How to make bread by hand – Topping bread dough

Topping bread dough


Topping bread dough is crucial in creating flavourful and visually appealing baked goods. Adding toppings is an easy way to make your baked bread taste better, have more nutrition, and have a different texture. Depending on the recipe and personal preferences, numerous options for toppings range from seeds, grains, nuts, cheese, sugar, and salt to spices or herbs that you sprinkle on the dough. Toppings add flavour, texture, and colour to bread and can be used to create different styles of bread, such as artisan loaves or focaccia. However, it is important to choose toppings that complement the dough and enhance its overall taste. This guide will explore different methods and techniques for topping bread dough to achieve maximum flavour and aesthetic appeal. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced baker, mastering the art of topping bread dough will elevate your baking skills and impress your friends and family.

Let’s look at the most pleasant way to top our bread dough.


Adding toppings

You can apply toppings to the dough differently before you bake it. You can use your fingers to sprinkle the ingredients over the bread. When using powdered ingredients such as flour, you can sprinkle it on using a sieve or flour duster. If you have trouble, you can also use a spoon.
It can be tricky to put the toppings on evenly without damaging the dough, so we will show you a few ways to coat the shaped dough smoothly. These methods will help keep your workspace clean and keep the dough’s shape looking good.

Topping rolling the dough on a towel

Here are some simple instructions:

  1. Spread a thin layer with the ingredients on a towel.
  2. Put the dough on top of the toppings and flip it over so the smooth side faces down and the seam faces up.
  3. Move the dough back and forth to pick up the toppings, and use your hands to cover the sides.
  4. Carefully put the dough in the pan with the seam-side down.

Note: If the dough is sufficiently moist, the toppings will stick, and you’ll get an even layer on the outside of the dough. However, if the toppings don’t stick, spray the dough with water or put it on a damp towel before adding them. After you shape your dough, transfer it to the wet towel first, then roll it on the towel with toppings.

Topping using a filled basket or bowl

Using a large bowl or basket for toppings is beneficial. Firstly, it keeps your work surface clean and tidy. Secondly, the bowl can hold your toppings if you use a frequently used topping or have many loaves. Finally, you can easily combine various seeds and grains directly in the bowl.

The process is simple – shape your dough, scoop it up, and lay it in the large basket with toppings smooth-side down. Use your hands to rock the dough, pushing some toppings on the sides if necessary.

Place the dough into the pan and sprinkle ingredients on top

One way is to put the dough in the pan first, then sprinkle the topping on top. But it might be hard to sprinkle the topping once the dough is in the pan. Instead, try rolling the dough on a towel to spread the topping evenly.


Choosing seeds and grains

Seeds and grains are good for bread. They make it taste better, healthy and add different textures. You can also roll your dough in seeds before baking to make it look cool. You can use different types of seeds and grains or mix them. Remember not to toast them before baking because they will get toasted in the oven anyway. Have fun trying new things!

Some so many seeds and grains work well as bread toppers.

Suggested seeds and grains

  • Sesame Seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Raw sunflower seeds
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Caraway seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Dill seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Fennel
  • Cardamom
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • Flaked barley
  • Wheat germs

Rolled oats & Rolled oat flakes

Rolled oats are great for topping bread because they become crunchy and brown in the oven, adding texture and flavour. If you mixed them directly into the bread dough, they would become soft and almost disappear.

Raw wheat bran

Raw wheat bran is a good option for a rough look with a crispy texture. Like flaxseed, it contains lots of fibre, healthy fats, and essential minerals and vitamins.

Choosing herbs, cheese, and spices

Fresh bread smells excellent when it’s baking. It’s even better when it has herbs in it. You can change almost any basic bread recipe into an herb bread. Just add a few tablespoons of your favourite herbs. You can use one kind or mix them. Adding cheese and other things will make the bread taste even better. Add mild, creamy cheeses if you put chives and dill in the bread. Try adding sharper and more intense cheeses if you use strong herbs, like rosemary and basil.

Suggested herbs

  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Dill
  • Lavender
  • Tuscan herbs
  • Provincial herbs
  • Greek herbs
  • Fines herbs
  • Italian Seasoning

Other possible additions

Nuts, such as walnuts and pecans, are other extraordinary additions.

Vegetables/Fruit: Sun-dried tomatoes, dried onion flakes (or minced onion), lemon zest, olives, pepper flakes (or minced hot peppers), roasted garlic.

Meat: Crumbled Bacon or diced pepperoni


This article is part of “How to bake awesome bread


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