The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Howdy from California!

gijane's picture
gijane

Howdy from California!

Hi All,


I'm new here.  I feel very fortunate to be living in Sonoma County!  The original stomping grounds of Mr Peter Reinhart himself.  I have been "trying" to bake bread for the last 6 months or so.  I'm on a quest to learning how to make good bread.  On a consistant basis


I need some help tho.  If someone can point me to the "Trouble Shooting" section I will read, absorb and apply as much as I can.


I have Peter Reinharts Baker's Apprentice, Crust and Crumb and Juniper Brothers Books.  I have also tryed a few Amish bread recipes.  My biggest frustration is that I get a great first rise, but when I put the dough in the bread pans I get maybe half a rise then it stops and/or it deflats.  I hand knead for a good 10-15 mins and I got my wt measurements right.  But I can't figure out for the life of me what the heck I'm doing wrong. 


If anyone can point me in the right direction I would truly be greatful.  Cuz the tasty bricks are getting  a little old.


Thanks in advance!


GI Jane

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Welcome! 


We have other folks from your area here too, and I got my start working at Brother J's with Peter while in high school at El Molino.


That is a weird problem you describe.  Are you letting the primary rise go too long?  Are you degassing it a bit when shaping?  For shaped loaves baked in pans, you should.  That is all I can imagine, that your dough is just tuckered out before you even get it into the pan.  I'd try shifting more of the fermentation into the final rise.  Dan Lepard even has a number of recipes in his book that instead of dividing into a long primary and shorter secondary fermentation (something like 90 minutes and 60 minutes, typically) instead suggest doing 10 minutes then knead for a minute, 10 minutes then knead for a minute, 10 more minutes then knead for a minute, then shape and let rise until ready to bake.  You could experiment with something like that.


Whatever you try, don't give up.  You'll nail it one of these times.

Marni's picture
Marni

Hi from another Californian, tho, I'm down South in LA.


I have a couple thoughts - what flour are you using?  Mostly whole wheat can effect the rise.  It also sounds possible that the second rise is sometimes too long, that can cause the deflation.  Though, when it doesn't rise much, that's a different thing.  Are you trying the same recipe repeatedly with these results, or are  the small rise and falling with different recipes?


Floyd's idea makes sense too.  I hope some of this helps.


Marni

gijane's picture
gijane

At the moment I'm using bleached bread flour, My hubby bought me a huge bag from costco.  So I'm kinda committed to that for a bit, but my next bag will be an unbleached bread flour.


 


I have tried the Andama (sp?) Bread, the Light Wheat Bread, a couple Amish recipes and the struan breads.  I've tried all of them but the Strauan several times each.  I actually made a perfect Light Wheat Once.  So I can't imagine it's the recipe.


 


I usually mix my ingredients as described in the recipe.  I hand knead about 10-15 minutes.  I usually heat up the oven just a bit, and put the dough in there for about an hour to an hour and a half.  Then shape pan it, put it back in the warmish oven. (That's when it usually starts rolling down hill.


 


Should I shorten the first rise to say 30 min then put it in the loaf pans perhaps.  Or how important is the inital rise?  Just put it in the loaf pan and bake?


I'm stumped and frustrated, but not ready quite yet to give up...


Thanks for the ideas tho!


GI Jane


 

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

You say you're heating your oven just a bit..what's a bit? If your oven is too warm you could be killing the yeast. If you oven is still "warmish" after an hour and a half I might think that's your problem. When I first started making bread I made the mistake of proofing too close to our wood stove. Not a good idea! The most I warm my oven is just having the light on.


Betty

gijane's picture
gijane

I set it to like 170 (the lowest my oven will go) for at the most a minute.  So it's warm in there, but not hot.


My house is kinda cool, especially in the winter.  Like 65 on a sunny day in winter.


