The Fresh Loaf

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Help With Perfecting my Recipe for Slicing Bread ....

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vja4Him's picture
vja4Him

Help With Perfecting my Recipe for Slicing Bread ....

I've been experiementing with many bread recipes since May, 2011. My breads are coming out tasty, and very nutritious (!!!), but when slicing, falls apart.

I could using some advice on how to adjust my recipes so my bread will slice better without falling apart. I like to have lots of fruit (and sometimes Yams or Nuts). What should I change to get a bread mix that will hold together better for slicing ... ???

Here are the last two recipes I baked up (five bread pans each):

*** First Batch with no Bananas

1) 1 cup Corn Meal

2) 1 cup Corn Grits

3) 4 cups Whole Wheat Flour

4) 4 cups Oatmeal

5) 12 Eggs

6) 5 cups Milk

7) 1 pound Butter

8) 3 Green Apples

9) 3 Mangoes

10) 3 Peaches

11) 1 quart Yams/Sweet Potatoes

12) 3 tsp Salt

13) 5 tsp Vanilla

14) 8 tsp Cinnamon

15) 1 tsp All Spice

16) 1 tsp Ginger (ground)

17) 5 tsp Baking Soda 

18) 8 tsp Baking Powder

19) 1 pound Walnuts

 

*** Second Batch with Bananas and dried Cranberries (no Nuts):

1) 1 cup Corn Meal

2) 1 cup Corn Grits

3) 4 cups Whole Wheat Flour

4) 4 cups Oatmeal

5) 12 Eggs

6) 2 cups Milk

7) 1 pound Butter

8) 1 Green Apple

9) 1 Mango

10) 1 Peach

11) 14 Bananas

12) 1 quart Yams/Sweet Potatoes

13) 3 tsp Salt

14) 4 tsp Cinnamon

15) 5 tsp Baking Soda 

16) 8 tsp Baking Powder

17) 4 cups dried Cranberries

cranbo's picture
cranbo

How are you mixing it all? 

You may want to do an extended knead on the dough (flour, eggs, milk, grits) before adding the fruit, to try to build some gluten. Gluten will add strength and sliceability. Without gluten, it will be crumbly like cake. 

Your recipe seems less bread than fruitcake :)

vja4Him's picture
vja4Him

I first mix together the dry ingredients in a large 8-quart metal mixing bowl, all by hand. The wet ingredients are mixed together in a spearate bowl, then I slowly add to the dry ingredients.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and maybe it should be cut more like a cake than bread.  

How about reducing the butter?

Wish I knew more about how the ingredients are combined...

Got this in metric?  I thought they used grams in California.  :)

vja4Him's picture
vja4Him

Why reduce the butter? Four cubes isn't that much for five large loaves.

I don't use metric. In fact, nobody I know uses metric.

Joyful Whisper's picture
Joyful Whisper

It may sound really simplistic but it made a difference with some of our more "fruity" breads. A serrated blade was able to cut through grapes and hazelnuts without tearing the bread to pieces.

vja4Him's picture
vja4Him

Thanks! I'lll give that a try .... 

kimdavis13's picture
kimdavis13

makes a world of difference.  Maybe the real problem with your tearing bread is that your knife doesn't cut the large chunks (like nuts) and instead pushes the chunk through the crumb of the bread.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I'm surprised it holds together at all.  The amount of wheat flour, therefore gluten, is very small in relationship to everything else.

Sure sounds tasty, though.

Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I've been mulling over a few ideas.  The only glue in the dough is the combination of whole wheat with milk  (I would add a minimum 6 hour soaking time)  and the second combination of  grits, corn & butter and then eggs yolks one at a time (should have at least a 30 minute soaking time before combining with anything else.)   I would be tempted to soak any nuts and raisins (dried fruit) with the cut up fresh fruits and extracts for about an hour and then dust the fruit in AP flour (not sure of the amount) and spices leaving out the oats.  Beat remaining egg whites stiff and set aside.  Sift the baking powder and soda over the bowl while combining everything together with mashed bananas.  Fold in stiff egg whites last.   Use the rolled oats to dust the buttered pans. 

Anything strike your fancy?

vja4Him's picture
vja4Him

Thanks for your tips! I'll give that a shot next time I make my fruit bread .... My bread actually does hold together, but it's very delicate. I was thinking of getting some Gluten Flour and adding that to my bread mix. I've never used Gluten Flour so I have no idea if that would really help or not .... 

What about using Scottish Oats instead of Old Fashioned Oats? Would that make a difference (as far as the bread holding together a little better) ... ???

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Maybe if you cooked and cooled them a little first you might be able to take advantage of the starch gel to hold things together.

vja4Him's picture
vja4Him

I've never heard of starch gel. What exactly is that?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Certainly you've heard of using starches to thicken sauces and soups, also called a roux.  Making a water roux using some of the oats might just be what helps your recipe.  Have you ever noticed what cold cooked cereal looks like and how it clings together?  If you look up water roux in the site search box you can find more info.  

Basically you are gelatinizing the starch and utilizing it throughout the batter before it would normally form just around the oats getting "more mile to the money" by not concentrating the gel where the oats happen to be located.  Oats don't contain much gluten if any at all, but by cooking a small amount in water/milk, you can completely change the crumb.  

Don't go overboard I would guess about 1/4 to 1/2 cup oats used into the liquids would help.  You just want to thicken the liquids to a soft gel and not end up with stiff pudding.   After cooking (stop when it starts to boil) you may have to add more liquids for those that have escaped during the process.  Ice cubes would be one way to cool it fast.  I would weigh before and after cooking to be exact.   The gel will hold liquids within the starch molecules that will be released during the bake steaming the crumb.  The gel mixes with the small amount of flour gluten in the batter and then bond together when they both gel during baking.   This might give you the crumb you desire.

vja4Him's picture
vja4Him

Thanks for the scientific explanation. I'll give that a try ......