Curious about yeast bread?: Old traditions, meet new techniques.

Ed. note: Irene Shover, our newest blogger, is a former home economics teacher, and now a member of our King Arthur baking resource team. Welcome, Irene!

When I was 12 years old, my aunt’s house held two things that piqued my curiosity… a bowl of yeast bread dough rising on the kitchen counter, and a copy of Peyton Place on the living room bookshelf.

Auntie was all too willing to share that yeast bread recipe; but I swear she and Mom conspired to catch me every time my fingers touched the cover of Grace Metalious’ novel.

Blame it on the evening soap opera version of the book – that heartthrob Ryan O’Neil, or that waif Mia Farrow. Wouldn’t you be curious that as soon as the music started, it was my bedtime?

Added to the mystery were the conversations Mom and her sister had in their Canadian French! Were there secrets about making yeast bread that were too sensitive for early adolescent ears – or were they discussing the Peyton Place topics of our time?

After visiting Auntie’s house, yeast bread became my new obsession – another skill to add to the domestic sciences. Even when Joe Sinibaldi, the Pepperidge Farm delivery man, came to our house with treats, I’d try to figure out why my homemade loaves and rolls were not at all the same as those thin slices of bread – either the crust, or the interior texture.

Inspired by a pamphlet whose cover featured lions, alligators, and even a woven basket of bread holding yeast rolls, I learned to make bread the old-school way – active dry yeast, kneading by hand, punching down the dough, listening for the hollow thump of readiness.

Now that I’ve completed my career teaching home economics, and have joined the King Arthur Flour team, I’d like to share with you the new-school methods of yeast-bread making.

Products like instant yeast, a variety of flours, and King Arthur Flour techniques have brought yeast bread success to home cooks, and to those who are striving to live an old-school life in this new-school world.

Let’s take the recipe for Oatmeal Toasting and Sandwich Bread and see how the old-school traditions have met the new-school techniques.

Every baking adventure starts with a recipe. We’re proud to say our test kitchen takes all the guesswork out of recipes before they hit our Web site or cookbooks. This recipe for Oatmeal Toasting and Sandwich Bread is straightforward – it uses ingredients you probably have in your pantry, and the easiest method of mixing – one bowl, which means measure all ingredients into the bowl, then mix!

Old school – active dry yeast.

This yeast needs to be proofed or dissolved before using. The process takes 10 to 15 minutes to produce the bubbly liquid you’ll use in the recipe. Some recipes refer to this as making a sponge.

New school – instant yeast.

No proofing required! Add it right along with the dry ingredients. It’s a time saver.

The one-bowl method of mixing is great for beginning bread bakers. Dump all the ingredients in (we suggest you place the ingredients around the top of the flour instead of atop each other). You can see the oatmeal, butter, honey, and yeast on top of the bread flour while we pour on the lukewarm milk.

In home baking, liquid is the constant; home bakers reserve some of the flour for the kneading process. In this case, we started with 2 cups of King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour – reserving the last cup for the kneading process. Whether or not we use all the flour or more than the amount called for in the recipe will depend on what the dough tells us. The finished dough should feel the same as pushing on your cheek with your index finger – soft and supple.

In professional bread baking, the flour is the constant. Professional bakers adjust the liquid along the way while mixing. They may  stop before all the liquid is added if the dough is the right consistency; or add more liquid if the dough seems dry.

Mix. Use a spoon or another King Arthur favorite, the Danish dough whisk.

Once the dough has reached the shaggy mass stage, you’re ready to knead.

Flour the kneading surface. The new-school method is to “veil” the kneading surface with flour – not dump flour on the surface and hope it all gets kneaded in, or push away the extra. A veiled flour surface is transparent, not opaque!

Kneading – think fold (toward you), push and roll your hands over the top of the dough, then turn the dough 90 degrees. Continue this soothing, rhythmic, stress-reducing process until the dough is soft and supple.

Clean the surface any time the dough sticks to it. Bear in mind that dough sticks to dough, and cleaning it up will prevent a gooey mess and also prevent frustration. Once your surface is dough-free, re-flour it with that veil of flour.

This dough is ready for the bowl. That veil of flour must be pretty important, to stress it once again!

Let the dough rest 1 hour, covered, in a greased bowl.

Old school – cover with a clean kitchen towel and keep free from drafts. I think this draft line is from the days when our homes had wind-holes before they had windows!

New school – cover with plastic wrap or even a shower cap!

After 1 hour, the dough looks like this – expanded, airy, and ready to shape.

New school – use a measuring cup for dough rising. You’ll be able to see…

…proof (no pun intended?) that the dough has doubled.

Old school – poke the dough to see if the rising is complete. If this leaves an indentation, the dough is ready to shape. If the hole rebounds, the dough needs more rising time.

New school – press the dough with your fingertip; the dough should bounce back. This is so much kinder and gentler than that poke!

