Reader question… “I know I’m supposed to let bread dough rise until it is double in size, but how do I tell when that has happened? Do I weigh the dough before and after or is a visual thing that you sort of guess at? I hope this doesn’t sound like a dumb question but I have tried making bread and I thought it had doubled but it didn’t turn out very well. I really want to learn how to make good bread and I don’t know what I am doing wrong. Help please!” –Sharon T.

Actually, there is a very easy way to tell when your bread dough has risen enough. When it looks like the dough has doubled, just use your fingers to make an indentation about one-half inch into the dough. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for the next step. If the indentation disappears, the dough needs more rising time. Make the same test when you have the shaped dough rising in the pan just before baking. When you think it has risen enough, use your finger to make a SMALL dent in the dough near the side of the pan. If the dent remains, the bread is ready to bake.

Don’t get discouraged if your first loaves of bread aren’t perfect. Bread making is a skill that requires practice. Once you’re more familiar with the process and can recognize each stage of the dough, you will find that bread making is really easy.

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