Maybe I should do my hour and a half rise at room temp then do my second in the slightly warm oven?

janij's picture
janij

I would try finding a warm spot in your house.  On top of the fridge, in a closet, or something.  170 is a little high, even for a short time.  It may take longer to rise at 65, but try that for both the first and second rise and see what happens.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

of your oven with the light on. Mine is around 80 degrees. We keep our house on the cooler side also and I find the oven light is perfect for proofing in cool weather.


Betty

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I proof in my water heater closet which is about 75 degrees during the day. I'd err on the low side, but even if your house is cool, it should rise eventually. What kind of yeast are you using? I think SAF Red instant yeast is the best; I like it a lot more than the stuff I used to buy at Costco.


--Pamela

Marni's picture
Marni

I agree with the too hot response you are getting. You might find that 1 -11/2 hours in the house for the first rise works well even if that first rise doesn't seem high enough.


Don't give up! If you can remember how you made the light wheat, that may help you.  You might want to stick with that recipe for a while until you know what works well for you.


Marni

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

It sounds to me, too, that you are leaving the second rise to go too long.  The second rise is usually not as high as the first, but usually the "oven spring" gives the loaf that last bit of oomph.  The second rise, if you have not refrigerated the dough, also does not take as long as the first. 


Don't be afraid to do the second rise in the refrigerator.  It usually will not over-rise in there and helps develop the flavor.  When you're ready to bake, bring the dough out, shape it if it's not already shaped, and let it warm up (room temperature air is fine) until it is starting to rise a bit more.  Then bake.  You should get a nice oven spring and a beautiful loaf. 


It will take about twice as long for the second rise in the fridge, but you can leave it even longer, so that baking can occur at YOUR convenience.  I like the control a refrigerator rise gives me and almost always refrigerate my dough.  My usual routine is to make dough in the evening, let it do the first rise before I go to bed.  Gently knead it and put it in the fridge.  Then, anytime the next day I remove it from the fridge, shape it, and let it warm up on the counter.  When it's warm enough to start rising again it's time to bake. 


I've left dough in the fridge for as long as 48 hours without a problem and I also do ABin5 breads where the very hydrated dough can stay in the fridge as long as 2 weeks. 


Janknitz (a fellow Santa Rosan)

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Jane, this is good advice from one Santa Rosan. If you overproof when it is in the pan, there is nothing left for the yeast to give when it goes in the oven! I'm also a big fan of refrigerator proofing--doesn't hurt anything, just takes longer. If you choose the refrigerator proof method, you will have to let the dough "wake up" for a few hours on the counter before baking.


--Pamela (another Santa Rosan!)

gijane's picture
gijane

So I made my second attempt at Struan this morning...


The results were much better, not perfect, but getting there.


First off I used the Struan Recipe in the Brother Junipers book that only has volumne measurements.  (I will use weights next time) I also did a soaker with the oats, wheat bran and polenta over night this time. 


I created a makeshift proofing chamber in my oven using the oven light and put a pan of boiling water in the bottem of the oven.


The yeast seem to LOVE this.  My initial rise doubled very quickly!  Like 30-45 min.


I noticed when I weighed and panned the dough, it seemed very wet to me.  (ie, wouldn't hold a shape.  Flows through the fingers) I put it back in the "Proofing chamber."  It started out going great.  But I could see the CO2 bubbles bursting on the top of the loaves and it wouldn't crest over the top of my loaf pans.  They doubled nicely, but kinda stopped so after 1.5 hrs I decided to bake them.  Hoping for a little "oven spring."


I got negative spring.


I'm guessing my dough being too wet was my error this time.  I did notice nice strands of gluten tho when I panned it.  I haven't seen those before.


If I do a second rise in the fridge, should I pan it first?


I will do a little more controling of variables from here on out.


Sooner or later I will get it.


GI Jane


 

brakeforbread's picture
brakeforbread

...and only change one element at a time. I would guess that the boiling water is overkill with the oven light on. May just be too humid in there.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

A first rise in 30-45 minutes is way too fast. I would say with a yeasted dough your first rise will be about 1 1/2-2 hours. Your yeast is spent before it's begun. Skip the boiling water. With a longer rise you will obtain better flavor too!


Betty