Secrets for Success with Sweet Yeast Breads
Use butter, stick margarine (with at least 80% oil) or shortening. Do not use light or whipped butter, diet spread or tub margarine.
Measure ingredients accurately, using the measuring tools and techniques suggested.
Arrange the oven racks so that the bread will be baked in the center of the oven.
Preheat oven for 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
When mixing dough, always start with a minimum amount of flour until dough reaches desired consistency (soft, sticky, stiff or firm).
Knead dough only until it does not tear easily when stretched.
Let dough rise in a warm (80° to 85°) draft-free area. Proper rising helps in the development of the bread texture.
Use aluminum pans with a dull rather than a shiny or dark finish. Glass baking dishes and dark finishes will produce darker crusts.
To allow for good air circulation while baking leave at least 1 in. of space between pans and between pans and sides of oven.
Use a kitchen timer and test for doneness at the minimum recommended baking time. Bread is done when it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Or, insert an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the loaf. The bread is done when the thermometer read 200°.
Remove breads from pans and cool on wire racks. Let breads cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and sawing motion when cutting.