So it seems everyone has their own bread recipe, but did you know you can make your bread even better? We’ve collected our best tips and tricks for making homemade bread a real treat. And what better way to save some money at the market than to have the gourmet style bread flavor and texture that everyone will rave about. They won’t believe that homemade bread could be so easy and delicious to make yourself.
Have you seen the prices at the store for gourmet bread? First of all, what is this bread? It’s really just ordinary bread that has added character and a few toppings that make it stand-out. Nothing so fancy right, except at the store they like to charge three times the price! Well, here are some tips to make your own gourmet bread at home whether you have a bread machine or not.
Nearly all gourmet bread stands-out because seed toppings are hard to miss. They’re also high in protein and give you plenty of natural energy throughout the day. You can buy seeds in bulk and many places like Costco or the local market. Poppyseed, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are all pretty, but try to avoid seeds that can turn dark and just look like bugs on top of your bread. Shaved almonds and even minced dried fruit are excellent toppings too.
Italian Loaves of bread are famous for adding rosemary and thyme but why stop there. If you have a favorite herb, add some extra flavor as a topper and see how it adds instant character. They don’t have to be tree branch sized pieces but dicing up fresh herbs does add a lot of aroma to your bread, making it extra special.
If you want to see your kids smile, cheese on the top of the bread is one way to do it. Any dry cheese will do but also freshly grated cheese is certainly a big hit. How about adding some spicy jack cheese or some herb and garlic cheese? Those exotic flavors will add zing to any homemade bread.
You know the old saying a dash of this, and a pinch of that. What bread doesn’t look more festive or flavorful with some kind of spice that’s sprinkled on top? You might want to experiment with the flavors you enjoy already. How about ground-up Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or Wasabi flavored nuts that are ground up in your food processor. As gross as it sounds, some things are meant to try.
A delicious crust
Of course, you know that giving your dough a good coating of egg wash ensures a crispy and glossy crust. Butter or oil also does the same but gives the outside a richer color. For an amazing crust, you’ll need to have a baking stone. This is so you can bake your bread at a higher heat to get that crispy outside texture. To enhance that crispiness, use a simple spray bottle and mist your bread for the first 10 minutes while baking. Every two minutes will do to achieve crispy artisan bread.
How to make your bread light and fluffy
Yeast is the secret to making homemade bread dough rise and you’ll need to proof your bread at least twice before baking. For a bread that has a light and fine cell structure, you can let the yeast rise three times before baking. You’ll have bread that is just as soft as Brioche. Towards the end of the baking, you can give your loaf milk washes to keep the outside soft.
Tips on artisan bread
Some recipes for artisan bread forget to tell you the best tips for adding flavor. While most of this bread flavor relies on the yeast fermentation, added flavors come from what you add to the bread too. Try adding dry milk powder to keep the inside of your bread soft. Add some powdered malt and honey to the dough to give further flavor. It also tends to sweeten-up the tangy flavor that comes from artisan bread. It’s the perfect treat to serve at a luncheon or a house warming party.
Storing your bread afterward
Don’t hesitate to get some extra-large Ziplock bags to store cooled homemade bread. Of course, you’ll want to eat it fresh, but storing your bread at room temperature inside plastic bags will help it last up to 2-3 days. If your bread lasts that long before you eat it, freshly baked bread tends to get eaten up pretty quickly for that reason.
Keeping recipe records
Always have notes added to your cooking recipes. What additives and extras you decide to used to make your own bread. This way you can always go back to these notes to make adjustments to a recipe. Carefully tweaking the amounts of each ingredient until you’ve mastered the best bread ever!
Extra links and source info: