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Whle Wheat Bread Problems

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello Everyone,

When I make whole wheat bread it has a tendency not to rise very much. Sometimes I do have success but for the most part it turns out very dense and has no softness to it at all. If anyone could give me some advice or you have a good recipe to share I would be greatly appreciative.
post #2 of 21
Kelley,

I am looking forward to the expert advice you get on this topic. While we wait, it might help them if you told us what kind of whole wheat flour you are using and perhaps posted the recipe(s) you have tried.

You are probably too experienced to be helped by this, but I spent a season a while back trying to make whole wheat bread using graham flour. Of course it wouldn't produce enough gluten. I now buy King Arthur traditional whole wheat flour and freeze it. By the way, I found the King Arthur Flour site helpful. I also found sites that sold or discussed the different varieties of wheat berries very informative.
just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
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just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
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post #3 of 21
Hi Kellybean.

I wanted to share Kyle's web page with you. He is co-moderator of the pastry forum and is a great bread baker.

http://www.kyleskitchen.net/

Although I love baking bread, I know if you PM Kyle he will give you a very detailed, yet easy to understand "lecture"
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi skilletlicker, ( I just LOVE that name:) )

You have over estimated me. I have a pretty limited knowledge when it comes to baking. I’m good at following a recipe and know some of the simple basics when a problem occurs but when it comes down to the REALLY hard stuff I am totally clueless.

The kind of flour that I use is “Gold Metal” Whole Wheat Flour. I make my bread at home in a bread maker and as I mentioned before I have success some of the time.

Thanks so much for giving me those sites to take a look at. I bet they are very interesting.:bounce:
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi cape chef.

Thank you very much for the link that you gave me. , I look forward to reading whatever I can on bread making
post #6 of 21
Kellybean,
I was just wondering if you could share your recipe?
I was interested in the ratio of whole wheat flour to bread flour?
seeing the formula makes it easier to get a feel for what might be happening.
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #7 of 21
This morning I made Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread from the King Arthur website. The recipe is quoted below for convenience.
I think the recipe was followed exactly except the yeast was proofed for about 10 min with the mollasses and water before combining with the other ingredients. I was hoping to report complete success that would be helpful in some way to Kelleybean. Alas, not quite. This was the moistest and best tasting 100% whole wheat loaf I've made so far, but during the baking the loaf partially collapsed. The height decreased 1/2" down the center the length of the loaf. I noticed it when I opened the oven after 20 minutes to tent.
baking911.com has a troubleshooting page that led me to think this might result from temperature too low. Does that make any sense to you? I've not seen this collapse during baking before. Any ideas?
just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
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just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
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post #8 of 21
The King Arthur Flour/Baker's catalog has a product that is an "enhancer/additive" for whole wheat breads. I used it all the time, I think it a Laura Brody product. It really makes a differance.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks everybody for responding to this post.

Panini,

The recipe that I use is for a bread maker and it is quite simple.
8 oz.. warm water
1 egg
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
¼ tsp. salt
1 Tbs. honey
1 cup white bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tbs. sugar
21/4 tsp. yeast

Skiletlicker,

Thank you so much for the recipe. I will have to try that out and let you know how it turns out.

NowIamone,

Thank you for the advice on the enhancer. Maybe I’ll make two loaves of bread. One with the enhancer and one without and see which one I like better.
post #10 of 21
I'm going to give a start here and hope someone like Kyle will jump in and bail me out for he has perfected baking many type of breads at home, including artisan.
I'll start real basic troubleshooting and just pass over things you might know.
on the proceedures, lets forget times for there are so many variables.

SL. sounds like a forming/proofing problem. are you proffing by feel or time?
are you knocking your first proof down to form tight loaves?
are you creating any escape route for gas in the oven?
What and where are you proofing.temp/covered?

KB. An enhancer is good to use but can be misleading. Enhancers will speed up fermentation but will not produce any more gas then the yeast will. Those little carbon dioxide gases are looking for nitrogen gas so the can get a little place to grow. I would think of yeast as a plant. The enhancers will speed up this process and also modify your ingredients. So unless your under proofing we need to figure out your proceedure or formula. Does this make sence? If you were not producing enough gas to get a spring.(the first expansion when hitting the oven where the gases are formed and the loaf is basically taking shape.) the enhancer might not help.

I'm going to leave for a little bit and see if I can come up with something as a guide for proofing and forming. If it's not on the internet, I'll pull it from one of my books and have my son scan and post somewhere.

