The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Grandma's white bread

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JimmyK's picture
JimmyK

Grandma's white bread

We pulled out Grandma's recipe of 60+ years ago and used instant yeast vs the live she used.  Ingredients all the same, flour, water, salt, yeast, but no sugar.  Baked at 350 for 1 hour, makes 2 regular size loaves.  But, the bread is coming out cakey, got any ideas why????  It was never cakey when she made it.  Thanks

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

even when it wasn't written in the recipe.  

           One way to preserve yourself as a legend in the kitchen.  

                            Try it, use the water from boiling peeled potatoes.  :)

How much yeast are you using?  

604 Center Street's picture
604 Center Street

Did you remember to adjust your yeast? You probably did, but it's a possibility.

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

Could be low gluten flour. What did you use?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Are you developing the gluten properly by kneading the dough well and then letting it bulk rise? In the old days most people let their dough rise twice before shaping.

JimmyK's picture
JimmyK

Well, Grandma didn't even know about gluten, we used 4 teaspoons of instant yeast, no potato water, although it works great when I've used it,  We let the bread rise for ninety minutes the first time and about forty minutes for the second rise and the bread doubled in size both times.  I usually bake at a higher temp and wondered if that had an effect on this bread.  We used Moore's unbleached flour.  I think that covers all of the above.  I'm going to try again at about 425 for less time and see what happens.  But Thanks for all the comments. jk

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The instant yeast of today is stronger than the instant yeast of just 20 years ago.  If there is too much yeast, that could explain the "cakey" crumb.  If you can weigh out the amount of flour, so much better.  Stay well under 2% of the flour weight.   So that we are all on the same page, explain "cakey."  If you got a close up picture that would be even better.  To me cakey has a short tear with lots of round even sized bubbles and no evidence of shaping the dough, or do you mean cracked like bad make-up?

Also it would be helpful to have more detail how you are mixing up the dough and how you are developing the texture.   Also, earlier, they tended to slowly add the flour stirring a lot in the beginning with a soupy dough then after a good amount of beating, adding the rest of the flour gradually until the dough reached the proper consistency.  That is why so many old recipes can be as much as a cup or two off.  They often include the extra flour for kneading and dusting as well.  So...  good luck!  

Yes, she did know about gluten, she just might have called it something less scientific and more elastic.  :)

JimmyK's picture
JimmyK

I think the excess yeast may be the problem, actually we used a tad more than the 4 tsp.  Cakey  I'm talking about is when the bread is sliced and smeared with jam and you go to pick it up,and it falls apart, just like a thin slice of cake,although it's not a thin slice of bread.  This is a volume recipe with so many cups and we used it all.   Sometimes I wonder if the bread Grandma made wasn't cakey too; those sandwiches were very large.  Sorry no pics available.  Thanks for comments we're going to try again with less yeast.  Grandma used a big cake of fresh yeast, I wonder how much that would be in instant?

Russ's picture
Russ

I'm guessing you didn't knead the dough much. It sounds like your gluten wasn't developed. Are you making the bread by hand, or in a mixer? Either way, you should probably be kneading the dough for about 8-10 minutes.

If you don't know how to knead, take a look at this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nPLsaMaGyM&feature=colike

Russ

JimmyK's picture
JimmyK

"mixing up the dough and how you are developing the texture"

I'm mixing all the dry ingredient together first and then adding in the liquid.  But your comment " Developing the Texture"; how do I accomplish that.  Candidly I'm delighted to see your comment, I'd like to know how to develop different textures, if that's what you meant.  Regards

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

ingredients on top?  The more detail the better. :)  

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

A very likely culprit here is the flour you used.  Grandma's flour of 1950 would be a very different product than most flours available today.  Find the best quality organic flour that you can and see if that helps.

Jeff

taurus430's picture
taurus430

I would take Gma's recipe and get a new bread recipe on line that's very similar, ie: flour amount, and modify Gma's with the newer yeast and baking method. I do this a lot when I don't like a recipe and want to modify it.