The Fresh Loaf

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need help for sandwich bread texture

shanenian's picture
shanenian

need help for sandwich bread texture

Hello, everyone

 

I try to bake sandwich bread but can't get the right texture. There are various sizes of holes in my bread and the structure of the sliced bread is quite loose, when I sliced the loaf, there are many little bread crumbs falling from the surface of the sliced bread. My recipe are 400g white strong flour, 240g water, half teaspoon of yeast, a little bit of salt and olive oil. I knead for about 15 to 20 minutes and the dough can pass windowpane test. First rise for 2 to 2 and a half hours and second rise for 1 hour.The bread texture I want is uniform little hole and the bread structure would be stronger than what I have now. Does any one have any idea how can I do it.

 

Looking forward to your replys.

 

Thank you!

 

AW's picture
AW

This sounds like it might be a problem with de-gassing and shaping. After your final rise:

  • De-gass the dough (press out large, visible bubbles)
  • Form the dough into a rectangle
  • Roll it up tight
  • Tuck the sides under the roll
  • Place it in a greased loaf pan

If you are looking for a very tight crumb, try a 9" Pain de Mie Pan (Pullman Loaf Pan).


The only other thing I can think of is that there might not be enough fat in your recipe. See the sandwich loaf formula I have. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/16345/whole-wheat-sandwich-bread

Chuck's picture
Chuck

In a way you're quite lucky; most folks here have the opposite query/problem (i.e. how to produce a more open crumb with "bigger" and "more varied" holes).

The first thing I notice is your amount of yeast seems very small (although your rise times seem typical). Is that a typo? Is it really 1/2 T(ablespoon) rather than 1/2 t(easpoon)? (I can never keep them straight; that's why I have a pocket digital scale with 1/10 gram resolution and specify even the "small" ingredients [yeast, salt] in grams - no persnickety teaspoons/Tablespoons for me:-)

To some extent (there are several other factors too), higher hydration will produce a more open crumb and lower hydration a more closed crumb. Your recipe's hydration level is 60%, which seems reasonable (I'd expect somewhere in the range 55%-60% for a closed-crumb sandwich loaf, and somewhere in the range 70%-80% for an extremely open crumb).

One piece of advice for folks who want bigger holes is to minimize the deflation between bulk proof and final shaped proof (in other words retain the bubbles across both fermentations). It seems you'd want to do just the opposite: at least "deflate" (other terms for the same thing are "knock back" or sometimes even "punch down") the dough fairly vigorously between bulk proof and shaping, and maybe even "knead" the bulk risen dough a few more strokes before shaping loaves to be sure all but the tiniest bubbles get popped.

As to the crumbiness, my first suspect is baking time: how do you tell when the loaves are done? My second suspect is a dull slicing knife. And I'd try using lots of olive oil rather than just a little bit; maybe 5% of the weight of the flour (i.e. 20 grams), or maybe even double that amount. [Although oil has no water content and so doesn't change the hydration level at all, my experience is it can make the dough more slack anyway; you may have to omit a little bit of the water when adding a whole lot of oil in order to still have the dough come out easily workable.]

(I'm curious about a few things you haven't told us yet: 1] are these "freestanding" loaves or "panned" loaves? 2] what's the temperature where your dough rises? 3] what kind of flour are you using? and 4] has it worked right in the past, or has this problem always occurred?)

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi shanenian,

Much of the advice above is good and should help you along the way.

Thorough de-gassing after bulk proof to enable you to obtain tight and uniform shaping is the first area to look at.

