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Sarah's Baking Advice

All About Baking Bread…

You don’t have to be a scientist to bake bread but it does help to appreciate that it is the
magic of basic chemistry which turns flour, yeast and other ingredients into bread.

The balance of ingredients work together in such a way that inaccurate measurements,
or using the wrong ingredients, can make a real difference to the quality of the bread.

So, how do the main ingredients work..?

— Yeast —

is a living organism which produces carbon dioxide when it ferments. This gas naturally expands the dough helping to give the loaf a good volume. It also matures and develops the dough, providing flavour through the production of complex compounds.

Bread Yeast

— Salt —

is needed for flavour but it also inhibits the natural expanding action of the yeast – a balance to keep in mind if you want to experiment with sugary fruit recipes, or salty savoury breads.

Salt in a wooden bowl

— Butter/Oil —

fat is used to improve the crumb texture and softness of the loaf. It can also enrich the dough. Some people use butter, others like to try flavoured oils.

Information about breadmaker machines

— Sugar —

is the essential food for yeast but too much of it will kill the yeast off. Flour has a natural fermentable sugar content of about 1½%, therefore use sugar sparingly if you are adding fruity ingredients otherwise the taste may be too sweet, and the action of the yeast is impaired.

sugar on a wooden spoon

— Measuring —

bread machines do require one thing: precision. Careful measurement can make the difference between a lovely loaf or something really disappointing.

For dry ingredients use an accurate measuring cup/spoon and make certain the top is level. For key ingredients like sugar, salt and yeast use small exact quantities.

Bread loaf out of the oven

— Water Temp —

is important – use tepid water in your machine. Cold water will not activate the yeast, and hot water will speed its action too much, very hot water will kill it.

All about bread | Measuring jug

Know your yeast! The 4 Yeast types used in baking


Fast Action Dried Yeast
(Easy Blend Yeast):

A powdered yeast which generally comes in sachets and can be added straight into your bread mix. Used in all our recipes for ease.


Dried Yeast
(Active Dried Yeast):

Comes as granules that are added to water and sugar to activate.


Fresh Yeast
(Cake or Compressed):

A solid block of yeast with a short shelf life, that is stored in the fridge and activated by adding to water and sugar.


Sourdough Starter:
A naturally grown yeast that takes longer to activate, but is easy to digest. See our sourdough starter recipe.

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