What Are The 11 Stages Of Baking Bread? (Each Step Explained)

These 11 stages of baking are what make the best type of bread possible—not only will it look good but also taste good.

The 11 stages of baking are

  1. Scaling- Measuring Ingredients 
  2. Mixing- Mix the dough
  3. Bulk fermentation- Yeast process 
  4. Folding-Punching the dough
  5.  Divide
  6. Pre-Shape 
  7. Bench Rest-Rest Period
  8. Final Shape 
  9. Final Proof  -Final shape rise
  10. Score- Slits in the bread 
  11. Bake 
  12. Cool – Bonus Step

Scaling- This is the first step that will set the stage for the whole recipe all the way to the end result of having the bread that you chose to make come out exactly how you imagined it. This is where you will be measuring all the ingredients before you start mixing.  the most accurate way to measure ingredients is not my volume but by weight.  If you’re planning to bake a lot it is suggested to get a digital scale because you will get the most accurate weight possible.


How you mix your dough is going to determine how the final product comes out. This is the part where you will decide what type of dough you’re going to make and how you’re going to treat this dough. 

You will most likely start off with these ingredients which are flour, water, salt, and yeast if it’s a lean dough that has a low fat and sugar percentage. For a rich dough, a lot more fat will be added- such as butter then egg and sugar which would be a higher percentage of fat, sugar, and eggs.  

Bulk Fermentation

This is the stage where you would allow the yeast to rise within the dough. The slower the rise of the dough the better the flavor. On average you should all the dough to rise for about a 1hr to a maximum 1 hr 20 minutes. It’s important during this stage that you accurately write down what time you took it out of the mixer.

The time suggested is just a guideline because depending on your surroundings the warmer it is in the room the faster the dough will rise and the colder it is in the room the slower the door rise. During this stage, it’s important to observe the dough and check it regularly. 


At this point, the yeast is feeding on the ingredients within the dough. Once it rises it means that the yeast no longer has anything to feed on so it stops feeding. At this point, the dough will double in size and you will need to fold the dough or punch the dough to have it deflate again so that way you can redistribute the ingredients so the yeast can feed again to rise a second time. 

What this specific step does is strengthens the gluten that’s being developed within the dough and the dough itself.


This is where you would divide your dough into equal pieces. You would use a tool called a bench scraper to equally separate the bread. The goal here is to always have the same weight and size when separating so it’s the same every time and it would allow your customers to experience consistency with the quality of the bread. 

If you’re just baking at home most likely you’re only going to be making one or two loaves of bread so you probably won’t need this. But if you’re going to be baking a lot of bread and you’re going to be selling it or giving it to family and friends it may be useful to have this tool and do this step. 

Pre- Shape

Once you have divided the dough into equal shapes. You then want to shape your dough halfway. For example, if you’re making a baguette we know the standard size is 21 inches Long and 11 oz in weight with 5 scores. You would pre-shape the dough halfway to what the size should be in its final shape.

If you tried to stretch the small dough ball to its full size it would overwork the gluten and it will cause it to snap back making it smaller which will cause it to be sticky and become a weaker dough. 

Bench Rest 

Once you pre-shape your dough you will then let it rest, cover it with plastic so it doesn’t dry up, and allow it to rise again for about 20 minutes or so. This will help maintain the flexibility, Consistency and shape of the dough. 

Final Shape 

Once you let the dough rest you’re going to take the shape that you had it from the halfway point and make it into the full and Final shape for the final product. For example, if you had the baguette at 10.5 inches you would extend it to the full 21 inches and make sure that the shape is correct. 

Final Proof 

You will then allow the final product of the dough that you just shaped to go through a second fermentation. You’re going to allow the final shape dough to rise again individually. It will most likely double in size. and you want to make sure that the environment is warm and moist so the dough doesn’t dry it. You can just find the warmest place in your house wherever that is and then cover it. Turning on the oven would be a good idea in the scenario to make sure that the area is super warm. 


Scores are the slits that you cut into your bread. The tool that is used is called Lame which is french for blade. It prevents you from cutting into the dough too deep and allows you to just cut on the surface of the bread. Using this technique is used to initial the bread or identify the type of bread. 

Most likely if you are baking from home you won’t need to do this unless you’re baking various types of bread.

It is highly suggested to do this step, as sometimes not scoring your bread can allow steam to escape the weakest point of the bread which is usually the bottom which can alter the shape of the bread affecting the presentation.


Once you score the bread you need to bake the bread right away else you risk deflating the bread and all the work you have done in the previous steps goes down the drain. You also have to make sure that you have enough space for the amount of bread that you are baking so it’s not sitting out. 

If you’re baking from home and only doing one or two loaves you should be fine but this part is good to know in case you decide to bake more bread than usual. 

Cool Down

I know this was 11 steps but these 12 step is so crucial to baking bread. because if you don’t let the bread cool and you decide to just wrap it or cover it you risk the bread getting moist and losing its structure. This step is the part where you want the bread to correctly cool down so it preserves its exterior and interior texture. 

Now that you have read the 11 steps of baking, it is likely that you will be better able to understand what each process requires in order to bake your best loaf.

There may be more questions about the type of scale you should get and how to handle yeast since those are both crucial aspects when baking.

What To Look For When Purchasing A Digital Scale?

When looking to purchase a scale, look at what’s the maximum weight it can handle. This will be depending on the quantity of loaf of bread you usually bake. If you usually bake a small amount of bread you won’t have to worry about the maximum because usually it’s very standard but if you know you like to bake a higher quantity of bread pay attention to the amount of weight else the scale won’t work correctly. 

It can be used for multiple uses and you can change the units. So you don’t only have to measure in grams you could also measure in ounces, 

ml as well. 

You ideally want to look for a scale that you can balance where it’s very easy to use so if you were to put the bowl on the scale that you’re using to mix your ingredients, it will balance the scale so you could just add your ingredients which reduces the number of dishes. A win-win. 

How Do You Know You Have Over-Fermented The Dough? 

Over-fermenting happens when the yeast is left in too long after it has been activated. The result of this over-activity is a dough that won’t bounce back if you tap it.

Also if it collapses it means that the yeast ran out of food and at this point and it’s overproducing alcohol. Which will affect the flavor and cause the dough to have a bitter taste. You may be able to save it if you fold it as it’s over-fermenting and bake it right away.

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