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pane fatto con il lievito madre

HOW TO MAKE BREAD AT HOME

Making Bread at home is fun and a source of great satisfaction. Although the recipe is simple and requires few ingredients, the final result is not what we hoped.

Let’s see how to make bread at home!

Table of Contents

MY FAVOR TECHNIQUES

There are 2 main methods for making bread:

THE DIRECT METHOD or 1-Dough

As the name suggests, this technique consists of kneading all the recipe ingredients (following the suggested order) and letting the dough proof before baking. This method is surely the most rapid but also guarantees a lower quality.

In this case, the fermentation is due to the fresh or dry yeast, and it is important to dose it correctly to ensure a good-tasting and digestible bread.

THE INDIRECT METHOD or 2-Doughs

Use this method if you aim to make high-quality bread! Double dough and many leavened doughs are the most common techniques for sourdough-based products.

Following this method, the recipe is split into 2 steps: firstly, we prepare a pre-fermented dough. Once ripe (after 16-20 hours), we can incorporate it into the final part of the recipe and all the other ingredients (such as salt and condiments).

Among the well-known starters, we can find Biga and Poolish, and I invite you to read my article to learn how to prepare them best.

The main advantages of making bread with this method are better taste and flavor, better alveolation, and better digestibility.

INGREDIENTS

FLOUR

Flour plays a key role in making quality bread. Choosing the right flour can make a big difference. High-quality Bread Flour is generally easy to shop for. Still, you can also opt for a medium/high-strength flour with a 12-13% protein content. In Europe, you can refer to the W index and focus the choice among flours with W around 280 (medium-strength flour) or W320 (strong flour).

Generally, a flour of medium strength (W280 – 12.5% of proteins) is more suitable for the direct method or as a base for the second dough if you follow the indirect method.

If you prefer to make bread using a Biga fermented for 24 hours, I recommend using strong flour (W320 – 13% of proteins) to prepare the biga and then using medium flour (W280) for the second dough.

WATER TEMPERATURE

Water is the primary liquid used in bread preparation. It structures gluten, flour’s proteins, and the kneading machine’s mechanical action, impacting the baked product’s alveoli. The higher the percentage of water in the dough, the higher the alveolation in the baked product. 

Be careful because a soft dough is more difficult to manage and tends to ferment much quicker, with the risk of the dough becoming too acidic.

A critical parameter when making Bread is the dough’s final temperature, which must be around 25°C (77°F). The water temperature is the main factor we can control this temperature.

In Italy, we use this empirical formula to calculate the temperature of water to use:

Water Temperature = 3xFinal Kneading Temperature -Flour Temperature – Ambient Temperature – Kneading Machine Heating (variable depending on the type of kneading machine used).

!!! This formula only works with °C. You can apply the formula with °C and convert the result to °F !!!

Let’s make an example to obtain the dough at 25°C with:

Room Temperature = 20°C

Flour Temperature = 19°C

Planetary Mixer Heating = 9°C (consider only 1 degree if you are kneading by hand)

The water temperature will be: 75 (25×3) – 19 -20 – 9 =27°C (81°F)

FRESH YEAST AND SOURDOUGH

Fresh (or dry) Yeast is the easiest and most convenient choice because it is ready to use and requires no particular attention. On the contrary, Sourdough must be fed with at least 2 to 3 refreshments before being used in the recipe. To make bread with Sourdough, I refer you to my article “How Much Sourdough to Use,” where I explain how to use this incredible ingredient in bread making.

If you want to use fresh yeast instead, the correct amount depends again on the preparation method you choose.

For biga or poolish, the yeast quantity is generally around 1% of the flour weight used for the biga and an additional 0.2% of the weight used on the final dough.

For example, if you want to use 1kg of flour to make bread (or pizza) with 20% of Biga, then you must consider:

  • The flour needed to make the biga is 20% of 1Kg= 200gr.
  • To make the final dough, we use the leftover flour (1kg of flour – 200gr used for the biga)= 800gr

On this quantity, we add 0.2% of fresh yeast: 0.2% of 800gr= 2gr (it would be 1.6, but for such small quantities like that, you can round off)

On the contrary, if you opt for a direct method (1-Dough), the yeast quantity will be around 5% -6 % of the flour weight.

