50 Bread Making Tips – Avoid The Mistakes Early On

Photo by Artur Rutkowski on Unsplash

Yeast And Flour – Two Of The Most Sought After Ingredients In The CV Pandemic

When Corona Virus took off in January, I decided to dust off my bread baking skills and get back into the rhythm of making bread again. It seemed like so many people did.  So much so, that there wasn’t flour or yeast to be found on the grocery store shelves.

Elise B – Grocery stores are out of yeast. Supply chain issue or baking compulsion? I can’t believe so many people are baking all of the sudden!

Nancy N – There isn’t any flour or yeast on grocery store shelves lately.

Carlos R – I can’t find yeast anywhere. So frustrating.

Mike K – There’s no flour anywhere.

Donna A–  It’s impossible to buy yeast.

Justin H – And now I can’t buy any flour or yeast. Stores have been sold out for weeks.

Megan J – I’ve been searching for yeast for 3 weeks.

It’s time to stock up on yeast and flour, because what this current pandemic has taught me,  these will be the items first to go in a crisis.  You can find some tips of how to store it later in the article. 

Being able to make bread from scratch is a valuable skill to have. With so many prepping skills under rated, this is certainly one of them.  When the shelves are bare you will be thankful that you forged through how to learn to this skill.

The particular bread maker we own is the Zojirushi Supreme, which we purchased in a small kitchen store in Alberta Canada. It has produced great bread, but I have come to realize over the years that its only part of the process of making bread.  There are so many things to get right to have a successful loaf every single time.

Time, testing and patience is going to happen to you if you just learning.  Your going to have plenty of fails, like I did, and continue to have going forward. That is because it all depends on what flour you are using, the kind of oven you have, perhaps the ingredients, and what kind of bread you like.

Though buying the right tools for this process has never been easier.  Today you can go online and pretty much shop the highest rated products and buy the highest rated tool just by shopping the best sellers on Amazon.

Bread making can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be if you know how to avoid the pitfalls. Below are the best 50 tips on the net that I could find that will guide you in making a great loaf of bread.  You won’t be disappointed…  read on.

Mist Your Loaf With Water To Mimic The Commercial Baking Processes – ” Many professional bakers also have steam injected into their ovens, which allows the loaves to rise properly before a crust forms. To mimic these conditions in a home oven, you can do a couple of things. “The best thing you can do is mist the bread with water from a spray bottle before putting it in the oven — get the surface of the bread wet,” recommends Cass. sheknows.com

Activate Your Yeast – ” Yeast is activated by mixing it with warm water. However, because yeast is made up of single-celled microorganisms, overly hot water can kill the yeast and stop your bread from rising. An easy test is this: put your finger in the water for a few seconds. If it’s too hot for your finger, it’s too hot for the yeast”. spoonuniversity.com

Lighter Bread – “Most recipes recommend double proving your dough – this means leaving it to rise until doubled in size, then knocking it back to its original size, forming into shape or place in a greased tin and leave to rise again. By doing this you get a lighter, less yeasty, good textured loaf.” demuths.co.uk

A simple test to determine if the dough is kneaded enough – ” If the dough is under kneaded, it could be dense and, while still edible, won’t look quite like right. If the dough is over kneaded, America’s Test Kitchen points out the loaf may have “expired” flavor. ……. The organization also notes that dough is kneaded thoroughly when it can clear the side of the bowl. In other words, it should be easy to remove the dough from the bowl or surface on which the dough has been kneaded.” cookstr.com

Proofing Your Yeast – When you proof your yeast, it shows that the yeast is doing what yeast does… eat sugar and emit bubbles of carbon dioxide. Here’s how: Mix a little yeast with water that has been warmed to around 110 degrees Fahrenheit (too cool will fail to active the yeast and too warm will kill it). Add a tiny pinch of sugar, drop of honey, squirt of maple syrup, or any other sugary substance that will give your yeast a reason to wake up and eat ” bakingkneads.com

When is enough kneading?  “If the dough is smooth, holds its shape in a ball, and springs back when you poke it, it’s ready!”  thekitchn.com

