The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wheat bread trouble

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rob hadsen's picture
rob hadsen

Wheat bread trouble

Newby here.  I was initially successful, but my last few tries at whole wheat bread collapsed.  I see that many recipes call for gluten.  Mine did not, but it mentioned adding it if the bread collapses.  Is there a downside to adding gluten?  Is it possible to make great wheat bread without adding any?


Thanks!


 


Rob

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Depends on the protein content of your flour. Hard Wheat flour (such as in bread flour) have sufficient gluten. Other flours such as All purpose, may not have sufficient gluten, but would generally make for good loaf, though not lofty/ airy.


Having said the above, you may be over-proofing / overfermenting the dough before baking it, a common misake by novices, includin myself. The final shaped dough must be slightly under fermented when it goes into the oven, where the big boost of oven rise will occur, and will hold it to shape before it collapses.


Furthermore, wholegrain breads need either: more kneading, or gently stretching and folding, thus developing the gluten. It is sort of like an excercise; the more you give your dough stretches as it sits fermenting, the more it becomes resistant to collapse.


Mebake

rob hadsen's picture
rob hadsen

Mebake,


 


Thanks!  I used King Arthur whole wheat flour which is supposedly hard winter wheat.  I was successful the first time I made the whole wheat bread.  I did it by hand that time.  Second time I tried making it by hand it fell.  The most recent time I used a bread machine - which I  just purchased.  I followed the recipe and program in the bread machine manual.


 


Rob 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

In the same vein, I believe bread machines often over proofs the loaf. How do they(machines) know when it's ready?


The recipes supplied by many machnine manuals are perfunctory and hit and miss. There are thousand of good bread machine recipes on the web. A good place to start is kingarthurflour.com for probably the most consistently reproducible(for me) recipes.

rob hadsen's picture
rob hadsen

Thanks for the replies everyone. 


Well, I talked to the manufacturer.  The machine uses a pre-heat cycle when in "whole wheat" mode.  That may have lead to over proofing.  There is no way to turn off the pre-heat cycle, but I'm thinking that I can try using the basic bread mode (has no pre heat cycle) with the whole wheat. 


Would slightly reducing the amount of yeast be another option? 


I have made bread a half dozen or so times before without a machine with generally good results, but since there is only so much time in a day, I'd like to get the bread machine to work for me.  I like the idea of having fresh bread every couple of days and I also like the ability to just dump in the ingredients and go.


 


Rob

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

I believe I have read that adjusting the amount of yeast may help, ifthat is the problem. Another somewhat common cause of fallen loaves in bread machines is too much liquids. It will probably take you some trial and error time in experimenting with different formulas.


Also, as you suspected, the addition of vital wheat gluten may also be a remedy. Again, you're probably just going to have to experiment, until you click on something that works.


But again, try some of the recipes at King Arthur Flour. There are many more there than just in the link. You just have to browse through the site, reading the recipes for those that say just let the machine complete it's cycle.


http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/yeast-breads-and-rolls/bread-machine-breads-baked-in-machine

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

A loaf that collapses in the oven is almost always due to overproofing.


Jeff

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Well, I guess I should expect a reaction from that statement. But, seriously,all you will learn is how THAT bread machine functions.It's kind of like speed dial. Do you actually know all the numbers you have on speed dial? Most people don't and you don't have to know (until the phone is dead).


So my advice is learn how to make bread by making bread.And when there are problems, troubleshoot them here,keep track in a notebook and essentially start with 1 recipe you want to master and make it over and over.


Good ingredients are important but so is technique.King Arthur flours are great to bake with-plenty of protein. See all the tutorials on this site about working with whole wheat and how to hydrate it over time,stretch and fold,rest,autolyse,use a poolish or biga,presoaker or sponge. These are all keyword search terms and different techniques you can find on this site.There is now a great handbook for beginners.Read,try,question.


I agree with overproofing being the problem.But it makes great bird food.


Gluten will provide a great network to trap the gas bubbles and form a great looking loaf but will increase the chewiness.I have backed off using any unless I am going for that characteristic.