The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Seeking wholemeal bread advice

20140308's picture

Seeking wholemeal bread advice


I'm pretty new to baking bread. I've made maybe about 12 to 15 loaves so far. I was using a recipe which was a quick 4 step recipe which required mixing the ingredients, putting the dough in the bread tins for 1 hour to rise, and then baking from there.

I found a more conventional recipe today in a UK Good Housekeeping recipe book, a good old fashioned book.

That seems more conventional, in that you mix the dough, knead it, and then leave it in the bowl to double in size. That I did today, and it really rose well. Then the recipe said to knock all of the air out of it and squash it flat with your knuckles, knead it again, and then place in the tins and leave to rise again. I did that, and baked the bread.

Unfortunately the loaves have a huge hole in the middle (they looked great from the outside). The texture of the bread around the hole is very dense and pretty inedible. It's like thick stodgy dough.

I wonder what I did wrong? Would it be not kneading it enough after I'd knocked the air out before placing the dough in the tins? It had certainly risen to the top of the tins before I baked it, and I baked it on gas mark 8 for about 25 minutes.

Any advice would be much apprecaited.


Ford's picture


Your description sounds as though you trapped air in the dough as you were forming the loaf and then in the baking you did not bake long enough (soggy dough).

Most of us treat the dough rather gently after the bulk fermentation.   The degassing process does not require rough handling, nor is it necessary to remove all of the gas, just any blisters you may find.  Shape the loaf, building tension in the outer layer, and avoiding enclosing air pockets in the interior.   Place the loaf in your greased (buttered) loaf pans, brush the top with melted butter, and let it rise until it passes the two finger poke.  (my dough weighs about 36 oz and it rises well above the top of the pans before baking.)  Make a half inch deep slash along the length of the top and spray with water.  Then bake it until the interior temperature is 195°F.  Use steam for the first 15 minutes of baking.  I normally bake at 450°F for fifteen minutes, then at 350° F for the net twenty-five minutes,  BUT use the bread interior temperature as the gauge for doneness.


ps:  For whole meal (whole wheat) bread, it helps to allow the whole wheat to soak for about an hour in the liquid before combining it with the rest of the ingredients.  Quick and easy is not the name of this game, but patience is.