I got the question, or more hint to continue writing on this series by friends. The reason which takes me that long is, that since I moved to Stockholm I do not have an oven anymore. And writing about baking bread and baking in general makes me sad because I cannot do it at the moment. On top I wanted to present nice new pictures. but I do not have new ones ...
Anyway, here are some tips or things I like to do and think they are important to produce a nice loaf of bread.
1. Take time.
Your bread needs time after mixing the dough to grow! Especially, for bread without yeast or when your room is rather cold. And as more time you give your bread to grow as nicer it gets in the end. HEnce when you know you wanna bake, it is worth a thought to prepare the dough in the morning but bake the bread in the afternoon or evening and just leave the bread to itself for some hours.
2. Fermentation basket
A fermentation basket as you can see it in the picture, is very useful because it helps your bread to grow up and not to all directions. It is not necessary, hence do not run for the store and buy one when you just started. But when you bake every week it is a very nice help and i really like it, because your bread looks super pretty. If you do not have one you can easily use a big bowl and just put that over your bread, then there are also boundaries at the sides and your bread grows up. When you just leave it growing on a baking sheet it very often, depending on the dough, it grows to the sides and you end up with some kind of round flat cake-bread. When you use the bowl, take care to not remove it so long before putting your bread in the oven because it could collapse. What I like to do is to put some water on my bread and adding some seeds, for example sesame before baking. When you have a basket you could just put some flour and sesame in the basket before putting your bread in there.
3. Oven settings and vapour
I am a big fan of the air circulation setting for baking, but with bread take the setting lower and upper heat. When you use the circulation to much water leaves the bread and it gets very dry and crumbles a lot. I still use the circulation setting to heat up the oven because I think it is faster and then I know that the temperature is evenly distributed in the oven. As soon as I reached the temperature, I change the settings to lower and upper heat and put a baking sheet filled with water on the lowest rail. Normally, the temperature drops a little hence wait until the baking temperature is reached again and then put your bread in. Set an alarm for 10-15 minutes. During this time the baking tray with the water stays in the oven. I do that because water evaporates and then condensates on the loaf, with the heat the uttermost shell is getting baked with water and a lot of heat and forms a very nice crust. After the alarm I take the water out - be careful it is very easy to burn yourself - and decrease the temperature a little bit. This process with the water has a special name in German: Schwaden. An extra point to do that next to have a nice crust it that the crust protects the water inside of the loaf in the dough to leave the bread, hence it is baked slowly. The result is easy, you have a nice juicy inside in the bread with a nice crust on the outside. No dry, crumbly inside.
In the beginning of baking I tried it with a bowl of water next to the bread during the baking process but the result isn't as convincing as the Schwaden. To put some extra work in here in the beginning really pays off.