Basic Bread | Lean Dough

Basic Bread | Lean Dough

Details

By following a Simple Baker's Formula, you can easily make a delicious, crusty baguette, epi or round of bread by hand.
  • Serves: 1 loaf
  • Active Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Views: 70,640
  • Success: 100%

Steps

Step 1: Preparing Your Mise en Place

• 1 cup cool water
• 1 tsp instant yeast
• 2 cups unbleached bread flour*
• 1 tsp sea salt

Method

To prepare your mise en place, follow a Simple Bakers Formula by measuring out the ingredients. Set aside.

*Note: Use a bread flour with at least 12% protein content. Depending on the humidity, you may require more or less bread flour as you form the dough.

Step 2: Mixing the Dough

Method

Pour the water into a medium-sized, deep bowl and sprinkle the yeast over top. Add three-quarters of the flour. With a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients until just combined and then add the salt.

Do not knead at this point. Keep stirring, adding the remaining flour, if necessary. Depending on the humidity, you may need to add a bit more than the measured 2 cups. Add enough flour to create a clay-like mass. As you stir, the dough should clean the sides of the bowl.

Step 3: Kneading the Dough

Method

Turn the dough out onto the counter top, removing any bits of flour and dough that are stuck to the bowl. Knead the dough for at least 5 to 8 minutes until it is smooth. Don’t be tempted to add too much flour.

Step 4: Fermenting the Dough

Method

Clean out the mixing bowl, if necessary and place the kneaded dough inside. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until it doubles in size (approximately 1 hour).

Once the dough doubles in size, punch it down to expel the gas. Cover the dough again and let it rest for about 5 minutes.

Step 5: Shaping the Dough

• medium cornmeal (for dusting)
• bread flour (for dusting)

Method

Once the dough has rested, it can be shaped. Watch Topic 5 of the Stages of Bread Making Lesson for specific instructions.

Once the dough has been shaped, place it onto a tray lined with cornmeal.

Step 6: Proofing the Dough

Method

Place a small tray on the lowest rack and preheat your oven to 400° F (205° C).

Flour the dough quite heavily and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough proof at room temperature for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Perform the spring back test to ensure it has proofed enough before baking.

Step 7: Slashing and Baking the Dough

• 2 to 3 tbsp cold water

Method

Once the dough has properly proofed, slash the dough with a serrated knife or lame.

Immediately transfer to the middle rack and pour the water into the small tray to create steam. Immediately close the oven door. Depending on the size and shape of the dough, bake it until the top and sides are golden brown. Once done the bottom should sound hollow. You can even test the temperature by inserting a thermometer from the bottom of the loaf into the center of the dough. The temperature should register between 200-210° F (95-99° C).

Step 8: Cooling and Storing the Bread

Method

Once you remove the bread from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Wait at least 30 minutes before cutting into. Store for 1 to 2 days at room temperature in a paper bag or bread box.

