How to Bake Bread Right – What is Oven Spring ?
Bread is the most basic of foods that is the staple of any household. While you can often buy sliced sandwich bread at the supermarket, it always tastes the same. It’s uninteresting and more of a vehicle for your sandwich rather than something that adds to it.
Baking your own bread introduces you to new flavors that can add to your meal. Baking bread is actually quite easy and an enjoyable process with only a small oven. Once you get the hang of it, you will probably never want to buy sliced bread again.
- The most basic ingredients of any bread are simple. Bread needs flour, salt, and something to make it rise. The process of rising is done through a chemical reaction that causes the spongy form of bread. The most common way to make bread rise is by adding yeast.
- Yeast is a small bacterium that uses water and sugar to make CO2 when heat is present. When it is mixed into the bread dough, it will cause the dough to rise over several hours. Thus, yeast is an important part of baking bread.
While baking bread can be a very complicated process, there are some basic steps to any bread recipe. The first comes from mixing your ingredients together. Once you have the ingredients, you should mix them as follows.
- The dry ingredients are mixed together in a separate bowl from that which will hold the dough. Mix the flour and salt until it is thoroughly distributed.
- In order to use the yeast to raise the dough, you first have to make the culture. Whether you are using instant or natural yeast, you should place the desired amount in a separate bowl and mix it in with sugar.
- Heat up some water to where it is warm, but not boiling. Water that is too hot will kill the yeast. Mix the water into the bowl and stir. Leave the yeast for at least 5 minutes to let it start to consume the sugar and produce CO2. The reaction will be apparent when there is a foam layer forming on top of the culture.
Mix the two together
- Once you have your two mixtures, you will have to set aside another bowl. Cover the sides of this bowl with a light layer of either oil or butter to make sure the dough does not stick to it.
- After you have this third bowl, slowly mix the yeast into the flour. Stir the mixture gently and add more yeast little by little to ensure it mixes evenly. Once it has been completely turned into dough, transfer the dough to the third bowl to let rise.
- Note that if the dough is too wet, add more flour. If it is too chunky, add some more water.
Let Rise and Bake
- After you have mixed the ingredients and you have a solid ball of dough, you must leave it in the oil-covered bowl for at least an hour. This will let the dough properly rise. Once it has risen to at least twice its original size, beat it down and leave it for 20 more minutes.
- After you have let the dough rise, place it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and let it bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or when it is browned on the outside. It is important to have the oven preheated beforehand to stir on the so-called “oven-spring”.
- The oven spring is the final stirring of the yeast. When it reacts to the oven’s heat, the yeast will kick into overdrive and begin overproducing CO2, this helps the dough continue to rise after it has started baking. With the oven spring, you will get full, more flavorful bread to enjoy once it is done.