Old school recipes may tell you to “punch down the dough.” While this might be fun for young bakers or the frustrated baker – you’ll expel all the carbon dioxide you’ve worked so hard to develop.

New school – degas the dough. This doesn’t mean an art appreciation class – rather, de-gas. Here’s a dough we mixed in the bread machine that’s ready for its final shaping.

Notice we’re using a silicone rolling mat here – more new school!

On a lightly floured surface (yes, still the veil here) press the dough with flat hands to de-gas.

To shape into a loaf, press the dough with a flat hand until it’s the same width as your loaf pan.

Fold the dough into thirds…

…think business letter here!

Seal the final fold by pressing it slightly under the newly formed loaf.

Gently place the loaf into the pan.

Gently press it to fill the corners and create a smooth, level top surface.

Old school – cover the loaf with a clean kitchen towel.

New school – cover the loaf with plastic wrap (grease first to prevent the risen loaf from sticking). PJ loves the shower cap idea, and so do we!

After 1 hour, or when the dough has crowned a good inch over the rim of the pan, place the risen loaf in the preheated oven. One inch over the rim of the pan means at the center of the loaf; the edges of the dough may still meet the edges of the pan.

Bake per your recipe directions. The magic of oven spring (heat meets carbon dioxide, which expands to create a risen loaf) always amazes me! Pressing the loaf evenly in the pan before baking still yields a nicely crowned loaf.

If the loaf is browning too quickly, tent with a piece of foil to deflect some of the heat.

Next, we’ll test to see if the bread is baked through.

Old school – thump, snap, or tap the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it’s done.

New school. Test the bread’s internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. 190°F is the minimum for yeast loaves. Our bread is definitely ready to remove from the oven.

To create a soft, shiny crust after the bread is baked, rub with butter. To create a shiny crust before the bread is baked, use egg wash: 1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water.

Voilà – a beautiful loaf of bread! Resist the temptation to cut it hot out of the oven. Slicing it now would squish the loaf and squash all your efforts!

New school. Can you use a bread machine? Sure!

Refer to the recipes to see if you should bake the bread in the machine or the traditional way in the oven. One important mixing tip is to check the consistency of the dough. Add flour if the dough is too wet, and liquid if the dough looks too dry.

New school – use a stand mixer! Just don’t walk away while the mixer is working its magic. It’s important you check the consistency as the dough mixes.

We use the paddle for mixing…

…then switch to the dough hook for kneading.

Another tip is to knead until the dough gathers all the dry bits from the edges of the bowl, then stop. Check for that soft/supple dough consistency. Many of our bakers’ hotline calls (802-649-3717) about disastrously wet, soupy yeast doughs are the result of too much mixing with powerful stand mixers.

On the left, bread whose dough was kneaded in a bread machine. On the right, bread from dough kneaded by hand.

If you prefer a lighter, airier bread, and have a bread machine, use the machine to knead your dough before baking in the oven. For a denser loaf, knead by hand.

Whether you prefer the way Grandma (or Auntie) taught you, or the new-school advances in yeast breads,  either method will produce a loaf of bread that will fill your home with distinctive aromas and memories. Plus, you’ll be making a nutritious treat for your family.

If we’ve convinced you to try these new-school methods, you can use the extra time you’ve saved to read a couple of chapters of Peyton Place!

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Oatmeal Toasting and Sandwich Bread.



  1. Becky

    Thank you so much for this very thorough step-by-step. I’ve been baking bread from scratch using a mix of old school and new school (though still kneading by hand) for a few years now but I never seem to form a neat log of dough to put in the pan. I love the flattening and folding into thirds tip!! I’ll definitely try that one the next time I bake bread.
    Using that tip will probably prevent future bread loaves that look like this:

    I always wondered why my hubby found it necessary to squish my yeast loaves into the corners of the pan. Once I started working here I realized why! I hope the tips work to make your yeast loaves picture perfect! Irene @ KAF

  2. Ruc

    Thanks for some great info! Can u tell me why all bread recipes cannot be made from beginning to end in a bread machine. I have a Zoe where its possible to customize the knead, rise and bake times. But you recommend that we only use it for kneading. How can any recipe can be adapted to the machine? Thanks!

    I like to get my hands on the bread dough,but understand why some bakers prefer to use a bread machine from start to finish. The larger Zojirushi will accomodate recipes that use up to 5 cups flour and 2 cups water – so this recipe should work fine. Irene @ KAF

  3. Carolyn95

    Very informative! I have always wondered whether the water or the flour measurement should be the constant. I assume the correct amount of any additional ingredients must be based on one or the other. Why the difference between home baking and professional baking?

    In a commercial bakery, we weight out all of the dry ingredients the day before, to save time (and prevent measurement errors at 3 a.m.). Adjusting the water is the “better” system to use. Frank @ KAF.

