Let's talk BREAD!

Homemade Bread

Homemade Bread

Let's talk BREAD!....who doesn't love fresh homemade bread! Yum, I'm getting hungry just writing this!

Homemade bread has been a staple in homes for many years, so let's chat about tips that can make your homemade bread even better!

Bread Week on The Great Canadian Baking Show

Bread week, episode 2 of Season 1, was such a memorable time on set for me, mainly because the tent smelled absolutely amazing!!!  I figured what better way to chat about bread than to ask some of my fellow season 1 Great Canadian Baking Show bakers themselves to share their best tips...so here they are!

Sinclair's bread tip:

Set your oven to 100 degrees F, with a bowl of water inside.  Then turn the oven off and use it as a proofing drawer in the winter months.

Corey's bread tip:

Use your hands! Bread making is very dependent on the environment and the best way of ensuring your bread will be successful is to get right in there.  Feeling the dough will tell you if you need more flour or water, when you're done kneading, ow when it's done rising etc.  The more you use your hands to make your bread, the better you'll know your bread, and the better your bread will be. 

Terri's bread tip:

I always proof my yeast when making bread that uses yeast. This won’t change the recipe but allows you to be positive the yeast is working and not gone bad. Nothing worse than making a whole bread recipe only to have it not rise, if you proof the yeast this should never happen. All I do when proofing, even if not called for in the recipe, is add the yeast to the amount of warm water called for in the recipe and about 1/2 tsp of sugar to feed the yeast. Wait until it blooms then you know for sure your yeast is happy and ready to work for you.

Sabrina's bread tip:

Something I do when making certain breads is using a spray bottle to build a nice crust around the bread.  I spray about 2-3 times during the bake. 

James' bread tip #1:

It's supposed to be wet! So when I first started trying to make bread I fell for this trap. Believe it or not I do not like having wet sticky fingers. So when I mixed by bread dough and it started sticking to the bench and my hands and I felt like I was scraping dough off my fingers I did what many of us do and added more flour. This is a bad idea. More flour is going to make your bread heavy and dense. 

If your bread dough is sticking to your hands: keep kneading! It will eventually start to become elastic and the dough on your fingers and bench will become incorporated into the dough ball. But that can take a good 10 minutes of vigorous kneading. When it seems really wet a good technique is: grab the dough and pull it toward you . Fold the half you are holding back over the bit that's stuck on the counter. Now grab and lift the whole thing off the counter, rotate a quarter turn and slap it back on the counter (very satisfying bit). Repeat this over and over again. Once you get into a rhythm you can do this really quickly.

Resist the temptation to add more flour at all costs! If you really can't seem to get it elastic and it is just not coming together after 10 minutes: sprinkle a little flour on the work surface and knead the dough on top of it but be really sparing!

James' bread tip #2:

A super way to make any bread soft and fluffy is to use the Tangzhong technique. This technique is actually a fairly recent one invented in Japan. Most standard bread and roll recipes can be adapted to use the technique. Before you start your bread take about 1/7 to 1/5 of your flour and put it in a small saucepan along with twice the weight of water (subtract this from the water in your recipe). Slowly heat it whisking all the time. Eventually you will notice it thickens and the lines you make with the whisk remain on the surface for a while. Let this roux cool to luke-warm and then add it in with the rest of your ingredients. You will find this bread rises like crazy. I find it work better with white flour rather than wholewheat. So if you are using a mix use the white for the tangzhong and then keep the wholewheat for the main dough.

Vandana's bread tip:

My favorite bread tip involves eggwash on bread.  Read more about how to get a shiny finish on your bread using only the egg yolk here!


Do you have a special bread tip to share with us bakers? Post it below, we'd love to hear from you! 


Photo credit: CBC's The Great Canadian Baking Show

Photo credit: CBC's The Great Canadian Baking Show