I've been making my own bread for years - with mixed results. (No pun intended) This year I changed 2 things about my bread making process that have made a huge difference. These 2 tips can be used with any existing bread recipe.
- Use a "sponge" or "biga"
- Use a heavy duty stand mixer with a dough hook for the first kneading.
Instructions for making a "biga":
- Heat 1/3 cup of water to 110˚ and put into a small bowl
- Add 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (any kind, quick rise, bread machine, etc.)
- Add 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- Mix all ingredients thoroughly - the final product will look like lumpy pancake batter
- Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm, dark place
- Let develop for at least 3 hours and up to 32 hours
When you go to make your bread, simply add the biga along with your other indredients and let it do its thing! It will make your bread lighter and rise higher.