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Katie’s Basic Bread Baking Techniques (or lack thereof)

I come from a long history of amazing bread bakers, believe it or not.seeking perfect ww bread button2

My Busia (Polish grandmother, 100%!) raised nine children and made all of her own bread, well over 5 loaves a week. Maybe 9? She kneaded it in a huge bread pan at her feet while she sat on a stool. I was honored to use both items in the decorations for my wedding to honor her legacy:mass - Eucharist with ministers

The white stool is on the right side of this photo, and that humongous, wide wash tub on top is the bread pan! It’s filled with flowers, but I think you can still see how big it is (large enough to bathe a baby, that’s for sure). That’s a lot of bread!

My maternal grandmother also does a great deal in the kitchen, and one of her specialties is homemade pasta. Amazing. My favorite part of eating, ever. She also can whip up a wickedly perfect pie crust in about 15 minutes. The woman is a whirlwind to watch.

Her mother-in-law was the sort to grab a bag of flour and tip some into the bowl, just eyeing up every single ingredient. I wish I could have seen her in action! My grandma had to observe and fiddle just to be able to write down her famous apple dumpling recipe, which is, naturally, out of this world.

My own mother was famous for her homemade cinnamon raisin bread, and I have a feeling that the teachers in our hometown would secretly jump up and down when they saw one of us in their class, knowing they’d get a loaf or two at Christmas. I have incredibly strong memories of my mom kneading bread, rising it perfectly, and that intoxicating smell of fresh baked bread filling the house.

I might label myself the black sheep of the operation, however, because not only did I fear baking bread, hate it at first, and now always rely on machines to help me out, but I’m really just not that skilled at the art (or science?) of baking bread. I’ve had my share of doorstop bread, concave loaves, and downright weirdness.

Since I’m leading the crusade in Seeking the Perfect Homemade Whole Wheat Bread, however, I figured it only fair that I share my limited knowledge of bread baking and explain some of the techniques I use habitually when I bake.

This post will also help you adjust any bread recipe for a breadmaker, stand mixer, or hand kneading.

