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Laurel's Kitchen

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VonildaBakesBread's picture

Proofing Problems

August 18, 2012 - 8:57pm -- VonildaBakesBread
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Okay, Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book (the basic whole wheat recipe) says to allow 2-1/2 hours for first proof at 70 degrees (my thermostat read 71) . I can't even get to 2 hours before it's doubled and the poke test fills in, but VERY slowly. A few minutes one way or another is fine, but nearly one hour difference? Am I mis-reading the fingerpoke test? Do I have fantastic yeast and flour?

Blessings,

Voni

VonildaBakesBread's picture

Laurel's Kitchen Basic Whole Wheat

August 9, 2012 - 11:56am -- VonildaBakesBread
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Hello, everyone. I joined awhile back, but have been focusing on family issues since. Now I'd like to start again on my bread-baking hobby. Thus, I'm going to ask some newbie questions, similar to ones I may have asked before.

I have a problem knowing how I'm doing. I'm using Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. Does anyone know if these are high-hydration? How can I tell?

I end up with this sloppy mess that turns out okay once I kinda scoop it/shape it into the loaf pan. However, I'm shooting for great.

bryoria's picture
bryoria

Thanks to the advice I received on my last post, I thought I'd try the Buttermilk Bread from the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book.  What a difference from the oatmeal bread of the other day!

I made the dough exactly to formula, using the larger amount of butter (50 grams) and my own home-milled whole wheat flour which had been aged and stored in the freezer for the past 2 months.  The buttermilk was store-bought, whole buttermilk (3.25% fat).  I didn't amend any of the liquid or flour amounts.  The dough was beautifully soft and pliable, as-is. 

Instead of kneading for 20 minutes by hand (!), I mixed the dough in my stand mixer for about 8 minutes, give or take.  There was a short break in the middle where I had to help one of my kids tend to an injury, but it was only a few minutes.  I then kneaded the dough for another minute or so by hand, just because it was so lovely to work with and I had to get my hands into it.

After that, let it rise for about 2.5 hours in the oven with the lights on to make it warm, giving it a stretch and fold twice in that time. 

I decided to make dinner rolls instead of loaves, so divided the dough into two portions.  One of the portions I made into 12 rolls, and the other into 15 rolls.  I put the rolls into two 9x13 metal pans that I had greased lightly with solid butter.  I let the rolls rise for about 40 minutes in the microwave (trying to keep them out of drafts - we have a bit of a blizzard happening outside) until they were all touching nicely. 

I baked them for 15 minutes in a 400F oven.  I pulled the pan of 15 out right away, and let the pan of 12 bake for another 2 minutes.  The centre of the centre roll measured about 195 F when they came out and they were all beautifully browned: 

I brushed them with melted butter, just because the book suggested it and I'd never tried that before.  It made the rolls shiny and softened the tops:

I confess I didn't wait for full cooling to tear one open.  It was incredibly soft and tender.  This recipe was a huge difference from the previous Oatmeal Bread.  Can't wait until supper!

bryoria's picture
bryoria

This is what happens when one tries to make the Oatmeal Bread from the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book on a day that turned out to be too busy to make bread! 

The night before, I had cooked 1 1/3 cups of Roger's Porridge Oats* in 2 cups of boiling water, adding 1 Tbsp of salt once the porridge was off the heat.  I left the porridge to cool overnight in a glass bowl covered with plastic wrap. 

*Roger's Porridge Oats are a blend of rolled oats, oat bran, wheat bran and flax

In the morning, not as early as I'd hoped, I ground some fresh whole wheat flour and mixed up the dough as per the recipe.  The flour was straight out of the grinder, still warm.  I found I had to add more water than the recipe called for to make the dough come together.  The dough was still extremely stiff, but because the recipe insisted that the dough would absorb moisture from the oatmeal as it was kneaded, I didn't add more.

Right after mixing, I unexpectedly had to leave the house for a couple of hours.  I hadn't had time to knead the dough (by hand) for more than 2 minutes, and I never did add more water to soften it up.  I put the stiff ball into a bowl, covered it with plastic wrap, and left it on the counter.  The house temp was 17 degrees C.

When I got back a couple of hours later I only had a few minutes before I had to leave again.  The dough had risen about one and a half times.  I put the dough on a board, flattened it gently, folded it a couple of times, made a ball and put it back in the bowl.  It was so stiff that there was no stretching and folding possible - just a patting out, then folding to the middle.

