The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

my french bread

zeee's picture
zeee

my french bread

Hi everybody,

Could anybody help me here, or maybe correct my perception….

I am following Peter Rienhart's way of baking as mentioned in his book "Artisan breads every day". I have succeeded in some recipes but some are a real failure, and guess what!!! They are the French Bread Family.

Every time I bake a French bread loaf I manage to get an oven spring but the end-result tends to be bit bulky and not as fluffy as the ones from the local ordinary bakery shops.

I weigh the dough before and after putting it in the oven. I notice that I only lose around 10 % of its total weight. Is this enough???

The inside texture of the loaf is not as soft as I see it in bakery shops and mine are heavier. One of my friends said once “I need to drink lots of water to eat a small chunk of your bread L”

Is there something wrong with what I am doing here, is there a special ingredient those bakery shops are using.

For reference, I baked according to the recipe in page 49 of Peter Rienhart’s Artisan breads every day – 1st edition

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

It sounds like the bread is dense in the interior with a lot of moisture and not a lot of large air pockets. You might want to do a search for "open crumb baguettes" in the search field on the left side of the forum. 

I use bread flour. The only all-purpose flour I could use is from King Arthur. I can't use all-purpose flour from other brands because the protein is lower, and I always end up with dense,  moist, small holes, and tough bread.

I don't know how you're shaping the bread, but here's a good place to watch how they're shaped:

http://www.youtube.com/user/breadhitz

I find it helps for the bread to bake on a well preheated baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles. (I use a cast iron pan placed upside down.) The transfer of heat from the hot surface to the bread helps to produce large air bubbles in the bread.

zeee's picture
zeee

thanks for the reply,

in fact the flour I am using should be a very strong bread flour, i.e. with high protein ratio. and whenever I shape the loaf I let it rise until it doubles in size, but still, the end result comes to be a bit dense, with small holes.

I am getting frustrated, my friend with a programmed bread maker does't better than me... :(, in which he bought it couple of weeks back...

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

I made bread today and decided to add more flour to the point where it was a firm dough that I could punch down and knead the dough. The dough wasn't tacky. I guess it was too much flour in the end.  The scoring was easy.  I got the oven spring, but the interior was dense and somewhat moist with a few large holes. The bread did seem heavy by the feel after it was baked. The fermentation time was only 3 hours.   Proofing time was 1 and half hour. 

I had better success when I had the dough fermented overnight with a small amount of yeast and when the dough was tacky. Since the dough was tacky, I used a large spoon to make a few folds to the dough in the bowl. Then allow it to rest for an hour.  Divide and preshape. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Shape. The proofing time with the tacky dough was only 45 to 60 minutes depending on the humidity and warmth of the day. Shorter proofing time when it was a warm day.

I know about the frustration. My mother told me today that I was only able to make good baguettes that one time. Ouch. LOL I've heard criticisms, like crust too thick or interior was too dense. Everyone is a food critic in my family. LOL I just learn to make my bread mistakes quickly into crumbs or hide them before my relatives get to eating and criticizing them. LOL

I was watching videos on youtube again to look at the dough. All the dough were tacky. To prevent sticking, they use a dusting of flour.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI-WstoakmQ&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnxiawZoL4A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdNRogR10nM

Maybe try to get the dough to the tacky stage with stretch and folds instead of kneading and have longer fermentation time by adding less yeast. 

zeee's picture
zeee

hey,

I just finished making my ciabatta dough that is detailed in Peter's book. I will let it ferment for at least 12 hours. but hey, thanks for the video links you posted, they gave me a lot of hints and notified me with some mistakes that I am doing.

one thing I use to do is whenever I start shaping my dough I do it very roughly, which causes it to be degassed, the other thing is that I sometimes don't become patient with the dough when mixing, I tend to increase either the water or the flour so ..... total mess.

and about criticism, my wife is complaining that what I am doing is useless, tasteless and a big waste... :) nice encouragement ha..!

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

Here's another video that starts from the mixing process to the baking process:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp0GwG4wVHo

and about criticism, my wife is complaining that what I am doing is useless, tasteless and a big waste... :) nice encouragement ha..!


Ouch! LOL

Best of luck on the baking.