The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

1st loaf not so good.

scribble's picture

1st loaf not so good.

I made my first 2 loaves using the following recipe.

6-7 cups bread flour, 2 tbs sugar, 3-1/2 tsp salt, 3 pkgs active dry yeast, 1/4 cup butter softened, 2 cups warm water ( 120-130) deg F.

They said to mix most of the flour, sugar,salt, yeast and butter, gradually add water and mix.  Start adding 1/2 cup flour at a time till dough clings to hook and cleans sides, continue on same speed and kneed for another 2 min.

I was supposed to cover with plastic wrap and a towel for 20 min but missed this step, may have been my short coming but I don't know the real ins and outs of bread making yet.

I divided dough into 2 sections, rolled to 9 x14 section then rolled up tight and pinched ends and edge. placed in loaf pan, brushed with oil and loosely wrapped. It said to fridge for 2-12 hours. 

I took them out about 10 hours after I let them rest in there. 

I took out and rested for about 10 min to get to temp. I then put in the oven for 40min at 400 deg f. 

I removed from pans and set on cooling rack.

Now on to what I feel is not right.  The bread never got a golden brown color, the center is very heavy texture not a soft feel, and the crust is very firm.


Yerffej's picture

Hi Scribble,

It would be far easier to direct you to good beginning directions rather than discuss all of the aspects of your recipe and first foray into bread making.  I will say that any failure you experienced is more the fault of your recipe than any other factor.  Welcome to the site, have a good time here and do check out the link below.


Jezella's picture

Hello Scribble. I'm new here also and have had my problems with bread. I'm no expert but I do wonder if the water temperature may have been a bit high and possible killed the yeast. Did the dough rise? As I said, no expert but what I tend to do now is use water that is warm to the touch. I did in the past use 50, 50 boiling/cold. Also, I think not covering in the first place would not have resulted as you describe. My early failure were similar and I'm looking at your 6-7 cups of flour to 2 cups of water. Weights for me are easier to understand. How did the dough feel on mixing? Perhaps the water content was not enough and give the following, you ought to have used not less than 2.25 cups of water based on 6 cups of flour.

From Lesson One

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/8 cup water

scribble's picture

I  have always wondered about the temp, I set the water to 125 as per my thermometer.  I thought it was very hot, I admit I am not a great person with heat.  I usually have the temp when washing dishes at probably 105 max as I don't care for heat.

What temp did you use for the adove recipe.  I think the dough mnight have been over flowered as It was very thick but didn't clean the bowl very well and had a fair amount of residual flour and crumbs from the dough.  I know it was nothing like the pictures in the lessons shown.

Jezella's picture

Hi Scribble. I'm here as a new bread maker and in all honest, I'm only on about my 8th basic load. However, as we are both new, I thought I'd try and help and also be an active member of this most wonderful place. I have little in the way of equipment and I made my first 2 loaves in a mixer and then went over to the hand only method as I wanted to get a better feeling for the dough. The flour I'm using at the moment is Allinson Strong Bread Flour as it's cheaper and I'm broke.

Hopefully, I'll be able to upload an image here and show you the results from the following ingredients and method. It may help and give you encouragement.

500g - Allinson strong bread flour
270g - Plain old tap water (tepid)
15g - Margarine
10g - Sugar
10g - Salt
8g - Active Dried Yeast
30g - More Water (tepid)

In a bowl I spoon mixed the flour and sugar with the 270g of water and allowed this to stand covered for about 10 minutes. Then during this 10 minute period I prepared the water/yeast mix in a jug and waited for it to foam. Following this I mixed, still in the bowl and by hand for a further 2 minutes or so and then added the 30g water/yeast. I continued to mix in the bowl until the additional yeast and water were mixed in. I allowed it to stand again for maybe 5 minutes. Next I transfer the content of the bowl to the work surface, without flour. I had softened the margarine a bit it in the microwave and spread this over the dough mix. I then kneaded the dough for maybe 8 minutes where it started to develop reasonably well by my standards and covered it with plastic film. Next I washed the original mixing bowl and dried it well and gave this a light coating of oil. Perhaps this took me 6-7 minutes. After this I sprinkled the salt over and kneaded the dough for maybe another 8-9 minutes and then shaped into a ball and placed it and covered left it for maybe 1.5 hours until what I felt was double. My kitchen is at about 58 degrees, so not warm.

When doubles, back to the work bench where I did a few fold and tucks where I can't say how many as my method is not good. The dough did stick slightly to the surface where I had not added any flour. Here the funny thing. I've not got a scraper so I use a small plastic business card. Works well and costs nothing. Anyway, the dough held reasonably firm ant which point I transferred it to a kitchen colander and used a well floured paper napkin as the liner. I don't like bread tins.

Following about 40 minutes I placed in a preheated oven and baked at 220c for about 35 minutes. I did add water to the bottom of the oven to create steam also.

Not sure if the above helps but, if I can do it, I'm sure others can. Anyway, the result is a bread that is edible and tastes good to my mind. The point of the story here is that I received great satisfaction from producing something edible and it adds to my knowledge, only slightly mind you but a little here and there all adds up.

I do think it is your hydration level. Do you have a scales? The bread above is at 60%.

I'll add a couple of points here. As mentioned I'm a bit broke and therefore don't get out much and keep the heating very low at home (uk winter). So far, I discoverer that you obviously don't need to be spot on with temperatures and quantities. It seems that bread can be forgiving. Needing to save cash I cut down on the recommended yeast quantity also. Baking bread now seems to be a little edible hobby with the above costing very little and able to feed. Given this, experimenting with my basic creations is cheap and fun and can only lead to better in the future.


pmccool's picture

Start with a basic recipe, such as the one he pointed you to, that is known to work.  The one that you were unlucky enough to select has several dodgy aspects which would make it difficult to achieve a good loaf.  Those include massive yeast quantity, too-high water temperature (at least for active dry yeast), and some odd directions for retarding and baking.

I think that if you follow the lesson that Jeff referenced, you are likely to have bread that you are pleased with.


Jezella's picture

I agree about the link where the text is most helpful to the new comer. Another place to look might be the rear of the flour bag and especially so if bread flour as any recipe listed there will be specific to that particular flour.

dwfender's picture

Agreed. Get a new recipe. The one you posted isn't very accurate and is very low hydration, making it hard to get a good product and tought to judge kneading texture. There are plenty of other recipes out there that will give you a better start and more precise intructions.

If you ever want to talk in depth over a specific recipe, feel free to hit me up and we can talk 1 on 1