5 Tips For Perfect Bread Baking

 By Vanessa


5 tips for perfect bread baking

Making homemade gluten free bread doesn't have to be difficult or intimidating. With our Chia Seeds Bread mix we ensure you don't need to search for  ingredients and the right baking method, because we worked tirelessly in the kitchen perfecting the blend and recipe so you don't have to.

To help you feel even more confident with bread baking, here are my top 5 tips to bake a loaf that looks like it came from the boulangerie down the street!

1. Preheat your oven properly

Preheating the oven is the first requisite for baking, and yes, it's an important step. I always preheat my oven for 20 minutes, which is about 5-10 minutes extra after the oven beeps to indicate the temperature is reached. I'm mindful about energy saving at home, however when it comes to baking bread, I make sure the oven is perfectly well heated before I load my loaf. That's because the dough requires a good hit of heat at the beginning, for optimal rise and texture. So no shortcut here! 

For our Chia Seeds Bread, we recommend a temperature of 200 C, fan assisted. Remember that every oven is different, and you might have to adjust slightly the baking time or even the temperature so your bread is perfectly baked. 

2. Score your bread (aka 'slashing')

Scoring bread

Scoring mean slashing the dough with a blade or a sharp knife to allow it to expand during baking. Those cuts in your bread aren't just decorative! The purpose is to guide the loaf to rise in a controlled and optimal manner. But from there, you can use your creativity! 

Using a single or double slash promotes large openings. That's the scoring I use most on our Chia Seeds Bread. It works well on long loaves. A boule (round shaped loaf) can be scored with diamond pattern or simple crosses (see how I did it on the bread I'm slicing on the picture in Tip 5). 

How to score bread? 

Slash with confidence! The scoring stroke should be firm, rapid and decisive. Hold the blade at a shallow angle (about 30-45 degrees). Let the knife do the work, don't press down too much. I recommend to clean the blade between slices, as gluten free dough is sticky. 

To highlight your scoring, first dust the loaf with flour. 

With practice it will become easier and fun to create your own patterns, which are the signature of the baker!

3. Add steam to your oven

Add steam to your oven - Bread baking tips

Steam is essential at the beginning of baking a bread loaf. If you put the dough in a dry oven the crust sets immediately preventing the bread to rise fully and resulting in a denser loaf. Adding water to the oven creates a moistened environment that keeps the crust soft longer, so it can continue to expand during the early stages of baking. 

How to create steam? 

Place a metal or cast iron pan on the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven. After loading your loaf, pour a cup of hot water into the pan and quickly close the oven door.

4. ...Or bake your bread in a Dutch oven

Dutch oven - Gluten free bread baking

We call that baking method 'pain en cocotte' in French. A Dutch oven (lidded pot) is the perfect vessel for making artisan-style loaves at home. It conducts heat evenly and traps the steam released by the bread while it cooks. That moisture allows the bread to rise fully before the crust sets. 

How does it work, anyway?

Place the Dutch oven in a cold oven and preheat both together. When your dough has risen, prepare your oven mitts and carefully take the Dutch oven out of the oven. Remove the lid then gently set the dough down into it on top of parchment paper (careful not to burn yourself!). Place the lid on and slip the pot back into the oven. After 45 minutes remove the lid and bake for an other 20 minutes, until the bread has a nice golden crust. Remove it from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a cooling rack.  

Notes: Make sure your Dutch oven has a metal knob, not one in plastic one. Also do not add oil to the Dutch oven while preheating. 

5. Doneness test: is your bread ready?

Flow Bake gluten free chia seeds bread

Your bread is looking all golden, but you're unsure whether it is ready. There's a simple test: Take the loaf out of the oven and turn it upside down. Tap the bottom of the loaf with your finger, like striking a drum. The bread will sound hollow when it’s done.

If not, put it back in the oven and bake for an other 5-10 minutes. It's always better to bake a gluten free bread slightly more than not enough - you don't want a gummy and too moist crumb. 

Remember to let the bread cool down completely on a cooling rack before slicing it (I know, you can't wait to have that slice of fresh bread). The structure of your loaf will still continue to develop while it's cooling down. If you cut the bread while it’s warm, it will squish down and the pressure of the knife will mash the crumb of your bread. Patience is worth it! 

Now you're all ready to bake! Go grab our Chia Seeds Bread mix and give these tips a try! 

Happy baking! 

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