125 Comments

  • Liz S
    Liz S
    I was all set to go and then panicked when I saw my unbleached flour package said it contained only 4gm protein. I reviewed the bread basics lesson and was relieved to learn that my flour was actually 12 gms as all my flour package ingredients are based on 1/4 cup (30 gram) measurements. I think I was a bit paranoid about adding too much flour so my dough was very sticky. So it seemed like I was really struggling but the loaf of bread produced was really delicious. My husband said it looked very professional. Both the texture and flavour were great. I really loved making (and eating) this bread:)
  • Judi G
    Judi G
    WOW, What an impressive lesson THIS is. After many efforts to make good bread, taking expensive baking classes and ending up with some really good and pretty awful results, I will take the laptop into the kitchen and give this a try. Your instructions and examples look great - terribly difficult to get this type of information from a book or pictures. I will keep you posted. Thanks.
  • Judi G
    Judi G
    Today I made my first loaf of this lovely bread. I used the laptop to stop/start instructions and replay if I couldn't remember something. It was so easy to follow, but there are a lot of steps so makes it nice to do it in small bites. It's nice that you encourage us through the process because this DOES take practice but I felt very confident working my way through the steps (and it will be even better next time/tomorrow). I was thrilled with the baguette (and so were my guests) but it was not as big as I thought it should be (perhaps I didn't allow it to rise enough?), but the flavour was lovely. I could honestly have saved myself over a hundred dollars on the 4-hour bread course I took a month ago. Your method is WAY, WAY easier to learn as you have all the verbal, visual and written instructions to fall back on. I can't remember much from the class I took. Gone forever. But not with this Rouxbe course - I will just continue to retry and remake this bread until it improves even more, but I am so pleased with myself and have you to thank for this and future successes!!! THis course is extremely well done!!! AWESOME camera work to SHOW us what should be happening and even when something is NOT right...
  • Faye G
    Faye G
    Thank you for all you do. In Step 1. it says 1 tsp instant yeast, but in the "Simple Baker's Bread Formula" drill down it says "1 tsp of dry yeast". Are instant and dry yeast the same? I understand there are fresh, active dry and instant yeasts usually used in baking. Could you please clarify this one?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    You can use 1 tsp of either instant or active dry. Yeast is covered in great detail in the previous lesson on How to Make Bread | Basics. Cheers!
  • Judi G
    Judi G
    This one was a bit better, but it still doesn't rise very quickly for me (I believe I haven't been waiting for the yeast to thoroughly dissolve - so will test that theory). And it seems that no matter how much flour I put on the shaped loaf, the plastic always sticks to the sides and it's difficult to remove. Can I just go with the tea towel, or will that stick as well? It's hard to get flour to stay on the sides of the loaf, so not sure what would be best. Even if it isn't as large a loaf as I would like, it's wonderful!
  • Liz S
    Liz S
    It was my understanding, Judi, that this recipe was intended to be baguette size. With that perspective, it actually makes quite a large baguette. I too had a bit of trouble taking the saran off the sides and just smoothed the sides again by hand. If I can't get enough flour on the sides next time I was thinking to use a tea towel too. Such fun and great learning experience!
  • Judi G
    Judi G
    That makes me feel better and I will try the tea towel next time. But, you are right, it's fun to just keep trying to get better and it isn't going to all happen at once. My family love the bread (no matter what it looks like) and I am happy to slowly improve. It's also nice hearing from others who are having small challenges. If they could sell air freshener that smelled like my kitchen does right now, it would be a winner!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Don't be afraid to add lots of flour before you cover the dough. Also you can just lay the plastic wrap over the top and let it loosely drape over the edges - no need to tuck it in or anything. If you are going to use a tea towel you may still want to use flour. I have to say that you should both be proud of yourselves for already making your second loaf of bread in only 2 days...nice work!!
  • Faye G
    Faye G
    Thank you Kimberly for your answer. Sorry, but I still did not get a clear understanding regarding amount of yeast in relation to the type of yeasts. From what I have learnt the amount of yeast differs in potency depending on what type of yeast is being used in a recipe. The ratio of yeast is as follows: instant-active dry-fresh = 1-2-3. Are you saying that I can use equal amounts of any type of yeast I happen to have on hand?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Yes, dry yeast is at least twice as potent as fresh yeast. This drill down on Yeast Substitutions is attached to the previous lesson on the Basics of Bread Making. We also cover the substitutions for fresh yeast in that lesson. For the beginner baker, it is ok to use 1 tsp of instant yeast or 1 tsp of active dry (yes, instant is a bit more potent), but it will be ok. If you want to adjust or use fresh yeast, follow the substitution chart accordingly. Cheers!
  • Faye G
    Faye G
    Kimberly, thank you very much! Oops! I missed this chart somehow. Very usful information for yeast substitution.
  • Magic of S
    Magic of S
    I can smell this just out of the oven:)
  • Ante Z
    Ante Z
    I'm having problems with rising of the dough. I use instant yeast, which is live (I've checked), but my dough never seems to double in size. What might me the problem? Water temperature is ok. I'm not mixing yeast with salt, so that is not it. Mayebe if I put the dough in oven on 35C? but then I shouldn't cover it with foil? Thnaks!
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    If the yeast is alive, you are using cool water and kneading well, simply cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the dough in a draft-free area. You can put it in an oven that is off. You can leave the oven light on though for a bit of warmth. Just make sure that it doesn't get too hot in there. No need for foil - plastic wrap won't melt at that temperature. If all of these bases are covered, I think it just boils down to patience. The dough will slowly rise. Cheers!
  • Judi G
    Judi G
    What I thought was initially good bread, was, in fact, Not. I guess I have low standards (as well as my family and friends). BUT, I have continued making the bread, testing yeast when I thought that was the problem, and eventually I am improving my skills and beginning to know what to look for. I have also realized that my bread knife is dull and that may be contributing to the problem of 'low loaves' so I am going to invest in a new one. My bread seems to rise much more slowly than the guidelines suggest and I am just going to wait longer in the future. Another thing - I made TWO loaves tonight to see how different techniques would affect them and although one tested over 200 internally, it had a very soft crust - the other one was nice and crunchy. I guess I need to judge more by the color than just temperature. Anyway, the house smells lovely and we do eat the bread, regardless. And I believe that going through a bit of flour is a very inexpensive way to continue honing my craft.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Judi, glad to hear you are practicing. This is what it is all about. I'm sure week after week, you will fine-tune the process and notice improvements. Think about how many loaves a baker makes in one day...it's all about practice. Happy Bread Making! Cheers!
