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The year 2020 has certainly presented us with plenty of challenges so far, with the global COVID-19 pandemic causing plenty of disruptions.

For many people, these means lockdown measures that restrict movement outside of the house, unless for obtaining absolute essentials. Meanwhile, many of us are still working from home.

It can be challenging to live and work in the same four walls for long periods of time and cabin fever can set in to make it even more frustrating. But this challenge also presents an opportunity, as the extra time we have at home means we can learn new skills and dabble with creative pathways we never had the chance to before.

We can learn a new language, upskill for our current or prospective job, take courses and study or learn an instrument. We can also use this time to brush up on our MasterChef skills in the kitchen – including how to bake the perfect loaf of bread.

What do you need to start baking bread?

It’s time to stock up your kitchen. Banneton Man can equip you with all the baking tools you need to get started, delivered directly to your door.

You are going to need a mixing bowl, where the magic will happen; a see-through option is your best bet so you can watch your dough rise. A dough scraper is essential as well so you can cut your dough into portions and easily clean up the errant pieces on your bench or cutting board.

This next essential is a proofing basket. You may not have heard of these, but they are the most important tool in any professional or home baker's arsenal. They are going to help shape your dough and will allow for moisture to wick from the outside layer for the perfect crispy crust for your loaf.

And on your next trip to the supermarket (or home delivery) ensure you snatch up the most important element of all: fresh flour (white or wholegrain depending on your preferences).

What are the 12 steps of baking bread?

Here is the 12 step process for making bread that you can use as your guide:

  1. Ensure all ingredients are properly measured
  2. Combine the ingredients into a perfect, uniform mixture. A Danish Dough Whisk will make this process simple
  3. Let all the dough rest and ferment
  4. Fold the bread to get rid of bubbles of carbon dioxide
  5. Divide the dough into the portions you need
  6. Shape or round your dough into a Banneton Basket
  7. Leave it to rest
  8. Shape the dough in the baking pan of your choice
  9. Opt for one final proofing and fermentation before baking
  10. Bake the loaf
  11. Allow the bread to cool with plenty of air circulation
  12. Store the loaf correctly. A Natural Linen Bread Bag will keep it fresher for longer.

Is it OK to open the oven when baking bread?

It can be tempting, but absolutely not. Amazing chemical reactions are happening in that oven that involves steam, carbon dioxide gas and heat to perfectly shape your loaf. Opening that oven door will undo all of your good work. Resist the temptation.

Happy baking!