The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Troubleshooting Lesson 2 Recipe

absolutlyfab1's picture
absolutlyfab1

Troubleshooting Lesson 2 Recipe

What in the world am I doing wrong? haha! I followed the recipe for lesson two for the sweet butter bread and it comes out looking like it has ears and its very dense on the outside and crunchy on the outside. This seems to happen with all my bread. It also has an off smell when I cut it, almost chemical-y. If someone could give me a couple pointers that would be wonderful! Please let me know if more information is needed! :)

Thanks!

Jackie

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

And yes, more information is always needed!  ;)

From the photo, I'd say the loaf was overproofed before it got to the oven.  Clues include: uneven light color, collapsed dome, uneven crumb texture.  The odor might also indicate the presence of compounds formed during an over-long fermentation.

If you are following the formula in Lesson 2 to a T, here are some other things to consider.  Your house temperature may be warmer than Floyd's was when he put the lesson together; that would mean your dough fermented more than his did in the same amount of time.  Since you probably can't go back in time to pay him a visit and check on his ambient conditions, watch the dough and ignore the clock (note that this advice applies to both the first and second ferments or rises).  When the dough is ready, it's ready.  You may not be kneading the dough as thoroughly as required, which would also lead to a coarse crumb.  You may need to work on your shaping technique to get a nice, tight skin on the loaf so that it holds its shape better as it ferments and bakes.  The gluten-forming characteristics of the flour that you are using may not be as strong as that of the flour that Floyd used.

Since I'm not sure which, if any, of those possibilities might apply to your case (hence the need for more information), I'll close with best wishes for your next bake.

Paul

absolutlyfab1's picture
absolutlyfab1

Thank you so much, even without more information, I think you've helped a lot. I think I let it rise too long, and I don't think I knead long enough. I usually let my dough rise in a slightly warm oven for whatever length of time required, but it may have been too warm. Does it appear that I'm baking it long enough, I'm always afraid i'm going to burn it. I should just burn one just to get the fear out of me. Theres so many little things that can go wrong with a simple loaf of bread... I'll keep these tips in mind for the next loaf and will report back ! :P