It is important not to exaggerate the quantity of yeast to achieve a pleasing taste and a good digestibility in the bread. Moreover, almost paradoxically, a dough with excessive yeast will ferment slower!

SALT

Salt is an important ingredient that influences the taste, improves the dough structure, and takes control over yeast activity.

In Italy, the majority part of our bread is slated, except for some typical regional bread that doesn’t require salt(e.g., Pane Toscano or unsalted bread),

On average, the suitable quantity of salt to use in our bread is about 2% of the flour weight.

OTHER INGREDIENTS

Sugar, Honey, or Malt are other ingredients often added to bread. All these ingredients are sugars (of different natures). Their function is to improve the crust’s fermentation and coloration during baking.

In some regional breads, particularly soft, boiled potatoes are often used to moisten the product. In this case, boil the potatoes, peel them, and mash them with a fork. Add 200gr of pulp to 1kg of flour directly in the second dough.

HOW TO MAKE BREAD AT HOME: MAIN STEPS

Now that we know the basic ingredients better, let’s see how to make bread. For example, we are preparing using the indirect method of Biga Preferment.

PREPARATION OF BIGA OR FIRST DOUGH

The first step consists of preparing the Biga, which must be ripe for at least 16/20 hours at 19°C (66°F) before use. The fermentation time can be extended to 24/48 hours if we opt for a Long-Fermented Biga (which is much more fragrant and acidic and difficult to work without temperature control). In my experience, a biga of 16 /20 hours represents an excellent compromise between aromas and ease of use.

For succeeding the Biga, have a look at my article about Biga and Poolish, but the essential points are:

  • Don’t Over-Knead the dough, and keep it quite rough.
  • Pay close attention to the fermentation temperature (ideally 19°C, 66°F) and the final temperature of the biga, which has to be around 18°C / 20°C (64°F / 68°F). You can calculate the correct water temperature using the formula seen before.

THE SECOND DOUGH

Once the pre-dough is ready, you can prepare the second (and final) dough by mixing the flour, the ripe Biga, and the water until the dough is homogeneous. Adding salt only once the dough is created is important so as not to interfere directly with yeast. The final temperature of the dough should be around 25°C (77°F).

BULK FERMENTATION

Once the bread dough is ready, it must rest at room temperature for about 45-60 minutes to allow the gluten to relax and make it easier to form the loaves. 

CUTTING – FOLDING – SHAPING

After the bulk fermentation, you can divide the dough into many parts of the weight you prefer (for home preparation, I recommend not exceeding 600gr) and give the first folds to the dough to give it more strength.

To make a fold, you need to give the dough a rectangular shape, close the edges towards the center, and then close it like a book. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, and finally form the loaf of the desired shape.

PROOFING

During the proofing period, you need to create an environment with a stable temperature of about 27°C – 30°C (80°F – 86°F). The easiest solution will be to let the dough rise in the oven (turned off). You can also place a pot of boiling water inside the oven to bring humidity and prevent the dough from forming a crust. Sometimes, we read to keep the light on in the oven, but I do not think it helps!

Proofing time depends both on temperature and on the quantity of yeast used.

You can induce a light pressure on the surface with your finger to ensure the dough is well-proofed. If the dough immediately returns to shape, it is not ready yet. On the contrary, the proofing time is over, and the dough is ready!

BAKING

For good bread baking, I suggest using a static oven (convection oven) and baking it at 200°C – 392°F (for a loaf of 600gr).

Additionally, to promote bread development and a shinier crust, you can create steam in the oven by inserting a small pot of boiling water or sprinkling a little water on the baking sheet when you put the bread in the oven.

15 minutes before the end of baking, remove the pot of water and leave the oven door slightly ajar using a ball of foil. This will allow the steam to escape and the bread to dry correctly.

Cooking time may vary according to the size of the loaves, but as a reference, consider about 40-45 minutes for a 500gr loaf and about 60 minutes for loaves of 1kg.

CONCLUSION

As you have seen, a few factors to consider if you want to prepare tasty homemade bread: The right type of flour, an eye on the temperatures, and some time available. This latter is perhaps the real “secret ingredient” for succeeding in your recipes!

Now that you know more about the bread, you must try some of my recipes and test what you have learned today! So, what are you waiting for? Grab the best flour you can find and get to work!

Whole Wheat Bread with Sourdough
TRY THIS
Italian Ciabatta Bread
TRY THIS
Walnut Bread with Sourdough
TRY THIS
Italian Semolina Bread with Sourdough
TRY THIS
French Baguette
TRY THIS

Share

10 comments about “Come Fare il Pane in Casa”

  1. Luca Delponte

    Buongiorno,
    sto usando da tempo il tuo sito e le tue ricette per imparare la lievitazione del pane. Ti sono molto grato. C’è una piccola discrepanza tra le percentuali, tra l’ulteriore 0,2% di lievito sul peso totale della farina, e il calcolo successivo, che invece calcola lo 0,02% . Quale delle due percentuali devo usare?

    1. Grazie mille per la tua segnalazione Luca!
      Ti confermo che la percentuale corretta è lo 0.2% di lievito sul peso della farina del secondo impasto!
      Nell’esempio sopra, sono quindi 0.2% x 800gr = 1.6gr che puoi arrotondare a 2gr!

      A presto!

    2. Buongiorno, volevo sapere quanta acqua devo mettere nel secondo impasto? Grazie mille

  2. Complimenti per come tratti ed esponi gli argomenti. Mi sono confuso sulle proporzioni farina/biga da adoperare per il secondo impasto. Potresti riassumerle. Grazie e complimenti ancora

    1. Ciao Giuseppe,
      sono contento che Biancolievito ti piaccia!

      Per risponderti meglio, c’è una parte in particolare che non ti è chiara?

Lascia un commento

Your email address will not be published. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *

pane fatto con il lievito madre

HOW TO MAKE BREAD AT HOME

Making Bread at home is fun and a source of great satisfaction. Although the recipe is simple and requires few ingredients, the final result is not what we hoped.

Let’s see how to make bread at home!

Table of Contents

MY FAVOR TECHNIQUES

There are 2 main methods for making bread:

THE DIRECT METHOD or 1-Dough

As the name suggests, this technique consists of kneading all the recipe ingredients (following the suggested order) and letting the dough proof before baking. This method is surely the most rapid but also guarantees a lower quality.

In this case, the fermentation is due to the fresh or dry yeast, and it is important to dose it correctly to ensure a good-tasting and digestible bread.

THE INDIRECT METHOD or 2-Doughs

Use this method if you aim to make high-quality bread! Double dough and many leavened doughs are the most common techniques for sourdough-based products.

Following this method, the recipe is split into 2 steps: firstly, we prepare a pre-fermented dough. Once ripe (after 16-20 hours), we can incorporate it into the final part of the recipe and all the other ingredients (such as salt and condiments).

Among the well-known starters, we can find Biga and Poolish, and I invite you to read my article to learn how to prepare them best.

The main advantages of making bread with this method are better taste and flavor, better alveolation, and better digestibility.

INGREDIENTS

FLOUR

Flour plays a key role in making quality bread. Choosing the right flour can make a big difference. High-quality Bread Flour is generally easy to shop for. Still, you can also opt for a medium/high-strength flour with a 12-13% protein content. In Europe, you can refer to the W index and focus the choice among flours with W around 280 (medium-strength flour) or W320 (strong flour).

Generally, a flour of medium strength (W280 – 12.5% of proteins) is more suitable for the direct method or as a base for the second dough if you follow the indirect method.

If you prefer to make bread using a Biga fermented for 24 hours, I recommend using strong flour (W320 – 13% of proteins) to prepare the biga and then using medium flour (W280) for the second dough.