  • Paul A
    Paul A
    I WANT TO SEE THE THE VEDIO ON BAKING BREAD. WHAT PROSESS DO I DO TO GET THAT UP ON YOUR PROGRAM. I HAVE SEEN IT ALREADY. AND IT WAS GREAT. BUT I WOULD LIKE TO VIEW IT AGAIN, BEFORE I START MAKING BREAD.ALSO, WHEN MAKING SAUSAGE, I THINK THROUGH EXPERING IT , I CAME UP WITH 3/4 OF A TEASPOON OF SALT. PER LB. AM I CLOSE IN MEASUREMENT. THE OTHER INGREANCE IN SAUAGE IS UP TO TASTE. ALSO, HOW TO MAKE RAVIOI'S. I DO KNOW HOW, I JUST WANTED TO SEE YOUR MEATHOUD. I HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS BUT I'LL SAVE THEM FOR ANOTHER TIME. OH ONE MORE THING, WHAT IS THE APX. TIME OF KNEEDING BREAD FROM A MIXER MASHINE. THANK YOU. BY THE WAY, THIS IS THE BEST SITE I HAVE EVER SEEN. I HAVE BAZILION BOOKS, THAT DOES'NT CLOSE TO ROUXBE. PAUL
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    To review the lessons in the school, you must become a premium member. Please refer to our Membership Options page for further details. Once a premium member, you have unlimited access to the Cooking School videos and can watch them over and over again. Regarding your other questions, this particular forum thread is reserved for questions pertaining to bread. Please create a new thread in the forum for each subject. Cheers!
  • Judi G
    Judi G
    Is it possible to make a regular loaf of bread with this recipe instead of the baguette?
  • Ante Z
    Ante Z
    Well I made my first epi, and it was good, but I'm not sure did I put enough flour in the dough. My dough was constantly wet, even in the proofing stage it was so sticky that I coud not test it. I was putting flour in it, but after a bit kneeding, it went wet again. So can you please put metric measures in the recepie, besides usual cup/ts measures?
  • Terry R
    Terry R
    Dear Rouxbe, terrific recipe! Everything went perfectly well. First E'pi was a total success! Your video, instructions, and measurement are perfect for my neck of the woods. This is a perfect way to learn how to make bread. Easy and fun! Thank you. Looking forward to more on breads. Best Regards for North Carolina. Terry R.
  • Ante Z
    Ante Z
    Can you make a lean dough with wholewheat flour? I tried to kneede it, but it just didn't become elastic
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    You can shape this dough into a large round or place it into baking baskets which will leave a distinct imprint on the dough before it is baked. If using a basket, it must be heavily floured to prevent sticking. It shouldn't, however, be placed into a tin and baked in the tin. This dough is usually baked on a tray so all sides become golden.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    It takes practice and repetition to become comfortable with dough. If you found the dough to be far too wet to handle, try using more flour next time. It's all about making tweaks as you are learning. As mentioned above, this lesson is about feeling the dough and trusting your instincts. Don't give up. It just takes practice practice practice. Cheers!
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Whole wheat flour is covered in the Wheat lesson. You cannot substitute 1:1 in this recipe. Usually, up to only about 50% of whole wheat flour should be substituted. We encourage you to develop your bread making skills by using all bread flour first before trying out another flour.
  • Judi G
    Judi G
    Okay, thanks. I had no idea that this couldn't be baked in a regular pan, so that helps. I will get a basket when I'm out and give it another try. It's coming along nicely, and as you say, you need to work with the dough (adding ever so little flour along the way) until it's not sticking. That way you won't add too much four, which I have done in past and it's often not fix-able. It definitely gets better and easier as I keep working on it.
  • Mike G
    Mike G
    If you use fresh yeast is it also 1 tsp? Here in Sweden we have fresh yeast on the shelves of all super markets , lucky us!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Fresh yeast does not weigh the same as dry yeast. For more info on substituting one for the other here is the topic on Yeast & Bread Making from the bread lesson - go to around the 4:00 minute mark. Cheers!
  • Mike G
    Mike G
    Thanks, nice and easy, I tried making the bread the other day with dry yeast and it was great so I figured I'd try with fresh today. Have a nice weekend, Mike
  • Carla H
    Carla H
    Well it is 94 degrees here in Maryland today. My first time taking the bread course and decided to make a bread boule and an epi. Dough rising was really slow. But after reading your comments above I know I need more patience. Also I agree on the dough being extremely moist. I have done other bread recipes with not as moist dough. I will keep trying I love baking bread and I have had fantastic results with all the recipes I have tried here. happy baking all.
  • Julia R
    Julia R
    We don't use 'cups' to measure ingredients here in Europe. I've translated your recipe in the following: 1 cup of water is about 235grams or ml, and 2 cups of flour is together 260 grams. My dough was really liquid! I've been additing flour until it's total weight became 600g to be able to form some kind of a ball. How is this possible that in pizza dough recipe you use 300 ml of water (1 1/2 cup) and 500g flour and in bread it's almost 1:1? I'm using Italian flour type 00 with 15% protein and it's quite cold and very dry in my kitchen. I know I should experiment and I'm going to bake everyday until I get it right. But the difference between these recipes is just zo huge! Thank you for your response.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Don't worry too much about the measurements, as different types of flour will react differently with water, humidity, etc. It's hard to say without testing out the type of flour you are using. In our pizza recipe, we are using bread flour with a combination of semolina. This amount of water and flour work together to make a pliable dough. When making bread dough it is always best to commit to the yeast water ratio and then add enough flour to form a pliable dough. This prevents you from having to depend on measuring the exact amount of flour needed. Concentrate more on feeling the dough and keeping it nice and soft. Most importantly, how did the bread turn out? :)
  • Arianna A
    Arianna A
    Well, I am really happy to learn how easy it is to make an epi! Just made two. Best part is you can cut off a small piece at the top or bottom to taste and no one can tell;-) Simply delicious!! Thanks, again, Rouxbe!
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Nice work Arianna! :)
  • Katie F
    Katie F
    How would I shape the bread to make it those cute little round breads as apposed to the long thin baguettes?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Shaping the dough into rounds is hard to describe properly in text as it involves quite a bit of technique. This is something that we will cover further down the road. In the meantime, you could always check online as there are likely other videos out there that might provide some guidance. Cheers!
  • Barbara M
    Barbara M
    One way to get lovely round bread loaves is to purchase oven safe glass bowls with sloping sides. I was proofing a loaf of bread in the oven in one of these bowls and forgot it was in there and turned the oven on to preheat it. I baked it of course and went ahead and left it in and finished it. It was great and I have baked round bread this way ever since. It browns evenly and looks wonderful.
