem so daunting if it was just called it what it is: Fold, Push, Turn. You can do that!

Kneading By Hand

Start

Sprinkle just enough flour on your work surface to prevent the dough from sticking, then turn the dough out onto it, patting it into a ball. You can use a clean counter or a large cutting board.

Fold

Lift the furthest portion of the dough toward you.

Push

Use the heels of your hands to push the dough away in a rolling motion.

Turn

Rotate the dough a ¼ turn.

Repeat

Keep the “fold, push, turn” process going until the dough is smooth and elastic; follow your recipe as a guide but it should take between 4 to 10 minutes. You can add more flour to your board as-needed, but a slightly stickier dough is preferred by bread bakers.



Kneading with a Stand Mixer

Great results can be achieved by hand, but if you have a stand mixer, kneading is a breeze.

Prep

Mix with paddle attachment, knead with dough hook in stand mixer.

Mix

Based on the recipe, combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients at low speed for several minutes until dough forms and cleans the side of the bowl.

Knead

Continue kneading at low speed until smooth, elastic dough forms.


How do you know if the dough is kneaded enough?

Has the dough transitioned from sticky and lumpy to smooth and silky?

Does it bounce back if you poke it with two fingers?

Try the “windowpane test” — grab a handful of dough, hold it up between your hands and let it stretch and stretch under its own weight. If you can stretch it very thin and see light through it, you’re good!

TIP:

Some bakers let their dough rise in a square dough-rising bucket that has volume measurements on the side for an accurate read on the rise. That’s double; no trouble!

how to LET DOUGH REST

Whether kneading by hand or machine, it’s important to let the dough rest or rise. This is where the yeast shows its true magic!

How to let dough rise

Set the dough in a clean mixing bowl and loosely cover with a damp, clean cloth or tea towel.

Some recipes call for oiling the top of the dough so it doesn’t form a crust that can limit the dough’s rise. You can also cover with plastic wrap that’s sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Let the bowl sit in a warm, draft-free place.

How long does it take

With Active Dry Yeast, keep dough covered until it doubles in size; anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.

With RapidRise® Yeast, let the dough rest for 10 minutes. It is not required to double in size.

Want to know if your dough is doubled in size? Lightly and quickly press two fingers about ½ inch into the dough, if the impression stays, the dough is doubled.

punching the DOUGH DOWN

dough

After the dough rises, gently pull the dough from the sides of the bowl with your hands and fold it onto itself, releasing some of the built-up carbon dioxide and redistributing the yeast. Here, you can further divide and shape the dough into the bread’s intended shape.

TIP:

If pizza dough isn’t stretching easily, let the dough rest for 10 minutes to let it relax, then shape, as needed.

shape it BEFORE YOU BAKE IT

While there are infinite, glorious ways to shape bread and even turn it into a work of art, basic shaping is all you need for most recipes. Shaping ensures the bread has a great structure and that the loaf gets the maximum rise. Check your recipe for specifics, but here are the top ways to turn that dough into something delicious:



SHAPING FOR A LOAF PAN

From the rested dough ball, use a rolling pin to roll out to form a long rectangle about as wide as your pan.

Starting at the short end of the rectangle, roll the dough up tightly to make a loaf shape.

Pinch the seam ends on each side and bottom to seal.

Place seam-side down into a greased baking or loaf pan.



SHAPING & ROLLING CINNAMON ROLLS

Place rested dough on a lightly floured surface.

Use a rolling pin to roll out dough to the desired sized rectangle.

Spread filling evenly over dough leaving ¾-inch border at the top edge; lightly press filling into dough.

shaping

Roll the dough into a tight log and pinch the end seam closed.

Place roll seam-side down, tidying the edges, if needed.

Cut log into the desired number of slices using a serrated knife or string.

Place each roll cut-side up in the baking pan.



SHAPING PIZZA CRUST

Flatten the rested dough ball into a thick circle.

EITHER: Place on lightly floured counter or board and use your hands to gently stretch while working around the circle; repeat until a 12-inch circle is achieved.

OR: Use the rolling-pin method to start rolling from the middle to the far edge and then quarter turn to keep the circle even; repeat until a 12-inch circle is achieved.

shaping

Bake on a pizza tray or pizza stone.



SHAPING A ROUND LOAF OR ROUND ROLLS

Place the rested dough ball on a countertop or board.

Fold one edge of the dough to the center, then repeat with the opposite edge, pinching together.

Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat, pinching the edges together.

Flip the ball over so the smooth side is up; gently wrap hands around dough to smooth edges further.

how to know when YOUR BREAD IS COOKED

So, the bread’s in the oven, looking fabulous. How do you know it’s cooked completely? Your chosen recipe will be a great guide, but there can be some variables that affect bread bake time. Unless noted in the recipe, bake bread on your oven’s center rack with several inches between pans.


