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11 Baking Tips That'll Make You Go, "Huh."

"Bread boxes are a scam."

Chef and baking genius Francisco Migoya knows bread. If you don't believe me, consult his award-winning five-volume cookbook set Modernist Bread (aka the Bread Bible) which chronicles every. single. question. you might have about the stuff in over 2,300 pages.

Scott Heimendinger

Along with his co-author Nathan Myhrvold, Chef Francisco also runs The Cooking Lab's Modernist Cuisine, a research kitchen and laboratory that uncovers the cooking innovations in Migoya and Myhrvold's encyclopedic works. We talked to Chef Francisco about what baking secrets he's uncovered through his research. Here are his best tips:

1. If you're new to baking, start with a rye bread.

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As Migoya puts it, rye breads are easier to work with because they have a lower amount of gluten. Which basically means there's a smaller chance of things going wrong. "You're not looking for gluten development or need to bulk ferment," says Migoya. You'll just need to shape your clay-like pile of dough once, then pop it into the oven. (And by the way, you don't HAVE to add caraway seeds to call it a rye bread.)

2. The best way to store homemade bread is simply by placing it cut-side down.

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"Bread boxes are a scam," says Migoya. "You could place your bread in a shoe box and it'd have the same preservation effect on bread." Instead of a bread box, Migoya simply stores his crusty breads exposed side down at room temperature.

3. If you store it in the freezer, slice it BEFORE you do so.

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To be more specific, you should slice the whole loaf and store it in sets of four slices. This way you won't have to wait thaw an entire loaf when you're ready to enjoy it later.

4. Even if your cookbook gives you measurements by volume, use a scale.

Even if a cookbook provides measurements by volume, measure everything out by weight. Precision is the key to success in the baking world, and the closer you get to the suggested amounts, the less room for error, the more delicious your bread!

Get a kitchen scale for $24.95 from Amazon here.

5. A baked loaf of bread should have an internal temperature between 195°F and 200°F.

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We weren't kidding about the precision behind baking.

6. If you have a cheap or outdated oven, use a cast iron skillet.

Unlike a mediocre oven, which relies on lower temperature settings as well as a huge cavity of a space to circulate heat, a smaller cast iron skillet (with a lid, of course) offers more control over heating retention and radiation.

Get a Lodge cast iron skillet with lid for $34.90 from Amazon here. Migoya assured us that even an economically priced one like this one would do an excellent job.

7. One of the hardest breads to bake in the world is a panettone.

8. Sourdough breads are kind of like snowflakes — no two are really the same.

9. You should never refrigerate bread.

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Refrigerating bread accelerates staling "like crazy," says Migoya. There are just two ways you should store bread: At room temperature, or in the freezer.

10. The best way to enjoy a fresh slice of bread? With unsalted butter and a sprinkle of sea salt.

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That's according to the co-author of Modernist Bread, the encyclopedic holy grail in the baking world. So you butter believe it.

11. And by the way, you can totally keep butter at room temperature.

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Migoya keeps his butter at room temperature, in both his home AND his cooking lab. And if you don't trust his advice, just read what the experts have to say.

Get more info on Chef Francisco Migoya's book, Modernist Bread, here.

If you've got $558.78 to spare, you can even order your own set on Amazon.

Check out even more awesome Hispanic Heritage Month content!

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