I really don't want to make this seem hard. If we can get the proceedure down, it makes life easier when you want to make different things. I will also have to see how the machines mix the dough.
Are we mixing in a machine or in a mixer? See, there are so many things but once we get em it's sailing.
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #11 of 21
this is not bad but moving forward. SL look at colapsed
http://www.baking911.com/bread/probl...oblemshomemade

Oven Temp? we'll look at calabration also, even for machines
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #12 of 21
Pan,
Can't thank you enough for your time and advice!
I'm assuming forming means the same as shaping into a loaf and proofing means the same as letting it rise. If thats wrong please correct me before we go any further.
I may not understand this question but I guess by time. For the first rise (proof?) I put the dough in a greased bowl, covered with a towell into a slightly warmed oven and set a timer for 1 hr. I didn't have an accurate way to measure the volume increase but it definitely got bigger. I don't think I know what proof by feel means.
Then I dumped the dough onto a counter and shaped in into a log with my hands and a bench knife, then put the log in the pan. In the past I've shaped (formed?) the loaf by rolling the dough into a rectangle the length of the pan and then tightly rolling the rectangle into a cylinder. This dough seemed way too wet and sticky to be able to do that with. The second rise was in the pan on the counter lightly covered with oiled plastic while the oven was preheating. I occasionally measured the distance from the top of the pan to the top of crown. It took 35 min to get to 1". The kitchen temp was 67 degrees.
Is this the same as cutting a 1/4" slash in the top of loaf? I didn't in this case because it wasn't mentioned in the recipe. Should it always be done?
That's the link I referred to as a trouble shooting page.
About a week ago following a suggestion you made to GoneFishin I measured the recovery time from opening the oven door. It was slow, 4 minutes, but it was 2 minutes 15 seconds before the heating element even turned on. I realize as I'm writing this that I might be able to cut the recovery time in half or less by waiting till the element cycles to on before opening the door to initially put in the bread.
just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
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just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
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post #13 of 21
Pan
I forgot this one. I mixed and kneaded in a KitchenAid with dough hook. After the ingredients were mixed I turned speed from 1 to 2 but the dough looked like it was going to climb above the top the hook so I let continue on 1 for 8 minutes. The dough never formed a ball like white flour would but the KitchenAid folk say that's normal with whole wheat. In the past I've ruined whole wheat bread by continuing to knead by hand and force in more and more flour until I got that satiny ball. It made pretty dough but lousy bread.
just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
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just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
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post #14 of 21

Sucess

I decided to make another loaf this morning changing one variable, namely the amount of kneading. Yesterday’s batch was kneaded 8 minutes mostly on speed 1 of KA mixer because the dough seemed to be threatening to climb up the stem.

Today I decided in advance to knead 15 min. on 2 unless the dough actually breached the collar of the hook. After a 9-minutes the dough surrendered and began to pull away from the walls of the bowl. I continued to knead the full 15 min. just to make sure it knew who was boss. The tactile difference in the dough was night and day. It had formed a cohesive blob (ball would be and exaggeration) that didn’t even try to stick to anything that had a slight coating of oil. I kneaded by hand a dozen times to get the feel and it was as polite and well behaved as any dough I’ve ever touched. Although I’d promised to change only one thing, the dough after kneading was so different I couldn’t resist putting a shallow slice down the center of the loaf just before putting it into the oven. No collapse and it still tastes moist, but not wet.
just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
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post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi pan,

Thank you for all of your help. You have been a wonderful source of information and you have helped me in so many ways. I have so much that I have to learn.

I was using a bread machine but last night while my husband decided to make a double loaf of rye bread it broke and we need to buy another one. I am starting to think that it just may be better to buy a mixer with a dough hook. I think that having a mixer would be a wiser choice. I love to make cakes and cookies so I can use it for those purposes too.
post #16 of 21
For what it's worth, I think you're right. If you're going to ask your new mixer to knead double loaves of whole grain dough, be sure to select one that has the power and capacity to handle it.

Thanks for this thread!
just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
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post #17 of 21
Seems like things are progressing nicely. I've been away for a few days or I would have chimed in earlier. It is very possible to bake a nice, light 100% whole wheat pan loaf. I know, I've done it :) I will post my recipe when I get home.

I'm not a big fan of additives like vital wheat gluten (which is what a lot of branded additives contain. I don't think they're necessary and can give the crumb a gummy quality.

You need to be a little careful with proofing (second rise) times when baking with 100% whole wheat. The bran acts as little razor blades, cutting the gluten strands that develop. This will cause the loaf to be dense. If you over proof your loaves the razor blades have a field day. I like to test by feel, as Panini suggested. For proof testing, poke the risen loaf gently with your finger. If the dough sprongs right back, it's not ready. If it takes a few seconds to come back you should be good to go. If it stays deflated, you may have over proofed. I tend to start testing 15-20 minutes before a recipe says it should be ready.

I'll post the recipe tonight.

Kyle
"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
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"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
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post #18 of 21
Thanks Kyle. That's one of those things that everybody else seems to grasp intuitively, but I need spelled out in detail.
just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
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post #19 of 21
SL,
"I continued to knead the full 15 min. just to make sure it knew who was boss"

Good point. most of the breads do not need to be handled gently in the first stages. The mix/knead not only brings up the protien/gluten but the slapping around in the bowl will cause friction and start to warm your dough to get things started.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #20 of 21
Thanks Pan,
I didn't know if going past the pull away was wise or not. Now, being somewhat compulsive and a by nature believing that, if some is good, more must be better, what is the upper limit to the mix/knead? How would one know if he was approaching it?
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post #21 of 21
by temp, not sure about home, but I would not go to far over 80+
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