1There are two types of yeast breads; those where the dough is kneaded and those that are beaten (called batter breads).
2Batter breads use extra yeast and need more beating. However, they do not need to be kneaded. Since the gluten is not completely developed through the long kneading process, the batter bread texture tends to be coarser and the flavor more yeasty.
3Kneaded yeast dough, on the other hand, is lighter in texture and has a more subtle yeast flavor.
If dough is slightly tacky when touched, it will make a lighter loaf of bread. If too much flour is used, the bread will be dry and womewhat dense.
Dough needs to be briskly kneaded by hand for at least 10-15 minutes so you release the gluten action. Fold dough over itself and punch down, then turn 90º and fold over again and punch down, continuing kneading until dough is elastic and supple, and beginning to rise.
4Always use lukewarm water to activate your yeast (105º-110ºF). If you don't have a thermometer, sprinkle a drop or two on your inside wrist. It should be just warmer than tepid.
If liquid is too hot, it will kill the yeast action. If liquid is too cold, the yeast will eventually activate, but it will take much longer.
Make sure your yeast is fresh (within the expiration date)
You can lightly oil your hands before kneading to keep dough from sticking to them.
Once you've finished kneading and placed the dough in bowl for rising, make sure that there is no draft to cool it off in spots and make the dough rise unevenly.
Yeast dough needs to rise to double its original size
For crispy crust, place a shallow pan filled halfway with hot water on the bottom shelf of the oven. The water will create steam and help to make the crust crispier
When baking, make sure pans are at least 4 inches apart.
Never add hot ingredients (including butter) until it cools or you will kill the yeast action.
If you are using a sweet bread recipe, you can place the dough in a plastic ziplock bag and store in the fridge for about 12 hours for extra rising time.
6BREAD MACHINE: Always add the ingredients in this order:
First, add liquids, including melted butter, eggs or other liquids such as honey or molasses.
Add any fruits cut into small pieces next
Then add dry ingredients: flours, sugar, salt oatmeal, etc. You can add your nuts at this time. Make sure dry ingredients completely cover the liquid.
The final addition should be your yeast. Make a small depression in he middle of the dry ingredients and carefully spoon the yeast into the depression. Bread machines are timed for the use of dry yeast. Never use compressed fresh yeast in a bread baking machine.
7Bread Machine cycles:
For heavy flour such as whole wheat, buckwheat, rye, etc. use shorter time such as French bread cycle
For breads high in fat and sugar, use the sweet bread cycle
For white bread flour or all purpose flour, use basic cycle.
NOTE: Adding extra salt, fresh garlic, cinnamon or sugar to the dough may slow down or even stop yeast action. If you substitute honey, molasses of other liquid sweetener for the sugar called for in the recipe, it may cause over-browning.
8For a lighter textured bread, sift the flour twice before you add to bread machine.