  4. kittykat3308

    This is our very favorite bread, minus the raisins, and I use the bread machine for the mixing and kneading (I have permanent nerve damage and if it weren’t for the bread machine, I wouldn’t be able to make bread) but I shape it myself and bake it in my oven. It’s kind of funny that this was the very first bread recipe I tried when I received my bread machine and it’s the one I keep going back to, I make it at least once a week.

    Thanks for doing the research and test baking to prove the bread machine is a great method to make this bread! Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

  5. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez - Petrópolis, R.J. - BRAZIL

    Curious this post!
    Some tips from me and my experience.
    I always use plastic film to wrap or cover the bread while it rises. Nevermind use cotton towel, specially if it´s humid, wet. If you use wet towel, unfortunately the crust in top of the dough will appear and the bread quality goes BAD!
    I love the way of make yeast breads with no use of bread machines or stand mixer to knead dough. I love to feel my hands in the breads when i knead them!
    I ALWAYS use the autolyse process at the begining of any yeast bread and after the first rising time, i deflate dough and give it another quarter of hour ( 20 min. ) of second rising time. It works well, very well.
    Today i´d baked your Olive Rolls and it turns absolutely FANTASTIC. I´d rested the dough over that cotton towels floured on top. Why you used this towels in this specific case?
    My best wishes to Irene!!!!!!!!!

    Clean kitchen towels were used in most kitchens to keep rising breads free from drafts before the invention of plastic wrap. Some bakers still rely on this tried-and-true method instead of the new way. If you use plastic wrap it may be useful to grease it just in case the bread touches the plastic wrap. Thanks for your review! Irene @ KAF

  6. Kelly

    I love bread making and I love learning new techniques! As a matter of fact I just tried out the Ballymaloe Brown Bread using an overnight refrigerator rise and a couple of folds in the dough bucket next morning instead of kneading at all. (I was on a baking spree and needing to utilize methods other than hand or machine.) That recipe, from the Baking Sheet spring ’09, turned out a very tasty loaf! Reminds me of the little loaves they bring out at steakhouse restaurants, only I know exactly what is in this one. ☺

  7. erinhibshman

    Welcome Irene! Thank you for the wonderfully written post, with some really great information about making that picture perfect loaf!

    Thanks for helping me feel part of the baking family, along with my KAF work family here! Irene @ KAF

  8. Wei-Wei

    What a thorough tutorial! I’ve been hankering to make bread for a while now, but 1) I’m a little scared, 2) I don’t have a loaf pan and 3) I don’t have the time… yet. But I think I’ll try to make my own bread soon. 🙂 Thanks for this!

    No fear here! Work bread making into your schedule instead of being a slave to it. You could shape the loaf, put it into the pan – cover it and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight. This cool rise method lets the bread rise slowly in the cool temp. The next day, take out the risen bread then preheat the oven. Bake as directed in the recipe for a real treat! Irene @ KAF

  9. Charice

    Welcome Irene! Thanks for the tips. I’m definitely a bread machine girl when it comes to mixing and kneading my dough. I get my stress relief from forming the rolls, bagels, breadsticks, filled breads, etc. 🙂 By the way, at my house, it was Valley of the Dolls that was strictly verboten! 😉

    I hope you read the verboten book in-between reading cookbooks about all things bread and baking! Irene @ KAF

  10. Teresa

    I baked for a long time without learning the folding method to form the loaf. It really makes for a nice looking loaf inside and out. The detailed instructions at KA is always a winner!

    Welcome Irene!
    You’re right! Folding the loaf to shape prevents big pockets or holes that sometimes will develop using the log method. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

  11. lishy

    This is a wonderful blog that tells us so much about the ins and outs of yeast bread. I have been yeast baking old school since I was little, but only been doing newer methods and consistent baking over the past few years. While I know a lot about it, I still learned new things in this blog, and that is what I love so much about KAF. You always teach us and remind us of what we know without making us feel silly or like we should have already known. I also am going to make this particular bread this week, since oatmeal is my favorite. Thanks and we all look forward to more of your blogs!

    Thank you gentle reader/baker! Irene @ KAF

  12. KAF_MaryJane

    Yay ‘Reen! Welcome to the blog team. It’s a joy to work with you in the kitchen. With your quirky sense of humor you definitely fit in with this baking bunch. Congrats. ~ MaryJane

    Right back atcha MJ! Thanks for all YOU do! Irene

  13. HMB

    I’m surprised to read that veiling is new school — that’s how my mom taught me. And between the two of us, we’ve been baking a loooonnnnngggg time. But the folding technique is new to me. Just goes to show you are never too old to learn new tricks.

    Once the conversation starts between bakers, there are always new techniques and tips to share (and learn!). Irene @ KAF

  14. kfreshwater

    I’m looking forward to making this bread. I love to knead bread as it relaxes me. When my kids were small and we didn’t have much money I spent one day a week just baking and freezing. Thats all I did that day and usually turned out 7 loaves of bread, some cookies and a cake for the week. I’m glad those days are over but I did enjoy it. Now I just like to bake for the fun of it. I have a new cast iron bread pan I want to try and looking forward to using my very very old cast iron dutch overn for a loaf of crusty bread. I guess I come under the heading of “old school.” At 73 I’m old everything.

