or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › My bread never turns out very good!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

My bread never turns out very good!

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Whenever I try to make my own bread, it always turns out not quite right. It's always very dense. I want it to be the consistency of store-bought sliced bread... fluffy and light. But it always turns out almost like cake, and when I cut into it sometimes it just crumbles apart.

Any tips? I have been following this recipe:
cookingbread.com/whole_wheat_bread.html


Thanks!
post #2 of 26
Are you letting it proof long enough? When I was a baker for a local sandwhich place, I'd usually let it proof for 45minutes to and hour. I'd let it proof until it was about the size of a loaf of bread, then put it in the oven.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Yeah I am letting it proof sometimes even an hour and half... for the first one I let it get huge, and then I punch it down and roll it up and stick it in a pan and let it rise again until it gets about the size I want the loaf to be (usually another hour or so), then I bake it.
post #4 of 26
Whole grain breads are a real bit.h on wheels, particularly if you are new to baking.

I'm thinking, too, that that's an awful lot of flour, even with the amount of yeast, for that recipe. Are you actually adding all of it? Or just enough to reach a good dough?

I would recommend you get a copy of Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, and learn his delayed fermentation method.

I never could bake a decent whole grain loaf---not even a transitional one---until following his method. Until then they were dense, heavy, and not so tasty.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
No I don't add that much flour.

Even when I just make white bread, though, it's not the light and fluffy texture that I want. Is there something special I need to do to make it like that?
post #6 of 26
Try cutting the WW flour with white. Maybe a third white or a half even. It seems that maybe the recipe doesn't get specific about kneading. If you make your bread in a kitchen aid, let that knead it for a few minutes then take it out and finish it by hand. Kneading makes the gluten work and that may be what's happening with your crumbly bread.

Make sure you let it rise enough and perhaps try letting it rise in the bowl for the first time then knead and shape and let it rise again in the pan. When you can poke the bread and leave a dent, it's ready for the oven.
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
I don't have a mixer so I always do it 100% by hand, and I do use the method of first letting it rise in a bowl, and then in the pan.
post #8 of 26
Maybe you need to knead it longer. It's easier, although not as satisfying, using a mixer. I always push the dough away from me with the heel of my hands, turn it a quarter turn then pull a chunk of dough toward me folding it over itself, then push it away again. Keep this up for 10 minutes or more adding a little flour on your board as needed. From your recipe, it doesn't look like too much flour, but that's just my opinion.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
I usually knead for about 10 minutes by punching it and using my knuckles to dig into it. Is that a bad method?
post #10 of 26
I don't know if it's a bad method, or not, but the method I mentioned is very rhythmic and seems to work in the flour easier and more consistently.

Give it a try!
post #11 of 26
I posted this in another thread. I find this method works perfectly. I now have very light bread, using 100% whole wheat flour.


I learned to make light breads after using laurel's kitchen bread book. She has developed a way to make 100% whole wheat bread (whcih everyone says is impossible to make light) and it comes light and fluffy and just what you want. (I applied these techniques also when i make bread with white flour and it is amazing. but it works unbelievably well for 100%whole wheat bread.)

several things you shoudl keep in mind

1. the recipe you have could have some mistakes. You never know, some are typos, some are just because an author can make a recipe by eye, and then guess at the measurements.

2 sometimes the ingredients vary from place to place - the kind of flour, the kind of butter, etc.

3. that said, one trick that works amazingly well is that since butter or other fat that is melted and added with the liquid tends to make bread heavy, you need to keep it cool and then add it AFTER having kneaded the dough. When the dough is smooth and elastic, add COOL not warm butter, little slice at a time and knead it in (whether byu hand or by mixer dough hook). The gluten has already formed then and the butter is not absorbed into the flour, and actually seems to grease the gluten strands so they slide easier and rise. You can incorporate surprisingly large amounts of butter into the dough this way.

4. don;t "punch down" the dough at any point. Your whole purpose in life here is to preserve all the gluten strands intact. Gently pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl and press down.
5. fold the dough gently always towards inward - that is, when you make a ball to rise, you put the top side down on the floured board and pull the sides in folding them towards the center, THEN TURN IT BACK OVER so the same part is always on top. This preserves this outer gluten layer so the air won;t escape.

