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Problem with white bread formula

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hello. This is my first time on the forum. I'm the son of a baker and have been doing it all my life. We've always had a problem with our white bread, it caves in on the sides after baking. The formula is 8 lbs flour, 6 oz sugar, 6 oz whey, 1 1/2 oz salt, 8 oz shortening, just above two quarts water and about 6 oz yeast. Mix time is about 7-8 min. 10-15 proof, mold, and about 30 min proof. Baked in a 420 degree oven for about 40-45 min. makes 11 loaves. Don't know if all of this is necessary, but me and my dad are stumped. Any ideas or suggestions would be very helpful. Thanks
post #2 of 13
Are we to assume you're using a chemical leavening agent? What kind?
Sono pazzo della cucina!
Sono pazzo della cucina!
post #3 of 13
Problem no. 1: No kneading after mixing. Ideally, you should mix, autolyze, knead and proof -- before punching down, second proofing, loaf formation, third proofing (ideally, retarded), and baking.

That means: (A) A twenty minute rest after the mixing. (B) Five minutes or so of (machine) kneading. And (C) First Proof (double the volume).

Problem no. 2: Not nearly enough time for the first proof. And, by the way the proof needs to be measured by increase of volume and not by the clock.

(Probable) Problem no. 3: Loaf formation. You can't just cut up the dough and dump it into loaf pans. If you do, each loaf will fall into a sort of ciabatta as soon as it comes out of the pan. At minimum, you have to pull each loaf down to get some "surface tension" before forming and putting in the pan.

Other issues:

In the quantities you're baking you might want to consider an enhancer such as (dry) citric acid. It won't help much with the collapsing problem, but you'll get a more consistent rise.

Your formula's going to result in some pretty bland bread. Do you have the time to squeeze another proof in there?


PS. Thanks for giving such a good description of your formula.
post #4 of 13
Nice analysis, boar d.
I agree, it seems like poor method over formula.
There's some shortcuts being taken.

That was good advice.
post #5 of 13
I'm not sure how I missed the yeast part of your post.

Anyway, BDL hit the nail on the head, as usual.
Sono pazzo della cucina!
Sono pazzo della cucina!
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
We absolutely rush the bread. The fact is that we just don't have much of a bread business (we throw away just as much as we sell). The only reason we make it is for the "look" of a bakery, and when we stop making it, that's when more and more people ask for it. Just kind of curious because we have never really had this problem before when we made it the same way. Thanks for the help
post #7 of 13
I'm a purist when it comes to white bread, alot of sandwich loaf recipes call for shortening to give a softer crumb, but as this massively reduces the effectiveness of the gluten strength in the flour, i don't add it. I make sure I work the dough properly (autolysis to reduce kneading time) and use a starter. I also retard my dough overnight before baking to gain the yeasty flavours, and the stiffer dough reduces knocking before baking.
Shortening may be your problem. Try a purer chewier crumb, you'll have more flavour and still maintain a wonderfully soft texture when properly worked.
post #8 of 13
if you are rushing your bread you should use a simpler recipe.
you can make a nice white bread with flour water yeats and salt.

when i make mine i also add some sugar to feed the yeast, and some oil to help the bread not crack or stretch appart when it cooks.
post #9 of 13
That you use such a simple recipe, makes it relatively simple to answer the implied question.

Flour hardness and flour humidity can vary with each batch of flour and with humidity. While a scale will net you a more accurate measurement of "dry" flour than a scoop, it's still not absolute. Also, yeast activity can vary with each batch of yeast, and with temperature. You simply have to get the clock out of the proofing equation. While it can remind when you to take a look, it's not an actual substitute for looking.

Another possibility is that whomever is actually handling the dough is degassing too much during "punch down" and/or loaf-formation. But you say you're doing it the same way, and since there's no reason to doubt it the answer more probably lies with the flour and/or yeast and/or rise time. You rise time is really insufficient. I'm surprised it hasn't bit you before.

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
I tried cutting back on the yeast and allowing more time in between molding and it seems to be working. Over the years we've changed brands of yeast a couple times so I think that might have something to do with it.

Also just to clarify, I never really go by the clock. I was just trying to give everyone a general sense of how much time I was allowing for proofing.

Again, thanks for the help
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Also, I see many people have commented that I have such a simple formula and I too notice that the bread is a little bland. Anyway I can add a little flavor without getting too cost inefficient. We make about 12 loaves every other day and usually end up throwing three to four out. I like the retarding over night, but have no experience with it. Do you put the dough in there right after mixing? After proofing? Kneading? possibly in bread pans?
post #12 of 13
If you're starting with a starter you can generate some interesting yeasty flavours by retarding that for 24-48 hours (just a pinch of yeast) with no kneading and mix it with your fresh dough when sufficient.
If you want to retard your dough, i reccommend retarding after you've shaped it, in the bread pans.

The slower you proof it, the more flavours will develop and the more interesting it will taste, if you rush it, the volatiles that come off from the yeast and be a little on the bitter side, and you lose that beautiful malty complexity.

If your dough is still collapsing it has nothing to do with the yeast, it simply means your protein matrix (gluten) in the flour is not strong enough. Shortening will make it weaker. You need to either knead for longer, or knead in the shortening AFTER the protein have chance to bond. Or as I said in my previous post, leave it out all together, which will produce a slightly chewier crumb, but much more flavoursome as the fats will not bind to the alcohols from the yeast.

Maybe its worth checking the protein content of the flour, 11-12% should be sufficient, if its lower and you're adding shortening, its a recipe for disaster.
post #13 of 13
just a possibility

you used to make the bread with fresh yeast?
now you make it with dried yeast and still use the same quantity?
that could be an easy mistake to make

also if you want to "jazz it up" without wasting money
-eggwash for a glossy loaf
-sprinkle flour on your loaves before you put them into the oven
-score some patterns on the loaves once they have been shaped
-rub a little oil on top and sprinkle with salt
-eggwash / oil and sprinkle with some dried herbs
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