The results of a productive sourdough breads class with The Epsom Bakehouse
The results of a productive sourdough breads class with The Epsom Bakehouse

Are you too busy to bake bread?

Do you read that bread can take 4 or more hours to make and think ‘who has time for that?’ I get it – between work, childcare, running errands, perhaps even taking time out to relax, your time is precious and waiting hours for some dough to rise often doesn’t seem like a priority. And with warmer, sunnier days approaching, you might rather be out and about!

Fortunately, help is at hand. With just a few simple tricks and techniques, plus a little planning, you can start to fit bread making around a busy lifestyle. Read on for my top three tips to help you bake bread when you’re very busy.

1. Let the dough do the work.

One thing I love about bread baking is that, the majority of the time, you just have to let the dough do its thing. Meaning you’re free to get on with whatever else you need to do. You can take this to the extreme by trying a no-knead recipe – simply mix up the dough and let it rise slowly – usually overnight at least. Then come back and bake – you’ve barely had to do anything! You can try this method with my hands-off focaccia recipe.

2. Temperature is your friend

Yeast in bread produce gas to rise your dough. Choose a warmer spot and yeast will do this more quickly. Recipes will assume that you’re baking in a nice warm kitchen, but if that’s not the case, you might need to find somewhere warmer to rise your dough.

But choose a cold spot (like the fridge), and yeast will still produce gas, just much more slowly. Use this to your advantage – pop dough in the fridge after you’ve mixed and kneaded and it will happily work away rising all day whilst you get on with everything else you need to do. And giving your dough extra time to rise gives you the added bonus of extra flavour in your final bread.

3. Double (or triple) your efforts

My final advice would be to ensure you don’t go to all that effort just for one loaf. Once you’ve found a recipe you’re comfortable with, double (or triple!) up when you make your dough and make more than you need. Your extra bread will freeze really well and then you’ll have supplies to last you until you need to bake again.

Find out more in a bread making class

Fitting bread baking around a busy lifestyle is one of the top questions I get asked by students on my bread making classes. Take a class and you won’t just learn to bake bread, you’ll get advice on how best to fit doing so around your schedule, what you might need to start baking great bread in your own kitchen back home, plus ways to adapt recipes to suit your tastes once you’ve mastered the basics. All classes are suitable for beginners onwards and are taught in a relaxed environment in my own home kitchen. You can find out more about classes here.

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