    We have so much to learn from you and your years of expertise! We are honored that you shared with us. Irene @ KAF

  15. Tinky

    Welcome to you, Irene. I love the sound of this bread, although I prefer my oatmeal bread with maple syrup (; I’m sure that could be used here, too.

    Like a couple of other commenters, I like to blend old and new schools. I loved “hearing” your take on the contrasts between the two. Keep up the good work!

    Mmmmmm… maple syrup – one of our favorite regional flavorings! A great way to add some New England to this recipe. Happy Baking! Irene

  16. carml13

    Don’t be too quick to call “keeping rising dough in a warm place free from drafts” old school. In my last home the ONLY way I could rise dough in the winter was shut up tight in my (draft free) oven. In my current kitchen the best place is on the warm top of my fridge. Of course, that also keeps the dough safe from small fry who might be tempted to “punch” or even kick tomorrow’s lunch.

  17. gschultz

    Welcome! Excellent training form Irene. I would suggest adding one other “new” activity: weighing ingredients. Digital scales are not too expensive, and by using the tare feature, which zeros out the current weight, it is easy to add the proper subsequent weight of ingredients.

    Along that line, it would be nice if the oatmeal bread recipe contained the little button at the top that let you print it out by measurement or by weight.

    I’ll look for more good ideas from you in the future. Thanks!

  18. rhomp2002

    I never use folled oats at home; just can’t stand the taste of them by comparison to steel cut oats. Could steel cut oats be used in this bread if you soak them in hot water first?

    Problematic, as you’re changing the flour/liquid ratio when you soak the oats. You’d have to figure out how much water you soak them in; then lower the amount of water in the recipe. But it’s not a 1:1 ratio, as the oats retain some of the water, so I can’t tell you exactly how much to lower it by. You’ll have to experiment with this one… PJH

    1. Laurie

      I agree with you about steel cut vs rolled oats for oatmeal, rhomp2002, I do, however, keep rolled oats on hand just for baking. It might be simpler than trying to adjust a recipe. Good luck!

  19. rjt17379

    Irene, I was wondering if the recipe was forgiving enough that I could use raw organic agave nectar, one-for-one, instead of the honey? I have honey, but dark agave has a different flavor and it would be a nice change. Thanks!

    Frank here. Agave nectar is “wetter” than honey. You will likely need to add a bit more flour to achieve a similar dough consistency. Give it a try.

  20. bammom

    Welcome, Irene. That’s a great post.

    I have been using the oatmeal bread recipe from the 200th Anniversary Cookbook and it has become a family favorite. I’ll be trying this version soon.

  21. madreddog

    I can hardly wait to make this bread. I LOVE BREAD. Because of this love , I hate it, too. I have never done it but could eat a whole loaf by myself. (I think I need some intensive counseling!!!!)

    I am trying so hard to practice portion control that this loaf would produce a slice much larger than I should consume. If I cut it in half, then I feel deprived. I always have a hard time figuring what size pan I can use instead of the 9×5. I have no problems with changing pan sizes for cakes and cookies, but bread is different. I have 13x 4 1/2, a 10 1/2 x 3 1/2 pan de mie.
    Which would be the best size loaf pan to make a longer, shorter loaf?

    Thx for your recipe and thx for being a teacher for so long. I think every kid in school needs Home Ec. Learning to manage a home is so important and overlooked as a learned skill. Thx agin!!!!!!!!
    You may use your 13 X 4 1/2 size pan. This will give you your desired longer loaf with smaller slices. JMD@KAF

  22. Carolyn95

    Can’t seem to get my posts to show up, but here’s a second try. Why is flour the constant in home baking and not in professional baking? I have always wondered whether the water or the flour measurement should be the constant. I assume the correct amount of any additional ingredients must be based on one or the other.

    Sorry for the delay Carolyn. You original is up and answered now. Frank @ KAF.

  23. ajm0212

    Welcome Irene!

    I made this bread today and it is lovely! As I type my husband is having his second slice!

    I used my Zo bread machine on the dough cycle and also tried the folding method to shape the loaf. I like it! I’m going to use that to shape my loaves from now on.

    I really like this recipe and will add it to my favorites to bake!

  24. Irene in TO

    Bakeries use flour as the constant because they WEIGH it.

    Measuring cups of flour for bread is NOT bakery work. Did you pour the bag into a canister? Did you sift it? Did you bang the cup to level? Did you scoop and sweep? There is 10% difference in that activity alone.

    If you mix bread by hand and have to add more liquid, you have a disgusting sticky mess for a while before you get it properly kneaded in.