  • Wanda D
    Wanda D
    Any tips for higher altitudes?
  • Ian P
    Ian P
    How high?
  • Wanda D
    Wanda D
    3740 ft above sea level
  • Ian P
    Ian P
    As I understand the altitude issue, adjustments are needed at around 3500 ft. I'm at 6500 feet and I have a few comments for you to consider. - I first ask (Myself) where was this recipe written which brings into play altitude, humidity and maybe some cultural issues. - proofing is slower, I like to heat my oven to 200f, turn it off and proof the dough in the draft free oven. -Baking soda or powder I generally cut in half and go from there. - Consider the dryness if you are in a low humidity area -Baking time can be longer -always heat your oven to temp for about 15/20 minutes before you bake. Use an oven thermometer. & turn the product. There are some other considerations - see what the Rouxbe wizzards have to say. ( see Pie In the Sky by Purdy, she baked all around the USA and has plenty to share in the book.
  • Ian P
    Ian P
    Excellent comments on baking at altitude in Chocolate Snowball by Letty Flatt.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    This is a complex question for us to answer at this time as we are at sea level and, unfortunately, cannot test these things for ourselves. We are happy, however, that other students from around the world (thank you Ian) can jump in and share their experience and suggestions. We also recommend reviewing books and other resources geared towards high altitude cooking and baking so you can become aware of some general rules and guidelines on how to make adjustments. Cheers!
  • Dean H
    Dean H
    I don't know if it's the flour I'm using or my elevation (3500 ft) but my first two attempts at making basic bread resulted in inedible "torpedoes". The dough was wet, sticky, very hard to work with and didn't rise very well. (I bought new yeast and flour so they weren't to blame) After those failures, I decided to refer to "Ratio" by Michael Ruhlman and came up with the following ingredient measurements by weight: 400 grams flour 240 grams water 4 grams instant yeast (or 12 grams fresh yeast) 8 grams salt Using 1 cup water, 1 tsp yeast and 1 tsp kosher salt got essentially the same weights above, but it took nearly 3 cups of flour to get 400 grams. I had no idea so much more flour was needed. Since this was my experiment using the weights method, I decided to use the exact weights for each of the ingredients and Voila! -- the bread turned out perfectly. The dough was no where near as sticky and was much easier to work with. I did note that it took about twice as long for the dough to double during the fermentation and proofing stages, but that's probably due to my different elevation. In case it helps anyone, my kitchen temperature was 21°C and the relative humidity was 36%. I love my digital scale!
  • Faye G
    Faye G
    Congratulations on your success in baking bread! Making bread is very fulfilling. More, then any other baked or cooked goods, at least for me. Regarding slow rising at the bulk fermentation stage, it seams you were low on the yeast. In "Ratio" by M. Ruhlman, you were referring to, the percentage of the yeast (12 grams of fresh yeast) is 2% of the total flour weight and only 1% of the total flour weight if you were using instant yeast. If you were using instant yeast, 1% for of yeast for 400 grams of flour is low even though instant yeast is more potent then fresh yeast. Also your kitchen low temperature and humidity could have contributed to delayed bulking. I am an amateur baker therefore any credible suggestions would be much appreciated.
  • Jessica W
    Jessica W
    My dough, even after kneading twice, couldn't produce a window. I've kneaded it a third time and have put it in the fridge to rise. (I would like the bread for tomorrow afternoon) After each testing, the dough seemed smoother(?) but as I would need it would get sticky again and I would have to add more flour. I'm wondering if I'm not using enough muscle in my kneading or perhaps, I'm not kneading enough. Any ideas on what I can try differently on my next load? Thanks
  • Christophe K Rouxbe Staff
    Christophe K
    Jessica, the window test only works (well) if you are making a dough just using white flour, with whole wheat or any other combination it will not work. also when you try to do the test you need to strech the ball of dough slowly otherwise it will tear no matter what. And finally you do want to keep the dough somewhat sticky even it feels a bit strange, so I think it is for one or a combination of these 3 reasons that you cannot achieve the window test. hope it helps.
  • Fatima A
    Fatima A
    Hi I made the bread this morning for our weekend family brunch. It was great. Only issue is that it did not get brown, it was white. Am I missing something here. Also what is Epi-sode?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    There could be many things that contributed to the pale color.First, your oven temperature may be off. Make sure to check the internal temperature of your oven, as many ovens can be off by as much as 50 degrees. Also make sure that you preheated it very well. The dough also may have been over-proofed or you had too much steam in the oven when you went to bake it. Monitor all of these things next time to try and improve your results. Practice makes perfect ;) Not entirely clear about your question on epi-sode...if you are referring to what is an epi, there is a lesson on shaping bread this way. Cheers!
  • Fatima A
    Fatima A
    Now that you mention it I think the problem is that I put to much water with the bread in the oven. This was only clarified when I went throught the 2 lessons Stages of Bread Making and How to make bread basics. I am getting used to handling these classes and starting to really enjoy what you and your teams at Rouxbe have to offer. Thank you.
  • Tony M Rouxbe Staff
    Tony M
    I know a Swiss bread-maker who only uses fresh water from a local waterfall, especailly after a heavy rain! No doubt that something as seamingly as simple as bread deserves specific attention. However, this lesson is simply to get people to try breads with everyday ingredients, including tap water; however, filtered water, or a bucket from a nearby waterfall, might work better. As an instructor, I've learned that the first and greatest victory is to get people to do something with their own hands. Once that happens, understanding the individual ingredients becomes the next logical step. I completely appreciate where you're coming from, and your passion for bread should be an example of why we should all investigate every food we take for granted. But food education and learning requires a slow "fermentation". This forum, rather than a video lesson, is a better place for the details you mention above - at least for now. When we tackle artisianl bread-making, these details will add the necessary layers to the present fundamental lesson.
  • Albert D
    Albert D
    I baked it with a 50/50 regular/whole wheat mix and it was excellent! (although it didnt pass the "window test" !) Are you planning on doing a special lesson on whole wheat bread baking? It would be wonderful to get special instruction for this!
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Good job for experimenting! The window test will be harder to achieve as the whole flour tends to tear through the window. A lesson specifically on whole wheat bread making is not on our production schedule at the moment. We will cover the other bread basics first before moving on to more specific lessons that use specific ingredients. In the meantime, continue to experiment using whole wheat flour in other baked goods by substituting up to 50% of the all-purpose/bread flour for whole wheat. Cheers!