I echo Chuck's preference for a scale to weigh the small ingredients; these small ingredients often have the greatest bearing on dough performance.   Weigh salt at 1.8% of the flour.   I assume you used dried yeast, which I don't have much experience of using, but would advise 1-2% on flour.   Regarding fat, I would change from olive oil to a hard white fat.   Palm fat is excellent, weigh at between 1 and 2%, no more.   The reason is that the fat will coat the gluten strands and afford protection to the strength of these strands as the dough rises...particularly useful in the very early phase in the oven if you use a fat with high melting point.   The trouble with increasing the fat/oil levels is that the fat will start to de-nature the protein, as opposed to protecting it.   Hydration is ok at 60%, but don't go any lower, providing you are using good quality flour.   I am reading the crumb description when slicing the bread as an indication it may be a bit dry.   I look for 63% hydration in panned sandwich breads, so long as the flour is good enough to take that level.   If you do increase hydration, then you should be ready to cut down the bulk fermentation time.

The area you need to look at for yourself is this bulk fermentation time.   Your description sugests the dough is properly developed.   Note Chuck's really good points about clarifying the yeast levels, and, in particular, the temperature and conditions for the dough during the bulk cycle.   You need sufficient fermentation in the dough to engender the necessary dough rheology, and good even rate of fermentation in the dough.   But, if you take it a little too far, the crumb will probably be more open than you are really looking for, and the dough will be difficult to thoroughly de-gas.

Of course, commercial bakers can eliminate bulk fermentation by using chemical and enzymatic improvers.   But, let's not go down that route as it will completely spoil the taste, flavour and character in your bread.

All good wishes

Andy

shanenian's picture
shanenian

Thanks a lot everyone for your advice!

 

I find my original description is not clear enough, this is some additional information. First I use a loaf-pan to bake, the flour I use is white strong bread flour "Allinson" brand and these problems always exit. Second I really just use half teaspoon not tablespoon of yeast. The temperature that first and second rise take place is around 80 F. And I bake at 180 C for 35 minutes.Below is the picture of my bread

This is the pan I use

Hope this can provide enough information to diagnose my problem.

 

Looking forward to your response.

 

Thank you!

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi,

180C is quite cold for a bake, the centre of the loaf looks  undercooked to me, and the crust is pale.

Bread needs a strong heat at the beginning to close the pores and keep all the gases inside to lift it - that's a main difference to cakes.

Try preheating the oven at maximum, then turn to 230C and bake for 25 minutes (for a 500g loaf).

It also looks to me slightly overprooved.

Andy's comments are excellent; Thank you for the clarification about the fat!

Happy Baking,

Juergen

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi

This is good flour; but the crumb looks distinctly under-developed, and the split on the lower right portion between crum and crust is clearly a fault.   Maybe you could put a bit more energy into mixing?   I'm assuming you mix by hand.

However, Juergen has identified a major problem.   Your baking temperature is not hot enough.

Best wishes

Andy

clazar123's picture
clazar123

The picture was very helpful.

The thing that hits me immediately is the flying crust-on the side. You can see where the crust has separated from the crumb. That indicates a shaping issue and that is something that takes time and practice. Watch some of the shaping videos on this site or even youtube.

The other thought that strikes me is I wonder how much bench flour you use when kneading.  A possibility is to use an oiled tabletop and hands for kneading (lightly coated-not much) or just use very little flour for kneading. OR increase the hydration and add more bench flour in the kneading process.  OR hold back a little flour and add it at bench kneading.Your choice but get a notebook and keep track of what you did. It will help you tremendously!

Another thought is that, even though you have a small amount of yeast, it seems plenty active and at 80F it is plenty warm. It may be that 2 hours is too long a fermentation time. Is it doubled or tripled? Can you put it in a clear container so you can actually mark the side to see when it is doubled? A clear plastic storage container works-just oil it first. Right along with that is that the second proofing-in the pan-may need to be shorter. Enter "poke test" in the search box.

The most important thing is to keep baking! Each loaf adds to your experience-as long as you are tracking what you are doing and changing with the intent of learning from that loaf.

Have delicious fun!

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

This flying crust reminds me of bakes I did myself.

It looks to me (from my own experience) as if there might be two reasons for the flying - or better split - crust in this case:

1. Low hydration + shaping: the crust separates easily when cutting.

2. Not enough heat: the crust sticks to the pan and comes loose when the pan is removed.

I hope this is helpful.

