Bread is a very humble product made from flour, water, yeast and salt. What a baker needs to understand and imbibe in her DNA is that the true art of bread baking lies in how much respect do you treat these ingredients with.
Process or technique in bread baking is the most significant factor determining the quality of the product. One must follow these steps to ensure your bread comes out exactly how you had wanted it to be.
- Selecting ingredients – The quality of the ingredient, especially the quality of the flour, determines the taste of the bread. Do thorough research and identify exactly which flour one wants to use and suits the weather and equipment conditions you have
2. Scaling the ingredients – Precise scaling in gms ensures you get the same consistent product every time. I am personally not a big fan of cups and tbsp, etc. These always bring in variation
3. Mixing –
One must always mix flour, water, starter, etc at speed 1 until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
Once this is done we will mix it at speed 2 until gluten development is done. One can ascertain this with a window test. We don’t want a very tight window. In baking I always suggest don’t follow the time but the actual test at every step. Depending on weather and quality of ingredient the same mixing or proving process can have a variation of 2-5%.
If the recipe requires a enricher like seeds, butter, fruits, etc these should always be added once the gluten development is done
Prove 1 – The entire batch will prove in a big tub for appx 1:30 hours.
Divide & Shape – The dough should be divided into the required gms and the given pre shape
Prove 2 – the dough should be rest for 15-25 mins
Final shaping – The dough will now be given its final shape
Prove 3- We will final prove the dough for appx 30 mins
Scoring – Take a sharp blade and score / slit the top of the loaf to ensure the gases inside have a dedicated space to come from during baking
Baking – Bake the product at the right temperature usually ranging from 180C – 240 C for 20-40 mins
Cooling – Hot bread is never good bread, one must always cool the bread at room temperature until the core temperature is 24C