WATER TEMPERATURE

Water is the primary liquid used in bread preparation. It structures gluten, flour’s proteins, and the kneading machine’s mechanical action, impacting the baked product’s alveoli. The higher the percentage of water in the dough, the higher the alveolation in the baked product. 

Be careful because a soft dough is more difficult to manage and tends to ferment much quicker, with the risk of the dough becoming too acidic.

A critical parameter when making Bread is the dough’s final temperature, which must be around 25°C (77°F). The water temperature is the main factor we can control this temperature.

In Italy, we use this empirical formula to calculate the temperature of water to use:

Water Temperature = 3xFinal Kneading Temperature -Flour Temperature – Ambient Temperature – Kneading Machine Heating (variable depending on the type of kneading machine used).

!!! This formula only works with °C. You can apply the formula with °C and convert the result to °F !!!

Let’s make an example to obtain the dough at 25°C with:

Room Temperature = 20°C

Flour Temperature = 19°C

Planetary Mixer Heating = 9°C (consider only 1 degree if you are kneading by hand)

The water temperature will be: 75 (25×3) – 19 -20 – 9 =27°C (81°F)

FRESH YEAST AND SOURDOUGH

Fresh (or dry) Yeast is the easiest and most convenient choice because it is ready to use and requires no particular attention. On the contrary, Sourdough must be fed with at least 2 to 3 refreshments before being used in the recipe. To make bread with Sourdough, I refer you to my article “How Much Sourdough to Use,” where I explain how to use this incredible ingredient in bread making.

If you want to use fresh yeast instead, the correct amount depends again on the preparation method you choose.

For biga or poolish, the yeast quantity is generally around 1% of the flour weight used for the biga and an additional 0.2% of the weight used on the final dough.

For example, if you want to use 1kg of flour to make bread (or pizza) with 20% of Biga, then you must consider:

  • The flour needed to make the biga is 20% of 1Kg= 200gr.
  • To make the final dough, we use the leftover flour (1kg of flour – 200gr used for the biga)= 800gr

On this quantity, we add 0.2% of fresh yeast: 0.2% of 800gr= 2gr (it would be 1.6, but for such small quantities like that, you can round off)

On the contrary, if you opt for a direct method (1-Dough), the yeast quantity will be around 5% -6 % of the flour weight.

It is important not to exaggerate the quantity of yeast to achieve a pleasing taste and a good digestibility in the bread. Moreover, almost paradoxically, a dough with excessive yeast will ferment slower!

SALT

Salt is an important ingredient that influences the taste, improves the dough structure, and takes control over yeast activity.

In Italy, the majority part of our bread is slated, except for some typical regional bread that doesn’t require salt(e.g., Pane Toscano or unsalted bread),

On average, the suitable quantity of salt to use in our bread is about 2% of the flour weight.

OTHER INGREDIENTS

Sugar, Honey, or Malt are other ingredients often added to bread. All these ingredients are sugars (of different natures). Their function is to improve the crust’s fermentation and coloration during baking.

In some regional breads, particularly soft, boiled potatoes are often used to moisten the product. In this case, boil the potatoes, peel them, and mash them with a fork. Add 200gr of pulp to 1kg of flour directly in the second dough.

HOW TO MAKE BREAD AT HOME: MAIN STEPS

Now that we know the basic ingredients better, let’s see how to make bread. For example, we are preparing using the indirect method of Biga Preferment.

PREPARATION OF BIGA OR FIRST DOUGH

The first step consists of preparing the Biga, which must be ripe for at least 16/20 hours at 19°C (66°F) before use. The fermentation time can be extended to 24/48 hours if we opt for a Long-Fermented Biga (which is much more fragrant and acidic and difficult to work without temperature control). In my experience, a biga of 16 /20 hours represents an excellent compromise between aromas and ease of use.

For succeeding the Biga, have a look at my article about Biga and Poolish, but the essential points are:

  • Don’t Over-Knead the dough, and keep it quite rough.
  • Pay close attention to the fermentation temperature (ideally 19°C, 66°F) and the final temperature of the biga, which has to be around 18°C / 20°C (64°F / 68°F). You can calculate the correct water temperature using the formula seen before.