One (or rather two) last thing:

You got so much good advice from very very skilled people here,

Avoid confusion by

- changing only one thing at a time for each bake

- taking notes, treat yourself to a nice baking diary.

Cheers,

Juergen

shanenian's picture
shanenian

Thanks very much to everyone for your advice. Really teach me many things.

I will begin my latest attempt right after this comment and of course the result will be shown once I have it.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

After looking at your pictures, I suspect my earlier response emphasized the wrong issue (crumb tightness), and the main issue is really the dryness/crumbliness.

Compared to a loaf with a fairly "open" crumb like the one below, your crumb is already quite tight:

In fact, your crumb doesn't look all that different from the sandwich loaf below that could be judged a success. Yours has a few holes that are larger than the rest, but by no means are "really large". In fact, I'm not sure the larger holes are even really a problem; they don't look large enough to allow jam to "drip through"  ...or am I still missing something?

So it seems the main problem is the crumbliness, something others have addressed much better than I ever could (although I'll try:-). Are the crumbs "dry" crumbs, or are they soggy little balls (sort of like spitballs)?

While I've exclusively used much higher baking temperatures for "artisan" style bread recently, so now 350F/180C feels "low", I remember years ago baking everything at that temperature and having it work just fine. What concerns me more is how long the bread is baked. Do you use internal temperature to judge doneness, and if so what temperature do you shoot for? (As the desired temperature gets quite close to the boiling point of water, that test becomes finicky and it's easy to overbake.) Dryness and crumbliness suggest being in the oven too long,

(As lots of diagnoses mention either "underproofed" or "overproofed", at the risk of beating a dead horse, I'd suggest triple-checking that yeast amount with the original recipe. Although it may not be your typo, it may be somebody else's transcription error; can you locate a printed copy of the original recipe? Proofing in a very warm place could compensate for not enough yeast, so it appeared to be about right anyway, but the development would be a little screwy, quite possibly leading to exactly the issues you're experiencing.)

 

 

shanenian's picture
shanenian

Hi, Chuck

 

The crumbs of my bread are soggy little balls, not 'dry' at all.

 

Thank you!

 

Nian

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Hmmm. Those soggy balls usually come from a sticky crumb glomming onto the knife, then rolling up like snowballs. It's possible they're caused by either using an over-dull knife, or by sawing way too energetically with way too much downward pressure, or by slicing the bread immediately when it comes out of the oven rather than waiting for it to cool as you should. But the most likely thing is the bread is under-baked. So: is the whole loaf a bit spongy/soggy, or only the little balls that drop off?

I'm trying to reconcile "dry crumb" with "soggy balls" in my mind, and getting stuck. But looking back I see that "dry crumb" is a false lead; it was somebody else's guess and was not in your original description. So maybe underbaking is the issue after all. Which leads me back to the same old questions: how long do you bake the loaf? and how do you know when the loaf is done and ready to come out of the oven?

(It seems to me you've got things 98% right already, and are just stuck on this one remaining issue. It seems to me you're [quite reasonably] looking for the one small change that will fix this one issue. That's why I'm avoiding any suggestion of starting all over with a different recipe or a dramatically different procedure or a different way of handling your oven temperature:-)

 

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I suggest, if you want a superior, soft, tight-crumbed, high volume sandwich bread, you read txfarmer's blog entry on soft sandwich bread. See also her extremely soft sandwich bread blog entry.

Using her techniques has tremendously improved my sandwich breads. I've even managed to get 40% rye to make a soft sandwich bread. (50% rye gives me problems in generating enough gluten strength.)

cheers,

gary

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Nian,

There are a lot of great formulas out there, but I learned most by repeating the same one over and over again, with little variations. The lean formulas, like yours, have shown themselves to be the more challenging ones, but they open up a new (baking-) world for you once you master them.

The formula you use is quite standard, it’s a good one to learn a lot of things. I was on a baking course where we used just these ratios to make the most delicious cottage cobs (see bloomer style bread below).