  • Andrew B
    Andrew B
    Hey there rouxbe, I'm having a lot of trouble kneading this dough by hand. In the video it says not to add too much flour because after kneading for a while the mass should start to come together. However, this is the complete opposite for me. I added more than two cups of flour and kneaded for at least ten minutes and still resulted in a huge sloppy mess on my hands and countertop. Can you explain please? I feel like the more I knead the more it wants to loosen up on me. -Thanks
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    What type of flour are you using & what is the protein content? Four cups of flour sounds like quite a bit of flour to only one cup of water, but it depends. We do stress not to add too much flour because most beginners go way overboard with flour and wind up with very dense dough. It should feel soft and tacky but not mucky. If you haven't done so already, please check out the lessons on Bread Basics and the Stages of Bread Making. These lessons go into great detail about the ingredients and how the dough should look. Cheers!
  • Mike N
    Mike N
    Hi, I made bread using this receipe, and have made artisan bread before. It always comes out great, but very dense. Its great for eating by itself with some butter or olive oil etc. , but way to dense to use for a sandwich like you would get in the freshly made bread section of the supermarket. What can I do to make the bread less dense ?
  • Tony M Rouxbe Staff
    Tony M
    You can use lower gluten flour, such as all purpose. Longer fermentation, overnight in fridge rather than room temperature, helps. Getting more air bread by beating with fast speed mixers is how it's done commercially. Achieving that fluffy texture at home is a bit difficult with artisinal ingredients.
  • Mike N
    Mike N
    how would i go about using my cuisinart mixer to add more air to the bread ?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    It's harder to do this with this type of dough in a home mixer. Commerical-grade mixers are extremely durable and are designed to handle the torque. The motor on your home mixer may not be able to handle it. Try the first couple of suggestions (all-purpose flour, fermentation). If you are looking for a softer dough, this will be covered down the road when we get to Enriched doughs/breads in the Cooking School. This recipe was based on a lean dough which corresponds to the lessons on Bread Basics and the Stages of Bread Making. Cheers!
  • Mike N
    Mike N
    Is there something I'm not understanding? What is the purpose of lean /hard bread.. it tastes good but the texture is so dense, hard, and chewy it makes me feel its not worth the work or calories.. how would you eat or serve this bread?
  • Tony M Rouxbe Staff
    Tony M
    Lean vs hard has nothing to do with calories, but texture. Chewy is what Europeans know and appreciate, what artisinal bread is mostly about. The soft, fluffy bread you desire is just easier to make commercially because of the machinery used.
  • Mike N
    Mike N
    got it .. so my real question then is, can i learn to make rolls for sandwhiches, or is that just a product that's best i buy from a store ?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Again, these types of breads are usually enriched breads which means that they contain fat, eggs and/or other ingredients to soften the dough. It is absolutely possible to make these types of breads at home; however, this is not something that we have covered in the Cooking School - yet. Enriched breads will be covered sometime down the road. While this is a great subject, we are currently focused on producing other lessons in the Cooking School. Cheers!
  • Diane K
    Diane K
    The first time I made this dough I measured exactly the 1 cup water and 2 cups flour, but it came out very sticky and not able to handle at all. But, when I went back and watched the video, it did say the flour made already have more moisture in it, so a little more flour may be needed. I add less than a 1/4 cup of flour more and it came out perfect. The trick is not too much flour, but enough to be able to handle the dough. I was kneading the dough just like in the cooking school video. What a thrill!! Love the videos. The bread is deeeelicious.
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Does this recipe benefit from a longer rise? Should it be somewhat adapted to use it? Thanks in advance!
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    I'd also like to know if it is possible to change the recipe to allow a longer rise at room temperature. Thanks
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Yes, you can let the dough slow rise at lower temperatures (in the refrigerator). Please refer to the lesson on the Stages of Bread Making for more information. This recipe is a supporting text recipe for that lesson. Cheers!
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Thank you, Kimberley. What happens if I leave this dough fermenting at 25-30 Celsius degrees? Should I change the recipe to allow it, for exemple adding less yeast? How should I do it?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    You do not have to change the recipe. The rate of fermentation depends on the temperature. The warmer the temperature, the faster the rise. The colder the temperature, the slower the rise. Dough that is allowed to ferment slower at lower temperatures will develop more flavor because of the slow process. Experiment to see if you prefer one method over the other. Cheers!
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Kimberley, my dough doesn't rise in the refrigerator at the same temperature I want my beers chilled! So I have to fermentate it at room temperature, which is as high as 30 degreess Celsius where I live, if I want to develope those nice aromas from the fermentation. My doubt is if I can use the same amount of yeast of the recipe in such a hot temperature for 24h of fermentation. I've been sucessfully making those no-knead breads popularized by Jim Lahey, and I use only 2g of fresh yeast for 400g of flour. After 24h, the dought is very sticky and much softer than the one of this recipe. So it's dificult to make a baguete with it. But the taste is wonderful - in fact, the best bread I've ever tryed! So, I wanted to try a long fermentation at 30 degrees Celsius for this recipe and don't know how to change the amount of yeast to do it or other changes.. Would you help me? Thanks.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    At 30C too many things can happen. This is not the best temperature to ferment dough for any length of time. Besides, the type of yeast, flour, and your environment can cause the dough to exhaust itself before it develops any flavor. You can definitely experiment with smaller amounts of yeast, but it is hard to tell you exactly how much based on the ingredients/conditions mentioned. This is where your practice comes into play. Start with half and see what happens. A sourdough starter would work best, buts that’s a whole different lesson which will be covered down the road. It is much too complex to get into in the context of a forum. I say enjoy your cold beer while you wait for your dough to ferment :) Cheers!
  • Rod R
    Rod R
    This is so easy and so Good! I did not realize how easy it was to make a baguette. Thanks Rouxbe!
  • Denise C
    Denise C