    I don’t know about mixer mixed bread, only hand mixed. I start with the measured liquid and add flour according to its humidity. There is a lot of variation in different seasons of the year.

    I do use less flour than most recipes because I add it a cup at a time while the dough can be beaten. After that it gets kneaded in a quarter cup at a time. The gluten develops so that with a single rise, the bread bakes the way it should every time. It doesn’t matter if I used a cup of water for pizza or a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs for sweet dough.

    And my HomeEc teacher would have dropped from a heart attack if we knocked the bottom of the loaf–it was the knuckle to the top to see if it’s cooked enough.

  25. KimberlyD

    could sunflower kernels replace rasins? And if so unsalted or salted?

    Sure, Kimberly – unsalted would be best, to avoid adding too much salt to the dough. Or, if salted, cut back the salt a bit in the recipe. PJH

  26. MHD

    Wow. That was an excellent post and very very helpful! I just loved the step by step instructions and clear concise comments. Welcome to the team!

    Well done!

  27. marinamcf

    Thanks for the great post!

    Question: Let’s say I want to halve a 2-loaf yeast bread recipe so as to make only one loaf. Should I cut the amount of yeast in half just as I do with the other ingredients?

    Usually, for a single loaf, I use 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast. And if it’s a bread very high in sugar and/or fat, you might want to use more yeast. So no, you don’t necessarily cut it in half. PJH

  28. Irene in TO

    To use steel cut oats, take the measured milk and warm it up in the microwave. Soak the oats but not too long–they “soak” more during rising. There is NO liquid adjustment to worry about. Just go slow with adding the last cup of flour to avoid dry dough.

    Interesting, Irene – I’ve always cooked my steel-cut oats before using, and they tend to give up a lot of liquid during kneading, so I always have to cut back the liquid in the recipe. But doing it this way, where you use just the amount of liquid called for in the recipe anyway, sounds effective. I’d caution you, readers, to knead the bread for a couple of minutes, then let it rest for 20 minutes or so, then continue kneading; this might give the oats a chance to “shed” any liquid they’re going to, and would help prevent you adding too much flour to the dough as you knead. PJH

  29. erose33

    I _always_ use a clean cotton towel, which can be used for multiple risings during a week, or used for bread and then to dry your hands for several days. The simple reason is that we use way too much plastic (and other disposables) as a society and a couple hand towels extra a week does NOT necessitate a new load and DOES fit right in with your other regular laundry loads. Is there an actual, real scientific reason or is it the “convenience” factor and marketing by the plastic wrap companies? Although, greasing plastic wrap is neither convenient nor time (nor money!) saving when the towels are right there.

    In regards to the “free of drafts”, I think a lot of people in older buildings are still stuck with those drafty old single pane wooden windows with external storm windows. Because I have curious cats who really enjoy bread and bread dough I let my dough rise in the oven and in cold weather (we only heat the house to 62 degrees max) I stick a Pyrex measuring cup with boiled and steaming water in there to help it along.
    Some folks find their dough dries out if they just use a cotton towel. PJ is a great fan of plastic shower caps that can be washed and reused. And I still have some covers my mother gave me that are reusable. They look like shower caps but are heavy duty so last much longer. JMD@KAF

  30. vaamiller

    These days, the ‘green’ way to cover the bread would be to still use a clean, dry towel. The less plastic used, the better for the environment, and our children’s children!

    Point well taken. Flour sacks or a clean, dry towel as you suggested are certainly kinder to the environment than throwing saran wrap away each time. At least a shower cap is reusable. Elisabeth @ KAF

  31. firewife

    I remember baking with my great grandmother. I learned bread baking early on from a lady who didn’t own a single measuring cup. The first time I entered a loaf of bread in a contest, I had to make it twice so I could “guestimate” the amounts and write it out for the required recipe.

    She taught me the veiling technique, telling me never to let my bread sit in a pile of flour and that I should let the bread tell me when I had enough added. She was a firm believer in letting the bread do the talking. 🙂

    The folding technique is new to me though and something I definitely plan on trying with my next loaf. I’m not sure I could give up my good old fashioned sack cloth towels to cover my breads as they rise, but the shower cap sounds like it would be worth a try. Would there be a concern using plastic wrap in a humid climate?

    Whether it is humid or not, it is best to spray the wrap with a canola spray or rub your dough with some oil to prevent any sticking. The nice thing about the shower cap is it remains suspended above the bread, therefore little chance of contact. You may go right back to your flour sacks, who knows! Elisabeth @ KAF

  32. Sara

    I am a little surprized that the “new school” doesn’t mention the no-kneed bread recipes that are popping up everywhere.