Sugar Is The Fuel For Yeast  – “Sugars, they say, don’t just come in the form of white or brown sugar. They can also be in molasses, honey, corn syrup, or fruit juices, and that’s important. Sugars essentially act as the fuel for yeast; yeast needs it to work, and undergo the process that’s going to make your bread rise. If there’s not enough sugar, the yeast isn’t going to work well because it doesn’t have enough to feed on. But if you add too much sugar, you’ll end up getting the same lackluster effect because the extra sugar is stealing water away from the yeast. (That’s why sweet breads always call for more yeast than savory ones.) mashed.com

Other Interesting Notes From Mashed:

Did you know –

Yeast is also super sensitive to chlorine.  So what that means is you should be using filtered water, not tap water.  You might see bread fails using tap water.

– Yeast doesn’t feed on artificial sweeteners.  Forget about those substitutes, they won’t work.

– Temperatures above 135F will kill yeast, temperatures below 105F won’t activate it. ( I use an electric kettle that has the temperate on it while it heats.  It’s the easiest quickest way for me to see the temperature. This comes in handy when making bread. )

– Store your yeast in the freezer.  We made this same mistake starting out.  Its no wonder why some of our bread turned out great, and others were fails.  Simply because we stored our yeast wrong.

– Your kneading your bread and adding flour so it doesn’t stick to your hands.  In the process, little do you know, you have added too much flour.  Just let it sit and then knead it instead of messing around with the water and flour ratio. 

– Take your bread out of the pan right away and on to a rack.  – This was also a mistake we made early on.  In fact, the crust got soggy because it was left in the pan.  Its a mistake we won’t make again.  A rack maintains that crispy edge.

When your bread has doubled in size, its time to bake.  “Once the dough has doubled in size, it’s time to bake. Too much rising at this stage can cause your dough to collapse in the oven.” tasteofhome.com

Resist adding extra flour. ” While adding more flour does make dough less sticky, it invariably leads to a dense loaf that does not rise as much as it should” reluctantgourmet.com

Don’t Let Your Dough Rise For Too Long – You need your dough to rise just the perfect amount. This can be tricky but with practice, you’ll get it right. Dough does a final rise in the oven called “oven spring” and if you let it rise too long before it hits the oven, it will collapse and cause your bread to be dense and hard.” imaginacres.com/

Forgetting to score – Those gorgeous lines you see in the tops of bakery loaves? That’s called scoring, which is essential so the bread can release gas properly while rising in the oven. As Robertson writes, “an unscored loaf will not rise to its potential and will often burst open along the sides.”  myrecipes.com

Do not scoop your flour with the measuring cup. ” You will end up using too much flour and the loaf will be heavy. Instead, use a spoon to lift the flour out of the container and into the measuring cup. Do not tap or shake the cup to put more flour into it. Simply level the top with a flat edge ” breadexperience.com

A tray of boiling water, placed on the oven’s bottom shelf just before baking, helps the top of the dough to open dramatically and gives the crust a rich colour.”  -theguardian.com

Dough too sticky to work with?  Let it stand –  ” If the dough seems too sticky to work with when you first start, let it rest in the bowl for 30 minutes. This gives the flour time to absorb the liquid in the dough and makes it easier (less sticky!) to knead ” thekitchn.com

Keeping Your Dough Warm – Air coming in contact with your dough will cause a skin will form. If a skin develops, it’s really hard for your dough to rise sufficiently. Think of the skin as a jacket actually holding back your dough from proofing underneath it. A Solution? Cling wrap the dough then place a clean kitchen towel over that. Now you are all good. biggerbolderbaking.com

(Others suggest using a shower cap may also do the trick)

How to Make Dough Rise Really Well: I can’t promise you this will work every single time, but out of 10 times I’ve done it, this method has worked nine. When it’s a little cooler in your kitchen (sub 70 degrees), wrap a heating pad in a flour sack towel (or any thin towel), then turn it on low and place it on a countertop. Place your dough, in its bowl or loaf pan and covered, on top of the heating pad. That little extra bit of heat makes some serious magic happen. girlversusdough.com

Use Half The Yeast And Double The Rising Time – When following a commercial recipe, decrease the yeast by ½ and double the first rise.  If you use this bread baking tip you’ll remove some of the yeasty, alcohol flavor of the bread. – joybileefarm.com/

Guilty of this next tip?  I am!  Never again!

