Reinhart Whole Wheat Bread - Help Needed!
First, thank you in advance for your welcome to the Forum. I have lurked here for a little while, but this is my first post. I have already learned an incredible amount from everyone and look forward to learning more. Second, if I have placed this thread in the wrong area, I apologize and do not mind having the thread moved to the appropriate spot.
After much time that I spent reading and re-reading Bread Baker's Apprentice, I decided to try the whole wheat bread. I find many of the white breads more motivating, but we eat wheat bread, so I figured that it would be nice to have some freshly made bread for sandwiches and the like. I can post some pictures when I get home, but my finished loafs were not up to my expectations. The flavor was pretty good, but the crumb was very dense and a little bit dry. Below, I have detailed the process I used along with some of my concerns along the way. Any and all suggestions would be really appreciated.
The Reinhart recipe calls for a soaker and a poolish. For the soaker, I used Arrowhead rye flour. I started it at about noon.
For the poolish, I used Arrowhead whole-wheat flour, instant dry yeast, and water. When I mixed in the water, it formed a dough-like, sort of ball-like structure. The recipe called for putting it in the refrigerater when it bubbled, and after a few hours there were small bubbles. I envisioned a poolish as being more liquidy, but I think that the texture was right, given the water/flour proportions called for by the recipe.
As instructed, I took the poolish out of the refrigerator about an hour before I intended to make the dough.
About an hour and 20 minutes later, I mixed together the soaker, poolish, dry ingredients, and then the honey, vegetable oil, and egg. The egg was cold out of the refrigerator. I mixed for one minute with the paddle attachment, and then switched to the dough hook as instructed. I mixed for about 8 minutes on the 4 level on my KitchenAid mixer and then took it out and worked the dough by hand for a brief bit. I did the windowpane test, which failed miserably, so I put it back in the mixer for another 6 minutes or so. Then, the dough was closer to passing the windowpane test, but it still was not great. However, at that point, I was concerned about overdoing it (as well as my ability to do the windowpane test properly), so I proceeded. At this point, my dough was 71 degrees, about 6 degrees less than what Reinhart suggests should be proper.
I put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl for two hours, and the dough doubled in size. I then split the dough, formed the sandwich loaves, and placed them in two pans. When I placed the dough in the pans, it seemed very small for the pans. After about 80 minutes, the dough rose considerably, but did not crest over the sides like the recipe suggests. At that point, I had to leave the house for a few hours and put the dough in the refrigerator because I was afraid it would over-proof.
When I came home, I took the dough out of the refrigerator. About 2 1/2 hours later, I baked the bread, following the instructions. At 45 minutes, I checked the internal temperature of the loaf, and one read 212 and the other read 205. I immediately took the loaves off and let them cool.
Here are my questions:
1. Is it possible that I did not mix the dough sufficiently in the first place? Should I have kept mixing until it easily passed the windowpane test? Was 4 on my KitchenAid mixer too slow of a speed?
2. Do you have a sense of why my dough temperature was too low? Should I have let the egg come to room temperature?
3. Did I not let the dough proof long enough in the loaf pans before baking? FYI, the room temperature was about 70 degrees.
4. Any other ideas why things did not turn out well?
There are so many variables that I have difficulty getting a sense of what may have gone wrong here. I would really appreciate any and all comments and questions!