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Easy Does It: Finding the Right Amount of Flour for Homemade Bread

| 2/19/2019 10:32:00 AM

A poor rise isn’t the only thing that can cause home-made bread to be heavy and dense. In my experience, bread recipes often call for somewhat more flour than necessary. Overdoing the amount of flour results in an undesirable taste and texture in your bread.

Because so many factors affect bread baking — temperature, humidity, kneading effectively, etc. — there’s some variability in each loaf. One way to consistently bake soft, delicious bread is to skimp on measuring the amount of flour called for in your recipe. Try using between 1/4 and 1/3 less flour when preparing all your ingredients. 

In the bread machine, about 5 minutes into the first mix/knead cycle, check the dough consistency. If it’s too sticky, adhering to the side of the bread machine canister and the paddles, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour at a time to thicken it. Give the machine a few minutes to blend the added flour into the dough. Once you see the dough forming a ball and pulling away from the sides of the canister, you know you’ve used enough flour.

MEL_FEB 18_19
Photo by Loretta Sorensen

It may be that your recipe calls for exactly the right amount of flour, or you may find you can use slightly less. Keep in mind that even 2 tablespoons of flour can make a difference in having too much or too little flour in your dough.

If you don’t use enough flour, your bread dough may very well rise, but is likely to flatten out and not produce the desired dome shape on top of your loaf. If you need a spatula to remove it from the bread machine canister, it’s too sticky. That consistency may produce a nice soft loaf, but it isn’t likely to give you the domed raise that’s characteristic of a traditional loaf of bread. Again, add flour at the rate of 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time to reach the desired consistency.

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