Why Jacques Torres Uses Ice Cubes In Bread Dough - Exclusive

Most of us have had a homemade bread phase at one point or another, and for good reason: It's the staple food that keeps on giving by incorporating itself into almost every meal, no matter the change in seasons. If you're anything like us, your bread phase likely came with a baking mistake or two — but don't worry; that's where Jacques Torres is here to step in. The "Nailed It!" judge and French pastry chef revealed a baking hack you should always implement into your bread recipe for a more successful dough.

Tasting Table attended the "Making the Perfect Pastry" event with Torres at the recently opened Netflix Bites restaurant in Los Angeles. While the chocolatier churned some dough for the audience's upcoming dessert, he explained that you should opt for ice cubes in bread dough in lieu of regular tap water. Why? "Every mixer creates friction," Torres explained. "The friction equals heat." While you'll eventually bake the dough, you don't want to introduce too much heat during the dough-making process, or the yeast may ferment too quickly and create a bitter-tasting bread. But the addition of those ice cubes will cool down the unwanted heat being created by the stand mixer and the dough.

It's all about balance in baking

Jacques Torres recommended starting your stand mixer at a lower friction (or speed), "because we still have to pour the ingredients." Then, when the recipe calls for a higher mixing speed, you can throw in equal parts ice cubes versus the warm water that bread dough usually requires. The television personality added, "[If you] remove something, you add something. Be careful with the balance." In other words — you don't want to include both water and ice cubes in the mixture. It's one or the other.

According to America's Test Kitchen, allowing the dough to be cold as it combines can enhance the proofing period, meaning the yeast will ferment at a slower rate in the refrigerator to make the tasty bread that we all know and love. (You can use ice cubes later, too, placing them inside a Dutch oven before baking a bread like sourdough, which will create a steam-like cooking effect for a bigger and better loaf.) While this method may still require a little trial and error, being careful about unwanted heat during the dough-making process ups the chances that your bread will come out delicious.