What Katie Does to Make Bread Dough

  • How to get water hot: I never use hot tap water, because there’s a chance that hot water leaches anything that might be bad (lead, for example) in your pipes at a much greater rate than cold water. For bread baking, I prefer to use dechlorinated water, which I achieve by leaving a jar of water sitting out open on the counter for at least 4-6 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate. My jar is just always there, always full, since I use it for water kefir and feeding my sourdough starter as well.If I really need to warm the water to follow the recipe, I always heat it on the stove, then mix with cold water to make sure it’s warm but not hot. 100F is optimal for yeast, so that’s barely warmer than body temp. You should hardly be able to feel the warmth on your finger. Often, if I can get away with it, I’ll just use room temperature water.
  • What kind of fat to use: I prefer butter, coconut oil (melted or solid), or olive oil for baking. Depending on what the recipe calls for, I pick and choose at random. I’m not afraid to use extra virgin olive oil in baking, because even though high temps aren’t safe for EVOO in sautéing, the internal temperature of your bread isn’t going to reach anywhere near 350-400F. Think of roasting a chicken: after 2 hours in a hot oven, the chicken only gets up to 160-180F inside. Bread is the same way, so EVOO should be a totally safe choice.
  • Sweetener philosophy: Although I’m not afraid of white sugar, I should be. I prefer to use honey whenever possible and often substitute it in breads approximately 1:1 if it’s just a few Tablespoons. I like to use “scant” measurements for sweeteners anytime I can. We’ll learn more about sweeteners all the way around in the next series, Sweeteners in the Spring!
  • What kind of yeast I use: For budget purposes, I buy a pound of SAF instant yeast and store it in the freezer.
  • What kind of flour: My Nutrimill grain mill from Pleasant Hill Grain (giveaway for YOU to close out this series!) allows me to use freshly ground wheat in all my baking. I use either hard red winter wheat or hard white spring wheat, often a half and half mixture of the two. From what I understand, hard red wheat, the traditional whole wheat found in stores as flour, has a slightly higher gluten content, so it’s better for bread baking in some ways. Hard white wheat, although slightly lower in gluten, is lighter and more reminiscent of white flour, so it’s nice for bread in that way. Some people love all hard white wheat bread, but I’m just not one of them. I’ll always note the kind of flour I chose in each individual recipe, but assume it’s freshly ground (or frozen a few days).Nutrimill grain mill and KitchenAid mixer (2)
  • How I measure flour – the wrong way. I know the bread bakers of the world would toss their oven mitts at my face for even admitting this terrible way that I measure flour. I know I should be using a scale or perfectly leveling a measuring cup with a knife, but here’s what I do: I fluff up the flour with my 1/3 or 1/3 cup measuring scoop, scoop lightly and level off with my finger. It goes right into the bowl from there. Terrible, I know, but I’m always in a hurry! My philosophy on this is that we often have to add a little extra flour to bread recipes anyway, so I don’t feel like it has to be exact when I measure.
  • How do you know if the gluten is developed? Generally I’m sort of a structured gal when baking. I don’t really understand all the science behind bread baking, so I just follow the recipe as well as I can and see what happens. However, one of the tiny pieces of savvy information I’m picking up is how to run a quick test to see if you’ve kneaded the dough long enough to develop the gluten.Background science: Gluten strands need to be all lined up and organized in order to allow them to work together to make the bread dough rise. When flour is first mixed into the dough, the gluten strands are all haphazard, and kneading the dough makes them line up in nice rows. If the gluten is not well developed, you’ll have a flat loaf. There are a few other ways to develop the gluten, which I’ll explore in some of the “no-knead” and “stretch and fold” kneading methods. The test for nicely organized, well-developed gluten is called the “windowpane test.” You take a piece of dough and stretch it out toward the four corners, and if you can see light through it before it breaks, you’re on the right track.
  • Where does my bread rise? Sometimes I try to rise my bread simply on the counter, but in the winter it’s 64F in here, so that’s not very conducive to happy yeast. If I’m using the breadmaker, it creates the perfect environment, warm and toasty, to rise the dough. I can fake it as best as I can by putting the dough in the oven, turning it on to 350F for exactly a minute – I always set the timer! – and then turning it off. To really keep it warm in there, I leave the oven light on.Note: My oven light is not very powerful, but some people have found their oven gets too hot – even up to 150F – with the light on. Test yours with an oven thermometer to make sure. Anything over 115F will kill yeast, and 100-105F is optimal.
  • How do you know when the loaves are done? This one is always a battle for me, because it’s so subjective. The test for bread doneness is to tap the bottom of the loaf, and if it sounds hollow, it’s done. I have a hard time pinpointing exactly when it “sounds hollow.” A reader shared that most breads are done at 190 degrees, so I can just pop an instant read thermometer in and check.
  • How to form a loaf: many bakers have intricate ways of rolling out some dough, folding it just so, and making a gorgeous loaf. Half the time I’m afraid to add too much flour to my recipe so I don’t end up with a dense, doorstop loaf, so my dough is often quite sticky. I tend to just dump it in the pan and go! (Yet another reason why the winner of this challenge will be a simple, simple bread. I don’t like the idea of having to get out my rolling pin and dirty another surface just to make a loaf, since I never knead by hand.)

What are Dough Conditioners?

Dough conditioners, if you’re not a bread baker (kind of like me; I’m just a poser), are things added to the dough to help give it a nicer rise and fluffier, more airy texture in the finished product. They are called for particularly with 100% whole wheat bread, which can struggle against the weight and sharpness of the bran especially and often ends up on the dense side.

Dough conditioners include:

  1. added gluten (the protein naturally in wheat that allows for rising action; gluten looks like flour and can be found in the baking section of most large grocery stores)
  2. lecithin (usually from soy but not always, naturally found in things like eggs)
  3. citric acid (a form of Vitamin C)
  4. ginger (just the powdered stuff like you might use in Chinese cooking or gingerbread)

Some recipes call for a commercial blend of dough conditioners, many just require added gluten, and some call for all four.

Tammy’s Recipes has an excellent breakdown of what’s what and why you might want to use them in her post on bread dough conditioners. After much research, she is of the opinion that the dough conditioners are a positive addition and not harmful. I am still wary of soy lecithin, just because it’s soy – if it’s in eggs, why not add an egg? I also frown at added gluten, for a couple reasons:

  1. By taking something out of the wheat and adding extra, I feel like that’s pushing the limits of “whole foods” and “as God created them.” Even though gluten is already in wheat, in nature there’s a certain ratio. I don’t really want to overdo that.
  2. Gluten also has been pegged as causing many health issues lately, quite possibly because we’re consuming too much of it for various reasons, one being its addition to whole wheat bread. I wrote about my lessons on gluten previously if you want to hear more about why I’m wary.

One other possibility to improve your bread’s rise and overall texture is to use some unbleached white flour in place of the whole wheat. Granted, this defeats the purpose of 100% whole wheat, but some would say that blending some white flour in actually is better for us, because we don’t want too much bran (see thoughts on that here).