    First time I made bread - DISASTER!!! Of course I was dumb enough to try it without taking my Rouxbe lessons first. Second time I made it success!! It came out beautifully. The third time, I had to make 4 loaves for Thanksgiving. Getting each loaf to come out right was tricky. It is not a custom amount of flour. I am at high altitude (Denver 5280 ft) and usually have to add more flour than the recipe calls for. I baked 3 loaves of bread in the oven, the first burned, the second and third came out fine even though they were all in the oven at the same time. Is that weird or is it just me? The fourth came out fine. In the end, I ended up with 3 good loaves of bread for tomorrow. This all leads me to my question: I used 2 throw away pans and 1 baking sheet. However, I have on my Christmas list that I want a twin baguette bread pan that has the little holes in it for better steam circulation. Do you think this may help to solve my cooking time problem? Do you think it may be an altitude problem? I know the biggest success factor is practice!!! Second question, I have a stand mixer. I begin the kneading process in the mixer and finish it off by hand. I know I should do it all by hand to get the proper technique down, but kneading for 5-8 minutes wears my arms out!!!!! Is it OK to do it that way. Thanks all. Happy Thanksgiving! Denise
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Yes, you are right. Bread making requires lots of practice to obtain consistent results. This is particularly true when you start scaling recipes and making bigger batches. In terms of altitude, you will need to search out cookbooks that deal with altitude cooking as we are not the experts on this subject. Perforated baking sheets will help to circulate air and can give baked goods a better rise in the oven. Yes, you can begin the kneading process in the mixer and finish it off on the countertop. Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!
  • Faye G
    Faye G
    Hi All, I have been making bread for the past 4 years. I have made this basic bread couple of times. My results were good. My last loaf of this bread refused to take any color in the oven (I steamed it in the beginning), I've kept it in the oven 20 (!) minutes longer then suggested 20 - 25 minutes. Still it came out pale and it did not taste right (I did not forget the salt) and crumbs were dense. When I kneaded the dough (by hands) it did not feel right; I am not sure how to describe it, but the dough felt too pliable, two soft, but not sticky. The only deviation from this recipe was that I used the starter (for the lack of time) instead of straight method. I left the starter to ferment overnight at room temperature. Should the starter have been left in the refrigerator instead? I am not sure that the starter has caused this failed loaf. I can not imagine I’ve over kneaded the dough either. Please help me to sort this out.
  • Tony M Rouxbe Staff
    Tony M
    Sounds like an oven issue. When bread is pale after 20 minutes and more this usually indicates too low an oven. Perhaps your oven needs to be calibrated and is not giving you the true temperature. Perhaps it might be trapping too much moisture. Try a much higher pre-heated oven temperature for your next batch.
  • Faye G
    Faye G
    Tony, Thank you very much for your comments. Hmm... I should check my oven thermometer.
  • Jose S
    Jose S
    I will never buy bread again I will make my own from now on (never is a strong word , lol). I was really impressed on how this turned out it look exactly like the videos. I was worried because I added the salt before adding the flour, but I guess since I added the flour right away it did not affect the activation of the yeast. I let it cool for 30minutes and cut into it and it taste wonderful. I understand and appreciate the process of bread making so much more now, (it's not always about making a sauce, or sauteing) it is so true when it comes out the oven and you know that you are the one who made this with very simple ingredients it is truly a thing of beauty.
  • Jose S
    Jose S
    I'm about to attempt to make whole wheat bread and I am using fresh yeast, how much should I scale back?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Here is a drill-down for yeast substitutions (found in the lesson on Bread Basics). Cheers!
  • Jose S
    Jose S
    Hello everyone, Thanks Kimberly I totally forgot about the drill down. My next question is what is the best way to store unused dough. I 'm going to make whole wheat bread (1 baguette and 1 boule) however I don't want to make both today. I made a batch of dough that has risen 3x it's size enough to make two loaves. Also when kneading whole wheat dough (I used whole stone ground flour) does it take longer to develop gluten with this kind of dough? Because I was kneading longer than normal so I wanted to make sure I was not over kneading. Happy cooking. Kindly , Jose
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Ideally, dough should be baked once it has proofed. You can prolong the fermentation time by storing the dough in the refrigerator. Keep in mind that the yeast in dough that is stored for too long it will eventually die off and you won't get a good rise. Note that whole-wheat flour cannot be substituted 1:1 in recipes that call for all-purpose or bread flour. Usually up to 1/3 to 1/2 can be substituted in recipes, but the texture will obviously be different. Whole wheat flour actually interferes with the development of gluten (see the Wheat lesson for more information). It is very hard to overknead dough by hand. Just keep kneading until you achieve a smooth texture. Hope this helps. Cheers!
  • Jose S
    Jose S
    Hi Kimberly, Thanks so much for the help.
  • Larry W
    Larry W
    I followed the recipe and directions carefully. The dough turned out way too sticky. I am unsure of the ratios used. It seems to be a much too high of a hydration ratio. 2 cups of flour 9-10 oz, 1 cup water 8 oz. This is a 80% hydration level right? I always thought that bread should be around 60% to 65% hydration. I am a little confused. Can you please advise.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    This recipe is a practice recipe that supports the lesson on the Stages of Bread Making in the Bread section of the school. The amounts in this practice recipe are definitely a starting point when building the dough. You will likely need to add more flour to the mixture to obtain the proper consistency. Please watch the lesson on the Stages of Bread Making. The dough should be sticky and not dense. We do go through all of this in detail in the lesson. We show you how to create a shaggy mass and then add flour to get the proper consistency. You are correct that a lean dough often has about a 65% hydration but we intentionally wanted students to start with 2 cups of flour and learn how to get the dough to the proper consistency from there. Let us know if you have any questions after reviewing the lessons in the Bread section. Cheers!
  • Denise C
    Denise C
    I made this recipe again and finally after adding almost 3/4c more flour than the recipe called for (it was pretty humid that day), I finally got the bread to the point where I could handle it without it sticking to me. I was afraid that after baking it would not taste good because of all the flour. Actually - it's the best bread I have made yet. My question - the crust comes out very crunchy on day one. But the next day it is pretty soft. Is there something you can do before, during or after the baking process to keep the crust a little softer? Continuing practice....... This has been the hardest lesson so far!!!!!
