Making bread at home is way easier than you think — master it with these basic steps

Source: Eataly
Source: Eataly

Homemade bread will always be better than store-bought. And, get this, making bread at home can even be easier than going out to the store.

Want proof? Erin Flinn, the head baker of Eataly USA who also teaches beginner bread-making classes, shared her fresh-out-of-the-oven-tips with Mic. As it turns out, making focaccia is a breeze. Her tips below: 

Tip 1: Get a kitchen scale.

Measure your ingredients by weight rather than volume for bread success.  "A kitchen scale is relatively inexpensive and makes a huge difference in the consistency of the product," Flinn said in an email. "It's also faster and easier to weigh [the ingredients] into one container rather than scoop, level, dump into a bowl, etc." Bonus: When you can weigh all your ingredients in one bowl, the clean up is faster too.

Tip 2: Patience is a virtue.

"The trick for this focaccia recipe is to follow the 'pauses' in the recipe – let the dough rest when the recipe recommends it," Flinn said. "This is a lazy Saturday or Sunday kind of recipe — from start to finish it's a long process, but the majority of the process is inactive time, just letting the dough do it's thing." Set a timer, binge watch some Friends and get ready to enjoy a great focaccia.

Tip 3: Know your flour. 

Flinn uses bread flour in her recipe, but all-purpose flour works for baking bread too. "A flour that is labeled 'bread flour' will have a higher percentage of protein," Flinn explained. "This will translate to a stronger dough, which will be better able to hold onto the air that's produced when the dough ferments, which means more air bubbles and a fluffier final dough."

Now, let's get baking... 

Focaccia in the making
Source: 
Eataly

Focaccia ingredients: 

Makes one standard half sheet pan

• Water, warm 360 g
• Active dry yeast 1 package (7 g)
• Bread flour 500 g
• Salt 15 g
• Extra virgin olive oil (plus more for pan) 30 g

Sausage focaccia
Source: 
Eataly

Method:

1. In a small bowl, dissolve active dry yeast with water. Let stand 10 minutes.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add bread flour and salt. Add water and yeast mixture.

3. Set mixer to low speed and slowly drizzle in olive oil. Mix on low speed for five minutes.

4. Increase mixer to medium speed, mix for eight minutes.

5. Lightly oil a medium bowl with extra virgin olive oil. Place dough in oiled bowl and roll it around to coat it in oil. Cover with plastic wrap, let rest one hour.

6. Liberally oil a rimmed baking pan. Place dough in center of pan and press into pan using fingertips. The dough will only cover about two-thirds of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest one hour.

7. Stretch the dough again using your fingertips. The dough should now reach the edges of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap. Let proof 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 F.

8. Top the focaccia with desired toppings. This is the fun part!  Some of Flinn's topping recommendations include: 

• Olive oil with sea salt and rosemary
• Tomato sauce with fresh mozarella and rosemary
• Red onion and rosemary
• Thinly sliced potatoes with garlic and rosemary

9. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the toppings, until crust is a light golden brown.

You can bake the dough immediately, but if you want a fluffier focaccia, allow the dough to sit out for 30 minutes to an hour after being topped but before being baked. 

You did it, you made bread!

That's a nice bake.
Source: 
Giphy

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Melissa Kravitz

Melissa Kravitz is a contributor for Mic. Her work has appeared on Thrillist, Mashable, Elite Daily, Time Out, Refinery29, Gothamist, Racked and more.

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