I also found in one recipe that called for gluten, that when I left it out the bread rose fine, but then sank upon baking. Adding about 1/4 cup extra whole wheat flour per loaf gave it the necessary body to hold its shape. I don’t know that that would work every time, but it was one solution that worked for me.

How to Adapt to Soak

When I take a bread recipe and attempt to make it “soaked,” I follow this general strategy:

  1. Mix the flour with all the fat and 1/2 cup less water than is called for. I mix 1 Tbs whey in per cup water.
  2. Allow to sit overnight at room temperature.
  3. When ready to begin the recipe, I mix the yeast with the remaining 1/2 cup of water and the sweetener (if there’s 1/4 or 1/2 cup of sweetener, I might only use a Tbs in this “proof”).
  4. Once the yeast is bubbling after about 5 minutes, I mix it all into the soaked dough along with any other ingredients in the recipe.
  5. If I’m using my breadmaker or stand mixer to help me knead – which is always, of course! – I often skip step 3 and simply mix all the flour and all the water on day one, then all the other ingredients on day two.

More about soaking grains – more than you’ll ever want to know!

How to Adapt any Recipe for Any Machine

If a recipe requires a certain amount of time kneading, decrease a few minutes for a stand mixer (they’re more efficient). If the recipe is written for a mixer and you want to knead by hand, add a few minutes and rely on your windowpane test.

To make a breadmaker recipe by hand:

We were coached by Katherine Wehrung on the on the slightly sweet recipe:

If you’d like to do this recipe without a machine, this is what the original recipe suggests:

Combine water, oil, and honey. Add 3 cups of flour, yeast, salt, and gluten. Mix thoroughly. Add the remaining flour and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 min.).

Let rise until double.

Shape into loaves or rolls, place in greased pans, and let rise again.

The bread machine dough cycle basically mixes, kneads, and gives the dough the first rise. You can easily adapt any bread machine recipe following the basic structure outline above.

Here’s some great advice from Milehimama on how to convert to a stand mixer from a bread machine recipe:

  • Mix the dough (dump in your wet, then dump in your dry ingredients with half the flour)
  • Mix thoroughly, and gradually add more flour while using the kneading hook.
  • When the dough comes together into a ball, start timing – usually a minimum of 5 minutes is needed. Then check the “gluten window” and knead more if necessary. (More on the windowpane test.)
  • Keep a close eye on the mixer and put your hand on the part with the motor to make sure it doesn’t overheat because that will trash it. I have a 6 qt and haven’t had a problem with this, but I have heard the 5qt. artisan series are notorious for this. If the motor feels really hot, turn it off for a minute or two to cool down.
  • Let rise until doubled, then proceed with recipe.

And from The Local Cook:

I use a KitchenAid mixer. I proof the yeast in a warmed-bowl, then mix everything using the dough hook, let rest 15 minutes, then knead for just a few minutes until it starts coming away from the sides of the bowl and it’s smooth and elastic. Let double (usually takes an hour); punch down, shape into loaves, let double again, and bake. Pretty much all the recipes I’ve found are the same way.

Thank you, ladies, for filling in the gaps in my knowledge!

RELATED: Spelt Banana Bread Recipe

Do You Like the Idea of a Breadmaker to Help you Out?

I know buying big appliances kind of defeats the purpose of saving money making your own bread. A stand mixer is a huge investment. BUT a bread machine is one of those things that tons of people think they want, and then they end up never using it. Practically any garage sale or church sale you stumble upon will have a breadmaker for sale. I highly recommend looking for one for about $10. Craig’s List is another super resource.

That’s about the extent of my knowledge, folks. If I missed a category – betcha I have! – do ask questions in the comments and I’ll fill in the blanks by updating the post. This post will be linked to from each bread recipe so casual followers can determine exactly what I’ve done in case they want to replicate a recipe. You can catch up on the recipes so far right HERE.


You can follow the whole Seeking the Perfect Homemade Whole Wheat Bread Series by signing up for a free email subscription or grabbing my reader feed. You can also follow me on Twitter, get KS for Kindle, or see my Facebook Fan Page.

Have you seen The List: What to Eat, What to Avoid, How to Compromise? It’s a 7-page free download of simple tips for your shopping decisions!

