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Fine tuning my bread recipe

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

After a few bread making experiments, a bread making course, and a lot more experimenting I almost have my day to day bread recipe (well my wife likes it).  But a couple of issues.  If anyone can give a few suggestions would be much appreciated.


The recipe:


600g of Granary (slightly roasted), 250g Wholemeal, 250g white ....  bread flour

650 ml water (I use bottled to be safe as in the UK the water has fluoride)

20g salt

10.5g of dried quick yeast.

200g mixed linseed, sunflower and pumpkin seeds  (mixed at start with flour)


Hand kneaded (just love doing that).  The dough has two good rises (not like 100% white flour of course but close) and this slightly heavy style and flavour my wife loves.


Loaves on large baking tray and into a 225 C fan oven for 25 mins


Problems:  The outside starts to slightly catch before the centre is perfectly cooked (a very little stodge core if you know what I mean).


Qs --  Should I cover it with a bit of foil to stop the crust catching (and if so at the beginning or the end)?

Would say 200C with 4 mins longer be worth a try?

Would spraying with water just before oven entry help?


I could make smaller loaves but I'd rather not as the above produces two perfectly round loaves that meet our needs perfectly.


well any help and suggestions very welcome.  Nigel


ps This bread making is changing my life:  cheap healthy bread, great fun kneading dough, envious comments from visitors --- why did I not start years ago???chef.gif

post #2 of 7

Nigele, welcome to Cheftalk.


You know what they say about Brits and Yanks? Two people separated by a common language! Please explain what you mean by "crust catching" and "stodge core." Appreciate it.


I would say, until developing a better idea of what your problem is, that you seem to be baking these at too high a temperature. You're close to 500F, which is fine for pizza, but too high for bread.  Dropping down to 200C sounds more realistic.


Also, are you steaming the oven? That has a significant effect on crust development.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

KYH you bring a smile to my face.  Tx for responding.


"crust catching" --- it is just showing the first signs of burning; if I left it in longer it would start to go black.


"stodge core"  --  in the very centre of the loaf is a small area that looks a little under cooked.


To be fair neither stops the loaves disappearing very rapidly with smiles. 


Very interested in your thought on lowering the temp.  I was always told, and most recipes seem to suggest, 220.  As it happens that is my max.


When you say "steaming the oven?" I have heard this helps the crust but have no idea how.  I had thought the steam delays the crust forming and thus allows more rising but if you can help me on what actually happens it would be appreciated.


Next bake in 20 hours.  I'll try one with 200 and a few mins more, and if that is ok then a bowl of boiling water in the bottom of the oven  smile.gif


Unless of course you have any other suggestions?  Cheers

post #4 of 7

KYH is right yet again.  The outside is overcooking before the interior fully bakes.  Your oven is too hot for your loaf size. 


Make sure your oven is thoroughly preheated -- at least half an hour, preferably an hour -- before putting your loaves in.  This will help control temperature swings. 


Hope this helps,


post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

OK guys I just can't wait.  Just kneaded up the next batch.  A little more white and wholemeal, a little less granary but otherwise the same.


I'll go as said one at 200 and one at 200 with water to give a bit of steam.  Any predictions on the difference between steam and not very welcome.


chef.gif  chef in action - stand by licklips.gif

post #6 of 7

I usually bake in the 350-400 F range which would be around 175-200 Celsius.  


Steam should give you a better crust.  See what you think.  If you're doing these loaves on a flat pan, another entertaining option is a "cloche" inverted over them.  You can use a clay flowerpot with the hole plugged.


Have you picked up Elizabeth David's _English Bread and Yeast Cookery_ yet?  No end to the fun.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Well that was a step forward, tx again one and all.


The first loaf was at 200C for 25 mins.  It was the smaller of the two.  Even cooked and not "catching wink.gif


The second one was larger so tried 190 for 30 minutes.  Bowl of boiling water in bottom of oven.  Perfect and maintained a better crust once cool. .


I think I'm going to bring the ratio of white flour up to get a more open crumb.  With so many seeds in there I think I can justify less wholemeal/granary flour on health and taste grounds.


Well I'll keep the fine tuning going but now I need to move on and perfect my sweet bread for a Roscon (spanish treat for Los Reyes Jan 6th also celebrated in many south American countries).   I promised 8 year old niece that when I arrive in Madrid for Christmas (my wife is Spanish) that we would first bake bread, then 'preñados' chorizo baked in bread rolls, and then 'Roscon'  sweet bread ring filled with cream and decorated.  


Haven't even started on the latter two and with only 3 weeks to go confused.gif I might well be back for more help.


Who knows one day I might be able to help someone else but a way to go yet.  Tx again, really appreciated peace.gif


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