6. don;t over rise - forget time and forget doubling in bulk. Press a finger into the dough. If it leaves a hole it's done. If it fills in it's not. If it collapses all around the hole, you need to squash and re rise it, it's gone too far and will end up dry and cavernous inside

I also like to use buttermilk as all or part of the liquid, which makes a tender crumb.

I recently tried to put together laurel's kitchen method with beranbaum's bread bible method, and it came even better.

Mix well, beating a couple of minutes: all the liquid, half the flour, and half the yeast.
MIx the rest of the dry ingredients (salt, remaining flour and yeast) and sprinkle on top. Let it sit covered in plastic for 1 to 4 hours. Then proceed to knead it all together, by hand or machine. At the end knead in some cool butter and proceed as usual, with one rising in the bowl and one in the pan.

try these and probably your bread will be high and light
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #12 of 26
Siduri,
I have Laurel's Kitchen and will have to look at her bread recipes. I've never heard about adding cool butter and half the yeast at a time. I'd love to give it a try!
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
great thanks!
Just one question...
You say to add the butter one "slice" at a time... does this mean to not melt it at all? if it is cool then it will stay in chunks in the cool dough, won't it?

Actually, another question too:
For that last section, you say to sprinkle the rest of the dry ingredients on top of the mix you already made... does this mean just sprinkle it all on top of the mix and don't mix it in until after it sits for a few hours? What's the point of that?
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Let me just say that I just tried this method and it turned out AMAZING bread. Soft, REALLY tasty... thanks for the help!! I think the big thing was definitely mixing in the butter after kneading it. It was a little extra messy but definitely worth it.



edit: Actually, upon second taste, it could be a little less dense, but this is definitely a huge improvement.

Any ideas to get that last tiny little bit of denseness out? I did let it rise a little bit too long, do you think that may have been the mistake? I also didn't knead in the butter until after the first proof... should I have done it just before the first proof? The bread is fantastic, it just sort of reminds me of pound cake and I want the really light bread.
post #15 of 26
Tons of advice here.

I checked the recipe and there are many counterproductive ingredients in the recipe that go against what you are trying to achieve (fluffy texture).

There is lots of fat in the recipe. fat/oil goes against gluten and volume development. (for fluffy: lose the fat/oil)
The egg is also counterproductive (and adding it to 100 to 115F water/milk goes against many food safety rules) (for fluffy: lose the egg)

My advice: go purchase some gluten as the supermarket or healthfood store and add 1 tbsp per cup of flour. Ordinary WW does not have enough gluten to make bread.

Proceed as for many advice above here. (that's my take).

Good luck!
Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
Reply
I eat science everyday, do you?
Reply
post #16 of 26
are you letting it rise two times 45 minutes? i don't bake bread off until it reaches 1 inch above the panbaking101_fermentation
post #17 of 26
Search in google for "free baking book". I got an e-book online a while back and it was great. The Prepared Pantry I think.

It should help you bake bread.
post #18 of 26
The fat is counterproductive if added melted as usually recommended. If you add cold, after the kneading is done, it actually makes it light, try it and see.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #19 of 26
Sorry, i was away and couldn't answer
yes, the butter is cool. You slice it thinly, and the kneading creates enough friction to melt it slightly and the dough absorbs it.

the rest of the dry are sprinkled on top of the mix and just left there. I don;t know what the point is of leaving it on top rathyer than leaving it in the measuring cup except for convenience - you have all the flour out and all and you just measure some more and you pour it on top, and don;t have to think about it again. You could also add in later. I find it more convenient. I remember reading why to use less flour for the first rise called in this case a "sponge" but now i don;t remember. There is a reason though
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #20 of 26
I've done it for years with only whole wheat flour, and it comes out great. It takes much more care, not to break the gluten, etc, but it does work.
e
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #21 of 26
I read in a cereal technology book (I am forgetting the title and author at this moment) that 3% fat is the magic number you don't want to exceed. Up to 3% will promote rise, higher than 3% will not.
post #22 of 26

Mixing your bread

This is the method of bread mixing that I've been using for years.
1. Crumble yeast and mix in (warm) water till dissolved.
2. Mix water and all dry ingredients (except fats) to "flock" stage. That is to develop the gluten. You should get a rough dough.
3. Knead in the fats.
4. Keep kneading till you get an elastic dough.
I'm used to double proving as I do not like to use bread improvers.
First time, Bulk Ferment for 1 hr. Make sure dough is well covered with moist cloth or cling fim.
Shape and mould the dough. Prove till double in size.
Bake.
Hope you enjoy your breads!
post #23 of 26
Hi Siduri,

my above initial comments on what is counterproductive at bread making is not a comment to say it never works. I sensed that Bryanricker was a beginner at breadmaking and my comments was to give him a chance to start making good basic bread before making complicated good bread.

