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homemade bread won't toast

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

     Lately I've been making a 10-grain bread (using a 10-grain cereal) that the family really likes. Taste is great; texture takes a bit of getting used to because the bread breaks down quickly to its cereal component; but the main problem is that it's difficult to toast! In order to get a light toasting this bread must remain in the toaster at least twice as long as a standard store-bought sandwich bread. I increased the sugar in the recipe but that didn't help. What else can I do ? (Aside from the cereal soaked overnight, the recipe for 2 loaves uses 19oz all-purpose flour combined with 5oz Whole Wheat).   g-man

post #2 of 14

It's probably the higher water content of the bread compared to your baseline bread. Just takes time to dry out the surface enough to toast it. Until enough water evaporates, the temp of the bread surface won't be beyond boiling point.

post #3 of 14

Is there much sugar in the bread. No sugar no browning a little sugar a long time to brown.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #4 of 14

Posted by chefedb View Post


Is there much sugar in the bread. No sugar no browning a little sugar a long time to brown.



Sorry Ed.  Not true.  Not true at all.  Basic French bread, made with flour, water, yeas and salt only, toasts to brown quickly.  The problem with OP's bread, almost certainly, is that it's too wet.

 

BDL

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post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Phatch, I think you're right about the water content; when I slice it the bread feels moist, and heavier than it ought to be. Either I live with it or cut back on the water, but here's a problem. I start this bread by covering 6 oz of 10-grain cereal with 20oz boiling water, which I leave standing (off stove) overnight. The next afternoon I add some honey and sugar, 2 1/2t of yeast, a little melted butter, and a couple of Tablespoons Lecithin (hoping it will extend shelf-life), and while the machine is kneading the mix I add a total of 24oz flour (19 All-purpose, 5 Whole wheat).

     My problem is  I'm not sure how to cut back the water. If I cover the cereal with less boiling water maybe the cereal won't soften sufficiently. Wel . . . maybe that's just what I have to do: start cutting back on the water, and keep notes on what happens. Any other ideas?    g-man

post #6 of 14

I don't see a reason to cut back the water necessarily. Just plan to toast it longer IMHO.

post #7 of 14

If your "oz" measures are all by volume and not weight, you can cut back on the water considerably.  30oz of solids (flour and cereal) should need less than than 16oz of water and you're using 20oz.  I'd start with 16 oz, and if the dough is too dry too incorporate all the solids after a few minutes of kneading, you can add more water then.  My guess is that it will still be on the slack (wet) side.   

 

On the other hand, if you're weighing your flours and cereal, you're working at a roughly 66% hydration, which should mean a fairly stiff dough.  But your problem sure sounds like too wet -- and perhaps a bit underdone, as well.

 

You can also (and I think you probably should) bake the loaf a little longer -- perhaps at a slightly lower temp; but I'm not really familiar with tweaking a bread machine. 

 

BDL

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post #8 of 14

Besides the wetness, which certainly prevents toasting, my guess, completely intuitive, is that there are too many grains and too little flour.  The grains, when soaked, maintain their humidity.  They also make the bread fall apart, and probably cut the gluten strands when you knead. What if you used broken grains, like tabouleh type grains, so they blend in better (for the crumbling) and just grind more of them into flour (or use whole grain flour for part of the grains). 

"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.'"
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"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.'"
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post #9 of 14

McDonalds Corp as well as other Burger joints increase the sugar in their buns so that they brown faster and can pudh out more customers at a time.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #10 of 14

After soaking the grains have you tried pouring off any excess water?  Or giving it a squeeze to express some extra moisture content?  Also, if the regular toaster isn't cutting it, have you tried toasting your bread under the broiler in your oven?  It might work better with a moister bread like yours.

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

     Helpful responses from everyone. Thank you. I'm going with 'excess moisture' as the problem. Phatch implies that there IS no problem: "Just plan to toast it longer." But, aside from the slo-toast, I'm not happy with the weight of the bread which had me thinking, for a while, like BOAR-D-LAZE, that it was underdone (sorry BDL about the unclear 'machine' reference: I meant my standing mixer. I've always wondered about bread machines but haven't managed to pick one up yet.) But, if anything, it's slightly overdone (registering an internal temp of 205 on my handy little thermopen). And, being a creature of habit, especially in the kitchen, I have this whole mental timetable that includes how long it takes my oven to reach a range of temperatures, how long crepes can be kept on HOLD before the edges grow crinkly, and how to get the scrambled eggs onto a warm plate one half second before the toast pops and demands to be buttered. I like that scrambled-egg/toast timing; I don't want to change it; I don't want to be pushed around by my bread!

