The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rules of thumb

lhowemt's picture

Rules of thumb

HI Everyone-

I am new to bread baking, having picked up a machine at the goodwill about 2 months ago.  I've been baking bread like crazy, and been loving it.  I've got a multigrain recipe that I LOVE and want to modify it to add some oats.  I threw some in, and it ended up a small dense loaf.  So I've been doing some internet research trying to find out what general rules of thumb are, and haven't found any.  What I'm wondering is essentially what the effects of a bit more or less yeast does, a bit more or less water does, how to add oats to a recipe (do I add water also, or subtract flour?).  I know I need to do something different than just throwing some oats in, but I'm not sure exactly what.


Example, I've got another recipe for cottage cheese/shallot/dill bread that I love, but it is a bit small (not even 1/2 the loaf pan when done) and a bit too dense even with 3 cups of flour.  So I just made it, and unfortunately changed 2 things, and I'm not sure which caused what.  I went from 1/4 cup water, to 1/2 cup water, and also from 1.5 tsp yeast to just over 2 tsp yeast (a bit of a brain mix up on the yeast).  I know I should only change on thing at a time when experimenting, but I made a mistake on the yeast and put in the amount for my multigrain recipe which I make all the time.  This loaf went from a to-die-fo dense delicious loaf to a over the top of the pan puffy loaf that is kind of the classic yukky bread machine texture (sort of). 

So I wonder, and haven't found any general references, and am not sure if it's even as straightforward as I ask. If anyone would like to weigh in on general rules of thumb, I'd love to hear them.



spsq's picture

Your particular model should come with a "troubleshooting" guide in the recipe book.  If not, google it.   Precise measurements of all ingredients affects the outcome.


One thing I often do is to mix my bread dough in the machine, take it out before the  last rising and rise/bake it in a pan.  Makes great "homemade" loaves, and you have a better indication of rise.