or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Bread problems

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So I've decided to try my hand at baking bread. I've made two attempts both with different recipes and have had the same problems each time.

1. It turns out too heavy and doughy in the center despite letting it rise an hour past the recommended time and baking it 10 minutes longer.

2. The crust gets to dark.

I know its not a problem with the yeast because it was a new package and rose very nicely in a warm oven (took care not to exceed 110 degrees)

Both times I had to add about a half a cup to a cup of bread flour because I thought the dough was too sticky. Should I have just left it as it was?
post #2 of 12
im going to suggest a great bread book. Crust and Crumb. it will teach you so much about bread (duh).
post #3 of 12
Sounds like your oven was too hot. (too brown and doughy in center). The bread needs to be baked at a temperature which will allow it to bake throughout and brown properly. The majority of recipes should factor this in, unless you're modifying the recipe as far as portioning goes.
post #4 of 12
yes, i agree, the oven temp might be too high, the recipe might have given the wrong temp or your oven might not be regulated exactly.

Also, never cook the bread a certain TIME. Use the time guide as a rough guide but check it before the time and be prepared to put it back if it doesn;t test done. You don;t mention having tested if it was baked inside. Here are some tests to use, in sequence (do them all)

1. tap the top - it should sound hollow. If not don;t pass to 2 yet. Put it back and bake some more.

THEN when tapping the top it sounds hollow, 2. Insert a skewer (like a long toothpick or something thin like that) in the center making sure you get right to the middle of the bread. It should comes out without any dough sticking to it at all. That means there is no doughy center. Some say to use a thermometer, but i find that excessive. Never had a loaf of bread that defied the skewer test (i buy special bamboo skewers that they use for small shishkebabs and hors d'oeuvres, just for that purpose but i used to use toothpicks.) You can use a toothpick but make sure it gets to the very center.

3. Remove from the pan, and stick the skewer or toothpick in from the center of the bottom and from the center of a side. (in case you used a toothpick and it didn;t reach the center)
If you get any dough stuck to the stick, put it back in the pan and bake some more.
Fortunately bread is not like cake, you can actually take it out of the oven and even out of the pan and then put it back and it won;t fall.

Another thing not related to the problem you mention but which you should be careful of, is that rising too much can be counterproductive, at least in the last rise in the pan. Apart from timing, which depends on so many factors that it can;t be timed except roughly, i would say make your risings all at a lower temp - 110 sounds too high for me, a warm room 70 degrees F max, is more than enough in my opinion. Yes, it will rise faster at 110, so it's ok in a pinch, but the flavor doesn;t come out as fully with too fast a rise.
Secondly, test if it's fully risen by pressing a finger into the dough (not deeply, max 1/2 inch, and see if it springs back or leaves an impression in the shape of the finger, or it collapses in an area a little larger than the finger. If it collapses, it's risen too much. No big problem in a first or second rise, but in the final rise it;s disastrous. In my younger days, when first doing bread, i let it rise too much. It looked great, high, beautiful, but when baked it was cavernous inside and it dried out by the next day. If you've shaped the loaf and come back to find it having risen too much, just take it out, press it all down gently, fold it again into shape and put it to rise again.

This, by the way, is also a problem with too warm rising. The outside of the dough rises faster than the inside, if the room is warm. So the inside is still compact and the outside, which is getting the warmth of the rising place, rises faster. Then the touch test doesn;t work, because the outside may be collapsing but the inside not risen at all.

This doesn;t seem to be the problem you're describing. However you don;t want it to rise too much.
Some recipes go by the "double in volume" rule (let it rise till it doubles in volume) - i've found this is not always applicable, and sometimes the bread collapses at the double in volume point and some richer doughs or ones with othyer flours just never get double in volume. The finger test is the best, i've found.
"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 #5 of 12
Hi Clint,

1) you could be overproofing using commercial yeast and letting rise one hour longer, especially if rising in a warm place. Overproofing is counter to "oven spring". (BTW another thing people often neglect for good oven spring is to roll the dough properly before putting into the loaf pan).

2) not baked properly. I recommend you use a probe thermometer (I like the remote ones for bread, used in the last phase of baking when you think it's almost done). 190F in the center will make sure your starches are gelatinized.