    Yes, the no-knead technique is quite the rage, isn’t it? What a lifesaver for those who really want nothing to do with handling the dough. With no-knead, they can still have their cake and eat it, too! Elisabeth @ KAF

  33. deb in sc

    I didn’t get any oven spring and hardly any rising in the pan, but the folding technique produced a much better shaped loaf than I have ever had. So simple, but thank you for sharing. And the taste is awesome. I am trying the bread again today to try to figure out what I did wrong, because I would like a loaf that is a bit taller.

    Could you have added a bit too much flour during kneading and shaping. If a loaf picks up extra flour along the way, the dough will firm up making it harder for the yeast to lift the loaf. Frank @ KAF.

  34. snrobison

    I liked the bread but ended up with a huge air bubble in the top half of the bread. Any ideas what I did wrong???

    Make sure that the dough is evenly degassed before you begin shaping. Any bubble in the dough, will remain after baking. Frank @ KAF.

  35. Irene in TO

    Hey Frank, no oven spring and litlle rise means dead yeast.

    Forget the litlle envelopes. Get a fresh jar. Store it in the freezer. Lasts best that way.

    I would go back to old school and proof the yeast before I waste flour etc. just in case.

    SAF instant yeast is all we use in the King Arthur test kitchen. Works EVERY TIME, no proofing needed… PJH

  36. erinbarbour

    This is an informative and helpful article with excellent detailed pictures. Thank you! I am fairly new to breadmaking and have never seen anyone make or knead bread in person. Somehow, I’m not sure if I’m kneading correctly. I have trouble with stickiness and then don’t want to add too much flour. I will try the veil method. A couple questions: how did you clean the dough from the counter once it started sticking (any special tools?) and what surface is best to knead on? How long should I knead for?
    Hi Erin,
    We are hoping to have more videos someday here on our site, but we do have some great videos on YouTube. On the YouTube search, type “King Arthur Flour Life Skills”. There are 9 videos of our Life Skills program (where we go to schools and teach kids how to bake bread). They cover all the essentials, step by step, including kneading. The kids are so cute too. I really think it will help you get kneading under your belt. ~ MaryJane

  37. Susan P.

    I was wondering if I could use white whole wheat flour for the regular flour in the recipe, I didn’t have enough regular flour.
    A tip on a warm place to rise bread, I live in a cold farmhouse, and found that I could use an old heating pad that doesn’t heat up to hot anymore, works beautifully!

    Thanks for the tip, Susan – another warm place is often the top of the fridge. Substituting whole wheat for white flour will result in a denser bread, but give it a go and see how you like it. Depending on how much you substitute, you may need to add another tablespoon or so of water to produce a nice dough. Enjoy – PJH

  38. dmeaux1000

    What a wonderful bread. While mine did not rise as much as yours, it was still fantastic. I degassed and folded it over and I was very happy with the end result… a very nice looking and great tasting loaf. Just love the blogs.

    Now I am going to try the apple slab.

  39. askow

    I purchased a ‘little used’ bread machine from a friend and found it made such great bread that my husband begged me to PLEASE refrain from making bread for awhile. I gave many loaves away just so I could have the joy of producing such gorgeous loaves. One of my favorite KAF products is the diastic malt powder. I use a heaping teaspoon in each loaf and don’t know whether that is the reason the loaves raise extra high and turn our perfectly every time. They also stay very moist. I mix the loaves in the machine; then raise them in a ‘turned off’ 200 degree oven for 30 minutes. I cover with only a piece of paper towel which automatically curves to cover the loaf. I take the loaf out, turn the oven back on to the baking temperature and bake until my thermometer reads 190 degrees or above. I turn the loaves out onto a rack, let them cool, then use a Cuisinart electric knife to easily cut uniform slices. The loaf goes into a KAF bread bag for storage. One of my favorite loaves is an eight-grain, sunflower seed, honey bread. It stays moist until the last slice is gone. My freezer has an entire shelf devoted to a variety of whole grain flours. Thanks KAF for all your tips, great recipes and wonderful products.

  40. Aaron Frank

    Fantastic! I’ve always had problems shaping a log. I’ll have to try the business letter way.

    I switched to instant yeast because it is about a quarter of the price of active dry yeast where I live. I still like to activate the yeast before hand. And this is my sons’ favorite part of bread baking (outside of eating it).

    I switched from plastic wrap to those plastic roasting bags for roasting chickens and turkeys after I accidentally rushed a loaf into the oven without taking the plastic off. And that is not even close to the dumbest thing I’ve done.

    Do you ever cold proof overnight (or longer) in the refrigerator?
    Hi Aaron,
    Love the idea of the roasting bags for proofing. Re-usable too. Overnight proofing is so handy, and makes for excellent taste and texture. It’s much easier to make the dough one day, give it the first rise, then degas, shape and rise in the pan in the fridge overnight. Have fun! ~ MaryJane



  41. aaronatthedoublef


    I know this isn’t about white bread but… I just made your 100% whole wheat bread. I used a quarter cup orange juice, three quarters of a cup of apple cider (my boys love this), and a quarter cup of water. I tried your folding technique here and the loaf fit the pan perfectly, had a good pre-bake rise, and a fantastic oven spring. It came out of the oven picture perfect. But when I held it in my hand something just felt wrong so I sliced it in half. It was completely hollow.

