The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Too much density loaves

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electronrider's picture
electronrider

Too much density loaves

Hello; I'm new to grinding wheat to make my own flour. I've tried to make a couple different types of bread (dinner roll and loaf bread) and have had no success in the dough rising. The first time I used the amount of yeast the recipe called for and the second time I used slightly more - still it doesn't rise. I proofed the yeast to test it and it passed. So I'm not sure if it's the freshly ground flour that requires more yeast or there's a missing ingredient.

 

Thanks!   =)

MaximusTG's picture
MaximusTG

Hi Electronrider, I think that if you want some advice on how to get less dense loaves, you have to post your entire recipe/formula and workflow. There can be a lot of different reasons why your loaves turn out too dense. 
How about adding a picture of the milled flour :)? How do you mill it by the way?  

electronrider's picture
electronrider

We mill the flour by hand (using a Wondermill). I'm new to making bread, so thought I would try a recipe from one of several cookbooks I have.

3-3.5 C AP flour

1 pkg active dry yeast

1 3/4C packed brown sugar

3T butter, margarine, or shortening

1 1/4 Tsp salt

2C whole wheat flour

 

I used straight freshly ground flour for the entire recipe - which could be some of the problem. Or maybe because milled flour is supposed to be used differently than AP? I'm not sure how to post pictures, but I'll certainly try to do so.

Thanks for your help  =)

MaximusTG's picture
MaximusTG

Could you perhaps also post the amount of water you used? Not seeing any rising at all is rather odd. Perhaps you could try putting a bit of dough in a small and thin clear container. Then you can properly assess the volume increase.

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Electronrider, are you jamming your cup into the flour to measure it? That packs the flour, so that you end up with too much, which slows your rise a lot. Make sure you are sifting or spooning it into the cup then leveling with a straight edge like the straight back of a knife.

Second, are you baking with a bread machine or an oven?

Third, how long are you waiting before declaring the dough 'not risen'? It could be that it will simply take longer than you expect.

Fourth, did you take a recipe calling for AP flour, but instead use whole wheat (WW) flour (are you milling the whole grain)? WW flour absorbs more water, so this change could cause your dough to be too dry, slowing rising times (unless you add more water to compensate). If you are packing your flour too, that would be a double error and could certainly lead to a dough rising so slowly that you might give up on it before it had a chance.

Finally, you should also state the amount of water used, as MaximusTG notes, plus your fuller technique (mix time, any rest, initial fermentation time and temp, etc. 

electronrider's picture
electronrider

Recipe calls for 1 3/4 C water. Normally in bread recipes, it says to mix the yeast w/ luke warm water and then add it later; this particular recipe said nothing of the sort.

No, I don't jam flour into the measuring cup & yes, I do use the back of a knife.

I normally do make bread in a machine, but opted to try making this loaf by hand and then in the oven.

The recipe said to allow it to rest an hour and half, but I waited two hrs.

The recipe called for both AP and whole wheat.

 

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

When you change AP to whole wheat, you're increasing the bran, which absorbs more moisture, making the dough drier. Drier doughs rise more slowly and result in dense loaves, or even "bricks". If you also add flour while kneading, through flouring your hands or table, this will be exacerbated.

Also, active dry yeast shouldn't be added directly to the dough mixture. It should be hydrated first. So your yeast never got activated properly. If the recipe didn't mention that step, it's either because the writer assumed the reader would know to do that, or because he/she was using a different kind of yeast like instant yeast, which CAN be added straight in, as long as you know it's fresh.

Try again, but do hydrate the yeast first. Also increase your water until you have a very sticky dough while intitially mixing. Then let it rest 20 minutes, then finish mixing and do the kneading. Make sure you don't add so much flour while kneading that the dough becomes dry. It should normally still be "tacky" like a Post-It note (although this varies by bread type). Then let your dough rise by watching it, rather than by the clock. Give it however long it takes, maybe 2.5-3 hours if the weather is cooler. Then shape it, let it proof (2nd rise) and bake, and see what you get. Good luck and have fun!

electronrider's picture
electronrider

I was a little surprised that the recipe didn't call for hydrating yeast beforehand - but like you said, I do have a different type of yeast than what they used.  When I kneaded the dough, it was very sticky and hence I used more flour.  When I let it rest to rise (the 1st time), the dough did look slightly dry.  That could also be the problem.

 

Thank you for your advice; I'll add more water and less flour for the next loaf.

=)