Do NOT store bread in your fridge – “The temperature of the fridge (about 5 degrees Celsius) is about the worst climate for keeping bread so it’s the fastest way to old and stale loaves and rolls. Store it in your freezer or in a plastic bag at room temperature. The best thing of course is to eat it after it has (almost) cooled down, although some breads, like rye bread get a bit better with age.” weekendbakery.com

Dense Bread Comes From Not Kneading The Dough – ” Dense or heavy bread can be the result of not kneading the dough long enough. Mixing the salt and yeast together or Losing patience in the middle of molding your bread and there is not enough tension in your finished loaf before baking” –thebreadguide.com

Dry Loaf ?  “Fats keep your bread moist. If your loaf was too dry, try adding a tablespoon or two more oil next time you make it.” tasteofhome.com

Know Which Crust You Want To Eat –  “ Artisan, chewy style crust needs steam for the first few minutes, then dry heat. Dusting with flour gives a rustic look to the loaf. Egg wash turns the bread golden and gives a softer crust.  Brush loaves or rolls with oil or water and roll in seeds or grains to coat before baking. Oil softens the crust, water keeps it crisper. Slash the top of the loaves 1/4 inch deep 15 to 20 minutes before baking, ……”  –thespruceeats.com


The Best Comments Around The Net:

Monica A – (Best Tips For New Beginners ) Make sure your dough is risen and proofed enough

Greg S – Practice makes perfect! After SEVERAL YEARS of dry crumplely loaves, BAM! I came up with two perfectly made white bread loaves and stuck with that recipe. I’ve also modified that recipe to come up with a Whole Wheat Bread loaf. You know that you have a good loaf of dough when it’s a soft as a baby’s bottom! Making bread is all about getting the right hydration to fit the rest of the ingredients in a loaf of bread. Stick with it and you’ll be a MASTER BREAD MAKER like the rest of us!

Lauren R – (Best Tips For New Beginners ) Start with a recipe that you can do in one day. It’ll build your confidence before going into more complex breads

Shawn R There was a point where my bread went from something edible to something people wanted to eat. Kneading was the answer. I read so much about over kneading that I routinely under kneaded. What I’ve learned, it’s really difficult to over knead so I don’t even worry about it anymore.

Coleman T –  I learned the difference between Instant Yeast (use right then) and Dry Active Yeast (needs to be “activated” or “proofed” with warm water and some sugar before using) the hard way. Oh, and weight your ingredients don’t go off volumes.

Marie F – ( On Storing Flour ) Amazon white food grade 5 gallon buckets/ gamma seal lids/ oxygen packages/ and mylar liners. Put mylar liner in 5 gallon bucket fill with flour add use 2000 cc’s of oxygen absorbers. Seal with gamma lid. Keeps for years if necessary. I use this for all my rice, flours, beans and bulk items.

Ross H – Bread making is easy they even teach men how to make it. The most common problem people encounter when they make bread is using excessive amounts of flour. Work by weight if you have a scale or gently spoon fill your measuring cup and level it.
John S  Tip: once you have your starter up and running for a month or two, when you do a feeding, save about a cup or so of what you discard. Dump it on a piece of parchment paper and smear it out. Let it dry in open air or in a dehydrator at 90F. When it’s dry, break it up and put it in a small mason jar or in a vacuum seal bag. If your starter ever dies, you can re-start a new one using this in a fraction of the time.

Heidi P – (On Storing Flour ) Some people are uncomfortable knowing the eggs are always in there, they just hatched… a couple dried bay leaves in the flour stops that from happening, for some reason.

Sandra Tucker (On Bread Fails ) looks like it was too wet, that is what is the problem when you loaf if flat or caved in in the middle.