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Awesome job on all of the practicing! Yes, bread making is a true art that requires plenty of practice. The learning never ends really. The crispy crust is the nature of this formula and type of bread. It should be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and it sounds like you are doing a fine job in attaining this! When the bread comes out of the oven it will be crispy; but, as it sits, it will become soft and even leathery from the moisture in the air (and from the fact that it starts to stale the moment it is taken out of the oven). The structure of bread changes as it sits/ages. For this particular formula, you can't really get a soft crust. Softer crusts are generally created by using formulas that have added ingredients which enrich the dough, such as eggs, milk, butter, oil, etc. You could play around with this formula and substitute whole milk for water. Enriching dough, however, is a completely different lesson and it is so large that it can't be covered properly in the context of a forum. Down the road we will get to Enriched Breads, but there are other fundamental culinary techniques (and some basic baking techniques) that need to be covered first in the basic curriculum. An example of a soft, enriched bread is this one. I made it over the weekend and filled it with apricot jam and walnuts. It was delicious! You could try this out, keep it completely plain and shape it however you like. Cheers!
  • Denise C
    Denise C
    I do like the crispy crust, I was just asking because my husband likes the softer ones. The recipe link looks yummy. I will try it for sure!!! Thanks!
  • Dave
    Dave
    Hi Just finished the Basic of Bread lessons and decided to go on to a text recipe. http://rouxbe.com/recipes/3346-basic-bread-lean-dough/text Now the lesson told me all about warm water, clean water, best to activate yeast at 95 F. Well I start my first recipe and the ingredients is cool water? Is this a typo? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks ... Dave W
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Good eye, but don't worry, cool water is fine for dissolving yeast. Warm water just activates the yeast a bit faster. Cool or cold water on the other hand, slows down the fermentation process allowing more flavor to develop. This is why many bread-makers use cold water. So in summary, either warm or cold water works. It’s like toasting nuts in a hot vs low oven: both work, one just has a better guarantee you won’t over-roast (meaning that warm water, if it's too hot, can kill the yeast). Hope that helps. Cheers!
  • Dave
    Dave
    Thanks Dawn
  • Alberto E
    Alberto E
    Making bred is hard science! Don’t get me wrong, I have always been interested in making bread, pizza etc. I just spend the weekend on it, pizza on Saturday bread on Sunday. Pizza was ok, still I need to get it right I don’t think it raised enough, but the flavor was great! On the other hand bread…. When they say do not use bleach flour they meant it!! My flour didn’t call on the ingredients for bleach or peroxide then I figured must be ok! Wrong!! I ended up with a messy soup on the counter no matter how much flour I added, it always returned to the thing on the horror movie! But I did not toast it I let it rise and baked it after some time, no shape just like a…. whatever shape it took, hey it tasted good! It had no crust more like soft bread but good w/ some olive oil jejeje. I try it again later with some hole wheat flour, mix w/ bleach flour, (again) it was better at least I was able to shape it an bake them they came out good I may have under prove them but for the first time I like them. Is there a way to post pictures of our practices other than on the profile picture to get some criticism? Or feed back?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Good job on practicing Alberto. No one becomes a good chef/bread-maker without lots and lots of practice. As for being able to post pictures is something that will be coming in the future. In the meantime, you could post your pictures to flickr (and include the link) or you could try posting them to the Rouxbe Facebook page. Cheers!
  • Alberto E
    Alberto E
    Thanks Dawn!
  • Christian J
    Christian J
    Tried this today. I made some mistakes, but even so I got a kickass loaf out of it. It had real crunchy crust and a soft and juicy inside - lots of bubbles. Very stoked, and eager to go again to correct some mistakes I made. My oven has a steam facility built into it - can I use that instead of the cup inside the oven? I'm not entirely sure how it works, but there's a cup on the outside I can pour water into, and I think it's supposed to generate steam inside the oven. I failed the steam today as I put in a narrow and deep cup, and the water didn't start steaming until long into the process.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    I am not familiar with your particular oven but I am sure that if your oven has the capability to steam, then I don't see why you couldn't use that instead of adding the water. You might just want to check your user manual to make sure. Happy bread making Christian. Cheers!
  • Chris K
    Chris K
    I have been gifted with a perf"ed french bread pan that is not non stick. How do I prepare it? I would seem if I shape the dough and put it in the pan it would stick or if i oiled it, the dough would push through the perfs and still stick. Putting parchment would seem to negate the reason for the perforations. Silly question from someone who has been baking as long as I have but I just never used one of these before. Happy new year all!
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Chris- It should not stick or need to be oiled before use. If anything, be sure that it has ample flour coating the loaf. Try it as you would a regular pan and see what the results are like. And please let us know? Enjoy.
  • Chris K
    Chris K
    Wow! It worked. I floured the bottom of my baguettes a little. Let them raise and popped them into the oven. Out came two beautiful loaves of bread. They didn't stick at all. It's a good thing I'm not a gambler cause I would have lost big. I would have sworn there would have been bread clutching at each tiny hole. Thanks !
  • Liliane
    Liliane
    Can I use flour past its expiration date. Would it affect the breadmaking?
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Fresh is best, but just be sure it's not rancid- smell it and see if it seems sharp, acrid or otherwise off. If it's old whole wheat flour (or any flour with the germ and bran intact), then it's likely not ideal for baking with anymore. These lipid-rich components are perishable. Cheers!
  • David P
    David P
    So I thought I'd give this a go. Had my unbleached flour, yeast and water all ready. Followed the first step of combining ingredients and all I get is a massive, wet sticky ball of mess. I kept putting "a bit more" flour in, and nothing changed. This one is going in the bin and we'll try again tomorrow. Any thoughts as to why this would happen? Dave
  • Myles S
    Myles S
    Simply answer: you're human, like the rest of us! It'll happen again and again in one stage of another when beginning your journey into to art of bread making, don't get discourage. Try this: mix the flour and yeast and add just enough water to saturate the mix (bring the flour together) and then more to get it to the sticky point not the "sticky ball of mess" state. Forget about the amount of water the recipe calls for! Let the dough rest for 20 minutes and then add the salt and kneed. You want a sticky dough! As you kneed, rest, kneed etc... the dough will become less sticky and toughen up. The amount of water (or flour) is an approximate amount considering your location on planet earth, humidity, humidity of the flour, type of flour, altitude etc... Continue to practice and sooner or later you will discover what works for you. Hope this helps.
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Thank for the vote of confidence Myles, you description and explanation is spot-on and the realization that "process is king" comes through in your explanation. You need to touch and experience your food to make adjustments as you go - that is learning! Cheers.