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

38 thoughts on “Katie’s Basic Bread Baking Techniques (or lack thereof)”

  1. I just baked a loaf of Tammy’s bread. Looks great so far. I have a question about what to do with it after taking it out of the oven. My top is hollow & crusty. How do I cool & get it soft like what I buy? I just toom it out of the pan & sat it on a wire rack to cool. Should I cover it or bag it? I don’t want it to dry out while cooling.

    1. I have adapted Tammy’s 100 % whole wheat recipe for my family and we love it! If. Our family is not dairy allergic, butter the crust right out of the hot oven and it will soften.

      I don’t remember all the changes I made but:
      1. I use softened butter in place of the called for fat
      2. I use 2 eggs plus water to equal 1 cup liquid (instead of adding lecithin)
      3. I only use one tsp of yeast
      4. I use a cold rise method–no warm water, yeast right out of the fridge.
      I use a kitchenaid mixer and mix with the paddle just to kind of get tthe ingredients together.
      Let rest for at least 5 minutes.
      Knead with dough hook for 30 to 45 minutes on speed 2 until dough is smooth and soft and windowpanes beautifully.
      first rise-24 hours in the refrigerator, punch down dough and 2nd rise-24 hours in the refrigerator.
      Then I punch down dough and knead again with kitchen aid 15 to 20 minutes. I have been rolling it out and forming the loaf but I’ve been sick with a stomach flu so tonight the down just got pushed into the pre-oiled loaf pan.
      3rd and final rise-24 hours in the fridge.
      Tomorrow evening I’ll let the loaf pan sit on the counter while I preheat the oven to 350. I bake the bread for 30 minutes then place foil over the top to prevent over-browning and cook for another 10 minutes.

  2. Heather @ Nourishing the Heart

    Lots of good info! I’ve been getting requests for more homemade bread, so I’ll have to pull something together soon. I like putting bread dough in or on top of my running excallibur dehydrator to rise when it’s cool in the house.

  3. You mentioned using instant yeast but then said that when you adapt a recipe to soaking, you reserve some of the water for proofing the yeast. Why? Instant yeast doesn’t need to be proofed right? Or do I have that wrong?

    Can’t wait to try some of these recipes. I’ve been grinding and making my own bread for jsut over a year. I use the recipe from Pleasant Hill Grain (where I got my grain mill and Bosch mixer – SO worth the money! But it only does one rise and that’s why I think the recipe calls for added gluten and dough enhancer. I’d like to find a way to soak my recipe and leave out the extra gluten.

    I’m going to have to set aside a week to try more than one recipe. I usually make 6-8 loaves on Sunday afternoon and it lasts a week+ for our family of 6.

    Blessings, Jennifer

    1. Jennifer,
      True that instant yeast doesn’t really need to be proofed, but many people still abide by that! 😉 For soaked recipes, it’s hard to incorporate the yeast evenly if it’s not dissolved in water first, unless your machine does it for you.

      You make an amazing amount of bread! You could knock out this whole series in like, 2 weeks. Want to partner up? 😉 Katie

  4. Kelly the Kitchen Kop

    I’m just now reading this post, Katie, and you have inspired me to get baking bread again! I’ve been “busy” for months (lazy?) and have been buying fermented whole wheat instead of making my own. It took me forever, but I finally found a recipe that works great, and like you, I also didn’t want to use the dough enhancers, so I use 2/3 whole wheat and 1/3 unbleached white flour. Everyone loves it, too. 🙂


  5. I started eating organic about 6 months ago. Since then, I have been making a bread that I love from another blogger. My hubby and both kids LOVE it and if its not in the house, they are asking me to make it. I never made bread before this (well banana bread and corn bread, but that doesn’t really count). So I am learning as I go here too. But from what I know, I cannot keep it in the house and have to make at least 4 loaves a week. And sometimes make up to 8 which last at most a week and a half.

    Great post, well written. Its great to see someone that does so much organic, real foods cooking still has things to learn too.


      1. Ahh, thanks. I actually found your blog through the other one. I found Laura’s first, and that is what kicked off the organic way of life, that lead me to yours. And now I have three that I read religously. Fortunetly, God is blessing us with the ability to rent another house for half the rent that is on farmland. It needs a lot of work, and I mean A LOT, but when its all done (hopefully around May-intime to really have my garden going), there is 7 acres to share with my hubby’s friend (the owner’s son) and that means, organics have lead me to owning chickens, turkeys, and gardening naturally, now it is pushing me in the direction that I can get a cow, pigs and other animals that I want. Anyways, the bread link is and its from Laura of Heavenly homemakers. I REALLY need to make some bread as we have been about a week without and its torture. But the other house has been keeping me busy and exhausted. At first, I used more honey in the bread, but have slowly decreased it. For those more used to organics, you might be fine with the amount of honey the recipe calls for.
        BTW, with the new lil one, you might want to check out my website, its a little new and needs some more TLC, but as you guessed I am a little tied up right now 😉


  6. I am also a Bread in 5 fan. I have been working with the books for a year now and have settled on a version that we love.
    You actually don’t need sweeteners in your bread, though I prefer it since wheat bread without sweetener can have a bitter hint. European wheat breads do not contain any sweeteners.
    My favorite place to rise my bread is in a warm dryer just after removing the laundry. Works wonderfully.

  7. I got the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day last Christmas, and after a few batches, put the next book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, on my list for this Christmas. I now have both books, and LOVE the method. I have carpel tunnel, so kneading isn’t for me, but machine bread just isn’t quite as good… THIS IS WONDERFUL! You just put all the ingredients into the container of your choice, mix until there are no dry or wet patches, and let it rise on the counter in the bucket for a couple hours. I leave it overnight for the soaked effect (this is also my first stab at soaked grains!). The bread is wonderful, and the sourdough effect from mixing batch after batch in the same bucket is wonderful! Each loaf is different, since the dough gets older, and a bit more flavorful. I’ve taken classes, read books, and longingly tried to get my bread machine and mixer to help me get to the amazing breads I know are out there. I have to say, this is my favorite cookbook ever, and I have A LOT of cookbooks!
    For Susan Alexander, I believe you can use lemon juice or vinegar for soaking grains as well. Google it or just experiment, I know I’ve seen those as options as well, but I think the proportions were just a little different. I’m actually headed that way with my breads, as I’ve been soaking without a whey or other additive, so experimenting with adding in vinegar or lemon juice (we are also dairy allergic) is my next project…

  8. Heather Ledeboer

    Great tips! I have been heating up my oven too much I just realized (when trying to create a warm environment), thank you! I just updated an older blog post I did to fix some info in there thanks to that. By the way, this is my favorite whole wheat recipe that uses honey as the sweetener and I use coconut oil instead of the shortening. It is GREAT. I make 4 loaves at a time to save time and freeze three loaves in zip lock bags. When I thaw them on the counter (in the bags) they are still wonderful! I used to have photos for every step but when I switched over to wordpress I had some photo issues and tonight I tried to locate the photos to re-upload them and couldn’t find them so I put in the ones I did have.

  9. Another tip about dough conditioners – if you want to use citric acid, you can toss a few vitamin c tablets in the wheat grinder at the same time as you grind your wheat (I think I use about 4 -500mg tablets for about 8 cups of wheat kernels).

  10. What great tips! I’m not much of a baker, but maybe someday…

    My mom’s favorite rise spot is on top of the running dryer. The first time she tried it, the dough rose right out of the bowl!

    1. Susan,
      You can use lemon juice, vinegar, or anything cultured like kombucha or water kefir. 🙂 Katie

      1. Susan Alexander

        Really…. Hmm…… My brain is a-ticking… 😉 Would you use the same amount of lemon juice or vinegar as you would whey?

  11. I’m pretty sure that the sweetener in the bread recipe acts as food for the yeast, and the salt in the bread keeps the yeast in check… So based on that I would think that you don’t want to leave any sweetener out.

    I’m pretty new to bread-making, but when I follow the recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook exactly (except I use 100% whole wheat) it always turns out perfect. I hand knead, too. I actually find that it de-stresses me to work out the dough, especially when my kids are acting up!

    1. Liz,
      You are totally right that the sweetener feeds the yeast; I only cut it if there’s a lot, like 1/2 cup or so in 1-2 loaves. ??? Thanks! 🙂 Katie

  12. I have been enjoying reading your posts about baking bread. I am hardly an expert. I have been trying to make sourdough bread and you’re not really talking about that. I have never gotten a good rise out of any that I made except for the sourdough cholla I made one time. That was excellent! With the rest of them I don’t know what I am doing wrong. The last loaf I made was a sourdough that also used yeast. I decided to try it to see if the yeast would help it. I didn’t get the rise I wanted, but I didn’t follow the recipe exactly either. I was supposed to let it rise an hour and then get on with it. Instead I let it sit all night in the oven like I usually do. It didn’t help. My breads all taste good. They just aren’t good for sandwiches.

