bake your best with
easy baking tips

Try these useful baking tips for beginners and seasoned bakers to get great results out of every recipe.

rising dough

Yeast activity is affected by temperature and humidity — try any one of these easy tips for getting the best rise, no matter what. If dough hasn’t doubled in the specified time, you can leave it out for up to one hour longer.

Option A: The Go-To

Cover and place dough on the kitchen counter away from cool drafts.


Option B: The Time Crunch

To speed up a rise, try one of these options…

Place the dough in a bowl or on a pan, then set on top of a pre-heating oven.

Preheat your oven to its lowest temp, turn it off, then place the dough inside the oven in a bowl or pan to rise.

Heat a cup of water in the microwave for 1 minute and let it sit for 1 minute. Then place dough in a warm/humid, draft-free microwave for the remaining rise time.


Option C: The Slowdown

To delay the rise to bake it later (which actually contributes to greater flavor), try…

Placing the covered bowl with the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Let dough return to room temperature and allow it to finish rising to double, if needed.

Letting the dough sit in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours, let dough return to room temp and finish doubling, if needed — perfect for delaying shaped or rolled dough. Try this for cinnamon rolls!

rising dough

This easy trick is great for bakers who thrive on making a deliciously convenient, middle-of-the-week treat! This method works best for lean doughs like pizza or rolls, helping home bakers make the most of double, and even triple batches.


Start with a freezer-friendly dough that typically has more yeast, more sugar and less salt.

Instead of letting dough rise the first time, wrap dough in plastic wrap in a zip-top bag.

Place in the freezer for up to four weeks.

When ready to bake, allow dough to thaw and rise in the refrigerator 8 to 16 hours.

rising dough

Baking temperature and the amount of steam in the oven are the keys to getting a great, crisp loaf.


Spritz the inside of your oven with water from a spray bottle then quickly close the oven door before baking.

Let your loaf cool to room temperature (two hours, or at least 30 minutes) on a wire cooling rack before cutting it as the crust is still forming even as it cools.

Opt for a recipe that uses a preheated Dutch oven for baking bread. It traps evaporative steam, helping the moisture cling to the crust to yield a crisp crust.

rising dough

Memories made in the kitchen are the sweetest memories of all. Not only is it a rewarding activity to do together, but baking is also a sensory wonderland for kids and adults alike! But sometimes cooking with kids can get a little...messy. Here are some basic baking tips and tricks to make the most of every moment together.

Choose a Family-Friendly Recipe

A show-stopping, filled and twisted loaf can wait! Go for easy bread recipes and let kids weigh in on the decision. Pizza and cinnamon rolls are always crowd-pleasers.


Set Ground Rules

Make sure your child knows the expectations for cleanliness and safety.


Accept Mess

It’s going to happen and it’s okay. Sometimes it’s the adult that makes a mess and that’s a good moment to share some humility about it, too.


“Mise en Place” Equals Easy Peezy

Organize the recipe, go over it together and set out ingredients ahead of time so you can be totally focused on the process.


Let Them Dive In

Allow the child to truly participate in a way that’s appropriate for their age.


Focus on a Stage

If kids are too young to stay engaged for a whole recipe, break it up! Let them focus on one part so they contribute to the amazing end result. They could be an expert measurer and mixer. You could even cut some dough off to give them as “play dough.” They can easily have fun and get creative with this safe, moldable activity. Do they love getting sticky hands stretching dough? Play to their strengths and everyone wins.


Be Prepared to Answer “Why?”

Children’s curiosity is one of the most wonderful things, and there’s plenty to learn about baking. Glance through the beginner's baking education for Yeast 101 and Techniques to share your baking smarts. This could be the day that a lifelong love of baking is born!


rising dough

From coatings, to garnishes, to unique dough cutting, these easy bread-baking techniques will put a little extra homemade touch in every loaf.

Egg Wash

Beat an egg with a teaspoon of water and brush on the dough. When baked, the protein in the egg will give bread a super shine. This can also be done when five minutes of bake time remain.


Butter or Margarine

These will give loaves or rolls a deep, golden-brown color and great flavor when brushed on the loaf right out of the oven.