When I came home again 2 hours later, the dough had risen to about one and a half times again and it was almost supper time.  I had no idea how to fix or amend the dough at this point, so I figured I'd get it ready for baking and see what happened.  I divided the dough into two and kneaded each piece briefly.  It tore pretty easily.  It was still quite stiff.  I don't know if that's what I should expect from 100% whole wheat loaves or if the dough does eventually get stretchy if it is handled properly.  I let the two pieces rest for 15 minutes or so, then formed them into loaves and placed them into two loaf pans brushed with pan grease. 

I put the bread to rise in the oven with the lights on and a pan of hot water.  It had been sitting in a cold, dry house all day and I thought I'd finally give it some warmth.  Once it was just over the edge of the pan, I brushed the loaves with warm milk and topped them with more porridge oats that had been soaked in milk for a few minutes.  I removed the steam pan, turned the oven to 400F, and baked the loaves with the cold oven method for 45 minutes, turning the heat to 350 after 20 minutes or so.

The loaves never did rise very well, but the bread turned out very moist and flavourful - way better than I was expecting after having to abandon it for most of the day.  It makes delicious toast.

 Things I was left wondering:

  • Should the dough have been softer?  It was so stiff that kneading was a real chore.
  • If I had kneaded it for more than the 2 minutes I had available, would it have ended up stretchy and gluteny and stopped tearing, or is that too much to expect from a whole grain dough?
  • Did sitting all day help, or hinder, the dough?
  • Could I have amended the dough after it sat all day, when I finally came home for the evening?
  • Can the seeds in the oatmeal actually cut the gluten strands during kneading and ruin them?  Should I use plain oats next time?
  • What can you tell about my bread from looking at the crumb in the photo above?  I don't know anything about "crumb" and that's what I find most intimidating about this site.  Can you experienced bakers take one look at my sliced bread above and shudder and know everything I did wrong in a mere glance? 
Cafemich's picture

Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads - do the techniques make better bread?

September 21, 2008 - 10:16am -- Cafemich
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I bought this book a couple of months ago because the recipes looked so enticing. I've used Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book for many years and have always achieved very good results from her recipes and techniques. But, I wanted some new whole grain recipes and got pretty excited after reviewing the table of contents in the Reinhart book.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Yesterday, I had two unpleasant surprises.

First, when I opened up what I thought was a second full canister of hard red spring wheat, I saw just a few scattered grains on white plastic. Argh! Out of wheat.

Second, by the time I realized that my extended family had devoured the loaf I'd planned to use for sandwiches in the morning, I had no time to do a soaker, a pre-ferment or build up enough sourdough for even a relatively quick (i.e. 7-8 hours start to finish) loaf.

So, I headed down to the store, ordered another 50 lb bag and picked up a couple of pounds of hard red winter wheat to tide me over. It's lower in protein than I'm used to, so I figured I'd just live with less lofty loaves.

As for the bread, I thought, what the heck, picked up The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book and turned to her Oatmeal Bread recipe. These days, I've taken to doing an overnight retarding when I make oatmeal bread, but I had no time for that. So I just followed her recipe.



Wow. Not only did the bread rise like a champ, it tasted fantastic. In fact, I daresay it's the best tasting oatmeal bread I've ever made -- warm, sweet, nutty, mmmm. So, as much as I like the effect of pre-ferments and overnight retarding, I think I may have gone too far in rejecting straight doughs. Anyway, here's how I made it:

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour: 375 grams or 2.5 cups
  • Dry milk: 2 Tbs
  • Salt: 9 grams or 1.5 tsp
  • Instant yeast: 1 tsp or 3 grams
  • Cooked oatmeal porridge, from steel cut oats, at room temp (no sweetener, no salt): 1 cup
  • Water: 1/4 cup
  • Vegetable oil: 2 Tbs
  • Honey: 1.5 Tbs
Mix the flour, dry milk, salt and yeast in one bowl. In another, mix the oatmeal, water, oil and honey. Dump the dry into the wet, and stir until everything is hydrated.

It'll take a while for the water from oatmeal to migrate to the flour, but if you knead it well for about 10 minutes, the dough will eventually come together. If you think it needs extra water, don't add any until about halfway through the kneading, otherwise you risk making the dough too wet.

Form the dough into a ball, and let it rise in a warm place (if you've got one) for 1.5 to 2.5 hours. When it's ready, a good poke won't readily spring back. Give it a good stretch and fold and shape once again into a ball. Let it rise a second time for about an hour. Finally, shape the dough into a loaf, roll it in rolled oats soaked in milk, put it a greased bread pan and let it rise until the loaf has crested about an inch above the pan in the center.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes. Let it cool for one hour before serving.
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