Valerie L ( On Bread Fails ) try this recipe…you wont fail… and if so.. then try different yeast/flour… and test different oven setting. ricardocuisine.com

Debra Collins – Visit our Google Drive for our wonderful, member shared recipes. drive.google.com/drive/folders

Dan Born Try making bannock or damper, neither require yeast and both are highly customizable and easy to make. Bannock comes from Scotland and Canada and damper comes from Australia but are very similar. Neither have yeast. Bannock uses baking soda, damper may not. Originated as a outdoorsman’s bread that could be made either directly on hot coals or in a cast iron skillet….I treat mine like a large scone or biscuit and usually add berries or cheese and quite often dark beer. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/6974/irish-bannock/

Francheska Torres For those having difficulty finding dry yeast, you don’t need it if you create a simple 7 day sourdough starter (water & flour and just feed it as directed). There are natural yeasts in the air, in the flour. That’s what you’re cultivating. The main difference between a sourdough bread with no dry yeast added and one fully dependent on the starter for rise is time. The starter only option takes hours to rise instead of 1 hour or so. But it works just as well and zero dry yeast needed.

Karen Appleton You don’t need to buy yeast. Substitutes are brewers yeast, parmesan cheese, potatoes, raisins and soya sauce. The secret is using spring water or filtered water because tap will kill the bacteria.

Raison recipe for yeast starter
1 1/4 cups of spring/filtered water
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup raisins (chopped or whole)
1 quart sized glass jar
plastic wrap (or coffee filter with rubber band) to cover glass
Let sit on counter for 8 days and then refrigerate.

Karen AppletonThere are lots of different recipes to chose from on the internet. I just randomly picked this one. For the starter :
2/3 cups (150 grams) fermented raisin water
1 cup (150 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
For the rest of the ingredients :
2/3 cups (150 grams) spring water, warm
1 2/3 cups (250 gram)s whole wheat flour
2/3 cups (100 grams) bread flour
2 teaspoons (10 grams) fine sea salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano


Amanda H I buy my yeast at Costco because it’s ridiculously cheap. The package is huge though and lasts for years in my house. I suspect, like me, a lot of these bakers already had a supply of yeast.

Jeremy K You can make yeast from grapes

Sara H Wild yeast/sourdough starters, and beer breads are good alternatives.

Ann H (How to test expired yeast) O’Hara put some in a bowl, add a bit of sugar and water. Let it sit. If it foams up in 10 minutes or so, it’s good.

Francheska T (On expired yeast)….. Yeast most often goes dormant, not dead. They’re actually taken scrapings from 200+ year old kneading boards from the colonial era and revived the yeast in it. It’s really resilient!

Jenn D – Best bread recipe ever: Faster No Knead Bread – So Easy ANYONE can make

Marie F – (On storing flour ) My freezer space is too precious so I use mylar bags to line food grade 5 gal buckets. I use oxygen absorber packages 2000 cc per bucket and seal with gamma seal. Keeps for years if necessary. I had a health situation right after buying my bulk supplies for a year. It kept for 5 years until I was well enough to resume baking. So I have faith that all my products will last a very long time under these conditions.

Irina V – I never tried but 100ml beer, tsp sugar, 1flour, mix it together and leave it over night, next day you can use it, the quantity is equal like 50grams of fresh yeast. (It has to be unpasteurized beer.)

Chuck W It takes 3 tablespoons of powdered milk to make 1 cup of milk. So, if the recipe calls for 1/4 cup of powered milk that is 4 tablespoons or 1 1/3 cups of fresh milk.

Shirley K If you sub soy milk use half soy/half water. That keeps the bitter from coming through.

Heidi P – I usually use the vinegar and baking soda and get a fluffy result.  1 tsp vinegar + 1 tsp baking soda = 1 egg… mix your “eggs” in a separate bowl and once the foaming slows just mix it in.

Bridh Blanchard (on sourdough) your starter is your yeast. To make it you mix flour and water together to make a paste. You throw away a little of this (your discard) then add more flour and water (feeding.) When it is a couple of weeks old and very bubbly, it is ready to use.

Danja Knick Gamble (On Sourdough Starters )There are different methods that work. Check out a few and see what you like then pick one . How to Maintain a Sourdough Starter – (2 Minute Video)

MaryAnn Lattanzio Lesko (On Sourdough Starters ) This is my method with no discard…but it does make a lot. The first few loaves though always wind up being trials and experiments, so a lot can be used up pretty quickly. https://drive.google.com/

Step By Step Guide To Making Bread –Honestcooking.com