Since oven temperatures vary, take a peek at the loaf about 10 minutes before the recipe says to see how the bread is looking. At this point, if the bread is browning too much, you can take it out and tent it with foil to prevent excessive browning. Great loaves should be evenly browned. Think it’s done? Here’s how to know for sure:

Do the Tap Test

Check bread doneness without special equipment.


Turn out bread from pan.

Use your fingers or a spoon to tap on the bottom or side of the loaf.

If it sounds hollow, it’s done because just enough water has evaporated.

If it makes a lower-pitch, “thud” sound, return the bread to the oven.

Temp Your Bread

Use an instant-read thermometer for an accurate measurement of bread doneness.


Turn over the loaf and insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the bread from the side or bottom.

Basic breads are done at 190°F.

Enriched doughs that have egg, milk or butter are finished at around 205°F.

Check for Color

Look for an even, golden brown.


Check for an even, golden brown color and no sign of doughiness.

Use for sugary, filled breads that may give an inaccurate temperature reading if the thermometer touches hot sugar.

HOW & WHY TO COOL BREAD

bread

Once the bread comes out of the oven, it will be tempting to cut into the loaf immediately. But, set your loaf to cool on a wire rack until it’s room temperature (2 hours, or at least 30 minutes) for the best flavor and structure. Why? Because the crust will crackle and sing your praises. And:

Water is still evaporating from the starches in the bread helping to define final texture — cut too soon and bread may be doughy

Cutting into the bread too quickly can cause too much steam to escape at once, which can dry the loaf out later

Flavor is still being developed as bread cools

TIP:

Need something to do while your bread cools? Post a pic of your loaf, rolls and homemade deliciousness and tag us @FleischmannsYeast

storing HOMEMADE BREAD

bread

There’s nothing like a freshly baked loaf of bread. Should you have extra, store it…

Wrapped in paper and in a bread box at room temperature

Sealed up tightly in a cool, dry place

Wrapped tightly in a zip-top plastic bag or foil and freeze (for long-term storage)

Without refrigerating, as cold temperatures quickly dry the bread out

general beginner BAKING HOW-TOS

yeast

No matter the recipe, make sure you always:

Measure dry ingredients in a dry-ingredients measuring cup or spoon

Measure liquid ingredients in see-through measuring cups at eye level

Use a thermometer for precise temperatures

Follow each recipe exactly

Preheat the oven


what is PROOFING?

rising dough

“Proofing” is a term that can be used multiple ways. Proofing can refer to activating yeast in lukewarm water or liquid to ensure that it is active. More commonly, proofing refers to the final fermentation step before baking where shaped dough is set aside to rise before baking.


tip

A slower final proof will yield a more flavorful result by allowing for more fermentation. So, while it’s tempting to try to rush the process by making the proofing environment a little warmer, you’ll be rewarded in the end with a more delicious loaf. Be careful not to overproof, however. When the dough is nearly doubled in size, it is ready to bake

how to KNEAD DOUGH

first, why knead?

1. To distribute yeast to fresh carbohydrate molecules to yield a great rise

2. To strengthen and lengthen gluten molecules in the dough to develop the dough’s structure


KNEADING BY HAND

Kneading wouldn’t seem so daunting if it was just called it what it is: Fold, Push, Turn. You can do that!

Kneading By Hand

start

Sprinkle just enough flour on your work surface to prevent the dough from sticking, then turn the dough out onto it, patting it into a ball. You can use a clean counter or a large cutting board.


fold

Lift the furthest portion of the dough toward you.


push

Use the heels of your hands to push the dough away in a rolling motion.


turn

Rotate the dough a ¼ turn.


repeat

Keep the “fold, push, turn” process going until the dough is smooth and elastic; follow your recipe as a guide but it should take between 4 to 10 minutes. You can add more flour to your board as-needed, but a slightly stickier dough is preferred by bread bakers.


tip

Hands or bowl covered in caked-on dough? First, dust or rub off as much as you can then wash in cool water with soap. Using warm water strengthens gluten, making it harder to wash off.


KNEADING WITH A STAND MIXER

Great results can be achieved by hand, but if you have a stand mixer, kneading is a breeze.


prep

Mix with paddle attachment, knead with dough hook in stand mixer.


mix

Based on recipe, combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients at low speed for several minutes until dough forms and cleans the side of the bowl.


knead

Continue kneading at low speed until smooth, elastic dough forms.


how do you know if the dough is kneaded enough?

Has the dough transitioned from sticky and lumpy to smooth and silky?

Does it bounce back if you poke it with two fingers?

Try the “windowpane test” — Grab a handful of dough, hold it up between your hands and let it stretch and stretch under its own weight. If you can stretch it very thin and see light through it, you’re good!

how to LET DOUGH REST

Whether kneading by hand or machine, it’s important to let the dough rest or rise. This is where the yeast shows its true magic!

HOW TO LET DOUGH RISE

Set the dough in a clean mixing bowl and loosely cover with a damp, clean cloth or tea towel.