I suggest you go see the recipe he posted and you will see that the recipe will make a heavy dense bread simply based on the ingredients and technique, not a light textured product. (even the picture included seems to me like a dense bread)

I tried to comment directly on the recipe not on bread making as a whole. There is so many things that needs to go right to make a light bread that for a beginner going back to basics is a good starting point.

Most people that have replied here are experienced yet even after reading every comment it is very difficult to cover all the details of breadmaking in a simple post. In my opinion, taking out the fat, eggs and adding gluten would help the chances of success for BryanRicker that's all.

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
Reply
I eat science everyday, do you?
Reply
post #24 of 26
thanks luc, i didn't get your point before.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #25 of 26
I agree with those who question the amount of fat in the recipe. The reason they refer to fat as shortening is that it shortens the gluten strands. Gluten strands provide the bread its ability to form bubbles and trap air. It's the trapped air that form the open structure of bread. The other thing is that your recipe seems to be really dry. While there is some moisture associated with all the fat, there doesn't appear to be nearly enough liquid. Your result sounds like a classic underhydrated loaf, I know because I baked lots of them :) If you are looking for a Wonderbread like, 100% whole grain bread, try this.

Whole Wheat Oat Bran Bread
• 20 Oz. Whole Wheat Flour
• 1/3 Cup Oat Bran
• 2 tsp. Instant Yeast
• 4 TBS. Vital Wheat Gluten
• 2 tsp. Turbinado Sugar
• 2 tsp. Salt
• 8 Oz. Skim Milk - Scalded and cooled to 110?
• 5 Oz. Water
• 1 Large Egg
• 2 TBS Canola Oil


Whisk all the dry ingredients together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle. Add the wet ingredients and mixed thoroughly, 1-2 minutes. Switch to the dough hook and knead until the gluten is fully developed and the dough passes the window pane test, about 10 minutes.

Place the dough in an oiled container, cover with plastic wrap and let ferment until at least doubled in size, 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

Divide dough in half. "Pre" shape dough into very rough logs and let rest about 20 minutes. Shape loaves and place in 8" x 4" pans. Proof the loaves for 1 - 1/2 hours until at least 1 1/2 hours.

Bake @350 for about an hour, rotating half way through the baking. Cool completely on rack before slicing.
"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
Reply
"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
Reply
post #26 of 26
:bounce:try his brian...well first the gluten is a bit more difficult to delevope with whole grain flour..have u ever heard of a membrane test...i have no idea of the science behind it but ..but take out a small piece and try to expand into a thin membrane like you want to read a newspaper through it..this is a good test the gluten developement...maybe try omitting some of the flour...put all the ingrdients at once..and knead the heck out of it..push pull/push/pull till it feels like soft rubber....put in bowl cover with towel..till it at least doubles in size...dump back out on table...punch it back down again..then do the push/pull thing again....put back in bowl and let double in size AGAIN...then punch out all the air again and form it to your loaf pan...dont let it get a crust on it...keep the dish towel over it or plastic wrap..until its at the top of the pan....then bake...be careful not to deflate it when removing the film wrap...or the partys over:bounce:...bread making is something that you have to develope a feel for...just takes time...of all the baking ive done in my life..bread was my fav thing to do....just always had a uncanny knack fot it...i do not know all the particulars of what u r making but these tips r just kinda an over view of what might help u some...sooo what if it takes u many more tries...u r not spending much on ingredients...and i bet your neighbors looove the smell.. luck to ya...keep us all posted...u got a ton of excellent advice..on the science of baking i guess i know zippo, nada....i just grew up in the trenches..:):)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pastries & Baking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › My bread never turns out very good!