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Helpful Hints: Basics for Better Breads

  • When baking bread, a small dish of water in the oven will keep the crust from getting too hard or brown.
  • Use shortening, not margarine or oil, to grease pans when baking bread. Margarine and oil absorb more readily into the dough.
  • To make self-rising flour, mix 4 cups flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 tablespoons baking powder. Store in a tightly covered container.
  • One scant tablespoon of bulk yeast is equal to one packet of yeast.
  • Hot water kills yeast. One way to test for the correct temperature is to pour the water over your wrist. If you cannot feel hot or cold, the temperature is just right.
  • When in doubt, always sift flour before measuring.
  • Use bread flour for baking heavier breads, such as mixed grain, pizza dough, bagels, etc.
  • When baking in a glass pan, reduce the oven temperature by 25°F
  • When baking bread, you can achieve a finer texture if you use milk. Water makes a coarser bread.
  • Fill an empty salt shaker with flour to quickly and easily dust a bread pan or work surface.
  • For successful quick breads, do not over-mix the dough. Mix only until combined. An over-mixed batter creates tough and rubbery muffins, biscuits, and quick breads.
  • Most quick breads taste better the next day. Nut breads are better if stored 24 hours before serving.