Some recipes call for oiling the top of the dough so it doesn’t form a crust that can limit the dough’s rise. You can also cover with plastic wrap that’s sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Let the bowl sit in a warm, draft-free place.


HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE

With Active Dry Yeast, keep dough covered until it doubles in size; anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.

With RapidRise® Yeast, let the dough rest for 10 minutes. It is not required to double in size.

Want to know if your dough is doubled in size? Lightly and quickly press two fingers about ½ inch into the dough, if the impression stays, the dough is doubled.

tip

Some bakers let their dough rise in a square dough-rising bucket that has volume measurements on the side for an accurate read on the rise. That’s double; no trouble!


punching the DOUGH DOWN

How To Knead

After the dough rises, gently pull the dough from the sides of the bowl with your hands and fold it onto itself, releasing some of the built-up carbon dioxide and redistributing the yeast. Here, you can further divide and shape the dough into the bread’s intended shape.

how to LET DOUGH REST

SHAPING FOR A LOAF PAN

From the rested dough ball, use a rolling pin to roll out to form a long rectangle about as wide as your pan.

Starting at the short end of the rectangle, roll the dough up tightly to make a loaf shape.

Pinch the seam ends on each side and bottom to seal.

Place seam-side down into greased baking or loaf pan.


SHAPING & ROLLING CINNAMON ROLLS

Place rested dough on a lightly floured surface.

Use a rolling pin to roll out dough to the desired size rectangle.

Spread filling evenly over dough leaving ¾-inch border at the top edge; lightly press filling into dough.

rising dough

Roll the dough into a tight log and pinch the end-seam closed.

Place roll seam-side down, tidying the edges, if needed.

Cut log into the desired number of slices using a serrated knife or string.

Place each roll cut-side up in baking pan.


SHAPING PIZZA CRUST

Flatten the rested dough ball into a thick circle.

EITHER: Place on lightly floured counter or board and use your hands to gently stretch while working around the circle; repeat until 12-inch circle is achieved.

OR: Use the rolling-pin method to start rolling from the middle to the far edge and then quarter turn to keep circle even; repeat until 12-inch circle is achieved.

pizza dough

Bake on a pizza tray or pizza stone.


tip

If pizza dough isn’t stretching easily, let the dough rest for 10 minutes to let it relax then shape, as needed.


SHAPING A ROUND LOAF OR ROUND ROLLS

Place rested dough ball on countertop or board.

Fold one edge of the dough to the center, then repeat with the opposite edge, pinching together.

Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat, pinching the edges together.

Flip the ball over so the smooth side is up; gently wrap hands around dough to smooth edges further.

how to know when YOUR BREAD IS COOKED

So the bread’s in the oven, looking fabulous. How do you know it’s cooked completely? Your chosen recipe will be a great guide, but there can be some variables that affect bread bake-time. Unless noted in the recipe, bake bread on your oven’s center rack with several inches between pans.

Since oven temperatures vary, take a peek at the loaf about 10 minutes before the recipe says to see how the bread is looking. At this point, if the bread is browning too much, you can take it out and tent it with foil to prevent excessive browning. Great loaves should be evenly browned. Think it’s done? Here’s how to know for sure:


do the tap test

Check bread doneness without special equipment.

Turn out bread from pan

Use your fingers or a spoon to tap on the bottom or side of the loaf

If it sounds hollow, it’s done because just enough water has evaporated

If it makes a lower-pitch, “thud” sound, return the bread to the oven


temp your bread

Use an instant-read thermometer for an accurate measurement of bread doneness.

Turn over the loaf and insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the bread from the side or bottom

Basic breads are done at 190°F

Enriched doughs that have egg, milk or butter are finished at around 205°F


check for color

Look for an even, golden brown.

Check for an even, golden brown color and no sign of doughiness

Use for sugary, filled breads that may give an inaccurate temperature reading if thermometer touches hot sugar

how & why TO COOL BREAD

rising dough

Once the bread comes out of the oven, it will be tempting to cut into the loaf immediately. But, set your loaf to cool on a wire rack until it’s room temperature (2 hours, or at least 30 minutes) for the best flavor and structure. Why? Because the crust will crackle and sing your praises. And:

Water is still evaporating from the starches in the bread helping to define final texture — cut too soon and bread may be doughy

Cutting into the bread too quickly can cause too much steam to escape at once, which can dry the loaf out later

Flavor is still being developed as bread cools

storing HOMEMADE BREAD

rising dough

There’s nothing like a freshly-baked loaf of bread. Should you have extra, store it…

Wrapped in paper and in a bread box at room temperature

Sealed up tightly in a cool, dry place

Wrapped tightly in a zip-top plastic bag or foil and freeze (for long-term storage)

Without refrigerating, as cold temperatures quickly dry the bread out

tip

Need something to do while your bread cools? Post a pic of your loaf, rolls and homemade deliciousness and tag us @FleischmannsYeast