The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread baking question

cysso's picture
cysso

Bread baking question

I'm new to this site and just baked the bread from Lesson 1. I kneeded it about 10-12 minutes and let it rise a total of about 3 hours (if you count all the rises together) and the bread came out only to about 2.5 inches at it's highest point. This just seems like it's not rising enough or something during baking. I'm wondering if I did something wrong or if that's the way it's supposed to be. Every time I bake bread it comes out about the same size, so it's either me or my loaf pan I guess. Those are the only things staying constant. My loaf pan I measured at about 9.25 x 5.25 x 2.5 inches if that helps any. Here are some pics to help so others can see what I'm talking about. I'm hoping I can resolve this so I can bake our bread for daily consumption.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi cysso,

The lack of colour in your loaf suggests the dough is "spent", or over-fermented.

What type of flour are you using?

Also, can you give detail on your temperature regimes: dough, proof, oven?

Best wishes

Andy

cysso's picture
cysso

I'm using All Purpose flour. The temp of my house is probably around 60 F and the dough was left to rise on the counter. I baked it in an electric oven (in case our it matters) at 375 F. I think I may have missed something because I'm not sure what proofing is.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Bulk fermentation is the first rise when before the dough has been divided or shaped.  Proofing is the second rise after the dough has been weighed, shaped and (in this case) put into a pan.  Go with Andy's advice as it is good advice.

Jeff

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi cysso,

I'm UK based, and All-Purpose flour doesn't mean the same over here as our flour is much weaker.   You seem to be base fairly close to the great wheat-belt, so your flour should be ok.   Protein should be a minimum of 10.5% as a GUIDE only.

60F translates to me as barely 16*C which is pretty cool to be honest.   Aim for a dough temperature between 25 and 28*C and try to maintain it at this temperature.   Make sure your dough is covered at all times as well.

I don't think you are baking hot enough either.   I'd bake panned loaves at 235*C [455F], and if you have fan-assisted then bake at 210*C/410F

How much yeast do you use, and what type?   I suspect you are employing too much bulk fermentation time.

Best wishes

Andy

jcking's picture
jcking

I'm hoping you didn't put that hot sauce in the recipe.

Jim

cysso's picture
cysso

I used one package active dry yeast. Thank you for the suggestions, I'm off to the store to buy more yeast so I can try again.

And, no, I didn't put any hot sauce in the bread, it was just on the counter when I took the picture. Although, my husband would probably love hot sauce bread... Lol

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

loaf you got there. i agree w/ ananda that you probably overproofed things. the "doubling" is one thing, but a better indicator is to poke the dough after its first rising and if it holds the indent, you're fine. if i went w/ the "doubling" for one of my sourdough recipes, for example, i'd still be waiting. the dough is just too wet and heavy.

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

Yup, I have a leaden lump that I made this morning.  That it was "spent" before it went in the oven makes sense.  I tried an overnight trick (not following any directions, of course -- just winging it), then kneaded with the machine this morning and I think I killed it.  Sigh.  Well, we will eat dense, wan bread for a day or two.  It will be okay toasted.  I learn something new all the time from TFL.

jillybeansisme's picture
jillybeansisme

Slice it and make french toast with it!  As to your challenges:  1 package of yeast is 2 1/4 tsp.  Depending on the quantity you are making, that just might not be enough yeast.  I've  been  baking my own bread for over 30 years and I do not do a double rise completely.  I  will always let my dough take about a 10-15 minute "nap" in an oiled bowl and covered with a linen-type clean towel.  Then I form my loaves, slice the tops, cover them in the towel again and let them rise.

Proofing the yeast means letting it grow in the warm water used to make the recipe.  Always add a tablespoon of sugar to this yeast/water combo in order to feed the yeast.  I buy yeast 2 lbs. at a time.  The little yeast packets just aren't economically worth it to me.  But check the date on the yeast and make sure it isn't out of date.  Stores have been known to have out-of-date items . . . and definitely proof the yeast!

Proofing the loaves of bread means let them rise.  If your home remains about 60 deg. F. then it is much too cold for a quick rise.  You could put the loaves in the oven which has not been turned on and simply turn on the light in the oven to create some heat.  You could also use an electric heating pad with a towel over it. 

If you want some color on that bread, then do an egg wash before baking it.  Simply whisk one egg with about a tablespoon of cold water and brush it on.  It makes the bread shiny and golden brown. 

Pretty much I bake all of my yeast breads between 350-375 deg F, unless it is a flat bread.

I hope this helps, but you can read some more tips at www.BakingBread-101.com.  Don't give up.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I don't agree about proofing instant yeast with lots of sugar.   If you didn't use so much sugar you wouldn't kill so much yeast and therefore need more.  Mixing it into the flour is the better way.  I do agree about raising the dough temps and covering the bread dough.

Cysso, I think by placing the dough from lesson one into a bread pan you set yourself up for an interesting comparison.  I believe the loaf in lesson one is free standing and smaller than what your pan would require to fill fully.  If you compare the pictures, they are not so far off from each other.  

I do believe a warmer rise (or a longer rise, you choose) would help and also baking the loaf longer or hotter is worth a try.   Just change those things.   Waiting for the next loaf  

Mini  :)

cysso's picture
cysso

I tried again and it was so much better this time. Still a but flat, but I think practice will make it better. Thank you so much for all the helpful ideas on how to make my bread more awesome.

