• Kneading dough
To bake a well-textured loaf, it's important to knead the dough properly, Adell says. "Kneading the dough develops the gluten," she adds. "The dough will be stretchy and smooth when it is well kneaded." This helps you recognize when it's ready for shaping.
It can be difficult for some bakers to know when their bread is done rising. When bread rises properly, "a finger poked into the dough should leave an imprint," Adell explains. "The dough won't bounce back once it has completely risen."
• Avoiding a hard end product
"Most people tend to add too much flour when making bread so (the dough) isn’t sticky," says Adell. "Most dough starts out a little bit sticky, but as you knead it, it loses this quality." She stresses that if you're looking to make bread that won't break your teeth, you should avoid the temptation of over-flouring your bread.
• Getting holes in bread
Too much oil or flour while moulding your bread can lead to a large number of holes. Though avoiding these ingredients during shaping will help decrease the number of holes, "in some breads, like an Italian Ciabatta, holes are beneficial as they absorb more olive oil or butter when served," says Adell.
• Crusty vs. soft bread
"Usually a crisp crust bread, like a baguette, is a simple flour, water, yeast recipe and doesn’t have egg or milk," Adell explains. To bake crusty bread, "cooking in an oven that has steam increases the crispness. You can spray the oven (but avoid the light bulbs) with a spritzer just before you put the loaf in to bake. Close the door quickly so the steam doesn’t escape."
If you prefer your homemade loaves without the crunch, "a soft crust loaf usually has eggs, milk or milk powder in the dough to make it more chewy and less crisp," says Adell.
Should you bake with a bread mother?
Adell explains that a bread mother adds wonderful flavour to a loaf, and bread risen using a bread mother tends to last longer without getting stale.
Discover our best specialty and artisanal bread recipes:
This Italian bread is a classic in its own right.
Don't let the two-step process of this special round loaf scare you. The first step takes a mere 10 minutes and is key to developing the loaf's deep granary flavour.
Epi de Ble
Epi, or epi de ble, is a baguette that resembles a sheaf of wheat, which is traditionally served during harvesttime. To get the flavourful dough, a starter ferments for 18 hours ahead of time.
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With a taste that's unlike any other, this tasty bread mixes a spicy flavour with tangy fruits.
Impress guests with this simple rustic loaf, especially when it shares a plate with stunning cheeses.
Bannock, a quick biscuit–type bread, is a specialty of aboriginal cooks throughout North America, including in Nunavut. Enjoy bannock with tea, or serve with soup or stew to soak up the juices.
You can make this "home-baked" bread in minutes.
This soda-leavened bread makes a dense, slightly crumbly loaf with a rich nutty flavour. Slather with Smoked Mackerel Pate or serve with butter, smoked salmon and a sprinkle of chives.
Whole rye flour can be purchased in bulk or in the organics section of the supermarket.
Bialys are traditional Jewish onion and poppy seed buns, which originated in Bialystock, Poland.
High-domed golden panettone is the traditional Christmas dessert bread all over Italy and in every Italo-Canadian community. Lavish with golden raisins, citrus peel, eggs and butter, it epitomizes the richness and generosity of the season.
From multicultural Toronto, colourful loaves decorated with candied fruit are a buffet centrepiece showstopper. You can bake the loaves in the shape of either a festive ring or braid.
These small sweet steamed buns are popular throughout the Philippines and best served to soak up sauces and broths.
Tsoureki, a traditional Greek sweet bread with dyed red eggs nestled on top, breaks the fast of Lent and symbolizes the rebirth and blood of Christ. Rich in eggs and butter, it's sprinkled with almonds or sesame seeds and flavoured with orange, vanilla, allspice or mahleb.
This cracker bread, often called lavash, tastes better and is a lot cheaper than the store-bought variety. Best of all, you don't have to be a baking pro to make it.
Organic red fife flour is available at most bulk food stores. If you can't find it, use graham flour.
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A starter, or sponge, gives a tangy sourdough flavour and chewy airy texture to this rustic sesame-topped bread.
Sea salt adds a burst of flavour to these breadsticks. Serve as a savoury appetizer or as a nibble anytime.
These can be rolled out ready to arrange in the pan a day ahead — and if you time it right, can come out of the oven piping hot when guests arrive.
Speckled with olives and with a hint of chipotle chili (which is actually a dried smoked jalapeno pepper), this is a tasty savoury bread.
Nutty sunflower seeds add character to whole wheat baguettes. Slice diagonally and serve with soup, or cut lengthwise to make sandwiches.
Wild rice adds chewy texture and nutty flavour to this rustic and wholesome bread. The batard shape (oval with pointed ends) lends it an artisanal French bakery touch.
This rustic crisscross-topped loaf is hearty and flavourful with a combination of different grains, including millet, a small round and crunchy grain. Look for it in bulk or health food stores.
The dough is enough to make a dozen moist, nutty-flavoured rolls or two delicious loaves of bread.
This aniseed-speckled bread is made with whole wheat and unbleached flours.
These dimpled flatbreads get a flavour boost of pesto or sun-dried tomatoes.
Graham flour was introduced to Canadians in the mid-19th century by an American health-food promoter, Dr. Sylvester Graham. His flour was touted to be especially healthful because of the addition of bran.
Savoury choux-paste puffs are excellent served warm or at room temperature. For easy piping, crumble the cheese and bacon into pieces smaller than the opening of the piping tip.
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