All About Yeast Breads

Secrets For Yeast Breads

Although the techniques for making yeast breads are simple, a few secrets will ensure that even your first efforts will be attractive and great-tasting.

What to do if:

  • You forget to add the yeast. Dissolve it in a small amount of warm liquid and work it into the dough.
  • The dough doesn’t rise. The yeast may have been old, or the liquid may have been too hot or too cold, or you may have added too much salt. Try placing the dough in a warmer spot or waiting longer to give it more time to rise.
  • The dough rises too quickly. Punch down the dough and let it rise again. If it rises before you’re ready to bake it, move the dough to a cooler spot to slow down the action of the yeast.

Use aluminum pans. They give breads and rolls well-browned crusts. Uncoated aluminum pans give the most even browning and uniform results. Dark metal pans and glass pans absorb more heat and will produce a darker crust.

Grease the pan(s) as directed in the recipe.

To make dough a day ahead, cover and refrigerate it up to 24 hours if desired. The dough is ready to bake when it has doubled in size. If it has not doubled in size in the refrigerator, let it stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes or until it has doubled.

Create a variety of crusts:

  • For a crisp crust, gently brush the bread dough with water before baking it.
  • For a hard crust, place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven.
  • For a shiny crust, beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush it gently on the bread before baking. Sprinkle the bread with sesame or poppy seeds if desired.
  • For a soft, tender crust, gently brush the bread with milk or melted butter just after baking.

Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking it. Cool the bread on a wire rack to prevent the crust from becoming soggy.

Cool breads away from drafts. This will help prevent the bread from shrinking and the crust from cracking.

Cool breads before slicing them. Slicing a too-warm loaf or coffee cake will cause crumbling and tearing.

Cut breads with a serrated knife or electric knife. Use a back-and-forth sawing motion rather than pressing straight down.