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Home made bread

There are some best practices for home made bread.

It is all too tempting to pull a loaf of bread out of the oven, the smell permeating through your house, and want to immediately slice into it, lap some butter on it and call it a day in paradise. While it is not written in stone, there are some best practices for homemade bread. Let's take a look at some of the rules of bread handling engagement.

Bread is easy to make in the sense that virtually always comes out right, but it is time consuming. Your perfect loaf of homemade bread will be ready to enjoy only after spending tons of time combining ingredients, waiting for dough to rise and then the ever-so-long time in the oven. Nevertheless, many cooks are turning their hands to the timeless comfort of homemade bread.

Hand versus machine

Ever since bread makers were invented, there has been a serious rivalry between man and machine. With either viable option, store bought is completely out of the question, but which method of homemade bread brings the most to the table? Let's knead out the difference and see which style rises higher.

Ease of use

Bread machines, especially those that mix the dough in the machine and allow it to rise are as simple as combine and forget. Add a timer so it goes on and off when you want it to and it almost feels like you are cheating when it comes to making the perfect loaf, after all, your mother slaved for hours over her bread.

With handmade bread, there is plenty of time mixing, combining, stirring and let's not forget the kneading. Who can forget what seems like hours upon hours of kneading? The fact that your success as a bread maker depends upon your kneading skills is somewhat disturbing. If you under-knead, you will get a giant mess of goop that will not combine all the way or rise like it should. If you over-do the kneading, your bread will be a rock solid hunk of loaf.


The ingredients in homemade bread are pretty straightforward; you should have most, if not all in your pantry. Just combine, mix and knead until your arms fall off and presto - bread. Bread makers are a bit more difficult to prepare to bake on a whim. You will need to have items like dry milk, which are not typically pantry-stocked items for most homes.

In this regard, making bread by hand is the way to go because it doesn't always have to be well planned when you want to make bread. With bread machines, you will need to continuously keep needed ingredients on hand or live close to a store. If not, there will need to be some foresight into your bread making plans.

Taste and texture

As said before, nothing beats the taste of homemade bread and while nothing can ever compare to your grandmother's favorite bread recipe, the bread maker does come in an extremely close second, if not nudging granny out of the top position. The bread machine doesn't require anything but pouring the ingredients into a single container and the taste will always be consistent as long as you use the same recipe.

As far as the texture goes, we mentioned above the dangers of over kneading and under kneading. Bread makers have their own built in mixer that perfectly combines the ingredients until they have reached the point needed. This being done, you will have a consistent texture on all of your bread, all of the time.


After considering the three categories above, the bread mixer looks like the obvious winner here. The only thing to remember is to make sure you have all of the right ingredients on hand in case you want to make some bread on a whim. While it might feel like cheating, bread makers are a great way to make consistently yummy bread without too much effort.

How to cut homemade bread

Unfortunately, cutting bread fresh from the oven is probably the worst thing to do. There are some serious dos and don'ts for cutting bread, including when to cut, what type of knife to use and even how to properly slice the bread.

When to cut

Cutting fresh homemade bread is always exciting, until you figure out it is either too hot to hold, or not firm enough to catch any of the teeth of the knife. Either way, trying to cut bread fresh out of the oven is a lose-lose situation and never comes out as planned.

Letting the bread cool for at least fifteen minutes will make a huge difference in how the bread can be handled and how well it stands up to the knife. You must also take into consideration how many crumbs you want when you slice your bread. The warmer the bread, the harder the crust is, therefore more crumbs. When the bread cools down, the crust becomes softer and produces fewer crumbs.

What knife to use

Some people like to hand carve their bread while others are partial to the electric knife method. People have their own favorite bread knife, but no matter which ones you compare, you will find a few major similarities between them.

Every bread knife has to meet two main criteria. The knife has to be thin and sharp. Anything other than that is just added benefit. Some knives advertise their special abilities to cut bread effortlessly and without crushing the bread, but if you keep the knife thin and sharp, you will avoid all of those problems anyway.

A thin knife will help reduce friction between the slices and keeping it sharp will allow the knife to slice through without putting too much pressure on the loaf. Both of these attributes will help to keep your homemade loaf looking more like the machine-cut loaves in the store.

How to slice

Even some of the best chefs in the world cannot cut bread consistently into same-sized pieces. There are a few tools to help out when slicing your bread and many of them make the process faster as well. One of the tools is a multi-blade device, called a bread-slicing saw, with at least four blades spaced a half inch apart. This allows the bread to be cut into equal slices, four pieces at a time.

Another tool is a bread-slicing guide. This is a box-like device with numerous slits. The slits are sometimes movable, thus allowing the thickness of slices to be adjusted to your desire. The bread guides allow for uniformity, just like the bread saw does, but can help keep the bread in a standard shape while holding it steady.

While people will still continue to use thick, dull knives to tear into their fresh-baked breads, there are some who will follow these simple guidelines and tips to keep their bread from becoming the torn, smashed, excuse of a loaf that is prevalent in our households today. Keep your knife thin, sharp and use a handy guide to help keep your world-class bread in perfect shape.

How to store homemade bread

Whether you like your bread with honey, butter or by itself, the biggest dilemma is finding a good way to store your prized loaf. While different storing techniques can be used for different varieties of bread, there are a few tips and tricks that work the same no matter what type of bread you are baking.
Open Air

Homemade bread always seems to spoil faster than mass-produced bread because of the lack of preservatives. One of the first ways we can suggest to store homemade bread is to look to our past and figure out what was done when people didn't have the same storage options we do today. Artisans have been storing their bread out in the open for years; sure it creates a tough crust on the bread, but it keeps the inside nice and soft and lasts for quite some time considering the conditions.

Many people do not like a tough crust, which means the bread will spoil faster. One of the ways to keep the ends from going stale while out in the open, is to store the bread with the cut side down. This will act as a "temporary" crust, protecting the soft inside of the bread. Of course, storage out in the open will only last for a few days at most, no matter what type of bread you are trying to store. Anything after three days, it is best to put the bread into some sort of alternate method of storage.

Bags galore

The way most commercial bread is stored is inside of a bag. One thing that we can learn from commercial bread makers is a good way to store the bread. Usually it takes a couple days to get from the bakery to the shelf of the store. After that it can last a few days longer on your counter.

Taking a tip from the commercial bakeries, storage in some sort of bag is a way of delaying the aging process. The only problem now is trying to figure out what type of bag works the best for storage. There are plastic bags, cotton bags, breathable polyurethane and even foil-lined paper bags.

Each type of bread has different requirements for bagging. Most soft breads do well in a fully enclosed plastic bag. Breads that are going to be reheated in an oven, like French bread or baguettes usually do best in a foil-lined bag that can be put in the oven and heated through. The biggest thing to remember when bagging bread is to make sure it is completely cool before you bag it otherwise there will be added moisture, increasing the chance for mold.

Fridge and freezer

No matter if you leave your bread out in the open or put it in some sort of bag, the best way to slow down the growth of mold is to put the bread in the fridge or freezer. The general consensus is freezing is better because there is less chance for the bread to just dry out. When storing the bread in the freezer, it is best to cut it into slices so you can remove only what you need and do not have to let the rest of the loaf defrost and refreeze.

Different altitudes affect bread differently, so try out a few different ways of storing your bread and figure out which way works best for each type of loaf. After all, you can always invite your friends over to help finish your bread off and make a fresh loaf to try new storage techniques with.