The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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margaretsmall's picture

How do the commercial bakers get that white fluffy bread?

I've been making bread for a couple of years, progressed from a bread maker to sourdough, etc. A few weeks my husband came home from the supermarket with a generic white sandwich loaf and proceeded to pass up my fresh baked rolls (Reinhart's straun,  since you asked) and made himself a sandwich with the white stuff. I was a bit miffed as you can imagine, then yesterday, having moved onto to Dan Lepards book, I made his sourdough white leaven bread, which I thought tasted fine. When asked, my dear man said it was OK, but he really preferred the commercial sandwich white bread, 'like you used to make'. Actually I can't remember making anything like that, but never mind. So, my question is, how do they do it? I've noticed my rolls weigh about double the weight of commercial rolls of the same size, yet their crumb isnt full of holes, the texture is quite  and even. I guess somehow they get lots more air into their crumb but how? For his sake, I'd like to lighten up my bread.  I guess this is probably a too general question, but my loaves are usually fairly dense, sometimes I can see that they haven't risen quite enough, and I'm working in that. I'm confident that my doughs are hydrated enough. So, any ideas?


chera's picture

Amount of water in bread

What changes can I expect to see in a bread dough and its finished product if I were to increase the water from say 50% to 70%?

Would it be more elastic?  Chewier?  More open crumb?

I am trying to understand how each ingredient affects dough and final product better...

52747's picture

Newbie - please help

Hi all

I'm just in the process of my fourth attempt at making bread. Today I'm trying Paul Hollywood's garlic bread. Previously I've tried a plain loaf x 2 and a milk loaf.

I am still unsure about some of the basics and would really appreciate some help on the below :

1. Kneading - how far do you pull the dough ? Should it be keep fairy tight or pulled till the fibers tear a little ?

2. Kneading duration - All three of the recipes tried so far say to knead for 5 to 10 minutes until silky. It never really becomes silky in that time. I've seen youtube videos where people show a small piece of dough stretched out very thin saying it should look like this when kneading is done. In ten mins mine doesn't get like that. I tried 25 minutes today. It still didn't get like that. Should it always be like that ? How long do I keep going and can I go too far ? Is there a good fingerprint test ? I've read it shouldn't spring back ..

3. First and second rise. First rise I've seen people say "double in size". It's hard to tell in my bowl. Is there a better way ? I've seen people mention putting fingers in the dough and that the dough should spring back out. I've also seen things saying it should NOT spring back. I'm quite confused.

In summary could someone tell me some good ways of checking the dough is ready for each stage, and where I might be going wrong if my dough seems to want to tear rather than stretch during kneading ?


NewToBakingBread's picture

Stale bread

I'm on to 20th or so loaf of bread and I'm beginning to get some good results but there is still one problem that is present in all of my loaves of bread, no matter what ingredients go into them. They go stale after less than a day! I start a loaf in the morning and it's out of the oven by about 3pm. Fresh, it's beautiful, but the next morning, only good toasted. I've tried storing them in different conditions, in a plastic bag in the bread bin, in the fridge, everywhere! It is particularly noticeable with white bread; I make 3/4 whole grain and it is less noticeable because the crumb is denser. I've tried adding oil and butter and it makes no difference. Please help me.

ibor's picture

The 5 Strand Delta Bread Braid


The Art of Braiding Bread"


Laviidan's picture

Bread Kneading Board


I just got my new Bread Kneading Board, it's made from maple wood.

I wounder what is the best oil to use for sealing it:

Flax oil

Olive oil

or ...?

trailrunner's picture

Lye bath sourdough bagels

I finally got around to purchasing a container of food grade lye . I had tried to find info on lye baths for bagels but there is very little out there and the percent of lye to water that was used seemed way off. I am glad that I pursued this and have some data that I hope will help others. I purchased the lye on Amazon  here . Will likely last me a good long while. I used 5 grams in 1 gallon of filtered tap water. This is approx. 12-12.5 % alkalinity. Baking soda is only 9 if fully saturated  so can't get the water where I wanted it to optimize the crust . I will  use a bit more next time and get it up to the full 14% that is possible if fully saturated. . I am VERY pleased with how these came out. I added the lye to the cold water and brought it to a boil. Just to be on the safe side ( my husband is a chemist and insisted) I wore goggles and had some vinegar in a dish off to the side to neutralize any splash on the skin. I had no problems. 

I bathed the bagels for 10 seconds on a side...lifted out and drained, replaced on the sheet pan dusted with semolina where they had retarded. I baked them as always in 400 degree oven approx 22 min. rotated pans at the 1/2. Formula I use is here. I used whey instead of water as I had a lot from my kefir cheese making. I also used half white and half rye starter. 

The crust is amazing. So crisp. Beautiful blisters and a nice glow to the crust. Perfect chewy crumb. Lovely fragrance. Any residue of lye is  hydrolyzed by the proteins in the bagel dough and is neutralized so you don't need to worry about rinsing the bagels after dipping. 

Here are some pics. 

note the difference in the boiled vs unboiled bagels:  photo IMG_6519_zps3c764110.jpg  photo IMG_6520_zps315e4861.jpg baked :  photo IMG_6522_zps1c08d5f1.jpg crumb ( small flaw from rolling/shaping )  photo IMG_6524_zpsc6a35858.jpg  photo IMG_6523_zps94d31ff3.jpg  photo IMG_6526_zps5b596f3d.jpg

qahtan's picture

with yogurt

Thought I would try some thing different yesterday made some bread in the Cuisinart. Used just over a cup of warm water then added a 100g Activia vanilla yogurt, 1 cup flour, the butter, sugar salt and yeast pulsed a couple times, and then enough flour to give me a nice dough, then pulsed a little more, then finished it it on the floured counter.. well the bread came out really really well. it gave me 1 loaf at one pound 2 ounces. and 4 rolls at 2 ounces each..

 has any one else put yogurt in their dough, I expect they have. ......... qahtan  didn,t take a picture,

CeciC's picture

Starter Rising too quickly?

I fed the start at 9PM yesterday with 1:5:5 ratio it doubled and collapsed in 10 hours at around 32C

Then i fed it again this morning at 7am with 1:10:10 starter: Flour: Water ratio, it doubled (see Pic) in 7hours at over 33C, is my starter raising too quickly? 

Once it doubled I have put it in the fridge wanting to use it on Saturday morning.

dabrownman's picture

Yeast Water 35% Whole Wheat Hamburger Thins and HD Buns

We have been trying out various versions of buns for hot dogs and hamburgers.   This time we went back to basics and looked for a whole wheat bun on the King Arthur website.  We found their 100% WW one for hot dogs and their white bread one for hamburgers.


Since we were going to do a 35% whole wheat one, we decided to combine the two, replace the sugar with honey, drop the commercial yeast and replace it with yeast water, up the hydration  to 75% and add some cream cheese to mix like Ian does on so many of his bun bakes.


We were needing to refresh the cherry YW anyway so did so, with only apples this time, and used the remainder to make a 1 stage, 100% hydration, levain over 300g that sat out at room temperature for 8 hours before we refrigerated it overnight after it had risen 75% in volume.


The next morning we let the YW levain finish its last 25% of rise on the counter.  When it had doubled we through everything together and did 5 minutes of slap and folds and then let the dough rest for 10 minutes before doing another 5 minutes of slap and folds.


After a 15 minute rest we did 2 sets of S&F’s on 15 minute intervals before allowing the dough to ferment on the counter for an hour.  We then pieced out the dough into (8) 110 g pieces and pre-shaped 4 of them into  hot dog buns and 4 into balls for hamburger thins.


10 minutes later we final shaped the buns putting the hot dog buns into a small Pyrex pan to proof and the hamburger thins on parchment on the top lid of the mini oven’s broiler pan.  The buns were allowed to proof for 5 hours on the counter.


The hot dog buns were brushed with an egg wash and were the first to go into the mini oven at 425 F after 8 minutes of baking the oven was turned down to 375 F convection this time.  After 8 minutes with the fan the hot dog buns were deemed done and the hamburger thins then received the identical treatment.


The buns blistered up like the mini usually seems to manage every time.  They were brown and shiny.  Wow!  These buns sprang 3 times their pre mini oven height!  Yes 3 times higher - only yeast water can do that according to my bread baking experience. These bins were very open, light, airy and moist – the buns we have ever manages to date.


Yes, there is some hotnpeppers, cheese adn bacon in those beef patties.

Today's lunch with that fine Taztzel and I bet there is some pastrami in there too!

 They were tasty too but not sour at all.  Lucy was especially happy that her sister, our daughter was accepted into PA school.  Yeah.  We are all so happy for her.  She requested tacos (Pibil, carnitas, grouper, chicken and carne asada) with guacamole, red and green hot sauces, pico de gillo, smoked pork necks in beans and Mexican green rice last night for dinner.

 Tonight she got hamburgers, caramelized onion, mushrooms and various hot peppers with sweet and regular grilled potato wedges.    She even liked the buns!  Congrats to Molly!



Yeast Water 35% Whole Wheat Hamburger Thins



Build 1



Whole Wheat




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Multigrain SD Levain




















Levain % of Total








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Dough Flour
















Dough Hydration








Total Flour




Water 158, Yeast Water 90




T. Dough Hydration




% Whole Grain Flour








Hydration w/ Adds




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Add - Ins












Cream Cheese




Potato Flakes




VW Gluten













 A fine breakfast for the PA girl too!