5 Tips For Pro-Level Bread Baking During Quarantine

by Victoria Le Maire, RD, LD

Last Updated: May 6, 2020

A staple of the house, the layout for the perfect sandwich, the base for an artisan avocado toast Home-baked bread is the best thing since, well, sliced bread! An item that has been at the core of the western diet for hundreds of years, and made up of just yeast, water, salt and flour, bread is both beautifully simple and endlessly comforting. Why are we seeing a sudden bread-baking renaissance?

In the past month or so, many of us have been doing our part to flatten the curve by staying home. Grocery store runs have become less frequent and free time has increased for some, leaving curiosity to wonder what it's like to make something from scratch. In the last 30 days, bread searches have risen over 170% according to Google trends with “bread” landing the 10th spot for the most-searched topic. If you’re looking to awaken your inner foodie, it's the perfect time. Here are a few tips that will set you up for success on your baking adventure:
  1. Start simple.
    Finding a no-knead recipe makes this process so easy! Using minimal ingredients and a quick preparation will allow you to focus on the task at hand and create a bountiful bread without too many new steps and techniques.
  2. Lay it all out.
    Before starting, take out all necessary ingredients and measure them out ahead of time. In culinary arts, this is a practice known as “mise en place.” It makes fo ra smoother process of cooking or baking, and helps reduce errors in measurement or leaving out ingredients by mistake.
  3. Read the instructions. This might seem obvious, but it never hurts to hear it again. In a time where people are known to multi-task, baking bread requires your attention. Give it the love it kneads (pun intended).
  4. Identify yeast needed vs. what you have.
    There are two types of yeast used to leaven bread: active dry yeast and instant yeast. Active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in warm water before using while instant yeast can be mixed into dry ingredients right away. Good news is that no matter what yeast you have, bread shall be made! Knowing that there are different types of yeast out there will be key to what recipe you will use. Some recipes suggest that swapping yeast can alter the final product, so read the directions carefully.
  5. Most importantly, have fun.
    Make sure you’re relaxed through this process and know that your bread might look a little different than the picture you saw on social media. Have patience as well, we promise it will be worth the wait. No matter what, you get to have the satisfaction and feel the accomplishment of creating bread from scratch! Celebrate and enjoy.

Extra Tip: We know all pantries likely look a little different. Some might have white flour; others might have whole wheat flour or a mix of everything. That’s ok! Here are some examples of varieties you can create with the flour you have on-hand:
  1. No-Knead Bread
    Our personal favorite due to the minimum amount of effort and attention needed. This will create a rustic, artisan round loaf of goodness with a thin crust. Best part is that it requires no kneading, no bread maker, and no special knowledge.
  2. Basic White Sandwich Bread
    This is a classic loaf of bread that we’re all used to seeing at the grocery store. This bread will be the center of your next sandwich masterpiece.
  3. Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
    Essentially the same thing as the loaf above, but with more fiber! This bread will require a 50:50 blend of all-purpose white flour to whole wheat flour. Using both flours provides a different texture than if you were to use only one flour.
  4. No-Knead Focaccia
    Another classic, no-fuss bread recipe. Get creative with this one, add the seasoning of your choice on top before baking. Add some fresh garlic and cheese on top to serve with your favorite Italian dish.
Once you’ve joined the ranks of newly-minted quarantine bakers, use your bread as you normally would, be it for amazing grilled cheeses, breadcrumbs to toast and use as a salad topping, as the base for savory toasts, or as a cinnamon/sugar French Toast treat.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Victoria Le Maire, RD, LD

Victoria Le Maire, RD, LD

Victoria is a dedicated dietitian with a love for helping others develop a positive relationship with food, while setting realistic goals. Victoria has professional experience with various conditions such as strokes, diabetes and weight management. She strives to make a nutritious lifestyle attainable for all. You can catch Victoria scratch-cooking at home, trying new workouts at her local gym or spending time with her dog, Jack.