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When learning to cook or bake for yourself, one of the most fulfilling recipes you can try is homemade bread. What do you need to make bread? While specific measurements and some ingredients can vary from recipe to recipe, read on below for the basic ingredients and tools that you need to make bread at home
The core dry ingredients of most bread recipes will be flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. The majority of bread recipes will use bread flour or all-purpose flour, but this can vary if you want to make a different type of bread such as rye or whole wheat bread.
Each of the dry ingredients in bread plays an important role in making the food we all know and love. Flour, the primary ingredient, provides the mass of the bread and most of the flavor. Yeast leavens the bread by forming carbon dioxide bubbles and making the bread rise. This helps the bread be light and fluffy instead of just a dense mass of dough. Salt limits the action of the yeast and provides flavor, and sugar feeds the yeast and helps it ferment.
In terms of wet ingredients, most bread recipes simply use water and some kind of oil. Water plays an important role in your bread-making process, as it will control how soft and moist the bread is after baking. Too much water, however, will interfere with the gluten in the bread, not allowing it to form and keep its shape, so the bread will simply fall apart when taken out of the pan.
Most oils will behave the same for breadmaking, so you can use olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, or grapeseed oil. Many people prefer olive oil over other options for the unique flavor that it adds to the finished bread. Extra virgin olive oil is the best quality you can get, but if you want to save money, vegetable oil is always a viable option.
Before making bread, you’ll need to consider what tools you need to mix the dough. Bread dough becomes dense and hard to mix by hand when the flour is added, so it can be very helpful to have a stand mixer.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, you’ll still be able to bake bread, it’ll just take a bit more work. Be sure to mix together the wet ingredients and yeast, sugar, and salt thoroughly before adding the flour. Mix in the flour a bit at a time to help the dough slowly reach the desired consistency, and when it becomes too thick to mix with a spoon, get the dough out of the bowl and knead it on a cutting board or counter.
When putting the bread in the oven, you’ll most likely want a bread pan the size of the loaf you want. Alternatively, you can form the dough into rolls or freehand loaves and cook them on a baking sheet. If you cook your bread on a baking sheet, lay down a piece of parchment paper beforehand so the bread comes off the sheet easily.