Stella Culinary School Podcast Episode 19| Twelve Steps of Bread

SCS 019| Twelve Steps of Bread Baking

In this episode of The Stella Culinary School Podcast we discuss the twelve steps of the bread baking process. Whether you're new to bread baking or an old pro, this podcast is extremely important for building a foundation in excellent bread baking technique.

  1. Scaling Ingredients
  2. Mixing and Kneading
  3. Primary or "Bulk" Fermentation
  4. Punching or "Degasing"
  5. Dividing
  6. Rounding or "Pre-forming"
  7. Benching or "Resting"
  8. Final Forming / Panning
  9. Proofing (Secondary Fermentation)
  10. Baking
  11. Cooling
  12. Storing

These twelve steps are the foundation on which all baking knowledge is built. If you're an aspiring bread baker, it's important you first understand the finer points of each of these steps.

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There are 12 Comments

Nina's picture

Loved the podcast and video ( way cool music).  I hope that this encourages people to try  bread baking.
 Thanks Chef 

"People who love to eat are always the best people." -- Julia Child

jacob burton's picture

Thanks Nina. Glad you enjoyed the podcast, it was way over-due. I was out of practice and had to re-record this episode 3 times before I was even somewhat happy with it. Finally I just had to say "good enough is good enough" and hit the publish button. The next episode will come much more quickly, hopefully allowing me to create some momentum.

esavitzky's picture


Listened to it tonight and really enjoyed it.  Put everything I have been learning from you and others in one place.  I can tell you really wanted to go off on a "pizza rant" and were able to successfully contain yourself.smiley

 I cant wait for that episode and more.

jacob burton's picture

Yes, I love the pizza. I think that's how we're going to end the bread series. I really can't wait, but I think it will be beneficial for everyone to understand some of the other techniques in bread baking before I start geeking out on pizza.

Glad you enjoyed the podcast.

Wisconsin Limey's picture

Loved the Podcast!  

Keep on baking!

I love pizza, I make at least eight (8) different styles!  Can't wait...

jacob burton's picture

Thanks Limey. Looking forward to geeking out on pizza in a few more episodes. 

skflyfish's picture

Good job again Chef Jacob.

I especially appreciate your tips on the home use stand mixer. Probably my only negative comment about Jeffrey Hammelman's book 'Bread' was his mixing times were for a professional mixer. I have read that a standard Kitchen Aide mixer needs about 8 minutes to accomplish what a professional model will do in about 3 minutes.

I do have a question. Hammelman and Mark Sinclair talk about final dough temperature after mixing. Sinclair even explains how to measure the flour temp and then calculate the temp of the water needed to get the desired final dough temp. This is one area I have been quite lax in and may explain some of the variations in my breads. What is your take on the final dough temp?

Thx again.


jacob burton's picture

During fermentation you can insert a probe thermometer into your dough to check the internal temperature. Most books will recommend that the dough have an internal temp of high 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit. Instead of doing complex calculations, if you feel your dough isn't proofing correctly in your environment, then just take the temperature of your water before mixing and then the temperature of your dough about 20 minutes into fermentation. If your dough temp seems a little low, or if your bread is proofing too fast, you can simply adjust the water temp next time around.

I don't overly concern myself with the dough temperature. Just pay attention to the visual cues that dough gives you in your environment and adjust accordingly.

skflyfish's picture


After thinking about this podcast I realized I had quit doing the autolyse step in my bread baking. I originally found Hamelman's recipe(s) here and they added the autolyse step to his recipes. When I got his book it is not listed in his recipes.

So the final dough temp really had little to do with my variations, but the autolyse definitely did. I just added the autolyse step back into my everyday white bread and it had great gluten development and crumb. 


jacob burton's picture

Glad I was able to help. The autolyse step is commonly overlooked but an important part of the bread making process.

pastor's wife Becki's picture

Chef Jacob, what is the difference between an autolyse and a bulk fermenttion?

jacob burton's picture

Hi Becki,

Welcome to Stella Culinary.

In an autolyse, the flour, liquid, and sometimes yeast are mixed together before sugar, fat, and salt are added to the dough. Omitting the salt is most important. This step allows the gluten strands to fully hydrate before kneading. The hydration makes the kneading process easier, leading to less air being incorporated into the dough.

Bulk fermentation occurs after the gluten is fully developed and the dough is allowed to rise as a whole.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.