Use wheat bread flour, or a combination of wheat bread flour with whole wheat, or graham flour, or with flour or meal made from other grains, in making bread. Flour should be kept in a dry place. It is well to warm flour for bread before using.
If milk is used, scald or boil it to prevent it from souring. Water should be boiled and then cooled.
With 1 pint of liquid 1/2 to 1 cake of yeast should be used. When it is desired to mix and bake bread in a few hours, a greater quantity of yeast may be used. If the yeast is fresh, most satisfactory results are secured when this is done. The use of much yeast, however, adds to the cost of bread. The less quantity of yeast (1/2 cake) is used when the dough is allowed to rise overnight. Mix 1 yeast cake in 1 cupful of lukewarm water before adding the rest of the liquid.
It is desirable to use sufficient yeast and to subject it to desirable conditions so that the dough will rise quickly. If the rising process occupies much time, certain kinds of bacteria which may be present in the yeast or other materials may act upon the alcohol present in the risen dough and convert it into acid. This produces sour dough and consequently bread of sour taste and odor.
Although it is customary to allow bread to rise twice, tasty bread may be secured by one rising. Bread raised only once, however, is usually of uneven grain, because the carbon dioxide bubbles formed during rising are uneven in size or are unevenly distributed. By kneading bread, the larger bubbles are broken or distributed more evenly through the dough. Since considerable gas is pressed out by kneading, it is necessary to allow the dough to rise a second time. It is well to make the dough into small loaves, and place them in small pans, so that the bread will be baked through.
Loaves of bread should bake at least 1 hour at a temperature varying from 375 degrees F. to 400 degrees F. During the first 20 minutes they should rise but slightly and just begin to brown; during the second 20 minutes they should continue to brown; during the last 20 minutes they should shrink from the sides of the pan, while still continuing to brown.
To soften the crust, rub it with a bit of butter or substitute a few minutes before taking from the oven and again after removing from the oven. After baking, place the loaves of bread on a bread cooler, or arrange them in such a way that the air may reach them on all sides. When cool, place in a covered tin box.
Approximately four parts of flour to one of moisture are used for stiff doughs. When sufficient flour has been added to stiff dough, it should not cling to the sides of the mixing bowl. This is an indication to the pupil of the proper stiffness of the dough. The test applies, however, only when there is no coating of flour over the dough. One should remember that the softest dough will not "stick," if covered generously with flour.