The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First Time Baking Bread :) Quick Question!

abovethelau's picture

First Time Baking Bread :) Quick Question!

So I have been baking all my life, but have never ventured into the land of bread (other than sweet breads, doughnuts etc.) and yesterday I decided to make the plunge and bake my first loaf of white bread.

My recipe made enough dough for two loaves, so I baked one loaf and put the rest of the dough into the fridge so I could make it today (after I had tried my first loaf). My first loaf was tasty and gorgeous but sadly super dense, which was okay for a first try but not perfect by any means.

I was able to determine that my mistake was not kneading enough but now am not sure what to do about my second loaf. The second loaf which is in the fridge has already risen, so I'm not sure if I can bring it up to room temperature and re-knead it or if that will ruin the bread. Can someone give me any insight into what I should do?

Should i bring the second batch up to temperature, re-knead and let it re-rise? Should I just call it a day and make another dense loaf of bread and remember to knead more the next time?

Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!

jcking's picture

IF you had it in a loaf pan, go ahead and bake it. Start the oven, take the loaf out, and bake after 30 to 45 mins. Your first loaf sounds like it needs more water. the overnite in the fridge will make up for underkneading, if that's the problem. If the second loaf turns out okay, it needed more kneading. If it is still heavy, you'll need to add more water.


ehanner's picture

Welcome to TFL. As was mentioned above, the overnight in the fridge might have strengthened the dough a little, if that was the issue. I would let it rise in a warm place if you can to see if you can get puffed up some. You didn't really give any specifics so it's hard to be helpful.


naschol's picture

Did you use an instant yeast or active dry?  How many times did you knead before placing in fridge?


If you used active dry and only kneaded once before placing in fridge, it should be fine to knead, again.  Sometimes, instant yeast will give out.


However, as dough sits, the gluten also develops so you might be ok just baking it right from the fridge.  If it appears to have risen as much as it should, I would just stick it in a preheated oven right from the fridge without allowing to come to room temp.  I have done that before and it works well.


I will be interested to see what others say!  Good luck!





abovethelau's picture

This is the recipe I used:


2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour


In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.


I followed these instructions and when i separated the 2 loaves I put one in the loaf pan for the second rise and put the other in the fridge.  The texture seemed good but it did feel a little heavy.  I have made doughs before and am pretty sure there was enough water, I think it just was under kneaded, but then again I haven't done it before so I could be wrong :) I kneaded it for about 10 minutes but I dont think it would have passed the window pane test.

Thanks for your help so far, I hope this helps you understand my problem.  I definitely will not re-knead!

naschol's picture

Sounds like you're set!


The resting in the fridge should take care of the underkneading, so baking is all that's needed.  If it doesn't look like it's fully risen, let it come to room temp first.  If you think it looks good, just straight in the oven.  I have found that if you put it in the oven cold when fully risen, it doesn't tend to overinflate and fall.


Let us know how it turns out.



abovethelau's picture

I folded the dough over a few times, brought it back to room temperature, stuck it in the oven and it was perfect white bread!!

Thanks for all of your help!


naschol's picture

Congratualtions, Laura!


A success is a great motivator, isn't it?  :-)



msbreadbaker's picture

Hi Abovethelau,

The recipe you gave is the Amish White Bread from the Allrecipe website and a very similar Amish bread from Bernard Clayton. I make this bread all the time and it is very delicious and light. I did reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup and it is still sweet. This recipe has very good flavor as sandwich bread and is excellent as toast as well.

I have found this recipe to be nearly fool-proof, always works and with the amounts specified. It doesn't take very long either, rises perfectly.

When you learn more about kneading, you will find the same thing. I use my 6 qt KA Pro mixer to knead, (on #2) after mixing with the paddle. You don't have to knead more than 5-6 minutes and you will get the window pane.

Happy baking, this is one of my keepers along with a string of sourdoughs. Jean P. (VA)