The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to keep bread moist?

thihal123's picture
thihal123

How to keep bread moist?

Is there a way to keep homemade bread moist for a longer period of time? My breads are pretty good (I'd think) for the first couple of days. After that, it gets slightly dry and begins to crumble easier. It's still good, but not what it was just two or three days ago. Any tricks I could use? My doughs are usually wet doughs and made with simple whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, and sometimes sweetner like barley syrup, molasses, or honey (but sometimes no sweetner).

Edthebread's picture
Edthebread

I usually cut the bread into slices, then freeze it.  If defrosted at room temperature or in a toaster it keeps well.

Alternatively you could add some mashed potato, potato flakes or flour to the dough, as this retains the moisture.  Bread made with a sourdough starter also resists getting dry for longer than yeasted bread.

thihal123's picture
thihal123

Ah, potato flakes! I have them. Now, how much should I use?

The recipe I've been making recent is the basic yeast bread from Tassajara bread book and it's something like this:

Sponge:

3 cups water

1.5 tablespoons yeast

1/4 cup sweetner

4 cups whole wheat flour 

(I don't add the optional dry milk powder)

 

To form dough after sponge sits for an hour:

2.5 teaspoons of salt (they recommend 4 tsp, but I've tried that and it's way too salty)

1/3 cup oil

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup additional whole wheat for knead (I generally eliminate this because I use the French knead method and have no problems knead wet dough)

 

Edthebread's picture
Edthebread

About one half cup potato flakes should be enough, just subsitute the flakes for an equivalent amount of flour.  You may need to adjust the water a little, as the flakes probably require more water than flour to hydrate.  Good luck!

dlt123's picture
dlt123

I add Glutton flour and powdered milk to my batches.  I use 2 Tbl of each of glutton and powedered milk per loaf of bread...  I sometimes add instant potato also...

Hope this helps,

Dennis
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thihal123's picture
thihal123

Ah, thanks for the tip on gluten flour and powdered milk. I did recently buy gluten flour but haven't used it yet. The bread recipe (above) does say powdered milk optional, but I guess maybe I should use it after all if it helps to retain moisture! Thanks for giving me measurments per loaf. Helpful for this novice baker :)

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

roux is -IMO- much more effective than potato flakes. The breads I made with this technique kept tender for several days.

TomScose's picture
TomScose

If you look in Elizabeth David's book on Bread making (English Bread and Yeast Cookery) she describes a 19th century recipe for substituting some of the flour with cooked rice - for when wheat prices shot up in the UK during that time. She describes how it made a light loaf with superior keeping qualities. I think she is right and my loaves (flour, salt, water, yeast ... and rice) do seem to keep moist for longer when I incorporate rice into the bulk fermentation.

I incorporate cooked rice - I have experimented with glutinous rice and standard long white grain and basmati rice... all of which work - into my bread. It does seem to extend the keeping qualities of the bread I bake and in pure wholemeal loaves, it lightens the crumb quite a lot. I boil the rice first (or use left over rice from dinner the night before) and then use it as part of the total water weight for the bread. I find about 1/3-1/2 of a cup per 2.5kg flour is about right (at about hydration of 72-75%, 2/3rds wholemeal, 1/3 white flour). Even if it didn't work, I would still use it, as I love the way that the rice grains disapear on cooking... you are just left with the vague outlines on the crust where the surface grains have been. Its cooking magic! Interestingly, using rice flour instead of rice (at a similar ratio) was a bit of a disaster - it seemed to inhibit gluten development, and resulted in very dense loaves.

 

 

 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I know there are a zillion ways to make whole wheat bread but if there is one thing I've learned, it is that whole wheat needs plenty of water and time for the wheat  bran to absorb it or you get bread that crumbles after just a day or so. The un-hydrated bran absorbs themoisture from the baked crumb over the first 24 hours after a bake and the gel structure just crumbles. No matter what you add to the bread, the bran will do this.

The problem is that the second amount of whole wheat flour never gets a chance to hydrate, following the Tassajara technique. Somehow, more of the whole wheat flour needs at least an hour soak before the bulk fermentation. How about mixing the dough and putting it in a covered container overnight in the refrigerator and rising,shaping and baking the loaves the next day?A cold retard.  Actually, I would mix most of the flour, all the water and only a pinch or 2 of yeast as a sponge and let it sit for 2-4 hours.The dough should start out sticky and by the end of the 2-4 hours be only tacky. The pinch of yeast will digest some of the flour and create wonderful flavor for your loaf. Then add the rest of the ingredients,rise,shape and bake. That would hydrate most of the flour and not impede the yeast with sweetener(honey or sugar, I assume), fat or salt.

Sometimes a good loaf is not about the ingredients but the technique.