The Fresh Loaf

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I seek correction in my bread recipe

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chefh's picture
chefh

I seek correction in my bread recipe

Hello,

I am completely new to baking, and I tried to bake bread the other day. It did not turn out well. I searched the web, but did not find a solution. I need some advice, so please humour me and tell me what I can do to correct this.

I was looking to make a very simple bread and so used simple recipes from the internet. I used all purpose flour and mixed in active dry yeast as per the proportion specified on the yeast packet. I kneaded the dough, let it sit until it rose to double its size, then "punched it" back again, and let it rise to double the size again. I tthen baked it at 190 C for close to an hour.

When it was baking itself, I could see the crust had become hard. The texture inside too was not exactly like that of a bread. I was looking to make the typical usual loaf we use for sandwiches. Perhaps I should buy a baking tray? Please advise

Here are some links to the pictures:

http://i1247.photobucket.com/albums/gg634/chefh/05062012834.jpg
http://i1247.photobucket.com/albums/gg634/chefh/05062012835.jpg
http://i1247.photobucket.com/albums/gg634/chefh/05062012836.jpg

Ginzu Gary Lee's picture
Ginzu Gary Lee

I would suggest you go to the lessons tab above and start with this --   http://www.thefreshloaf.com/lessons/yourfirstloaf

I have been baking bread since the 70's - but I'm new here - been lurking and finally joined. This site is a great resource for beginners and the expierenced bread baker.

Good luck

Gary

chefh's picture
chefh

Hi Gary and others,

That is the very recipe I used :-) With the yeast, I used the proportion as per the directions on the packet. Everything was fine until I put it in the oven. Did you see the pictures?

I should go through the other lessons too probably. I will do that right now. But, I have no idea on what went wrong that caused the bread to turn out that way. Could it be the kneading, the oven, or the no use of trays?

Any inputs would be very helpful. I will also go over the lessons!

Thank you,

Hana.

 

Ginzu Gary Lee's picture
Ginzu Gary Lee

Hanna

I apologize, I thought from your post you were trying to bake bread with a random internet recipe and there are a lot of bad recipes available on the net.

No you don't have to use a pan. However, I would highly recommend that you do.  Buy metal loaf pans if you want a successful loaf sooner than later. The loaf pan acts as a mold for the final rise and is forgiving of slack or wet dough. I prefer the 1 pound loaf size 8 ½” x 4 ½” pans. Once you master successful sandwich loaves you will develop the feel of how the dough should feel and then you can move on to a hand shaped and formed loaf.

 You might want to look at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/  They have good basic recipes and videos and their Bakers Hotline also will help you trouble shoot your mistakes and failures. 

 Yes I did look at the photos -  hard  to tell what the problem is from the pictures. Your dough could have deflated or been too wet or forming problems etc. The good new is that things should only improve and you can save those pictures to remind yourself as you make great loaves.

Gary

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

a shaping step.  It is important to not only deflate the dough but to give it structure by incorporating folds or rolling the flattened dough into a loaf form before the final rise.   You don't need a loaf pan if you shape the dough well.  (see videos)  

Nice bottom on your loaf...  but it does show that there is too much heat under the loaf when comparing the bottom crust to the top crust.  Try placing the risen dough into the oven so that it bakes more evenly.  I would also raise the oven temp to 200°C or even 220°C turning down to 200°C after the first 15 minutes.    Careful when watching dough in a flat bowl "double" it is too easy to "triple."  Let it rise in a narrow container with steep sides, more like a bucket and mark the "double" height beforehand with tape.  

tgnytg's picture
tgnytg

...you did everything correctly, right up until you shaped your loaf.  I assume you wonder why your loaf came out flat, true?

The "My first loaf" is not a formula for the usual sandwich bread. To get sandwich bread usually will require some fat in the formula so the loaf is tender and soft. Look for formulas for sandwich bread.

Okay, back to your pictures. If you were to take a wider picture of the loaf to show the overall shape, the forum may be better able to troubleshoot your technique.

