Don't you just hate it when you follow a recipe to the letter and when the bread baking is finished the bread not only looks nothing like the recipe book's picture, but tastes terrible as well?
There is no denying that bread baking as with baking anything is a delicate process.
Bread baking involves so many things that first time bakers are often discouraged after a few failed attempts to turn out professional looking and tasting loaves.
Little do they realize that if they only possessed the professional Baker's secrets bread baking would be so easy that the bread would practically make itself!
For instance: How many amateur bakers know the secret to keeping bread from sticking to the pan every time?
None! So when they try their hand at bread baking for the first time their bread sticks to the bread pan, and ends up a crumbled mess if they try to force it out.
Then they cry and give up thinking that the problem lies with them.
The shocking truth is that it doesn't!
The problem lies with their lack of knowledge of THE baker's bread baking secret.
The secret professional chefs and bakers won't tell you, the secret they guard so jealously.
My father happened to learn this bread baking secret in his younger baking days (which is no surprise since his great great grandfather was a chef for the White House and owned his own bakery) and has passed it on to his children ever since.
Okay, okay, I know you're probably screaming at me by now "Beth, get on with it! Tell us the bread baking secret already!"
So here it is; You will need only one tool besides for the oil and bread pan you already have, and that is quite simply CORNMEAL (you shouldn't need more than 1/4 to 1/2 cup for two loaves of bread).
"Cornmeal?" you ask doubtfully. "YES, cornmeal!"
No, you do not add the cornmeal to the bread ingredients! That is not the bread baking secret.
What you do is you oil your pan as usual, and you lightly sprinkle cornmeal on all of the sides and bottom of the bread pan.
Now you can safely place your bread dough into the pans without fear of it sticking to them.
While your bread is baking instead of sticking to the pan, your bread will stick to the cornmeal and slide easily out of the pan when done baking.
You may need to use a butter knife and slide it in between the pan and the bread before turning the pan over and allowing your bread to pop out.
A lot of the time this will be unnecessary however and your bread will pop out just by your turning the bread pan upside down.
You will probably also want to use the butter knife to scrape the excess cornmeal off the bottom and sides of the bread as you may not care for the taste of cornmeal.
This bread baking secret will work whether you're baking a batter bread or a rising bread (also called yeast bread). I personally use it for both.
Here is another treasured bread baking secret, this one only for batter breads:
On the last ten minutes of its baking time cover the bread pan containing the batter bread with another bread pan (a steel bread pan works best), and leave it on until the bread is finished baking.
This will keep the batter bread from burning or becoming too hard on top. You may vary the time you leave the steel bread pan on according to how your batter bread usually looks when it is finished.
If it is a very dark brown on top and difficult to slice because the top is so hard, then 20 minutes will work best. But if it is just a little too hard on top and a little too brown the 10 minutes should suffice.
Do not cover the bread at all if it usually comes out golden and soft on top after the baking is completed.
You may also glaze a batter bread on top with a tablespoon of melted butter mixed with a tablespoon of honey, and sprinkle some flaked coconut or sliced nuts on top of that.
To glaze you start by taking the bread out of the oven five minutes before the required baking time is finished, then spread the butter/honey mixture on top of the bread, sprinkle on your coconut or chopped nuts and bake for the remaining 5 minutes.
Here is another useful bread baking tip for rising breads...
If your bread loaves over rise (say because you were busy and forgot about them), then you can use a pair of scissors to cut off the excess sides, being careful not to cut any dough from off of the top.
You may then use this excess dough to make rolls. You simply oil a pizza or cookie sheet and form the dough into several small balls.
Rise them for another half hour and then bake on 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Do yourself a favor and put these tried and tested bread baking secrets immediately to use in your kitchen, and your family will rave over the results.
About The Author
Beth Scott teaches bread baking how-to's so simply that with her new eBook ANYONE can bake their own bread. Visit her website now at: http://breadmaking.apt-products.com