The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Trouble with Whole Wheat French Bread

hydestone's picture

Trouble with Whole Wheat French Bread

I am new to bread baking and am starting out using a Hodgson Mill whole grain cookbook recipe for the whole wheat french bread.  I measured all the ingredients accurately but the loaves seem extremely dry when I added all the flour.  I proofed the yeast then added all the ingradients and half the flour.  I let is rise until it double in size then added the remainder of the flour and kneaded it for 10 minutes.  It was extremely dry at this point and was falling apart and not forming a solid ball.  The recipe called for another rise and doubleing in size.  I let it go then rolled it but it was very stiff.  I rolled it out, rolled it up, stuck it in the oven at 110 as the recipe called for.  It didn't double in siae, but probably increased by 50%.  It is in the oven now and smells great...I just have a feeling it is going to tast horrible.


My question is, do you usually add all the flour that is called for in the recipe or just add until it feels right?  Also, once you've added too much flour, can you just add a little water to bring it back?



PaddyL's picture
PaddyL add water when you're kneading, if the dough feels too dry.  So many factors come into play when it comes to kneading and adding flour that, really, no one can be exact with flour amounts.  I just add flour until it feels right, and seldom if ever measure anything.  Now I know there are going to be some pretty heavy comments about using scales and measuring every ingredient down to percentages, but I never have, and I make bread people are willing to buy.

hydestone's picture

The loaves are edible.  The crust is hard and thick but not crunchy enough.  The yeast flavor seems a little strong.  One of the loaves came unraveled a bit.  The crust color is not great almost looks like a fake loaf of bread.

Next time I will try adding a little water.  Should the texture be similar to the pizza dough that is found at the grocery store?

I am looking forward to these loaves being gone so I can try another.

I need to study up a bit more and get one successful loaf behind me...hopefully one that the rest of my family will eat!

clazar123's picture

Take a look at some of the videos and recipes on this site.Excellent teachers.

Start with a basic recipe and make it over and over until you are satisfied with the results.

Bake often.Keep track, in a notebook, of what you did each time you make it so you can see the effect of minor changes in technique or ingrediients.

Technique is as important as ingredients.

Open your mind to ideas and be willing to lose a lot of set-in-stone preconceptions.I had to unlearn almost as much as I learned before I finally made good bread.

Experiment,make a few bricks and many delicious loaves. As you work, you acquire a feel for what the ingredients do.

Have fun!