Breadmaking Basics and Types of Bread

Good bread is the most fundamental satisfaction of all food: and good bread with fresh butter is the greatest feast – James Beard.

Whether you start the day with toast or complete dinner with a warm loaf of bread, there are few things as versatile as bread.  In fact, there are as many types and varieties of bread in the world as there are in other cultures.

When searching for bread types, you must first specify what you want to include. Bread is actually a flour dough that is fermented and baked. Since almost all grains and other things can be made into flour, our categories are still broad. We will focus on the basics of wheat type breads.

In some places, maintenance can be done with yeast, baking soda, salt, heat, or even spontaneously by airborne spores. We will be focusing primarily on yeast breads, with a slight detour to soda.

And of course, you can cook with anything from hot stones to a convection oven with temperature and humidity control. We will leave this category open.

Early domestication

Yeast is often considered one of the first domesticated organisms. The unscientific description is that the yeast consumes carbohydrates and releases CO2 and alcohol; this is fermentation. Different yeast strains produce different gas/alcohol ratios, so some are more suitable for making adult beverages and others for bread.

This achieves one of the main goals of bread baking: Sourdough bread doesn’t look like a brick, so it’s easier and more enjoyable to eat. The texture is mainly influenced by the fermentation process, although the physical steps of bread baking also have their reason.

Must knead

The bread dough does not need to be kneaded. Kneading aligns and strengthens the structure (gluten and proteins) so that the bread responds better to the yeast and has a constant fine bubble throughout the process.  Commercial bread often goes further with additives that create a consistent texture from top to bottom and is usually lighter in color than the homemade product.

Technically, all grains contain gluten. Gluten-specific wheat grains (spelt, farro, durum, etc.), along with barley, rye, and a few others, make up the majority of what causes a bad reaction in people with celiac disease and certain allergies.

White flour tends to have more gluten and therefore a softer bread texture. Whole wheat has a lower percentage, so it tends to make a denser loaf. In some cases, you can cheat by adding more sugar so the yeast has more food, produces more CO2, and the texture is lighter.

Which brings us to another point: It is not necessary to knead. A longer fermentation process, and we’re talking 12-24 hours instead of 2-3, results in a light and satisfying bread. The bubbles are often longer and larger, less regular and have a more sinusoidal texture. Think of a nice crunchy sourdough with those big bubbles.

Kneading is not a necessary step. But it definitely affects the end result of the bread baking process. Understanding how this happens will help you make a loaf that meets your expectations for the product.


Time is the only ingredient in making any kind of bread. As we have already seen, time is a factor that affects the bread you get. Usually the dough is prepared for about 90 minutes, kneaded and seasoned until it has doubled in volume. The dough is whipped and after a short resting time is transformed into bread. The formed loaf is heated, the second loaf is cooked, again until doubled or about 60-90 minutes, and then baked.

The recipe for homemade bread that has been so popular lately involves mixing ingredients, letting them ferment for 24 hours and then baking them.  Focaccia, like many flat breads, is kneaded and shaped, left to rise one stage and then baked. The brioche tastes best when placed in the refrigerator, at least overnight during the first rise, to ensure slow and complete fermentation. The starter (the yeast culture maintained by regular feeding) benefits from hours of sponging, then mixing, kneading, fermenting and the boiling phase.

And again and again. Some steps can be omitted, but time is always a part of the yeast dough preparation process.

Coarse grit

In general, wheat flour is needed to make bread. Gluten-free breads often use wheat flour from which the gluten has been removed and then additives such as xanthan gum or gelatin to replace the strength and binding properties of the gluten proteins.

The more whole grains there are before they become flour, the more they will be affected by the bread baking process. In general : The less refined the bread is, the denser it is obtained. That’s why home-baked 100% whole wheat bread is usually denser than white bread. (Professional bakers have tricks that you can look up for yourself). Smolina, made from hard whey, one of the hardest whey types, gives your bread even more density and is often used in pizza dough to improve the texture.

Your best recipes for rye bread, pumpernickel or many dark breads still use a percentage of unbleached white flour for the best textural results. White flour remains the best base, if you have z. B. Add coconut flour, which absorbs moisture and rarely makes up more than twenty percent of the recipe. Nut flour, which adds flavor, fat and fiber, will reduce the texture of your bread if you use too much of it. It’s all about finding the right balance to give your breads the texture you want.


You can throw 3 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of dry yeast and 1 cup of water in a bowl, stir and let it stand, within 24 hours you will have bread ready to bake.  Add a little sugar and the yeast will be much more lively, the bread will be ready in a few hours. One of the most interesting aspects of bread variation is the number of ingredients you can use to achieve the desired result.

Sugar is a carbohydrate. Flour contains carbohydrates. But not all carbohydrates are created equal. Just as your body can quickly digest sugar into glucose, yeast can ferment faster with sugar because it is simple compared to the complex carbohydrates in flour.

Sweeteners in particular, from brown sugar and maple syrup to honey or barley malt powder, are yeast products. They all leave flavor and sweetness in the finished bread. Some are more difficult for yeast to digest, such as B. Honey. This leaves more sweetness in the bread. Molasses is great for adding flavor (and color), but it provides less food for the yeast.


A particularly amusing aspect of bread as we know it is the multiplicity of its forms. A loaf can be a circle, rectangle, oval, square, braid or cylinder. If you leave it alone, nature tends to form the bread into a half ball. Then we get to things like scones,bagels,English muffins,flatbreads….. it just goes on and on.


We have collected recipes, techniques and tips for a wide range of baked goods. Here are some broad categories to help you find your own interests. Choose what you want and have it cooked for you:

Repeated rising of yeast breads; these breads will have permanent and finer bubbles, evenly from top to bottom. They are also used as additives, especially in cheese, herbs and spices, and some sourdough recipes will be included. The variations extend to sandwiches, croissants and other baked goods.

Yeast bread with one rise time; this category includes focaccia, pizza dough, Asian Bao, Bao Nan and tortillas. Generally coarser in texture and often tough. As the examples show, they are also ideal for the integration and delivery of other foods.

No kneaded bread or quick breads; it is a so-called artisan bread with few ingredients. Quick breads are our yeast-free bread category, which includes everything from soda bread to corn bread to sweet breads (not the ones that come in), as well as rolls, cookies and more.

Basic becomes

Now that you have a general idea, here’s a three-ingredient white bread recipe that we also use for homemade bread.

White Bread Recipe

In a bowl, soak one tablespoon (or packet) of dry yeast in two cups of warm water, not to exceed 100 degrees. Let me sit for five minutes.

Add 4 cups flour and mix with a spatula. Replace the spatula with a dough hook and add 2 more cups of flour. Knead until the dough is mixed and loosens from the sides of the bowl. Now set the timer and knead the dough until it is smooth. The time depends on the type of dough hook and your machine, usually 2 to 6 minutes.

It’s always fun to take the dough and turn it out onto a floured work surface or board, then knead a few turns until the dough is smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

Put the dough down and let it rest for 10 minutes. Remove from bowl and form into scones, rolls or buns. Fermentation to doubling, 60-90 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees until cooked through. When you press on the bottom of the loaf, it sounds hollow, indicating clumsiness, or the thermometer reads 190 degrees in the middle of the loaf. Remove from pan, let cool for 10 minutes and serve.

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