THE SECOND DOUGH

Once the pre-dough is ready, you can prepare the second (and final) dough by mixing the flour, the ripe Biga, and the water until the dough is homogeneous. Adding salt only once the dough is created is important so as not to interfere directly with yeast. The final temperature of the dough should be around 25°C (77°F).

BULK FERMENTATION

Once the bread dough is ready, it must rest at room temperature for about 45-60 minutes to allow the gluten to relax and make it easier to form the loaves. 

CUTTING – FOLDING – SHAPING

After the bulk fermentation, you can divide the dough into many parts of the weight you prefer (for home preparation, I recommend not exceeding 600gr) and give the first folds to the dough to give it more strength.

To make a fold, you need to give the dough a rectangular shape, close the edges towards the center, and then close it like a book. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, and finally form the loaf of the desired shape.

PROOFING

During the proofing period, you need to create an environment with a stable temperature of about 27°C – 30°C (80°F – 86°F). The easiest solution will be to let the dough rise in the oven (turned off). You can also place a pot of boiling water inside the oven to bring humidity and prevent the dough from forming a crust. Sometimes, we read to keep the light on in the oven, but I do not think it helps!

Proofing time depends both on temperature and on the quantity of yeast used.

You can induce a light pressure on the surface with your finger to ensure the dough is well-proofed. If the dough immediately returns to shape, it is not ready yet. On the contrary, the proofing time is over, and the dough is ready!

BAKING

For good bread baking, I suggest using a static oven (convection oven) and baking it at 200°C – 392°F (for a loaf of 600gr).

Additionally, to promote bread development and a shinier crust, you can create steam in the oven by inserting a small pot of boiling water or sprinkling a little water on the baking sheet when you put the bread in the oven.

15 minutes before the end of baking, remove the pot of water and leave the oven door slightly ajar using a ball of foil. This will allow the steam to escape and the bread to dry correctly.

Cooking time may vary according to the size of the loaves, but as a reference, consider about 40-45 minutes for a 500gr loaf and about 60 minutes for loaves of 1kg.

CONCLUSION

As you have seen, a few factors to consider if you want to prepare tasty homemade bread: The right type of flour, an eye on the temperatures, and some time available. This latter is perhaps the real “secret ingredient” for succeeding in your recipes!

Now that you know more about the bread, you must try some of my recipes and test what you have learned today! So, what are you waiting for? Grab the best flour you can find and get to work!

Whole Wheat Bread with Sourdough
TRY THIS
Italian Ciabatta Bread
TRY THIS
Walnut Bread with Sourdough
TRY THIS
Italian Semolina Bread with Sourdough
TRY THIS
French Baguette
TRY THIS

Share

10 comments about “Come Fare il Pane in Casa”

  1. Luca Delponte

    Buongiorno,
    sto usando da tempo il tuo sito e le tue ricette per imparare la lievitazione del pane. Ti sono molto grato. C’è una piccola discrepanza tra le percentuali, tra l’ulteriore 0,2% di lievito sul peso totale della farina, e il calcolo successivo, che invece calcola lo 0,02% . Quale delle due percentuali devo usare?

    1. Grazie mille per la tua segnalazione Luca!
      Ti confermo che la percentuale corretta è lo 0.2% di lievito sul peso della farina del secondo impasto!
      Nell’esempio sopra, sono quindi 0.2% x 800gr = 1.6gr che puoi arrotondare a 2gr!

      A presto!

    2. Buongiorno, volevo sapere quanta acqua devo mettere nel secondo impasto? Grazie mille

  2. Complimenti per come tratti ed esponi gli argomenti. Mi sono confuso sulle proporzioni farina/biga da adoperare per il secondo impasto. Potresti riassumerle. Grazie e complimenti ancora

    1. Ciao Giuseppe,
      sono contento che Biancolievito ti piaccia!

      Per risponderti meglio, c’è una parte in particolare che non ti è chiara?

Lascia un commento

Your email address will not be published. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *

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