I translated the formula for your bread into bakers percent, assuming 1% fat as recommended by Andy, and 2% salt, and assuming you used instant yeast. 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast weighs 2g.

Ingredient

Amount

Percent

Flour

400g

100

Water

240g

60

Oil

4g

1

Salt

8g

2

Yeast (instant)

2g (makes 6g fresh)

0.5 (1.5 fresh)

Yield

654g

163.5

I checked my recipes; this formula not unusual for bloomer type breads or German white breads. Only that they would use preferments.

Here is a table for straight, bloomer type, German bread and bread with poolish using the above amounts:

Ingredient

Straight

Bloomer

German

With Poolish

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-Ferment

None

Eighth Sponge

Hefestueck

Poolish

Flour

0g

50g

240g

40g

Water

0g

30g

240g

40g

Yeast (instant)

0g

0.5g

2g

0.2g

Yield

0g

80.5g

442g

80.2g

 

 

 

 

 

Dough

 

 

 

 

Pre-Ferment

0g

80.5g

442g

80.2g

Flour

400g

350g

160g

360g

Water

240g

210g

0g

200g

Oil

4g

4g

4g

4g

Salt

8g

8g

8g

8g

Yeast (instant)

2g

1.5g

0g

1.8g

Yield

654g

654g

654g

654g

 

 

 

 

 

The “straight” bread is what you have done so far.

For the bloomer type bread and the bread with poolish mix the sponge 12 to 18 hours before the bake and leave it at room temperature. (To get 0.2 g of yeast just measure 1 g, pour it onto paper and divide it into 5 equal portions.)

For the German method prepare the preferment about 90 minutes before the bake and let sit at room temperature.

Then mix and knead as usual. The Bloomer, German and poolish doughs will need less time for the bulk proof than the straight dough.

I will try and bake these over the weekend, and I’ll also try and reproduce your result.

I still believe that the major issue with your bread is the cold bake, followed by shaping.

Cheers,

Juergen

 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi, I managed a test bake today, with the straight formula above.

I made a batch scaled to 600g of flour to make 2 loaves.

Ambient temperature was 78F.

After kneading I divided the dough into 2 portions of 480g each.

I treated one according to the process given by Nian: bulk rise 2 hours, final proof 1 hour, baked at 180C for 40minutes (missed the 35 minutes mark because I was cleaning the fish tank). Let's call this one "Watch the clock".

The other portion I treated as I would normally do with my current knowledge: 1 hour bulk peoof with 1 fold after 20 min, poke test to verify readiness of the dough, shaping, 45min final proof, poke test OK, bake in pre-heated oven (450C), turned down to 230C immediately, 30 minutes. Let's call this "watch the dough".

The result looks like this:

The "watch the clock" bread showed signs of an overprooved bread: no oven spring at all. And the crumb separates very easily along the boundaries of the dogh as they were before shaping. The bake has been ok, taste is ok, crumb is moist but not crumbly.

The "watch the dough" version has great oven spring, a bit of tearing along the edge of the loaf pan and a consistent crumb.

The taste is good as well.

Conclusion:

The formula makes quite a nice sandwich bread (my family like it), there is nothing wrong with that.

Nian, I suspect your oven is cooler than the dial says, which is nothing unusual.

I have a few questions for you: Do you have an oven thermometer? Do you use a baking stone? Do you have a fan oven?

On which level do you bake your bread? How long do you preheat your oven for?

Generally it's a good idea to respond to the needs of the dough and not to the timing given in a recipe, but that can sometimes be a challenging learning curve (I'm still on it).

Best Wishes,

Juergen

shanenian's picture
shanenian

Hi, Juergen

 

First of all, thank you very much. I never thought someone would go this far to help me. To answer your question, I do not have a oven thermometer,  nor a baking stone. But I am considering buying a oven thermometer. There is a LED indicator on my oven that tells me the oven is at the selected temperature, but I don't think I will trust it any more. For the level of bread that I bake, I wait until the bread rises to the edge of the bread pan. Yesterday I baked another bread and I used 210 C (indicated on oven) for 40 minutes. The result gets no better. But I find that the texture at the side of the loaf is slightly better then it in the middle of the loaf(crumbs fell from the surface of the sliced bread, structure is quite loose). I am wondering if that's because the side of the loaf is thinner then the middle, so the heat can penetrate the thin area but not the thick  area. I will use higher temperature next time to confirm my hypothesis. And by the way, can you please tell me how to do poke test?

