Bread rolls

6 top tips for first time bread bakers

Once you've mastered it, you'll be on a roll...

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6 top tips for first time bread bakers

This week was Bread Week, and the contestants had to tackle all manner of doughy delights.

On the menu were impressive tear-and-share loaves, floury burger baps and gorgeous loaves scored with intricate designs. 

But as all Bake Off enthusiasts know, it wouldn't be the show we love to love if there weren't a few hiccups along the way.

If you're baking bread for the first time and and in, ahem, knead of some advice, our Food Editor Gregor McMaster has shared a few crumbs of wisdom. 

1. Always Stick to the recipe 

"The secret of making a well-risen and tasty loaf is all in the measurements," Gregor said. "Bread needs the perfect ratios. The general rule of thumb is 5:3 when talking about flour to water. But it also needs the correct amount of yeast, salt and sugar. So invest in a good pair of scales and stick to the recipe."

2. Treat yeast like your beloved pet

"Yeast is a living organism and because of this, it needs the right conditions to grow," Gregor tells us. "This includes the right amount of food, the correct amount of time to proof, enough moisture, and a controlled warm environment."

3.  Liquids need to be warm

Gregor said: "The water needs to be luke warm. Too cold, it won’t activate and too hot, will kill it. It also needs the sugar to feed on. Also make sure you don’t add too much salt."

4. Resist adding extra flour

Gregor says: "Normally, bread mixtures can be quite sticky but this doesn't mean that it's wrong. Time and time again I've seen many a baker add extra flour because they think this will help it. But in actual fact, it will leave you with a dense loaf."

5. Get kneading your dough 

"Kneading helps to properly develop the gluten in the flour, which helps your dough rise," Gregor tells us. It's also a great skill for any budding cook to have. It may seem like hard work at first but you will get used to it. I find it very therapeutic!"

6. slash your dough  

"Slashing your dough will leave your bread with a pretty pattern once cooked, but it will also help your dough rise in the oven. If you've ever bought a crusty loaf and it's had a massive air pocket, then nine times out of ten it's because it hasn't been slashed."

Feeling inspired to create your own bread? Make sure you stock up on everything you need at Asda or pop into your local store