What You Need to Know Before Baking Your First Bread
by Inside Manila Team, April 18, 2020 6:21pm
Art by Ahl Mirambel
The enhanced community quarantine made us find ways to make the most out of our time. People are inclined to workouts, arts, cooking and cooking. And suddenly, people are baking bread. From sourdough starters to swapping tips, making bread from scratch has been gaining popularity. Long before COVID-19, has always held a kind of calm, reassuring, even “therapeutic” energy for those who do it.
If you’ve decided to join in the bread baking frenzy, but don’t know where to start, The Maya Kitchen is breaking it all down to help inject a sense of joy, connection, and accomplishment (small victories!) during this socially distant time. Here’s The Maya Kitchen’s guide with info every first-time bread baker should know and keep in mind.
Know the ingredients you need to make bread.
You only need four ingredients to make bread. Three of these you probably already have in your kitchen–water, flour, salt. The last item is yeast, which makes your dough rise. You can pick up on your next grocery run. And if you’re having trouble what flour to buy and use, Maya’s All-Purpose Flour is a safe choice for beginners.
Follow a recipe so you don’t mess up your measurements.
The amounts of ingredients you’ll be using will depend on the type of bread you’re making, and anything more or less than indicated is going to ruin your baked goods. It would be best to choose a recipe that lists simple, familiar ingredients to start, like an easy French Bread and Pandesal.
Know the basic equipment you should have.
The essential equipment includes a large mixing bowl and wooden spoon to mix the flour with. It would be nice if you have a plastic bowl scraper or metal dough scraper, but these are not must-haves for making bread. Recipes may mention mixers or ovens but those are not necessary. Almost every great bread can be mixed by hand. A loaf pan or baking sheet will work just as well as any Dutch oven, a thick-walled cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid.
Why you need to knead your dough.
Kneading helps produce bread’s chewy texture by developing the gluten proteins in the dough. It only takes a few minutes and you’ll just need a flat surface, a bit of flour to prevent your dough from sticking. Here’s how to knead: Fold your dough in half and push down and outward using the heels of your hands to press it flat. Turn the dough slightly, and repeat for as long as directed.
You should let the dough rise
Most, if not all, breads—especially yeasted ones—require several hours before they're ready to bake. It’s not unusual for recipes to ask you to let your dough rest for a few hours at room temperature on the kitchen counter or inside the fridge. This step lets the dough ferment further, which is essential in developing your bread’s distinct flavor and aroma to make it tastier!
Baking bread is something that will keep you busy until the ECQ is lifted. Who knows, you might find a new passion and a new inspiration to start a business!