    Any ideas on what I did wrong?



    This can be frustrating, I know! Perhaps the dough was not shaped properly or the dough rose too long before baking or the dough’s consistency was too wet. Try again and let us know how it goes Aaron! Elisabeth

  42. Jessica

    To add a twist to the towel/plastic wrap debate — I’ve competely skirted the issue by doing my first rise in a lightly oiled, covered saucepan. It works great and creates neither garbage nor laundry!

  43. DARA

    Can the mixing and kneading be done in a food processor?
    Unless your food processor has a dough hook, I would not recommend using one for bread dough kneading. ~Amy

  44. bazasho

    This is my first attempt to make bread, for some reason I was intimidated by the process. So far the first batch did not rise that great, and the second one was doing fine on the second rise but then on the second rise it stopped just short of the the top of the pan, not 1″ to 2″ above it. I think I will put it in the oven anyway, any thoughts?

    I think you have this loaf well in hand. Please give us a call on the Baker’s Hotline, 800-827-6836, after you have it cooled and sliced. We’ll be happy to help critique the loaf. Frank @ KAF.

  45. Mss309

    This bread is terrific! I would like to make 2 loaves at a time? Do I just double the recipe? Do you know if a standard Kitchen Aid stand mixer can manage the mat. Of ingredients for 2 loaves? Thanks so much….?
    You can double this recipe to make two loaves. You will double everything EXCEPT the yeast and salt. Keep the yeast amount the same (2-2 1/4 teaspoons), and only use 2 1/4 teaspoons salt. You’ll definitely be giving your 5 qt Kitchen Aid a workout with that amount of dough, but it should be OK if you don’t do it very often. ~Mel

  46. sharonnewv

    I made this bread last nite. Turned out wonderful. I used my dough blade with my food processor (doubtful as I was) but gave it a try. I was a happy camper. Loved the FOLDING procedure showed for “new school” Best looking and tasting bread ever. Easy recipe. Thanks KA for this great tutioral.
    The staff of girls at KA are wonderful and pleasant. I definately stepped out of my box and was glad I did. I’m obsessed with making bread (anyone else like that?) I have one slice, the heel) thats it. The rest I give away. Thats the love of making bread. I’m my biggest critic. Love, love, love KA:) Happy baking
    Thanks! We are so glad that you are having so much fun baking. ~ MaryJane

  47. hehays

    I just tried this recipe–I had a great consistency and a great rise–however when I put the dough into the 350 degree oven it fell instead of rising more as I would have expected. Can you tell me what I did wrong?

    Check the yeast and rising time. Collapsed bread can be a sign that Rapid Rise yeast was used or the bread rose too long once it was shaped and before placing in the oven for the bake. If this isn’t the answer – do call our Baker’s Hotline at 855-371-2253 and we’ll trouble shoot with you. Irene @ KAF

  48. snwprincez

    Good evening,
    Thanks for the great mixes and recipes! I’ve baked the Scottish toasting bread from the premixed packages with great success, but I ran out of the mix so I tried this recipe today. I have the same problem as hehays listed on the message above, BUT I have to confess, I did use Rapid Rise yeast. What difference does it make?
    Rapid Rise yeast is a different strain of yeast from instant. It is formulated to give you one fast rise, and won’t always give you two nice long steady rises. For best results, you’ll want to stick with the instant or active dry. ~ MJ

  49. Vicky

    I’ve been making this recipe for awhile . I seems like the last few times the bread is not proofing above the pan and there’s no oven spring. In fact it seems to deflate. What am I doing wrong? I use my KA stand mixer.



    1. PJ Hamel

      Vicky, there are so many things that could be affecting your bread’s rise, it doesn’t make any sense to try to answer here. Please call our hotline, 855-371-2253, so you can have a back-and-forth dialogue with one of our bakers. Good luck – PJH

  50. joanne leverone

    I am new to bread making and have tried different recipes.I have not been that successful.Today I tried the oatmeal bread recipe.I was somewhat confused as I followed the recipe which said add all ingredients which I did,Then I went on to read the step by step instructions which said add two cups of flour and add in other cup while kneading???I added all ingredients and found the dough difficult to knead and a little dry.What should I have done?It is rising now so we’ll see how it turns out.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Joanne, the goal is to create a soft and supple dough by the end of the kneading process. In her blog, Irene suggests that hand kneaders can start with less flour in the mixing bowl, and then use the remaining flour on the counter during the kneading process. It is meant as a tip to help new bakers from adding too much flour to the dough during kneading. The finished dough – whichever way you mix – should have approximately 3 cups of flour. I hope this helps. ~Jaydl@KAF

