How to make bread (101 tutorial) – P4: Baking and Storing

In this series of “How to make bread”, we would like to guide you through the whole procedure of making a loaf of bread from scratch. We introduce not only the basic steps, necessary techniques and skills (such as folding or proofing the dough), but also important notes (plus tips and tricks) to ensure you a success right at your first attempt.

We hope you find many takeaways from this series and May your bread always rise ;)

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Part 1: Preparing ingredients

Part 2: “Starters” and How to knead bread dough

Part 3: Proofing and Shaping bread dough

Part 4: Baking and Storing bread

  • Step 7 – Baking

Similar to baking cakes, always preheat the oven at least 10 – 15 minutes so that it reaches the desired temperature when we start baking bread. Therefore, when the dough rises about 75-80% in the second proofing, it is time for us to preheat the oven. If the dough is proofed in the oven, take it out before preheating the oven.

Temperature and baking time vary on different types of bread. However, temperature and time as indicated in recipes are for reference only. Home oven can be unstable and unreliable, hence real temperature may differ from set temperature. It is important for us to know the oven well to set the temperature and time as desired (for more details, please read this post “Understanding your oven – A must for a perfect cake (or bread)”).

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  • Step 8 – Cooling and storage

It seems difficult to resist the wonderful aroma of hot bread fresh from the oven; however, for most types of bread, “cooling” is necessary. After taking the bread from the oven, let it cool on rack for 15 minutes to release moist air. If slicing it right away, breadcrumb may get gummy and lumpy due to the remained moist air.

Bread is best to be served within 7 to 8 hours after baking. The more it stays, the drier and firmer it gets. Keep bread in paper bag (for crunchy crust bread) or plastic bag (for soft sweet bread). A better way is wrapping it with plastic film and keeping in freezer. When serve, take it out, defrost at room temperature and bake again (at 140-160 °C/ 284-320 °F for 3-5 minutes depending on bread types) for later use.

Moreover, you can freeze the dough after the first proofing. Make sure to wrap the dough carefully to prevent it from absorbing moist air (wrap the dough with several layers of plastic film and store in a zip-lock bag). Later defrost the frozen dough in refrigerator, then shape, let it rise at room temperature and bake.

This is the last part of this series. I hope it has given you some more interesting insights on bread-making-at-home. I wish you a lot of success with bread even at your first attempts. If you have any questions, please leave them below these posts on “How to make bread”, I will try to answer asap.

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Author: Trang and Xuan

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