Bread Tips

1. Measure all ingredients with scales and try to be consistent.

2. Don’t worry about exact amount of each liquid ingredient as long as the total amount is accurate. Use a glass measuring jug for the liquid ingredients, add a spoonful of honey, lump of butter and melt in the microwave, you can then add cold and hot water to make up the exact volume and temperature.

3. After the first 1 minute mix, I usually cover the dough with cling wrap and leave it for 10 minutes to allow the starches to absorb the liquids. You can slip this and go straight to the faster mix but won't get quite as good a result.

4. Size of loaf. The recipes use around a 1:1 ratio of liquid to bread mix so you can modify size of loaf easily. For 500g of bread mix, use 505ml of liquid and 1 ½ teaspoons of yeast.

5. Bread tin. I use the 600g Simply No Knead bread tin for the loaf with 330g Platypus Foods bread mix. Low protein bread is fragile and needs the support of the bread tin to rise properly. Use a smaller and taller tin and spread the batter out so it touches all four sides of the tin. For the smaller 500g loaf tin, I would use 230g of bread mix and around 230-230ml of liquid.

6. Rising time. This may take from 45-90 minutes. The dough should be at the top of the tin before you put it in the oven. My bread dough rises for 60 minutes in total, 90 minutes in cold weather.

7. Timing. I turn the oven on after 45 minutes rising so that it is at the right temperature by the time 60 minutes is up. If your oven is at the right temperature and the dough isn’t ready, you can always wait a bit longer for the dough but if your dough is ready and you have to wait for your oven it may over-rise. Too much rising may result in large air bubbles.

8. Rising technique. I use a yoghurt maker for a consistent. temperature and humidity but am thinking of investing in a bread proofer. Rising the dough over a container of boiled water also works well. The bread needs to be covered or it will dry out and not rise properly. Spray or grease clling wrap and cover the dough so that it comes off easily without sticking to the dough.

9. Take care with the dough – it's fragile! Bumping the counter, bread tin or oven, or touching the dough can make it deflate. Don’t spray with oil or butter the top of the dough before it has baked for around 30 minutes.

10. Modifying the recipe. As long as you keep the liquid to dry ratio at around 1:1, you can modify as you choose. If you want to add 100g cooked, mashed pumpkin, reduce the liquids by around 90g. Dried fruit, olives, sundried tomatoes or herbs can be added without adjusting other ingredients.

11. Using a bread machine. I have good success with bread in the oven or bread machine. For bread machines, follow the normal bread recipe until the stage when you put the dough into the bread tin. Spread the dough into the bread machine tin (take out the paddle). Use a manual setting for 60-90 minutes rise and 60 minutes bake. You will ger better results if you mix the dough with an electric mixer rather than the bread machine kneeding cycle as it needs to be thoroughly beaten and air incorporated. 

12. Bad results? Small changes to the recipe, amounts of ingredients , temperature or a subtle bump can have big effects of delicate low protein bread. If you have followed everything correctly there can still be variation based on different ovens, rising temperatures, and even the amount of moisture in the dry bread mix. If the loaf is a bit ragged on top, try adding 5-10mls more water and record the results. If the bread is too wet, gummy, has a large porous texture, or didn't rise enough, try reducing the water by 5-10ml (or double checking your accuracy with measurements).