    1. Linda,
      I was an avid sourdough baker before I started this series, and I hope to try a new sourdough recipe or two as well! I hear you on the tough rise – it’s an art (or a science?) to be sure. The GNOWFGLINS eCourse has so many good tips, if you’re really serious about getting it right:

      My sourdough is great toasted with honey, but not so great on a sandwich, either.
      🙂 Katie

  13. Melissa @ Dyno-mom

    I was going to offer the hint about flour, but Terry covered it! I also think most newbies fail to knead long enough and have either an insufficient bench rise or one too long. I think finding a “bread mentor” is helpful, someone who can watch how you bake and give advice. It can also be helpful to watch a pro. The effort does pay off!

    I have ten kids, bake 10-12 loaves EVERY week and have baked my family’s bread, muffins, scones, rolls, cake, and pizza crust for twelve years now. At first, it was pretty bad. Now I don’t even measure. I walk into my kitchen and just start. I know my recipes by heart and by feel. My husband prefers my bread to even good bakeries, like Panera.

    The no-knead breads are awesome and an easy way to start. I have some info on my own blog, if anyone wants to peek.

  14. Katie, I empathize. I FEAR baking bread. I have no idea why. It just seems so hard. Also, when people say how easy it is, they always follow it up with “but you DO have to perfect the skill of kneeding…” After those comments, I usually give up the idea of it.

    LOL, I will let you know if I ever try it.

  15. Hi Katie-
    Have you looked into the No-Knead breads at all? I’ve actually only made it once and then bought a book which looks awesome, but I’m just wondering what your thoughts are on this. Once I started reading about the whole soaking/whole grains thing, I found myself wondering if the no-knead method of mixing up the dough and then letting it sit, up to a week (and taking on a bit of a sourdough taste) essentially counts as “soaked” bread. I’ve even read that you can use a sourdough starter in place of the yeast in the initial mixing which, again, seems to me that it would accomplish the same purpose as soaking. I’ve never really gotten a clear answer on this, though, and sadly, the book has just been sitting on the shelf, as we’ve had a lot going on lately and I just haven’t carved out the time to start tackling homemade bread. I’d love your input though!

    1. Robin,
      Healthy Bread in 5 was on my lap just yesterday as I planned the next bread recipe to tackle! 🙂 I definitely think there’s something akin to soaking going on, especially with their “lower yeast, longer rise” version. I’ll be trying it!
      🙂 Katie

  16. Hard to tell from looking at pictures, Katie, but you might want to try adding a bit more flour to your bread…both too little and too much flour lead to insufficient rise. If there’s not enough flour, the dough will lack enough structure to support the gas bubbles, and you’ll get spongy bread with a flat top. I suppose too-wet dough is better than too-dry, however! 🙂

    1. Terri,
      This is probably excellent advice, and most likely dead on. I’m guessing I didn’t add enough on this week’s recipe “soaked”, because the first time I made it, it was totally awesome, but I also added 2.5 cups flour!! I’m always afraid of overdoing it, but I do need to remember that most recipes need to be able to be kneaded by hand, so if I can’t pick the dough up, it probably needs more flour. Thank you! 🙂 Katie

  17. Thanks for all the great info!

    I’m not very good at playing with bread recipes either. I just don’t understand the science/ratios enough to feel confident.

    However, I use a bread machine and have found (even though it’s typically a no-no) that if I proof my yeast first, with the liquid and sweetener, for about 5 minutes, then add the rest of my ingredients in the order specified by the machine’s manufacturer, I get MUCH better results!

  18. Thanks for all the info. I started milling my own flour a year ago and just got a Kitchenaid mixer for Christmas so am still new to the whole breadmaking thing myself. I also use my breadmachine most but will be trying out the stand mixer option this week. I use as little added gluten as possible (1 tsp per loaf) and it doesn’t seem to make too big of a difference. I have had nothing but failure with soaking but will try again soon.

  19. Jackie @ Crest Cottage

    Thank you! I am following this series closely, because I love to bake bread, but I’m not very good at it. Hopefully I will learn along side you!

  20. Thanks for such an informative post. You take much of the “scary” out of bread making with the information in this post. I think making bread just might be on the agenda for the day now!

  21. Thanks for the valuable tips and articles about bread making, and for the sweet story about your grandma’s bread baking for their families. Bread/grains have gotten to be such dirty words lately, and it’s nice to read that in times gone by how bread sustained families in a healthy way.

  22. Wendy (The Local Cook)

    wow, lots of info! I’m more of a wing it kind of gal LOL. My bread is turning out much better now that I got new yeast. Apparently it doesn’t last for over a year, even in the refrigerator.

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