 

Thank you very much!

Nian

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Nian,

The led indicator tells you only that that piece of air touching the sensors has the desired temperature.

I found after I got an oven thermometer, that with the dial on 250 some parts of the oven never gor warmer than 170!

I could resolve this for my oven by adding in additional baking pans. I've got a fan-only oven.

Then pre-heating: I usually switch my oven to max when the dough is ready for the final proof. This ensures everything in the oven is as hot as it should be.

And about the poke test:

There's a lot info and photos on the internet about the poke test to determine the readiness for the oven: Poke the dough gently half-fingernail deep. When the depression stays or recovers only very slowly the loaf is ready for the bake.

At the Lighthouse Bakery I learned a poke test for the bulk proof:

Poke the dough with your wet finger, as deep as it goes. When the depression stays the dough is ready to be shaped.

I use this with very different kinds of doughs, and it works well.

Do you get any oven spring during the first 10 minutes of your bake? With this formula, you should get an expansion by about a third. If not, you waited for too long.

A couple of other questions:

What kind of yeast do you use? What's the use-by date? How do you store it? Do you use measuring spoons?

I'm  sure you'll gert great results soon!

Juergen

shanenian's picture
shanenian

Hi, Juergen

I am not sure I understand this sentence "I could resolve this for my oven by adding in additional baking pans. I've got a fan-only oven." Why an additional baking pans can help resolve the uneven heat distribution problem. And I always activate fan when I bake, I almost never bake something with the fan deactivated.

To answer your questions, I do get a oven spring during the first 10 minutes of bake, but the expansion is less than a third. I use dry active yeast, the expire date is somewhere in next year, I brought it a couple of weeks ago, store it in the refrigerator, and dissolve it in the water before I add in other ingredients and begin to knead. Last, I use measuring spoons and scale, but I plan to buy a more accurate digital scale.

Thank you!

 

Nian

 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi,

Sorry for the late reply.

I made a few experiments with baguette dough, and lots of people jumped on to help me getting a better crumb.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21952/test-tube-baking-1-white-french-bread

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22065/test-tube-baking-1-continued-white-french-bread-overproof

One problem we identified was my oven: Fan only, no heat from the bottom, very uneven heat distribution.

Mini Oven, who spends some time in Korea uses some similar equipment over there, and she had some great tips:

A baking tray upside down near the bottom can insulate some parts of the oven (aka double glazing)

The position of the baking trays and breads also agffect the airflow and heat distribution, and through many experiments I found the way that works for me most of the time. But you also have heat elements, so you won't have to go there.

Happy Baking,

Juergen

 

lumos's picture
lumos

A kind of bread you're trying to perfect is very similar to what's called 'English bread' in Japan, very popular toasting/sandwich bread over there.

This is one of the bloggers over there who's famous for her this kind of bread. Am I right in thinking a sort of crumb you're trying to achieve is similar to those photos?

 Assuming it is.... I've seen various recipes for them (and used to bake them myself) by other bloggers or professional bakers,  and many of them (especially newer recipes) use only 1/4 teaspoon (or sometimes even less) of dried yeast per 250-300g of flour (Japanese people tend to like their bread smaller and bake more often so that they can have fresher loaf) and ferment for a long time to improve the flavour, so your recipe of 1/2 tsp for 400g flour doesn't seem too little to me, though I must add most of the recipes like that do involve longer fermentation, like 6-8 hours or more, often in a fridge, to improve the flavour.  So maybe 2hr bulk fermentation is not enough?  As Juergen said, it's very important to 'watch dough' rather than a clock. 