    2. PJ Hamel

      Joanne, sorry about that inconsistency; different bakers have their own personal favorite ways to bring together a yeast dough. Personally, I knead i a stand mixer, and combine everything at once. If the mixture seems dry, I drizzle in a bit more liquid with the mixer going. If you’re kneading by hand, it’s probably better to leave out 1/2 to 1 cup of the flour, then as you’re kneading, add it as necessary to create a smooth, soft dough. I hope you don’t get discouraged; yeast baking is a wide and wonderful world, once you get used to how it all works. If you have a mixer (hand or stand), and want to make a loaf that’s pretty much guaranteed to be successful, not matter how new you are to bread baking, try this English Muffin Toasting Bread. And remember, our hotline bakers are always ready to answer any questions: 855-371-2253. Best of luck – PJH

    3. Susan Reid

      Hi, Joanne. One of the most important things to know when learning bread baking is that the amount of flour varies; it’s important to give some of the recipe’s amount to the dough and see how it behaves before adding more. Many bread recipes give a range for flour amounts; it’s always a good idea to hold back 1/2 cup of the flour in a bread recipe to see if the dough needs it. Dough changes in texture as it’s kneaded; doughs that are dry and stiff take a LOOOONNNNNGGGG time to rise and can be crumbly when sliced. Hope this helps. Susan

  51. Carolyn

    Interested to know why dough kneaded in a stand mixer rises higher than by hand. Can you explain why that is? In my experience, I haven’t noticed as dramatic a difference as the last picture in the post shows.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for asking Carolyn – the dough that was kneaded by hand was first mixed in the stand mixer. Even though the stand mixer will do all the mixing and kneading, I still like to get my hands on the dough to be sure it’s soft and supple. The higher risen finished product was mixed,kneaded and completed the first rise in the bread machine – the difference in rise may be there’s less flour in the bread machine dough and the dough is kept at a warmer temp. to encourage the yeast to feast and create higher rise. Happy Baking – Irene

  52. mina

    I use the Active Dry yeast, and I rarely ever (almost never) bother to proof the yeast. Rather, I just mix it in with the flour. I’m not sure why these basic instructions here suggest that it must be proofed. Also, the hook used in many of these blog articles about this or that recipe not being like your mother’s whole wheat or whatever are strange. It seems to denigrate past cooks/bakers. Why? It would be better to say that cooking/baking methods, ingredients, and products have evolved. And, seriously, plastic wrap is preferred over a towel? That is a lot of waste. Otherwise, I do love this site’s recipes and the comments from readers.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      In the past, yeast was proofed to be sure it was good- definitely better than wasting the rest of the ingredients! If you’re not sure of the age of your active dry yeast, best to test it. And plastic wrap is entirely optional- it does help keep the dough from forming a skin while it rises. You can reuse a plastic bag, or try some beeswax impregnated fabric instead. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  53. Taryn

    The recipe does not specify the butter should be melted, but I don’t see how I could just stir all the ingredients together with my dough whisk if it was still solid. Should the butter in this recipe be melted? Thanks!

    1. Susan Reid

      Taryn, as long as the butter is soft to the touch, it will mix in fine when you assemble the dough. Susan

  54. Debbie T.

    Question: will a bread machine “dough” setting make a much better loaf than using stand mixer or by hand? I have a very small kitchen with little storage space and a household of two, and have been paring down excess stuff to only what is necessary.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Debbie, a bread machine doesn’t necessarily do a better job kneading the dough than a stand mixer or your hands. Ultimately, it’s about what you as the baker prefer. The benefits of a stand mixer and bread machine are that you don’t have quite the same urge to add additional flour (the dough doesn’t stick to your hands), and added flour can make a dry, heavy dough. The additional benefit of a bread machine is that you can add all of your ingredients and then walk away. However, some people find it therapeutic to get their hands in the dough. Perhaps you could try using a stand mixer and a bread machine (borrow a friend’s?) and then decide which method you’re most likely to use when it’s time to bake. Good luck! Kye@KAF

  55. Nichael Cramer

    Wonderful post from KAF, as always (my loaf is in its final rise I type).

    A question about kneading “by hand” vs “by bread machine”…

    First, as per the pictures above, why is it that the “bread machine” version rises so much higher –and seems to be so much lighter– than the “by hand” version. What is it about one technique that seems to make this much difference?

    And second, more to the point, is there something I can do while kneading by-hand –some way I can change my by-hand technique– that would help my loaves to come out more like the bread-machine version? (E.g. Knead longer? Or “harder”? Etc.)

    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Nichael. The primary advantage of the bread machine isn’t so much in the kneading, but that it provides the happiest environment for the yeast to do its thing. With the lid closed and the heating element below, the dough is in an ideally temperature and humidity-controlled environment. Kneading by hand (more and harder is NOT better) is not as much a change agent for results as is the environment for the dough. We have the perfect substitute: our bread proofer. It does an amazing job. Susan

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *