The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why are my WW Breads always so dry?

dlt123's picture
dlt123

Why are my WW Breads always so dry?

Hi, I've been wanting to ask this question for some time but thought I would search the forum for an answer but haven't seemed to stumble onto it...


I've been making bread for ages and have recently started doing it again.  I make WW bread with a standard recipe of 4 cups all purpose unbleached bread flour and 2 cups of Bobs Red Mill 100% WW flour, yeast, sugar etc.


All my loaves have looked excellent, but after a day or so, the bread seems very dry to taste and texture.  I am storing my bread in double lock freezer bags so I don't think they are getting exposed to air.  Also, I don't believe I am baking them too long since they are lightly golden brown when I take them out of the oven.


Does anyone else experience this with their bread, if not then what are you doing to keep your bread moist and soft?


Thanks in advance to fielding an old bread maker question which by the way, seems to have devolved into a newbie bread maker.


Dennis

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I think your bread will stay moist longer if you put a little Vital Gluten in it. You don't need much--maybe a couple of tablespoons per loaf. I make a lot of 100% Whole Wheat sprouted bread and I include some gluten in it; I think it help this particular bread with respect to oven spring and lightness, and retards its stale-rate. I think lecithin is also another dough conditioner, but I've never put it in any of my breads.


--Pamela

dlt123's picture
dlt123

Thank you Pamela, I'll give this a try.  Looks like I'll be running to my local supermarket tonight.  I have a Biga and Soaker in process tonight and will be making my first bread using this method tomorrow...  Saturday is going to be an enlightening day...


Take care,


Dennis

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I haven't checked this forum to see if dough enhancers/additives have been discussed before. I think these things would make a great forum topic! I'm sure there is a lot of knowledge held on this subject by forum members.


--Pamela

dlt123's picture
dlt123

I agree and it would be interesting to hear how others are keeping their bread fresh after baking... i.e. How are they storing their loaves of bread, what containers do they use to keep them fresh... Do they preslice then store, or slice when needed, etc.


Dennis

celestica's picture
celestica

Moist, delicious, great rise, easy, keeps a week, and freezes well too.

BreadHound's picture
BreadHound

Years ago before I actually became a real breadhound, ha! I would attempt to make bread while working full time, in a hurry, etc. and my loaves always came out dry too.  Some so hard they could have been recycled footballs.  Now that I have more time I have been able to learn more online esp from this site and I found that I had not been measuring my dry ingredients correctly. If you go to some of the instructions posted about how to measure it is suprising that the most common reason for dryness is too much flour as much as 20% too much.  Since I have been measuring my flour the correct way and erring on the side of the dough being a more wet than dry, my loaves come out almost perfect now every time.  Whole grains seem to soak up more liquid than all white flour.  I followed another suggestion on this site and that is to let the dough "rest" for at least 30 minutes while it is still rather sticky and you will see that it rarely needs any more flour. Try doing that next time and I'll  bet you get better results.

dlt123's picture
dlt123

I will do just as you said, I am in the process of finishing a batch I started yesterday, Soaker and Biga.  I will follow your suggestions and not add too much flour and let it rest.


Next batch I will use Buttermilk instead of regular milk or water.


Thanks and I'm off to add my flour.


Dennis

jbaudo's picture
jbaudo

Have you ever tried potato flour in your bread?  I haven't myself but have read that it helps to keep a loaf from going stale.  Here is the link where I found the info.  http://www.preparedpantry.com/premium-potato-flour-20-ounces.aspx  We eat our bread so fast that it doesn't have the chance to get stale!  I have seen potato flour at whole foods (Bob's brand).


Jennifer

100percentwholegrain's picture
100percentwholegrain

Hi Dennis,


I have a recipe that uses 2 eggs and 4 Tbl vital wheat gluten for a 6-loaf batch.  I store each of the baked loaves in a 2 gallon baggie inside a 2 gallon zipper freezer bag.  I slice each loaf as we take it out of the freezer (takes an hour or so to thaw) and we haven't had trouble with it getting dry.  Each loaf only lasts us a couple of days, though.  I've thought maybe the egg is what keeps it from drying out.

dlt123's picture
dlt123

Well, I decided to try a different recipe and tried the recipe someone suggested...


Multigran Struan:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4277/multigrain-struan


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I followed the recipe thread but had to substitute Rolled Oats as my other grain.  I also doubled the recipe and when I needed to add the rest of my yeast in the final stage, I only added 4 tsps.  I also added 4 Tbl of Active Glutan Wheat Flour in my final stage of mixing and added White Bread flour as the finishing flour to get the right dough consistancy.


When it came time to bake the bread, I followed the recipe, setting oven temp to 450F then lowering it to 350 after 10 minutes of baking.  After 20 minutes, I rotated the loaves 180 degrees to make sure they baked evenly then took the loaves out of the oven when their inner temperatures of the bread reached 190F. Also, I've never checked the inner temperature of my bread while baking before, but think this is an excellent idea.


Since I doubled the recipe I ended up with 4 loaves of bread.  Since I only had two normal sized metal bread pans, I had to use two aluminum pans which is why two loaves are smaller than the rest. 


After allowing them to cool down, I cut into one of my smaller loaves and I have to say it is one of the best loaves of bread I've ever baked.


I will have to see how soft and moist the bread is after a couple of days, but to be honest, I don't know if a loaf will last that long.  :)


I think the reason for this successful bread has to be that I did the Soaker and Biga, something I've never done before, but I think this is what made the difference.


The flavor is very pronounced, a fresh wonderful yeasty taste, soft, a smooth nutty flavor and has a great mouth feel... very soft and spongy.  Just like I want my breads to be.


 



 


 



 



 


On a final note: I kneeded my bread for about 15 minutes, giving a small rest after each 5 minutes.  I also made sure I didn't add too much flour and my dough was slightly tacky when I kneeded it.  After allowing the dough to rest before doing more kneeding, it seemed to not stick as much.


I also allowed for two rises before making them into loaves.  I do feel the kneeding and resting made a big diffrence, but again, I'll have to see just how fresh these stay after a couple of days. 


I plan on freezing two of the loaves and eating the others.


My bread isn't as fancy as others I've seen here, but they sure taste great!!!


Dennis