  • Swati B
    Swati B
    Hi Rouxbe, I keep noticing that whether I cover my kneaded dough with plastic wrap or with a towel, I cannot stop a skin from forming. I know the skin hinders the rise, so what is the trick to letting dough rise without allowing a skin to form? Also, my last loaf of bread had the most winning pockets of air inside and won me a lot of praise among friends. Was very proud of it. Thank you Rouxbe.
  • Merna B
    Merna B
    Swati I've made bread for over 40 years but it doesn't necessarily mean I know all about baking. I always coat the bowl with oil when I put the bread out to rise. I oil the bowl and then turn my dough over ensuring that the top is oiled as well. I don't usually have difficulty with the outside forming a skin. My grandmother and mother taught me to do this and they both made 10 loaves of bread at a time. I don't use plastic wrap but a clean tea towel over the bowl. I make sure that the dough rises in a room that is slightly warm - about 72 to 75 degrees. I'm really glad you are making your own bread. I find it relaxing and fulfilling as well. M
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Merna and Swati- Thank you for the great conversation re: bread making. I found that when I lived in a dry climate, I would almost inevitably get a skin even with a towel covering the dough. My solution was to slightly dampen the cloth to keep a moisture barrier in place. In a moister environment, I have not had this happen. I hope this helps!
  • Swati B
    Swati B
    Hi Ken and Merna, Thanks for both your tips. I tried Merna's tip today since that's something I already do for focaccia bread and it worked! No skin at all. My bread just came out of the oven and is cooling. my husband and I would have gone to bed already, but we want to cut open our loaf of bread before we turn in. :) I will try your tip next time, Ken...that will be in 2 days time when this loaf has run out. I started baking bread at my husband's insistence about 6 months ago. We no longer buy bread anymore. Kneading the dough is very relaxing to me, although once in a while, I do let the food processor do the kneading.
  • Liliane
    Liliane
    Hello This is my first attempt at this recipie. Followed exact details. I used 1 tsp of active dry yeast instead of instant yeast. Let it proof for one hour. till doubled in size. but dough seems very sticky. did not retain its shape. so when I punch it down . it just sticks to my fingers. Should consistency be so sticky?
  • Christophe K Rouxbe Staff
    Christophe K
    No worries, we say a sticky dough is a happy dough, a sticky dough is harder to work, very often you'll have to knead it in the mixer with the dough hook, you won't be able to shape it so you will have to transfer it into a greased loaf pan, let it proof and bake it. Now if you want to knead your dough by hand, so you can also shape it by hand to make baguette, epis, then you need to add more flour, but not too much it should still be somewhat sticky to your palm. A wet dough will also proof faster and give you more holes, but again you can't really shape a wet dough, so have some fun and experiment.hope it helps
  • Liliane
    Liliane
    Thank You Christophe. I have baked my first loaf. It is a lovely golden brown. Internal bread temp reads 185 instead of 200. Is that ok?
  • Christophe K Rouxbe Staff
    Christophe K
    200 is the recommended temperature so it is easily digestible, at 185 plus the carry over cooking i am sure you would be pretty close, you can also tell when you slice the bread, after it cooled, if the middle is a bit sticky or not.
  • Liliane
    Liliane
    Just delicious...well browned and crispy on outside and perfect on inside. Had unexpected guests for dinner. They loved it!
  • Eric G
    Eric G
    If using loaf pans or glass loaf dishes, how do I determine how much dough to use? is there a formula?
  • Christophe K Rouxbe Staff
    Christophe K
    The best way to explain what size of bread pan that you will need, is to tell you that the dough itself should come up to about 1/2 the height of your pans. This will allow for the dough to roughly double before baking it, so it will require a bit of experimentation. For example, I do 3 loaves every few days, each loaf pan is 4"x8"x 3" high, to make the 3 loaves I make a dough using 8 cups of flour or a combination of. Hope it helps.
  • Eric G
    Eric G
    Ok thank you. Also, can this basic recipe be doubled?
  • Christophe K Rouxbe Staff
    Christophe K
    So sorry for the late reply, yes bread dough recipes can easily be doubled or more, use your "culinary instinct" more than just simply multiplying all ingredients by 2. For example, your instinct in bread is the fact that you are still looking for a somewhat sticky dough, so you may not need to use all of the flour or water, but do double the yeast and salt, the rest is a bit of feel. Good luck
  • Melodie W
    Melodie W
    I made my first bread tonight. It started out very wet. I added more flour. I seem to be adding a lot of flour. When I tried to kneed it it stuck to my hands and fingers really bad. The counter also. I added more flour. So I cont to kneed for 10 min. The dough was smoother but still very wet and sticky. I put it in the bowl for four hours to rise and it rose a little. I even warmed the oven a little and turned it off and put it in in hopes it would help. So after five hours I baked a little bread that tasted good but there was nothing to it.:) I will keep trying any input would be great. I think maybe I did not kneed it long enough? I have fresh ingredients and the flour is the right protein. I am using all purpose flour. Thanks, Melodie
  • Christophe K Rouxbe Staff
    Christophe K
    Everything you have done is correct, more than enough kneading time and proofing time, my feeling is that your yeast may have somehow been old and lost some of it's power, that is the only reason I can come up with, this bread recipe with the amount mentioned and all the hard work kneading the dough should have paid off, try with another brand or new container of yeast. make sure to add the salt when the recipe says so.
  • Melodie W
    Melodie W
    Hi! I am so excited I made another bread and this time I used King Arthur bread flour. It rose and turned out perfect. I cant wait to make more
  • Barb H
    Barb H
    My baguette seams tend to burst during baking even though I'm careful to pinch them closed well when I'm forming the loaf and lay them seam side down on the baking tray. I'm wondering if this might be a proofing time/oven temp problem?
  • Christophe K Rouxbe Staff
    Christophe K
    Basically yeast expands during proofing and if the bread goes in the oven before the yeast/bread is fully allowed to rise/proof then the extra power left in the yeast will continue to expand in the oven and most likely burst the bread at the weakess point, often the seam. Make sure you do the pinky test and only bake the bread when the indentation made by your pinky finger on the side of the bread barely springs back, also make sure you slash the bread as instructed just before it goes in the oven and these two factors and some practice should eliminate the issue. Hope it helps.
  • Yuseph K
    Yuseph K
    Hi there, Love rouxbe.com and I've been a member for some time. Just wondering if there is a plan to add videos to the baking section. I would like to learn about different shapes and bread styles. Cheers
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Yuseph- Yes, it's been in the planning stages for some time... W have a smaller selection of content related to baking and pastry. Thanks for your interest ! ~Ken

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