The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Loaf is too soft

  • Pin It
ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Loaf is too soft

Today- with much help from the wonderful folk on this site, I baked a bread recipe using a scaled up version of my very basic bread ingrediants I found on another site.

All was going well, and as expected, untill I finished the cooking process. At which point it become obvious my loaf was very very soft. And by soft, I mean I can squeeze it and its almost like a sponge.

I was a bit worried, so I cut a slice assuming the inside would be some gooey mess, but it wasnt! it was just like normal bread and tasted actually very nice.

I am just wondering where it went wrong in regards to this softness?
Some information for the baking sherlocks!

recipe:
625g Strong white bread flour
50g unsalted butter
2 1/2 teapsoons of salt (I know I shouldnt mix the volumes and weights, but I had no idea how to weigh so little salt)
1 7g sachet of fast action dried yeast
375ml of water (Although I noticed it less than this to actually get the mixture to stick together, so I didnt use it all- could this have been an issue?)

Other variants from usual procedure I used: Longer rising on the first and second time. The first because it just took longer and the second because I had to deal with a phone call. My kitchen was slightly warmer than it usually would have been. (although my kitchen is usually pretty cold so I dont think this would be a problem?)

Any ideas? For the life of me I do not have a clue where I messed up.


Thanks,
Charlie

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Charlie,

That doesn't sound too bad! You changed several parameters of the recipe (amount, yeast content, proof), and you are happy with taste and crumb.

How did you actually bake it? Temperature, Time in the oven, cooling? A bigger loaf will need more time.

Also, a picture would be helpful.

It doesn't sound at all like you messed up!

Cheers,

Juergen

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Its incredible how silly I can be you know. I scaled everything up apart from the cooking time. . . 

I was thinking about it last night, and could have almost hit myself for my plain stupidity.
All the care and effort I put to avoid messing up and I forget a basic thing like that!

But as I said, it was not a total disaster, I had some last night and it was very tasty. So I can only thank you for your advice in regards to yeast etc. Pictures! I did take on actually to show my brother over twitter, so let me see if I can work out the image tags-

This was not too long after it had come out of the oven, so it does not look so bad. But even at this point, you can see it starting to deflate a little.

Oh, and I cooked it on 200c for about half an hour.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Charlie,

As others have said, the butter softens your bread quite a bit.

You are baking at 200C. Nothing wrong with that, but if you want a crisp crust you should try starting at higher temperatures. Lots of people bake with "falling temperatures", which means they start hot and lower the temperature during baking.

Usually for white bread of your size I do 10 minutes at 240C (That's all my oven gives me) and then turn to 110C after 10 minutes, and bake for a total of ca. 40 minutes.

I tried another variation (from an Italian blog) which gave an excellent crust: Preheat the oven to max (for at least 30 minutes), put the bread in and turn down to 200C , and bake for ca. 50 minutes for your loaf size. Of course you need to watch - you don't want to burn your loaf.

Best Wishes,

Juergen

 

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Yesterday, I tried 150% or my original loaf. (used slightly less butter as instructed by another user).

I think I left it in the oven a little bit long, as it was a really dark crust. But it tasted brilliant! It did not go spongey like my previous attempt and had a really great texture and taste to it. Everyone who tried it like it. :)

Will definately try that falling temp method. Having great fun mixing and matching methods people suggest on this site.

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Yes, a bit longer bake will cause it to dry out more. How long did you bake? 

At the same time, it's probably soft because you have almost 10% butter in your recipe, which is fairly rich, and will cause a softer crumb. Reduce it to 2% or less if you want to make it leaner and potentially heartier. 

 

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Cooked at about 200c for half an hour.

I realised last night that I had failed to increase my cooking time. Stupid move, I know.
And thanks for the tip on the butter! Will try that with my next batch.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Just to be clear: larger loaves need a somewhat longer baking time, but seldom anywhere near the same scaling as the ingredients. For example, if you double (200%) all the ingredients and make more loaves, the baking time will be unchanged. And if you double (200%) all the ingredients and make a single giant loaf, the baking time will increase to something very roughly like 135%.

I'm not aware of any formula for exactly how much the baking time increases (mathematically describing loaf shape and size is tricky:-). So use your favorite methods to judge the doneness of the bake: internal temperature, or bottom thump, or perhaps feel (but definitely not color, and definitely not exactly the same time as before). If the crust threatens to get too dark and crunchy, cover the top of the loaf with something reflective, such as a piece of tinfoil, for the last part of the bake.

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Yes, I learned this yesterday! I scaled to 150%, but it didnt take the scaled up time to be done (about 35-40 minutes.)
Thought I had burnt it, but as it turns out, it was just right! delicious.

Used less butter as well, worked out really well.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Reminds me of a giant roll.  Thin shell on the outside with a fluffy inside.  Soft eh?  Pop it back in a hot oven for 5-8 minutes to crispen up the crust.  You didn't say much about your mixing method, therein lies the secrets.

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Giant roll! fantastic. Yes, my shaping does leave a little to be desired. I find my knife isnt long enough to cut across sometimes because it does take the roll shape.lol

Costas's picture
Costas

Hi!

500gr bread flour(no strong)

300gr water(your kitchen is hot so use half fridge half tap water)

20gr butter(soft in room temperature)

10gr salt

10gr fresh yeast

mix with hook 5 min first gear -8 min second gear

there are many ways but i will mention 2

1)like and only like rustic...rest the whole dough for 45 min

half the dough and shape 2 boule

rest them for another 45 min

preheat the oven 220 c

place something metal and pour some water in to generate steam
(put it above your bread)

with a sharp for you better a serrated knife slash the surface of the dough 3-4 times

load your breads in the oven

bake for 15 min

take out the "steam generator"

continue baking for 25-30 min

2)for a san-franhisco style crust

everything is same except from

a)you will not let the dough ferment..after the mixing shape boule s,final proof them...etc

b)leave the steam generator for 20min (but  turn heat down after 15min)

c)slash the boule right after you have shape them

I do not thing you will have any problem!

And of course buy "bread" by jeffrey hammelman...there are a lot of things you got to learn and this book i thimk it is the best to start with!