The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

noob question

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chihuachsund's picture
chihuachsund

noob question

Ok so I'm just really getting into breadmaking.  Up until now, I've been building prowess as a grill master.  But I have always loved bread.  I have been making yeast rolls and soft pretzels and Italian bread and pizzas. thinking of trying a naan recipe in my bonappetite magazine

I'm just looking for some kind of reference as to what different ingredients do to bread.   Like eggs, salt (to little?,too much? other than flavor), milk,butter, buttermilk,oil, sugar, (other suggestions)

Thanks in advance!

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Hi there,

Start with the "Lessons" tab at the top of the page, Lesson 1 & 2 should help answer some of those questions. 

Generally, fats, proteins, and sugars make bread more tender and extend shelf life. Of course they add flavor too. Salt is for flavor & to control fermentation. 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

You have just started a journey. It can grab you and pull you in so hold on to your hat and have delicious fun!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

long you will forget all about BBQ....well, maybe not really but bread can be as addictive.  Welcome!  I'll add to cranbo.  Sourdough also extends the shelf life and whole grain SD starter tend to be more sour especially the rye sour ones.  Then there are natural yeast waters that also leaven bread with wild yeast but are never sour.  Whole grains suck up the water so you need more hydration (more liquid and higher hydration percent) for them.  Learn autolyse - letting the dough flour rest with the liquid for 30 minutes to 8 hours) learn  to do French slap and folds and also learn the stretch and fold technique - there are nice videos for both adn both will teach the way dough feels.  TFL makes the bread world your oyster!

Happy baking

chihuachsund's picture
chihuachsund

Thanks for the replies, and the warm welcome. The cool thing is, I can grill/smoke/bbq in nice weather and make bread in the bad weather, thus feeding both addictions!  As I type this, I have a big ball of pizza dough rising since it's rainy today.

Then I can combine them by making my own hamburger buns, or making bbq pizza.  This forum reminds me of BBQ Bretheren, where I learned many awesome bbq techniques, and I'm excited to get deeper into bread making.  Over this past winter, I made several batches of soft pretzels, which all got gobbled quickly, and a few batches of yeast rolls that also got nice reviews.  I really want to get them soft and pillowy like the ones at Ryan's (a buffet restaurant here in Alabama), so I was wondering what caused that.  Looking at Lesson 2, it may be a combination of extra fat and a lower cooking temperature than what I have been doing.  Does that sound like I'm on the right track?

Here's the recipe i've been using, if it helps: http://eatcakefordinner.blogspot.com/2011/04/texas-roadhouse-rolls-copycat-recipe.html

 

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Yes on the right track. Milk, fat, sugar, the right hydration and sufficient kneading will help give you that pillowy tenderness.

I shared a recipe for fluffy dinner rolls (with pictures), you can use to compare the quantities to your own recipe & desired outcomes. 

Yumarma's picture
Yumarma

Since you point to a recipe that calls for "7 - 8 cups of flour", I'm guessing you aren't weighing your ingredients. That's a very possible culprit. What you're adding as "7 - 8 cups" and what the dough needs may be off by a fair bit due to how the cups are filled.

Roughly, the recipe uses 2.5 cups of liquid which is about 592 grams. The noted 7- 8 cups of flour, based on an average of 125g per cup, is between 875 and 1000 grams of flour. Let's go middle-ish and say 938 grams. Now you're at about 63% hydration which is certainly workable. But from the description of your dough, that isn't what you are seeing on your countertop.

If your cups are heavier than 125 g due to the scooping method you use, that could inadvertently add another 50 or more grams per cup, so you might be looking at a total of 350+ extra grams of flour. This could then take you to 1284 g of flour. Add to this that you are quite possibly flouring your countertop to keep the dough from sticking and adding even more flour, we can see that it's very easy to be getting into the 50 - 45% hydration area. Even if your own "cups" were over by just 20 grams each, you'd have added 140 - 160 g more flour and your hydration would then be in the 1015 to 1140 g area, hitting 58 to 51% hydration. This is stiff stuff territory.

My recommendation: ditch the volume recipes, get yourself a cheap digital scale (they run about $20 these days) and start using weight-based bread recipes. Your results will improve immeasurably... or measurably, I suppose.

chihuachsund's picture
chihuachsund

I have noticed that EVERY time I make bread and go to knead it (usually using KABF, but today using Gold Medal BF) it is no where NEAR as pliable as the ones look on you tube or tv.  I mean it's like trying to knead one of those pink rubber balls I used to play with as  a kid.  Are those guys just very strong, or am i doing something to make my dough too "tight" (if that's a good adjective)?

I can knead it for 10 minutes, or longer and it never really seems to make a difference.  i have to struggle to flatten it enough to even fold it over on itself.  If I try to stretch it, it just tears. 

Yumarma's picture
Yumarma

It would be a big guessing game to try to figure out where the problem originates without knowing what your recipe consists of. Both the flour brands you note are decent quality, so chances are you are running into hydration issues. But again, that's a general guess.

Let us know what your formula & process are and we can try to pinpoint the problem with you.

Grenage's picture
Grenage

As stated, it's most likely too dry; try sticking rigidly to some basic recipes - even if it feels too wet.  Dough becomes less sticky as it develops, and even if it is sticky, some bread doughs are just meant to be so.

 

If you can't flatten it, it's almost certainly too dry.

7ardys's picture
7ardys

Today I made the Orange Turmeric bread posted in The Fresh Loaf.  It is delicious.  Lovely orange aroma, beautiful bright crumb.  Served with with lentil curry soup.  Loved it!  Thank you.

Ardys 'n Bread blogger

chihuachsund's picture
chihuachsund

for all the advice. can't wait to try the fluffy rolls, and will look for a scale.  One more question.  When I do notice it is too dry, what is the best way to add water?  should i put it in a bowl and let it soak in? drizzle on top? when it has already formed dough, it seems to get slimy and slippery.

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Add water as early as possible. The later you add it, the more difficult for water to absorbed. 

It's easier to add flour to make it more dry than add water to make it more wet, so start with more wet flour. 

chihuachsund's picture
chihuachsund

i used more water in my latest effort- fresh italian bread for home made (grilled-thus combining my addictions) meatball hoagies, and added the flour slowly instead of just dumping the whole amount, and i got soft supple dough i could easily work, woohoo! thanks for the advice!