From the UK - First mixer-kneaded loaf is a disaster... What have I done wrong?
I'm not completely new to bread making, as a couple of years ago I bought a copy of the River Cottage Bread handbook (I'm in the UK) and made most of my own bread for a period of about 6 months. It was mainly a wholemeal/white flour mix, and it was pretty good (though by no means brilliant).
However, I've just bought a Kenwood Chef with a dough hook, in the hope that it will do most of the kneading for me, and I used it for the first time yesterday. I used a recipe from the River Cottage book, so it's not a recipe I haven't used before. However, the bread was a disaster--heavy like a brick--and now I'm wondering what I did wrong.
I used: (i) 500g (weighed) of Gilchesters Organics Stoneground Organic Unbleached White Strong Wheat flour (what a mouthful!) (ii) 1 level teaspoon of Doves Farm Quick Yeast (iii) 1 level teaspoon of salt (iv) half a teaspoon of olive oil, and (v) a little over 300ml of mixed water and semi-skimmed milk (about 75% water). I've just checked, and neither the flour nor the yeast are anywhere near their expiry dates (both some time in 2012). It's possible that the liquid was not quite as warm as it should have been.
I tipped the dry ingredients and oil into the Kenwood bowl and then added the liquid with the dough hook moving on the slowest setting. When all the liquid was in I thought the dough looked rather dry, and so I tipped in a good slosh more milk. After that I allowed it to knead on setting 1 for 10 minutes. The Kenwood book said 5, but I thought a bit longer might help. Could be that was one of my mistakes...
I found that the dough soon wrapped itself round the hook in the bowl, and would be greatful for any advice on whether that should happen because I wonder whether it didn't get a proper kneading as a result. It could be that I will need to calibrate my Kenwood (have heard tell of such things with the whisk) to ensure that it's sitting low enough in the bowl.
After 10 minutes I switched off the Kenwood and lifted up the dough hook. I felt the dough, and to my non-expert fingers it still seemed a little dry. However, not so dry that I could say that it was clearly wrong. I pulled off a very small piece and tried to stretch it out to make a window, but it was nothing like elastic enough to do that. I decided to press on, though, and see what happened.
I left the dough to rise in the Kenwood bowl (covered with clingfilm) for what was in the end about 7 hours. It was quite a cold day here and so after a few hours I even turned the heating on to try to perk it up. It really didn't rise in the way that my dough normally does, though. Eventually I concluded that it wasn't going to rise any further (I'd guess it was approximately 70% larger than immediately post-kneading) and so I followed the Kenwood instructions to knock it back by using the dough hook on minimum setting for about 45 seconds. I then turned it out onto a lightly floured surface, gave it a couple of little kneads to get a feel for it (it was very cold), shaped it, placed it in a proving basket and left it to prove.
This time it did rise noticeably, and about 90 minutes later I baked it. I've recently moved house and haven't yet replaced the oven. The oven is not reliable on temperatures and so I use a hanging temperature gauge. I put it into the oven at about 220 degrees for 10 minutes and then turned the oven down and left the bread for another 35 minutes.
When it came out it was very heavy. This morning it's like the proverbial brick. The texture is very dense. I've cut it in half through the middle and I think it is cooked all the way through. It just doesn't seem to have risen properly, though.
I'd be very grateful for help on what I've done wrong. I suspect my liquid wasn't warm enough, but presumably the fact that I left it for about 7 hours to rise should have got round that (if I'm right in thinking that the warmth is just to give the yeast a head start). I still think there wasn't enough liquid, but I'm not sure why that should be given that I've used that quantity of liquid with that amount of flour before. This is a new flour to me, though, so perhaps that could have been part of the problem...? Also, how long should I have kneaded with the dough hook? The Kenwood book suggested just 5 minutes with the dough hook, but I did 10. What is correct? Could I have over-kneaded? Or under-kneaded? And those of you who use dough hooks--do you then continue the kneading by hand before leaving the bread to rise?
As mentioned above, most of my bread has been a mix of white and wholemeal flour in the past. I did once make a 100% white loaf, though, with stellar results. Clearly it was a fluke! I had to leave it to rise for ages and ages, but when I got it out of the oven it was perfect: crispy crunchy crust with soft white inside. So I know it can be done, even by me :)
Please advise if you can, and thanks in advance for any help. Sorry for the very long post, but I didn't want to leave info out in case it was important.
Edited to add: Doh... I was thinking that the flour I used was strong white bread flour. Now that I re-read the name (Gilchesters Organics Stoneground Organic Unbleached White Strong Wheat flour) it occurs to me that perhaps it's actually wholemeal. I have to say that I sometimes find flour descriptions rather confusing. If it's not actually strong white bread flour, could that have contributed to the heaviness of the loaf?
Edited to provide photo links: I've tried to post photos but failed. However, there are two (one of the crumb, and the other of the whole loaf) on these Photobucket links.