Also, as Andy said, I think it's important to use fat or butter rather than oil to make this bread, and, if you want to maximise the volume, the fat should be added in later stage of kneading, after gluten has relatively well (but not fully) developed.

Regarding the temperature, I have seen some recipes (some by very reputable professional bakers) suggest baking at low temperature (like 170-180 C, or even lower) for the first 15-20 minutes or so, so that the crust wouldn't to get too hard too quickly and prevent the dough from gaining volume, and raise the temperature (to 200-220 C) towards the end to finish up the baking.  For example the blogger above put the dough in a cold oven, switch it on and set the thermostat to 140 C, bake for 20 minutes and raise the temperature to 200-210 C for 25 minutes (for the dough of 300g flour).  Also  I actually seen a few recipes which suggest baking at 180 C all through somewhere else, but the baking time was longer than other recipes, obviously. If my memory serves me right, I think it was something like 45-50 minutes for the dough made of 300-350g flour. 

So I think neither amount of yeast or the temperature may not be the issue here, but possibly the way you knead, how to judge the readiness of dough to shape/bake.  I may be wrong, but this is my 2 cents....;)

ETA:

It may be a difference in personal taste, but I find instant yeast more reliable and easier to use than active dry yeast.

 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Nian,

I agree with lumos on all points, Just didn't think of the coldstart methods - maybe because I never used them.

Elizabeth David mentions in her book English Bread And Yeast Cookery that virginia Woolf taught her cook in Rodmell how to bake bread, and she used pretty much your formula (substitute butter for oil), but used the coldstart method to bake.

I agree especially about the yeast: Active Dry Yeast can be a bit funny: live yeast is wrapped up in dead yeast cells, and they introduce enzymes into the dough which can soften the gluten.

Instant yeast has never failed me. You mix the yeast powder with the other dry ingredients. Can't be easier.

You mentioned that you achieve the window pane. That's an interesting point, because not every bread needs to be developed to the full. Do you knead by hand or by machine?

For shaping I find the videos by Hamelman/King Alfred Flour cited above most yseful. Watch them over and over again and do the movements. For a loaf in a tin you just need to pre-shape for an oval with about the length of the tin.

Best Wishes,

Juergen

shanenian's picture
shanenian

Hello, everyone

Just 10 minutes ago, I sliced my latest baked bread and it turns out almost like what I want, the hole is uniform and small, the structure is tight but soft, the amount of crumbs that fall from the surface of the sliced bread is reduced significantly-almost none. The recipe is 275g water 5g dry active yeast, 500g strong white bread flour, 15g sugar, 20g butter, 5g salt. I use bread maker to knead the dough(I was afraid of under kneading), let the dough rise at 80F for 1 hour and 30 minutes, after shaping let it rise for 1 hours also at 80F. Then is baking which is the key point of my success, I used to bake at 180C for 35 minutes, however, after you guys' suggestion, I first use 190C for 15 minutes, then turn down to 175C for 30 minutes(the reason that I turn down the temperature is that the surface of the loaf turn dark at 15 minutes, I turn to 175C in order to prevent it from burning). Besides the baking, I also follow your guy's suggestion that bought a digital scale so I can weight small amount ingredient accurately and a oven thermometer which let me find out that my oven's actual temperature is about 20 degrees below as indicated. All in all, really thanks everyone here whom gave me so much useful information.

lumos's picture
lumos

Congrats! Really happy for you it turned out in the way you wanted. :)

Next time, try adding fat/butter when kneading process is half-way in the bread machine. It does make a difference in how bread expand during baking. Also, you can play around with how you control the temperature when baking. As I wrote above, there're so many variations and all of them work quite satisfactory, I don't think there is no ONE definitive answer.

Oh, one thing I forgot to say is,....try spraying the surface of the dough just before putting it into an oven and create some steam in the oven. (you don't need as much steam as you'd need for artisan-styly crusty bread) This helps in gaining the volume and creating lovely light crumb, too.

Best wishes,

lumos