Best Way to Prepare Bread

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Getting started: know your flours

Strong flour, or strong bread flour, is made from hard wheat varieties. It contains more gluten than other types of flour, which gives it its elasticity and ensures the dough rises with a good structure.

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Getting started: give spelt a go

High-fiber spelt has been cultivated for thousands of years and has recently been making a comeback.

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try wholemeal for a healthier loaf

Strong wholemeal flour is higher in fiber than white flour. It absorbs more water and requires more kneading.

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what about rye flour?

Rye is actually a grass but it's related to wheat. It does contain some gluten but produces a heavy, sticky dough which takes longer to rise than strong white flour.

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 dried vs fresh yea

You can use either fresh or dried yeast in bread-making, although fresh gives it a more obviously yeasty flavor. Fresh yeast needs to be proved before using.

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sourdough starters

A sourdough starter, or a levain, is simply a mix of flour (usually half white and half wholemeal) and water.

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 the right kit

In theory, you don't need any special equipment to make bread but it's definitely worth getting digital scales

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the need to knead

Kneading dough helps distribute the yeast to get an evenly-risen loaf, and develops the gluten which makes your bread rise.

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the jargon buster

Once the dough has been kneaded, put it into an oiled bowl, cover it with oiled plastic wrap and leave it for its first rise, when it should double in size.

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unbeatable baguettes

When you're confident in your bread skills, why not have a go at a classic French baguette? Meaning stick, the recipe and size are set in French law. A baguette is made with a starter dough the day before

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working with rye

Rye flour is much lower in gluten than wheat flour, so it takes much longer to rise. It's best to leave it to rise for about 24 hours.

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going gluten-free

Now you can buy gluten-free flour, bread-making for coeliacs is much simpler. You can't replicate bread made with wheat flour because the gluten helps the bread to rise, but at least there's the option.

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pimp your burger

Once you've mastered bread dough, burger buns are just as simple. When dividing up the dough, use a floured pizza cutter and weigh the dough balls on a digital scale so they are uniform.

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learn from any mistakes

Here are some easy fixes for common problems. The loaf has holes in the middle? You under-kneaded it.

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cornbread

Cornbread is a humble food with no yeast – the raising agent is baking soda combined with buttermilk. No buttermilk? Add a good squeeze of lemon juice to skimmed milk and leave for 20 minutes.

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