baking · Bread · Kitchen Tips

Two Big Mistakes I’ve Been Making

I’ve been cooking and baking for all of my adult life, but I’m still learning! I recently discovered two things that I’ve been doing WRONG in my bread baking for all these years! Getting them right has made a big difference in results,. I wonder if you’re doing these things, too?

Mistake #1 – Baking in the wrong kind of pan. I’ve always baked my biscuits on a sheet pan. That’s what the recipes say to do! But a couple years ago some friends at church helped me remedy why the biscuits were nicely browned on the bottom, but not the tops! This couple used to sell Pampered Chef and had learned all the tips and tricks of baking on stone. My friend, Bryan said,

If you bake those biscuits on a stone, they will be as brown on the top as they are on the bottom!

When I put it to the test, I found he was right! It makes them so much better! I still reach for a baking sheet when I’m making biscuits, then I remember my recently learned lesson and grab my Pampered Chef pan instead! I’m looking for a good deal on a bar pan, but until then my round one works fine! Thanks, Bryan!

Mistake #2 – Smothering my bread dough while it rises – The next thing I’d been doing wrong for years was covering my bread pans with a dish cloth while the dough was rising. Last week when the house was so cold from winter days, I googled the best way to get bread to rise. Here’s what I read on King Arthur Flour’s site –

Why not just drape a towel over your bowl of rising dough, like your great-grandma did? Because your goal is to create an environment that’s not only warm but humid. Why humid? Moisture keeps the skin of the dough supple and soft, promoting a better rise. A cotton towel allows moisture to escape; plastic (or even better, a snap-on lid) keeps moisture trapped.

I tried not to get offended at being called a “Great Grandmother!”, but when I switched out the cloth for plastic wrap, I found they were right. They went on to give further helpful advice for letting bread rise in a cold kitchen ~

I simply turn on the oven light, and the temperature within gradually rises. I’ve learned that in the winter (when my kitchen is cold) if I turn the oven light on an hour ahead of adding the bowl of dough my oven temperature will be right around 76°F. I put the dough in, leave the light on for another 30 minutes or so, then turn the light off, allowing the temperature inside to reverse its course.

Using plastic wrap over my bread pans AND putting them into the oven with the light on, gave great results in much less time! Thank you, King Arthur Flour! And I admit I AM a grandmother! =)

Have you been doing either of these two things as well? We all want good results when we go to the effort to make bread at home, so why not learn all we can to get the BEST results? I hope these tips help you, too!

Refresh your baking methods!

2 thoughts on “Two Big Mistakes I’ve Been Making

  1. Hi, Denise. I always used tea towels, sometimes two, like my mother did. Fun note: the old Italian ladies always made the Sign of the Cross before setting dough to rise! Then I switched to plastic wrap. And now I use the King Arthur Baking dough buckets with lids. Nothing sticks and you can see the dough as it rises. Liked it so much I bought a second one. I would love to try that biscuit pan!

    Liked by 1 person

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