The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First Loaf

  • Pin It
gkratky's picture
gkratky

First Loaf

Hello, I am new to the whole baking thing.  I bought a zojirushi home bakery supreme 2 pound breadmaker.  I have tried 2 times now to make a basic white bread and failed miserably at both attempts, as you can see. 

Incredients used:

1 1/3 cup warm water

4 1/4 cups Hudson Creme bread flour

4 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp Dry milk

2 tsp salt

2 1/2 Tbsp butter

Placed water in bread pan, then sprinkled the flour to cover the water.  Then added each ingredient to each of the corners of the pan.  Made indentation in middle of flour with spoon and placed  2 tsp of Active dry yeast (expirey date 12/15) and placed in the middle.  I set the bread maker to it's default settings which is 'BASIC' with medium crust.  Closed the lid and pressed 'start'.  The total default cook time is 3hrs  45min.  The picture above is the result.  I then attempted another loaf today, same ingredients except I used rapid rise yeast (exp 9/15) and used the QUICK setting.  All I got was a big clump of brown cooked very dense bread.  Much much worse than what this photo shows.  It looked like a bunch of rocks glued together.  I have read climate has something to do with the process so I will give details as to what temp is outside and humidity.  77 degrees 31% humidity.  Don't know if you need all that info but the more I provide the better chance I can get an accurate fix to my problem.  What am I doing wrong?

Any assistance is greatly appreciated.  Thank You.

Gary

Ford's picture
Ford

The hydration of your dough appears to me to be too low, i. e. you need more water.  If you are not properly measuring your flour this will be compounded.   Flour should be lightly spooned, or sifted, into a measuring cup that measures the amount when it is brim full.  The flour is then leveled by scraping off the top of the flour with a straight edge (spatula works).  Done this way, one cup of flour weighs 4 1/4 ounces.   If you scoop the flour out of its container with your measuring cup and shake off the excess, the flour will weigh about 5 ounces, a big difference!  I recommend you weigh your ingredients, rather than measure by volume.  It is really easier and much more accurate.

If you measured the flour in the approved manner, I calculate the hydration to be about 61%.  My dough is about 70% or more hydration.  Hydration is the weight of the liquid (water or milk) divided by the weight of the total flour all multiplied by 100.  A cup of water weighs 8.3 oz. and a cup of flour weighs 4.25 oz.

I suggest you increase the water to about 2 cups to give you 70% hydration.

Also, I don't use a bread machine, but hand mix and knead. then bake either free form or in a loaf pan.  Try it sometime.

Ford

gkratky's picture
gkratky

Thank you for the advice.  I will give that a shot by increasing the amount of water.  I did take a mini ice cream scooper both previous times and used that to put the flour in the measuring cup, shaking each time to ensure there was no clumps of flour and poured into a bowl.  Repeated that process for each cup of flour.  Also shaved off the excess flour with a knife each time.  Also, quick question.  Does it really matter what order I put the ingredients into the pan?  I read in Beth Hensperger's book 'The bread lover's Bread machine cookbook' that I can add the yeast first, then the dry components, then the water.  I always read about how yeast hates salt and liquid but I always bake right after I get the ingredients together.  I also, I guess people call it 'proofing' the yeast.  I took a little bit of active dry yeast and it formed a beige layer in the water before dissolving and making the water cloudy.  Is the yeast good or bad if that happens?

Thank you again for your assistance,

Gary

Ford's picture
Ford

Hello again, Gary

1/ Do not shake the measuring cup.  Shake the scoop, if you wish.

2/ I don't believe it will make a big difference about the order of addition.

3/ yeast becomes "alive" in the water.  It must live and ferment the sugar and the starch to make the carbon dioxide that makes the bubbles in the dough.  Salt does slow the process, but is necessary for the flavor.

4/ You say you bake right after you get the ingredients together.  I hope not.  The dough must have time to ferment.  This gives the bubbles and, in addition, develops flavor in the bread.  The rising period should be, at least, an hour.  I use two fermentation periods: one after kneading (bulk fermentation) and the second after shaping my loaves.  I suspect your machine has a fermentation period in its schedule before the baking period.

5/ "Active dry yeast" should be proofed first by adding the yeast to some of the warm water with a little sugar, and letting it foam.  "Instand dry yeast" was developed for bread machines and does not have to be proofed, but it is not harmed by this.

I hope this helps.  Happy Baking!!!

Ford

gkratky's picture
gkratky

Thank you for your reply.  Referencing point 4.  I add all the ingredients together in the baking pan and place in the breadmaker.  I should clarify.  The bread machine first pre-heats, then kneads the bread, then has a 1 step 'rising' period, then it bakes.  Is 3hrs 45min total time to short a period for the whole process?  That is the default setting for the 'BASIC' setting on the zojirushi.  Should I perhaps program the machine for longer rising times?  I know the 'zo' has 3 rising settings in the homemade mode.  If so, what should I program the rise times to be for each 'rise stage' and how many stages?

Referencing point #5.  The yeast I bought at the store was Fleichman's Active dry as well as rapid rise in jars.  Should I go with the Instant dry yeast instead of the previous 2 I mentioned? 

Sorry for all the questions.

Thank you again for your assistance,

Gary

mini_maggie's picture
mini_maggie

I agree the original recipe seems quite dry.  Instant or bread machine yeast is ideal for the bread machine.  3h45 min should be plenty of time for the bread machine cycle.

The only potential issue I haven't seen addressed yet is the temp of your water.  Your recipe called for warm water, but too warm will kill the yeast (and your rise), and warm water is unnecessary since the machine preheats the ingredients.  Room temp water should work fine. 

 

gkratky's picture
gkratky

The temp of the water, I guess the closest way to describe it is luke warm, almost room temp.  I am in the process of making another loaf now.  Adding 2 cups of water instead of the 1 1/3 cup called for in the 'zo' recipe seems to have solved all the clumps in the dough and it appears smooth looking thru the glass.  It is in the rising stage now.  Fingers crossed because if it doesn't work I will be making another batch right away, and another after that until I get it right.  Sort of like that itch you can't reach but can't stop until you do.  Could be a long night :o)

Thank you once again for your help. 

Gary

gkratky's picture
gkratky

3rd time is a charm.  The added water that was suggested along with the water temp produced a wonderful loaf of bread.  Soft, fluffy although I did have to cut off the top of the loaf because it was still a little raw.  Didn't cook the top of the loaf but that's fine.  Would have been too big of slices anyway.  Just glad it worked and tastes so good

mini_maggie's picture
mini_maggie

It is so satisfying when everything goes right.  You should be able to get a fully cooked loaf though.   Flour in Japan can be significantly different from flour in N.America which may be why a Zo recipe may be off. 

Highly recommend a good bread machine recipe book: http://www.amazon.com/300-Best-Bread-Machine-Recipes/dp/0778802442/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397960929&sr=1-3&keywords=bread+machine