Basic bread is composed of four simple ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt. That’s all it takes. Yet even though the ingredient list is simple, the process isn’t always that easy.
Professional bakers have made bread-baking into a science, but bread is fickle and extremely responsive to its environment. Even if you use the exact same recipe every time, on any given day dough can be too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, over-mixed, under-mixed — heck, bread dough is so temperamental that it’s even affected when it’s raining outside (and really affected if you live at high altitude).
In professional bakeries, all the factors that can affect breakmaking are well-regulated, and people who make bread for a living know how to deal with any eventuality. For the home baker, though — and especially one who doesn't make bread regularly — producing consistently good bread can be a real challenge. There are, however, some things you can do to increase your odds of success.
Rachael Pack is The Cook Editor of The Daily Meal. Follow Her on Instagram @rachael_pack