The Ultimate Bread Guide - Everything you need to know about making breadBread & Dough
Interested in making bread but not sure where to start? We’ve answered all your bread-related questions in one single blog post so you can learn all the fundamentals here.
GENERAL BREAD QUESTIONS
Q: What’s a basic bread recipe?
A: Making your own bread is both therapeutic and rewarding but if you’ve never made it before, don’t worry. We have an incredibly simple recipe that only requires 5 ingredients and no fancy equipment. Try out our ‘Very Simple White Loaf’ by Allinson's and you’ll end up with a loaf that looks like it came from a bakery. Once you’ve cracked this recipe, you’ll conquer any loaf!
Q: Can you make bread without yeast?
A: Absolutely! Our Soda Bread recipe is completely yeast-free and takes no more than a few minutes to prepare. You can whack it straight into the oven without having to wait for the dough to rise.
Q. Can you make bread with plain flour?
A: Again, this is where Soda Bread is your best friend. One of the greatest things about soda bread is that you can alter the white to wholemeal flour ratio. So just use 500g of plain flour instead of 250g wholemeal and 250g plain.
Q: Can I turn plain flour into self-raising flour?
A: Yes! All you need to do is add 2 tsp of baking powder to each 150g/60z of plain flour.
HOW TO FREEZE BREAD
Q: How do you freeze bread?
A: It’s always best to freeze your bread as soon as possible to keep your loaf fresher for longer. We suggest cutting it into slices first once it’s cooled down and wrap tightly in cling film before freezing. This way you can grab the desired number of slices you need whilst keeping the remaining loaf in the freezer. If you don’t want to cut your loaf in slices, simply double wrap in cling film before freezing and consume within 6 months.
HOW TO DEFROST BREAD
Q: How do I defrost an entire loaf?
A: OVEN - Take the bread out of the plastic wrap and leave to thaw in the fridge. Once defrosted, place the loaf on a tray wrapped in tin foil. Preheat the oven to 150-160C (fan) and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Q: How do I defrost bread slices?
A: MICROWAVE - Take the desired amount of sliced bread out the freezer and place on a microwaveable plate. Heat on full power in the microwave for 15-25 seconds until soft.
A: TOASTER - If you’d like to consume immediately, pop the sliced bread in the toaster for a few minutes.
Want to discover more tips and tricks about bread making? Read Peter Sidwell’s blog post or watch his video.
HOW TO STORE FRESHLY BAKED BREAD
Q: How do you store freshly baked bread?
A: If you don’t want to freeze your freshly baked bread but would like it to last longer, store in an airtight container for 2-3 days for ultimate freshness.
HOW TO FREEZE BREAD DOUGH
Q: Can I freeze bread dough?
A: If you make your own bread frequently, you’ll probably prefer to freeze the dough instead of the finished loaf. Make your dough as usual and allow to prove. Shape the dough into either rolls or loaves and freeze on a lightly greased baking tray or loaf tin. Once frozen, remove from the tin/tray and double wrap in cling film. Date the dough and use within 6 months.
HOW TO DEFROST BREAD DOUGH
Q: How do you defrost bread dough?
A: Take your frozen dough out the freezer and allow to thaw in the fridge overnight (still wrapped in cling film). Once thawed, return the dough to an oiled baking tin or tray. Cover the dough in a tea towel. Leave the dough to rise in a warm environment and wait until it’s doubled in size. Now you can continue to bake your dough as per your recipe instructions.
TOP 10 BAKING TIPS AND TRICKS
1. Use the remaining egg shell to remove smaller shell fragments. - So you’ve cracked an egg and behold, there’s a shell in your mixture! Use the remaining shell to scoop it out.
2. To keep your cookies moist, place a slice of bread in an airtight container with them - The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread, keeping them softer for longer!
3. Use an ice-cream scoop to portion your muffins, cookies and cupcakes! You’ll have perfect portions every time.
4. Room temperature ingredients mix better than cold ingredients - Try and get all your ingredients around room temperature first – your bakes will thank you later!
5. Try and avoid the temptation of opening your oven to check on your bakes - Opening your oven frequently can cause your bakes to sink!
6. Coat your chocolate chips and fruit in flour before adding them to your mixture - This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of your bakes.
7. Quickly soften your butter in the microwave - Boil some water in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Remove the water from the microwave and replace with your butter on a plate. Close the microwave door and allow the butter to soften from the trapped heat.
8. Never directly mix salt and yeast together - This tip is thanks to Peter Sidwell! When you place salt directly onto on yeast, the yeast will die and your dough will not rise.
9. Quickly ripen bananas in the oven - Place your bananas on a lined tray and pop in the oven at 180C (fan) for 30-40 minutes or until the banana coating is black. This will give you the perfect mushy, sweet bananas for baking.
10. Ensure you’re using the correct tin for a perfect bake - Recipes base their baking time on the thickness of the batter. Using too large of a tin will cause your bake to cook too quickly and potentially burn.