The key to loaf shaping and getting a round loaf that rises tall (even without a pan) is to shape your loaf so that you get surface tension in the external dough surface. You need to get some stretch in the outer surface of the dough by rolling it into a tight ball for a boule, or folding and pinching the seam for a longer loaf like a baguette. 

I found a video of loaf shaping that shows how to create suface tension: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuQ5K9eLfJ0

Pay attention to the folding over of the dough and how he presses/pinches the seams together. Once you have tension, you need to seal the seams to keep the gas in the loaf. Try to keep as much gas trapped within the dough as you can - I suggest you do not "punch down" your dough. Handle it gently to keep the gas within the loaf, but press hard with your fingertips to get the seams to seal well.

Also, you will be better off under-proofing your loaf rather than over proofing. Too much proofing will result in a loss of surface tension and a collapsed loaf. An under-proofed loaf will have "oven spring" meaning that the yeast keeps generating gas in the oven - your loaf will grow as it's baked. If you used enough yeast and handled your dough properly, you can bake within 15 minutes of final shaping while your loaves still have surface tension. If you allow a shaped loaf to double before baking, you will lose all of your surface tension.

Be patient and learn from every batch. It takes time and experience to learn how to handle dough and time your process to get exactly the results that you want.  

Hope this helps.

TomG

chefh's picture
chefh

Thanks TomG, I am going to watch that video and use all of these inputs.

While the shape is not what I wanted it to be like, it was not my main point of concern. I was more concerned about why the bread baked the way it did. It became too hard on the outside, I could not even make it into pieces.

But I am going to try again using all the inputs I got on this thread.

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Chefh, you've not really given enough info, IMO. Did you preheat your oven? For how long? Have you checked it with an oven thermometer to see if it's accurate, and to see how long it takes to preheat to a given temp? Do you measure your flour by spooning into the cup and leveling, or by jamming the cup into the flour? How sticky or tacky or dry was your dough when you finished kneading? How long did you knead? Was it hand kneaded or in a mixer or bread machine? Did you try the "windowpane" test, stretching it to check the gluten formation? When you formed your loaf, did you try to shape it to get surface tension? Did your loaf hold its shape, or start sagging rapidly? Did you watch it while in the oven? If so, when did it flatten out -- by just sagging slowly throughout the whole time, or after rising, then falling?

More info always helps.

chefh's picture
chefh

 

Yes I guess I should have given more information. I will do that next time. 

I was not careful enough this time and did not try things like window pane test. I preheated my old oven for about ten minutes as my mom said that would be okay. I did not use an oven thermometer.

I hand kneaded and while it was not sticky (I would just go on adding flour until it wasn't sticky) it was definitely saggy, especially when I left it to rise the second time. The dough did not flatten out in the oven really, more of that happened during the second rise (after the punching down) I don't know if this will help at all, but I will post detailed information the next time i try

Thank you!

chefh's picture
chefh

Thanks to all of you, will make use of these inputs

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Try 20 minutes preheat for the oven, or a bit more. Hot ovens good bread make.

You still haven't said how long you kneaded it; you are probably kneading too little. Aim for 10-12 minutes (time it!), rather than the 2-3 you might be doing now. You should be a bit tired when done, and you'll probably see that the dough becomes more elastic and firmer and holds its shape better. Definitely do the lessons on shaping, too.

 "Saggy" sounds like poor gluten formation, especially if the hydration is low (as indicated by your "not sticky"). Kneading a lot longer should solve this. Also, try aiming for "tacky" like a 3M post-it note, rather than so dry, so don't keep adding flour as you knead; only add flour lightly on your hands and work surface until the dough is still tacky (ever so slightly sticky). It's ok if it sticks a little to your hands and the work surface. Dry doughs are only good for bagels. Tackier and sticky doughs often bake up better for bread. Sometimes we even let the dough stay very sticky, and we oil rather than flour the work surface and our hands.