3) it could be a formula problem. Did you measure by weight? what recipe or what % hydration? What you described can also happen in an overhydrated dough especially if there's insufficient gluten development.

Personally I wouldn't recommend the same book as jessequina, to each his own. If you want other recommendations for books let us know.

Also, checking your gluten development with a "windowpane" is a great way to see if your dough has what it takes before the baking phase.
post #6 of 12
Can someone please explain the comment by Sidaru that the flavour will be affected by proofing too quickly? I have been cooking professionally for over 25 years and have never had flavour affected by the speed of the proofing. Am I the fool?
Just my opinion though....
post #7 of 12
jigz, you're not a fool, you're just making bread like 99.99% of the population. (and in the way shown in most cookbooks and culinary schools).

when you get really into bread, to taste bread like a wine taster, and to learn to bake with wild yeasts (sans commercial yeast), and you see that the fermentation of the flour is a key step in achieving the depth of flavor, you will then get attuned to what siduri is scratching the surface of, the finer aspects of the fermentation of the flour to achieve flavor and create aromatic elements, not just add some air and make bubbles in a couple hours.

It's like Welch's grape juice versus a fine Barolo.

There are so many subtle details that affect the flavor of bread, for instance when baking with wild yeast starters, the % of hydration of the starter will change whether acetic acid or lactic acid is favored, the temperature will also affect the flavor. I find 75 F a good ballpark for the best flavor from a wild yeast starter.

One could take the same formula / bakers % of say a basic white loaf, and make it taste a variety of vastly different ways, using different yeasts, different temperatures, even "build" it for 2 or even 3 days and produce vastly different loaves at the end, from the same % of flour, water, salt. Even reducing the amount of yeast can have benefit on the taste.

Using temperature to help the flavor a little with commercial yeast has also been around for a while, such as retarding overnight. (in a retarder or fridge at home).

so while you haven't produced anything that tasted bad, just like Welch's doesn't taste bad, your flavor has in fact been affected by the speed of the proof. You just haven't opened the kettle of fish of the level of bread making that includes the fermentation of the flour as a key difference in bread taste. There's a whole other world out there of influencing various factors to get the taste from your bread. Temperature is indeed one of them. Although it might be a subtle variation between the taste at 70 and at 110 from commercial yeast.

I say be happy. I keep four starters, a 16 parts water:11 parts flour Nancy Silverton starter from the yeast on unsprayed wild grapes, a 100% hydration apple starter which has outstanding leavening and very smooth flavor from the yeast on unsprayed apples, a rye flour starter which is crazy active and capable of producing a nice rye, and a firmer French old-school levain from the wild yeasts on the flour itself. The breads I bake are "slower," the goal being something that is very aromatic and delicious, but not overtly sour like some people think of a sourdough. The temperature and speed of fermentation definitely is one factor that influences the taste.
post #8 of 12
and on a more profane and home-baked level, i can say that even using the very same very commercial yeast, using a MUCH smaller amount than recipes call for and letting it rise even overnight actually produces a texture and flavor that are noticeably different. I learned this by making the "no-knead bread" that's been going around internet, and tasting something that is completely different from what i ever made, and i;ve applied this to all my bread baking when i have the time and foresight to begin with a sponge the day 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 #9 of 12
Probably :) One of the most frequent culprits when it comes to leaden loaves is lack of hydration. Can you post the recipe you're using?
"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 #10 of 12
Checkout the new thread I created entitled: King Arthur DVD: Artisan Breads. In it is explained IMHO the best way of kneading dough, which is actually folded and not kneaded. That dvd is the best investment you can make early on in your breadmaking efforts. I should have gotten it years ago when I started breadmaking.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #11 of 12
Could it be that you are not mixing it enough and that is y the dough still seems really wet? In my experience the mixing process can be a very big downfall that is sometimes overlooked. If the butter is not mixed completely your dough will seem to be very wet and when baked can cause odd things to happen like...heavy loaves. Sometimes it takes longer for your dough to properly mix depending on the temperature of the butter. Are you adding the butter to the bread when it is at room temp? or is it still cold?

And as far as baking have you thought about starting with your oven at a high temp to get the oven spring and hard crust that you desire and then finishing it at a lower temp to keep it from getting to brown.
post #12 of 12
You suggest using fish in the bread? Being silly, just kidding. :roll:
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pastries & Baking