     And, Siduri, I think you're onto something. I worried about the grains shortening the protein strands (do you think it would be worse if I broke the grains down? Jagged edges and such?) so I started adding Vital gluten, to improve structure. So far I haven't noted any difference. 

     Shortly after starting to make this bread, and noticing the toast problem, I added more sugar (as ChefEd suggests); there was a fractional improvement.

     So now I'm going to take a tip from PRATIES and pour off the water on the surface of the cereal after soaking it overnight. I'll work out the baker's percentages and see if I can adjust the formula for less water, and I'll keep notes over the next couple of weeks.

                                                               g-man

post #12 of 14

G-man, i think you have to get used to the hand and touch method of bread making - that is, to adapt the recipe as you go along depending on the way it feels. 

If the dough is too wet-feeling, then add flour.  The measures don;t tell you everything.  Grains can be of different sizes, and will absorb water differently.  Apparently you noticed there is extra water in the grain - when you soak a grain it is not a matter of exact measures but "enough" water - the right amount to soften that particular grain, without any excess.  If there is excess, drain it off.   Flours also vary in humidity, and other factors (amount of gluten, etc, depending on the growing temperature, origin, how long the grains dried before grinding, or i don;t know what. )

So adapt the recipe, adding flour, water, whatever is necessary, so the dough is of the right consistency - which means not tacky.  . 

 

I'm no expert except in the fact that i make a lot of bread at home, but i would say that the jagged edges of broken grains are not going to cut more than whole grains because the soaking will soften the edges, no? 

The problem is any object kneaded in can cut the gluten, even raisins.  I really don't think adding gluten will change that since it's not that there is no gluten but that it's broken.  (If that's what the problem really is)

 

Sugar will make it brown because the sugar will burn more easily, but it will not necessarily "toast" - since toast is different not only in the color but in the texture, from regular bread.  The sugar on creme caramel also browns, but the cream remains wet!

 

I also have some questions about internal temperature.  The "internal temperature" of water may be very hot BUT IT IS STILL WET. 

bread is done when it's cooked not when it's hot, it;s not a piece of meat.  (I know anathema will be rained upon me for saying this, but i can;t see temperature telling anything about a wet bread dough being cooked).  Buy some bamboo kebab skewers (like long toothpicks) and when the bread has reached the time it;s supposed to cook, tap it with your fingers - it should sound hollow.  Then insert the skewer into the middle of the dough.  If it comes out wet at all, you have to cook it more, it doesn't matter what the temperature is.  You may need to cook it at a lower temperature for longer to get the inside cooked, but the whole thing might be made easier if you just add some flour and use less water. 

 

 

"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.'"
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"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.'"
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post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

     Thanks for your comments Siduri. The problem here is not an unfamiliarity with the bread-making process generally, but a lack of experience with  grain-loaded loaves that come together differently from my usual breads. When I first noticed the extra water in the cereal I assumed it was required to moisten the flour that was next going into the mix. When the bread-dough turned out slack, I figured maybe this bread was something like ciabatta and other kinds of 'wet' dough breads.

     Internal temperature is a good indicator of whether or not anything is baked or cooked. It's an even better indicator if joined by other measures, such as knocking a loaf bottom and using a skewer or toothpick. But we're off the track here just a crumb: I'd want to insist that the bread is not unbaked, it's unbalanced. In fact, I suspect, given the incredible heat-release of steam, I suspect that in some sense the bread is actually OVERbaked!

     In any case, overbaked or underbaked, the bread itself is good. I think it would be better with less moisture. I'm on it, and I feel I'm ahead of the curve because of the sensible suggestions received from this site.

     Yo, Boar-d-Laze: I weigh almost everything; just didn't distinguish my volume-ounces and weight-ounces in knocking out my problem. Thanks again.

post #14 of 14

Ok, sorry, G-man, I thought you might be too tied to a recipe. 

I still think that the heat doesn't mean the bread is "cooked" in the sense of being ready to eat.  If it's very wet, it might be hot but not "cooked" as bread should be. But maybe others would say differently.   If i'm not mistaken, part of thecooking process is that the bread dough dries. 

"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.'"
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"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
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