Back to Basics: What you 'knead' to know about making bread from a master baker

After a year into the pandemic, the rise of baking bread has been one trend that has endured among home cooks.

Building confidence in the kitchen begins with an eagerness to learn and the right recipes, tools and techniques. That’s why “Good Morning America” Food is helping you get back to basics with expert culinary advice to help simplify success in your kitchen.

When bakers want to graduate from their early comfort zone, Philip said that’s the perfect time to test recipes with various whole grain and alternative flours, but “start small with a recipe where someone else has done the testing.”

Different flours require a different level of hydration to create and produce proper formation of gluten. So as much as home cooks may want to take a rustic pain de campagne recipe and make it with whole wheat, Philip cautioned against what he calls “cowboy cooking.”

“If you’re off-roading or doing cowboy cooking, don’t rush into a baguette recipe that’s written for all-purpose flour and just sub in 100% whole wheat,” he said.

A starchier ingredient such as whole grain and bran, he said, “on the outside is much thirstier than the starchy endosperm [inside of the grain], so hydration changes and functionality changes.”

Easy no-knead recipes

PHOTO: King Arthur's no-knead sourdough bread.

Many people hold the misconception that baking bread will automatically entail an onerous 20-minute arm workout standing at a countertop, but Philip said “you can actually get great bread in very few minutes of active work.”

“The no-knead recipe — which is simply combine flour, water, salt and yeast, stir briefly and leave on your counter for 12 to 24 hours — recipes like that make the process more approachable.”

In the last year, this highly sought-after sourdough version on King Arthur’s website saw a 2,370% increase in views since the start of the pandemic.

Top recipes to start baking

This recipe for sourdough banana bread combines two beloved loaves of 2020.

PHOTO: A freshly baked sourdough banana bread.

The father of three who lives in Vermont said throughout 2020, his family’s weekly bread was a classic no-knead pain de campagne, or classic country bread, recipe from Maura Brickman.

“It’s a very approachable, but very high quality bread,” Philip said.

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