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

As someone said this recipe is for a small free standing loaf. I would suggest you look for a recipe designed to go into a pan, most of which will also have some enrichments (sugar, fat, etc) OR make it as a free-standing loaf.

My loaf pans are smaller than yours (about 9x5) and I have a ball of dough rising that weighs about 850 grams. The recipe in lesson one only has about 360-375 grams of flour and about 270 grams of water so it way too little for your pan. For white bread you probably want 950-1000 grams of dough.

Good luck.

jillybeansisme's picture
jillybeansisme

I don't consider one tablespoon of sugar to be that considerable an amount considering it will be going into an entire loaf of bread.  Not knowing the particular recipe used, I simply had to go by my experience.  In 30 years of baking bread, I've always used one tablespoon of sugar in the yeast proofing and have never had an issue.  This is not for breads in which I use a biga.  It is simply those which have a quick rise and bake (such as my sandwich bread).  I've also never made just one loaf of bread (more like 3-6 at a time). 

Sugar feeds yeast, but salt and fats will kill the yeast, which is why you always add flour before salt, eggs, or oils.  Everyone has their own thoughts on the matter.  But no matter what, we all want you to have success in baking bread!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but the recipe is for about half a loaf (recipe is in the lessons) and a tablespoon of sugar is a lot to proof yeast.  A teaspoon would be enough.  Have you read the study about giving yeast too much sugar?   The problem is the beasties go like gangbusters and wear themselves out.  I guess "kill" was too strong,  more like "run most of them into the ground at super speeds."   (I can see experiments on yeast stamina already!)

Professor Laurence Hurst, Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder at the University of Bath, explained: "We found that yeast used sugar more efficiently when it was scarce, and so having 'cheats' in the population stopped the yeast from wasting their food.

"Secondly we found that because yeast cannot tell how much sucrose is available to be broken down, they waste energy making invertase even after there is no sugar left. This puts a brake on population growth. But if most of the population are 'co-operators' and the remainder are 'cheats', not all of the population is wasting their energy and limiting growth.  

http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/2010/09/14/slacker-yeast/

food for thought,  Mini

 

jillybeansisme's picture
jillybeansisme

Actually, I haven't read or heard of the study, but that is interesting.  Apology appreciated but not necessary.  I just thought we were having a bit of a discussion.  I will restate that I use about a tablespoon of sugar to prove my yeast BUT it is for 3 large loaves of bread.  Whatever the "lessons" are--if that is a half loaf, then it would be about 1/2 teaspoon of yeast.  Anyway, it is a formula that seems to work for me.  I'm actually not real scientific about making bread as some artisans are, but it tastes great when I'm done and that's all that counts!

Happy Holidays  Everybody!

 

LisaAlissa's picture
LisaAlissa

If you need a recipe proportioned for a single loaf of bread (in a bread pan), here is one:

4 cups (500g) flour

1-1/2 c (350g) water (72F/22C)

1-1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp dry yeast (or 1-1/2 tsp fresh yeast)

3/4 tsp sugar to proof yeast (if using dry yeast)

Here's what mine pretty consistently looks like:

To proof dry yeast, use a small bowl, and put the dry yeast in the bottom, put the sugar on top of the yeast.  Then take about a half a cup of the water from the recipe and heat it until tepid (that is, skin temperature--it shouldn't feel either hot or cold against your skin) and pour it gently over the sugar.  Leave it alone for 10 to 15 minutes.  If your yeast is good, it should be foamy or puffy looking.  Pour the proofed yeast in when you add the water.

I think that you didn't give it long enough to rise at each stage.  When your kitchen is cool it can take a long, long time for the bread to rise.  Three hours for both the initial rise and the post-shaping rise in a kitchen as cool as yours is simply not enough.  You need to either allow more time, or let it rise in a warmer place.  

When my kitchen is at 70F (as it is this time of year) the first rise can take 3-4 hours and the second rise is another 1 to 2 hours.  Your kitchen is colder and would take even longer.  Yes, I know that the recipe you were using uses (proportionately speaking) a lot more yeast.  But even so... 

I use (and suggest you do too) GermanFoodie's method of determining when the rise is "done."  That is, when your push finger against the risen dough, and then pull it away, if the dough springs back, it's not done yet.  If you can still see the indentation where you pushed against the dough, you're ready to move to the next step.

You can use your oven as a draft-free place to allow the bread to rise.  But be careful with this.  Heat does kill yeast--115/120F will kill it. If you decide to try this, turn on your oven for a few minutes.  It shouldn't be hot...just comfortably warm.  You should be able to put your hand on the oven rack and find it still cool.  You need to be able to leave your hand there comfortably--if it's warmer than that, it's too warm as a place for your bread dough to rise.  

Another idea if you use a stoneware crock as the bowl to let your dough rise in is to rinse the bowl in hot water, dry it off, then add the oil before the dough goes into it.  Then cover with wax paper or plastic wrap.  Finally, wrap the whole thing in a warm-from the dryer terrycloth towel.  

Or just scout around your house for a warm, draft-free place that you can park your dough while it rises.

HTH,

LisaAlissa