This was a great question asked in my free group for home bread bakers, Bake bread at home. How can you stop your home baked loaf being dry and crumbly? I recorded this video for the group, and share it with you here. Watch for my three top tips to make sure you bake bread that doesn’t turn out dry and hard – or read on for my tips below.

Three top tips to stop your home baked loaf being dry and crumbly.

1. Is there enough water in it?

Consider the whole bread making process as one in which the dough dries out, especially once it gets into a hot oven. So you need to make sure your dough is kept moist enough. Don’t sprinkle the surface with flour when kneading – it will absorb the water in your dough and dry it out. Use a little olive oil if the dough is very sticky and hard to handle, and knead with wet hands. Remember to add a little more water to your dough if you use wholemeal flour – the bran will absorb it.

2. Check your oven temperature

It sounds simple, but make sure you don’t over bake your loaf! Most domestic ovens have hot spots. To avoid baking your loaf in one, turn your loaf around after half the baking time, and move it to a lower shelf if needed.

3. Bake using a Dutch oven

Baking your loaf inside a Dutch oven – a cast iron, lidded pot – has several benefits. One is that, with the lid on, any steam coming out of your loaf is contained and helps your bread stay moist. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can turn a pot over the top of your loaf as it bakes.

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