debugging bread recipe for better results
I was originally posting before looking for bread solutions for our hotel and happily came to a few conclusions as a result of the great help from this board, as well as a base recipe to work from to achieve the bread we need. I've tested things out (mostly testing the recipe + our new oven) in a slightly different way than the recipe was mainly intended and have come across mixed results that maybe a few people can fix up based on the details of the prep and baking.
I'll post the recipe first followed by the results after (courtesy of Ford--Thanks!!):
WHITE BREAD (SUBSTITUTIONS FOR ♥)
For the poolish
3 cup (12.8 oz.) King Arthur Bread Flour
1/4 tspn. dry active yeast
3 cup (24.9 oz.) chlorine-free water
Poolish hydration: 188%. Note: for half a cup of the bread flour you may substitute half a cup of whole-wheat flour to modify the taste and texture.
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in a little of the water, then add the rest of the water and flour and mix enough to wet all of the flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let ferment for 8 to 18 hours at room temperature. If desired, the poolish may be refrigerated after 4 hours of fermentation.
For the dough
All of the poolish
2 1/8 cup (17.6 oz.) warm scalded milk (or skim ♥)
1 tspn. dry active yeast
10 1/4 cup (43.6 oz.) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1/4 cup (2 oz.) melted butter (or corn oil ♥)
1 1/2 Tbs. (1 oz.) salt
1/4 cup (2 oz.) of melted butter (or corn oil ♥) for greasing pans and brushing the loaves
water in a sprayer
Dough hydration: 69%.
Into the bowl containing the poolish, beat in the milk, the yeast, and about 6 cups of the flour, or as much as can be readily mixed by hand. Cover and let stand for half an hour or an hour (autolyse).
Mix in the 2 ounces melted butter, the salt, and as much of the rest of the flour as convenient. Scrape the dough on to a surface dusted with bread flour and thoroughly knead the dough, adding flour from the measured amount as necessary until the dough is smooth. For a more open structure, minimize the amount of flour. For a more dense structure, add additional flour. Allow the dough to rest for about ten minutes and then knead some more. This dough will be elastic and smooth. Place the dough into a greased bowl (about a teaspoon of corn oil) and cover to rise to double the volume, about an hour. Gently degas the dough by folding it on itself.
With melted butter, thoroughly brush three loaf pans (2 qt size, 9 5/8" x 5 1/2" x 2 3/4"). Divide the dough into three equal pieces (about 32 to 34 oz. each). Shape each piece to fit the bottom of each pan, puncturing the large bubbles. Place the loaves in the pans, seam side down. Brush the top of the loaves with melted butter. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let rise until the domes are about 2 inches above the tops of the pans. Bread benefits from retardation. (Place in the refrigerator when dough just reaches the top of the pan and remove next day and allow to come to room temperature.)
Preheat oven to 450°F with a pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf, with the middle shelf being reserved for the bread pans. A large broiler pan works well. When the dough has risen above the tops of the pans (about an hour), spray them with water, and immediately place them into the oven. Spray the loaves 2 additional times at 1 minute intervals to permit additional rising. After 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until the interior loaf temperature reaches 195°F, an additional 45 minutes (about one hour total). The loaves should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom. Turn out on to a cooling rack, brush with melted butter, and cover with a damp paper towel until cooled. Bread may then be packaged and frozen.
Firstly, the recipe stated that it would be for bread loaf pans, whereas we really get off on the idea of serving a more country-style oblong loaf. Our bread seems to not rise much after kneading - We let it rise in a huge metal bowl. Is it possible the large shape of the bowl would give off a less impressive first rise, or maybe just less noticeable?
Also when we put it away in the fridge for a slowed-down proofing overnight the dough balls tend to get flatter and also the surface is somewhat bubbled. I let it come to room temp. for an hour or so and then start the baking, but there isn't much obvious oven spring and the flattened logs tend to then make super-flat loafs to the dimensions of 25x35x7 cm. The first time it rose a bit better but this time the only change is a touch more salt than originally added and I also added in a half-tablespoon of honey. The breads taste is absolutely wonderful, the crust is a perfect crisp thickness and the inside is moist, perhaps too moist.
Any other questions or details I can answer to help you help me with this?