Ultimate Guide to Baking Bread

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The ideal oven temperatures for baking bread ranges anywhere between 350 and 475F (180 and 246C), optimizing both caramelization and the Maillard reaction providing the perfect color and texture in the final product. The range of temperature can be fine-tuned to suit the type of bread you’re baking. For more details on oven temperatures, check out this guide.

How to Bake Bread: Baking 101

  • For the most-accurate way to measure, use a fork to lightly mix up your flour in its bin or bag. Then use a scoop to pour flour into measuring cups and a straightedge to level off any excess flour.
  • Repeat with the remaining piece of dough. Place the loaves seam-side down on a baking sheet (lined with parchment if desired). Sprinkle the pan (or parchment) generously with cornmeal; this will keep the bread from sticking and give it a crunchy bottom crust. Let the loaves rise lightly covered with greased plastic wrap for 45 minutes. Learn more about the process here.
  • Mix the bread dough. With the proofing taken care of, add canola oil to the yeast mixture. In another bowl, whisk together half of the flour as well as the sugar and salt. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and work it into a sticky dough. Turn onto a floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half. For a basic homemade bread recipe, visit Taste of Home.
  • Prep the Bread Dough. While some loaves go into the oven with no embellishment, others get an egg wash or butter brushed on and a sprinkle of seeds or herbs. Egg Wash: Whisk an egg or egg white with 1 tablespoon water and brush it on the loaf just before baking for a shiny golden crust. Need more tips? Check out this bread baking guide.
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Ultimate Guide to Baking Bread