Bread Baking Tips

Expert bread-making tips from top London bakers Chris Young and Patrick Ryan will help you make the most of home-baking skills.

Briiliant Baking Tips

Whether you're a baking nerd or novice these expert bread-making tips from Real Bread Campaign co-ordinator Chris Young and baker Patrick Ryan, co-author of Bread Revolution, will help you make the most of home baking.

"Always give it a go, don't be afraid of failure," says Patrick. "Bread is a very personal thing, each loaf will be different. Everyone has their own techniques so once you master the basics, let your personality flow and express yourself. Bread is more versatile than you may think."

RISE TO THE CHALLENGE

  • Don't worry if your dough requires slightly more or less liquid than in a recipe, all flour is different.

  • Avoid the temptation to automatically reach for extra flour when kneading wet dough, it can take a few minutes for flour to fully hydrate.

  • Wet dough will not stick to wet hands - a little vegetable oil will stop dough sticking to your hands.

  • Unless you're making enriched bread like milk bread or brioche, leave out any added sugar or fat a recipe calls for - neither is needed to make plain real bread and it just adds extra calories.

  • Avoid yeast labelled 'instant' or 'fast acting' - instead, try dried active yeast, fresh yeast or make your own sourdough starter.

  • Patience is a virtue. If a recipe calls for a 60 minute prove but your kitchen is slightly cold, the prove time may be extended by 20-30 minutes.

  • Want to leave your dough while you go out for a few hours or even overnight? Put your dough in the fridge to slow the yeast down. Leave at room temperature for an hour or until it's fully risen before baking.

  • Don't put your bread in the fridge! Bread goes stale quicker in the fridge. It's better to let it cool, slice it and freeze it.

  • To recreate the blast of steam essential for a great crust, place a roasting tray at the base of the oven when preheating and drop ice cubes into the roasting tray to release a burst of steam.

Ready to look at some recipes? Check out our favourite bread recipes to make at home.