The smell when you take home-made bread out of the oven is incomparable. It is then even more disappointing if the bread is already hard, not baked all the way through or has a poor flavour.
The following tips will help you bake the perfect
Sift the flour to avoid any unattractive holes in the dough and to enable the flour and liquids to combine better, making the dough more elastic.
Yeast – pay attention to the use-by date for yeast as it has to be fresh. If it has a pleasantly sweet scent and a silky surface, it is fresh. If it is old and crumbly, it will have lost its leavening power and will produce sour-tasting bread dough. Less is also more: if you add too much yeast to the dough, it will rise too quickly and not have enough time to create aromas and structure.
Kneading – it doesn't matter if you use your hands or a machine to knead dough. The important thing is to knead it for a long time. This gives the dough plenty of oxygen and makes the bread fine-grained and light.
Time and patience – baking fresh bread takes time and patience. The longer yeast dough is left to rise, the lighter the bread crust. To test whether the dough has had enough time to prove, you can poke a hole in it with your finger. If the hole closes up again, the dough is ready.
Score the bread before baking to prevent the crust from tearing in the oven.
Crispy on the outside, light on the inside – if you place an oven-proof cup containing water in the oven while baking, the dough rises better and the crust becomes crispy.
Use the tap test to tell if the bread is baked all the way through. If you tap the bottom of the bread with your knuckle and it sounds hollow, the bread is done. If it sounds muffled, it needs to bake a little longer.
Which type of bread is suitable for which meal and how much do you need?
For fondue, baguette is best because each piece of bread has a crust, enabling it to stay on the fondue fork better. This also applies to freshly baked bread. You should allow 150–200 grams of bread per person.
For brunch, you can serve up a variety of your favourite types of bread. Zopf bread, Gipfeli (croissants) and Ruchbrot (brown bread) are usually on offer. You should allow 100–150 grams per person.
Dark bread makes a good accompaniment to the main course of a meal, like a barbecue. It is more aromatic than white bread, more filling and higher in fibre. You should allow 75–125 grams per person.
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