Tips for baking better bread

 sourdough bread
One of the most enticing aromas to come out of a kitchen is the scent of freshly baked bread. Even though few things beat a loaf of homemade bread, many people don't bake it frequently. They may be intimidated by the process or might feel like it involves far too much measuring or math. Over at Epicurious, famed baker Rose Levy Beranbaum it taking the apprehension out of baking with her detailed guide to baking better bread

The guide is published in several parts, each focusing on a different aspect of the process. The first segment covers measuring, kneading, and proofing. While explaining several different ways to mix together the ingredients and knead the dough, Beranbaum points out two key points about this part of the process. The first is that you should always keep the salt from interacting directly with the yeast because it can kill it. Either mix the flour with the yeast or salt before adding the other ingredient so that there is a buffer between the two. Another important aspect is to make sure the temperature of the water or liquid you add to the dough is correct. Too hot and the yeast will die; too cold and the dough will take much longer to rise (better to err on the side of cold). 

Additional segments of the guide cover choosing ingredients and which tools and equipment are essential to the process. A kitchen scale is highly recommended, and you should make sure you have the correct size loaf pans to suit your particular bread. The pans should be heavy and have a dull finish, which "absorbs heat so it browns better than a shiny finish which deflects heat." The final article delves into mastering the art of sourdough. 

Photo of  Basic sourdough bread from  The Bread Bible  by  Rose Levy Beranbaum

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