Milk

For a loaf that’s really delicious, brush the unbaked loaves with milk. It will make a slightly soft or tender crust, with a golden color and a dull shine.


Toppings

Brush unbaked loaves with an egg-white wash and then sprinkle with your topping of your choice for added flavor:

Seeds — such as poppy seeds, caraway seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseed or sunflower seeds

Dried herbs — such as basil or oregano

Aromatics — such as dried onion or garlic flakes

Grains — such as rolled oats or millet


Scoring the Loaves

For a decorative look, glaze and slash the dough after it rises with a single-edged razor blade or very sharp knife. Make cuts about ¼ inch deep into the dough. Not only will this look professional, the slashes help release steams to ensure dough keeps its shape while baking.

rising dough

Bread machines are a great tool for making homemade baked goods with little hands-on time. Learn how to make the most of your machine with these tips.

DOUGH/MANUAL CYCLE BREAD BAKING CYCLE
Use as a foolproof, hands-off approach to mixing, kneading and proofing dough to be shaped or topped however your final recipe requires. Try this method for cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, pizza and more! This setting will mix, knead, proof and bake your loaf all in the bread machine. Try these rules of thumb and you’ll be baking great yeast recipes in no time.

BREAD-MACHINE QUICK TIPS

Choose tried-and-true recipes from well-tested sources.

Keep notes to refine recipes in the future.

Stick to your bread machine’s capacity as noted in its manual to avoid straining the machine or misshaping loaves.


BREAD MACHINE SIZE TOTAL AMOUNT OF FLOUR OR CEREALS YEAST REQUIRED
1-pound 2 to 2-½ cups 1 to 1-½ teaspoons yeast
1-½-pound 3 to 3-½ cups 1-½ to 2 teaspoons yeast
2-pound 4 to 4-½ cups 1-½ to 2-½ teaspoons yeast

To easily check the capacity of your bread machine, check the size of the pan inside. Fill just the pan with water, if it holds…

10 cups or less, it’s equal to a 1-pound machine

3 cups or more, it’s equal to a 2-pound machine


HOW TO ADJUST RECIPES FOR BREAD MACHINES

INGREDIENT CALCULATIONS:

Check the amount of flour and other cereals — if the recipe calls for a range of flour amount (e.g., 2 to 2-¼ cup), choose the lower amount.

If the amount is less than or equal to what’s recommended for your bread-machine capacity, you may not need to adjust the recipe.

If the amount of flour and cereals is greater than what’s called for in the recipe, scale down all ingredients.


Whether scaling up or scaling recipe down:

Decrease ingredients proportionally, keeping ratios the same.

Decrease by a number that’s easy to calculate (½ or ¼ calculations are easier to calculate than ⅗).

Decrease by “eyeball” if calculation is difficult to break down.


Follow these rules for specific ingredients:

Eggs

1 egg = 4 tablespoons

1 egg white = 2 tablespoons

1 egg yolk = approx. 2 tablespoons


Flour

Start with the lower amount called for in the recipe; adding more flour is easier than making a dough wetter.

Use bread flour in place of all-purpose flour for more consistent texture and loaf.


Yeast

Use less yeast for bread-machine recipes since loaves tend to rise higher.

For best rise, ensure yeast does not come in contact with liquid ingredients (water, milk, oil, etc.) until mixing begins.

For rule of thumb, refer to the chart above.


Mix-ins

Moist ingredients like olives, fruits or vegetables add liquid to the recipe and break down in the machine, so use less than traditional recipes.

Add during the fruit/nut cycle to minimize breakdown of ingredients.


CONSISTENCY:

Assess consistency after first 5 minutes of mixing.

Dough should form a smooth, slightly tacky ball around the mixing blade.

If dough appears soft, loose or sticky, add additional bread flour one teaspoon at a time.

If dough appears too dry, add additional liquid one teaspoon at a time.


MAKING IMPROVEMENTS:

Make the next loaf even better by…

Comparing recipes to other favorite recipes prepared in a bread machine

Reviewing our troubleshooting guide

Only making one change at a time so you can know with certainty what works