Is a Billy bookcase or Ikea’s Knada bread mix easier to put together? Which tastes better?
If you’re going to Ikea just for the flat-packed furniture, and bypassing the food, you’re missing out on half the experience. One dollar ice cream, cinnamon rolls, lox, meatballs, free drinks. A stop at the Ikea cafe is the cherry on top of the Swedish shopping spree.
But could you bring a little bit of that bistro goodness home and bake it up in your own oven?
For the past year, I’ve been happy to act as my local bread baking phone-a-friend. I was the Butterball hotline of beginner bread baking tips and questions. It was great to see so many people take the quarantine time to dive into bread baking and discover it’s not all that difficult, in fact, it’s quite easy and quite rewarding, to baking a beautiful loaf of homemade bread that easily beats any soft, rubbery disc you might find at the food store.
These are the beginner bread baking tips, advice, and questions I answered the most in the past year. Do these simple, basic things right and you’re well on your way to being a successful home bread baker.
If you don’t want to mess around or maintain a sourdough starter but still yearn for better tasting home-baked bread, you might consider using a starter or pre-ferment to quickly improve your home loaves with little additional effort beyond some advanced planning.
I am a big sucker for any baked good or bread that can pull double duty as both a breakfast or dessert item. This easy no knead cinnamon swirl raisin bread definitely qualifies. Baked as a sandwich loaf, it slices up easily for morning toast or offers just enough sweetness to work as a treat with afternoon coffee or tea. This bread is in regular rotation at our house as both the kids and the wife love slathering it with butter or peanut butter in the morning.
My kids love fresh bread. Specifically, the love eating the warm, soft middle and then handing me the harder, darker crust. This systems actually works pretty well for us as I think the crust is where the flavor is at. But what if I could get the simplicity of a no knead loaf with a softer crust that still had some appealing flavor but would meet with my kid’s approval? Challenge accepted.
Much of bread baking involves science but not everything. There is still a little room for art. And for mistakes. I was rather dubious about this bread recipe. I used a scale. I followed the recipe. It wasn’t exactly matching up with any of the accompanying pictures. It had few bubbles. It appeared dry. It felt off. I kept going. What other choice did I have? I hate wasting food, even sketchy dough. What happened?
Yeast is responsible for bread, wine, and beer. Do you need to know more?
Yeast is a single-cell microgranism in the fungi family. Its scientific name is Saccharomyces Cerevisiae which means “sugar-eating fungus.” It is tiny (It takes twenty billion yeast cells to weigh one gram) but very strong. Yeast serves as a leavening agent which causes the bread to rise and expand by converting the ferment-able sugars present in the dough into carbon dioxide and ethanol.