This section is from the book "A Book Of Recipes For The Cooking School", by Carrie Alberta Lyford. Also available from Amazon: A book of recipes for the cooking school.
The processes in bread making consist of mixing, kneading, rising, and baking.
I Mixing - The method of mixing bread may be varied according to the kind of yeast used and the time allowed for rising. If dry yeast is to be used and if a long time is to be allowed for rising, a sponge is usually prepared first. When yeast has become active in the sponge enough flour is added to make a dough, which is then kneaded 20 minutes. When compressed yeast is used and time of rising is to be short the dough is usually prepared at once and thoroughly kneaded for 20 minutes. The dough should be put in a warm bowl, covered, and kept in a warm place free from drafts.
II Kneading - Kneading is done on a wooden board which is first floured, or a metal board which is slightly greased, or the board may be covered wiht a "magic cover" which requires no flour or grease. Bread should be kept warm during the kneading.
The purpose of the first kneading is (1) to incorporate air; (2) to distribute yeast plants evenly; (3) to moisten each little starch granule; (4) to give a smooth, even surface; (5) to develop the gluten.
The purpose of the second kneading is (1) to check the fermentation; and (2) to make the grain of the bread finer by working the gas through in fine, even bubbles.
The time necessary for the first kneading is about 20 minutes. The dough should be kneaded until it does not stick to the hands or board and is smooth, spongy, and elastic, rising quickly when indented.
The time necessary for the second kneading is about 5 minutes, or until there are no longer large, uneven bubbles.
III Rising - The first rising will require from 2 to 8 hours according to the kind and amount of yeast used. The second rising will require from 1/2 to 1 hour according to the temperature of the dough. Test for rising - the dough should be doubled in bulk and spring back lightly when touched.
If it is necessary to check rising quickly, the dough may be cut down with a knife, and the rising may be retarded by subjecting the dough to a low temperature.
IV Baking - Reasons for baking bread are (1) to check the fermentation and to kill the yeast; (2) to make the starch soluble; (3) to drive off the alcohol and carbon dioxide gas; (4) to make the bread light and porous; (5) to form a brown crust which will give a pleasant sweet flavor to the bread as the starch is dextrinized.
Bread requires a hot oven. The temperature should be about 375 degrees, sufficient to brown a piece of unglazed white paper or a tablespoonful of flour in 3 minutes. The heat of the oven should increase slightly during the first 20 minutes, be kept even during the next twenty minutes, and decrease during the last 20 minutes. The time for baking bread should be divided into fourths, the bread continuing to rise during first fourth, browning slightly during the second, continuing to brown during the third and drying out during the last quarter. Biscuits require a hotter oven than bread because they can be baked more quickly.
When bread is thoroughly baked it does not cling to sides of pan, the crust is a golden brown, the sides will spring back when touched, and a hollow sound will be given forth if the crust is tapped.
When bread is baked, the loaves should be taken from the pans, put on a wire rack, and left uncovered until cooled. Bread should be kept in a clean, ventilated tin box in a cool, dry place.