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Expert Lessons

13 Best Bread Tips

Crusty White Bread © Matthew Armendariz

In this week's edition of Mad Genius Tips, F&W Test Kitchen whiz Justin Chapple shares an incredible method for for reviving a stale baguette that involves running the bread under water. Here, 13 more useful tips for buying, storing and eating bread.

1. Presliced, store-baked bread should still be good two days after its sell-by date. If you refrigerate bread, put it in a zip-lock freezer bag and then bring to room temperature before serving.

2. Slightly stale bread produces a firmer-textured toast.

3. For baking bread, it helps to have warm hands, a warm kitchen, and a hot oven.

4. To test if kneading is complete, insert a finger in the dough and if the indent springs back, the dough is well kneaded.

5. To test a loaf for doneness, tip it out of the pan into a mitted hand and tap it on the bottom. If it does not sound hollow, return it to the oven and check in 5–7 minutes.

6. About 1/2 cup of bread crumbs is produced from one slice of bread.

7. When you make bread, be sure to include the relax step before shaping the loaf. Form the bread into a tight round and wrap with plastic wrap or a damp cloth for 10–15 minutes. Then shape the dough, or roll or press it out.

8. Cool freshly baked bread before storage. Store yeast bread at room temperature or freeze it. Very moist or fruit bread can be stored in the refrigerator after cooling.

9. Turn a crusty bread loaf on its side for easier slicing.

10. Place a pan of boiling water in the oven while bread is baking to ensure a crisp crust.

11. To keep commercial loaves of bread fresh, twist the end of the bread bag and fold the excess back on the bag itself, over the remaining bread. You can do this as soon as a few slices are removed.

12. For dough that is to rise in a loaf pan (second rise), slip the pan into a zip-lock bag. Put the loaf pan inside another loaf pan so the inflated bag rises about the dough, giving it room to expand. This affords draft-free rising for the dough.

13. A bread loaf can be slashed with kitchen shears or a razor blade.

 

Related: Tips on Baking Bread
America's Best Bread Bakeries
Bread Recipes

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