The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hi From Boston...... UK... here to make a decent loaf

mose's picture

Hi From Boston...... UK... here to make a decent loaf

Hi all, 

I'm from the good old U of K, Boston (New York is just down the road - a hamlet of about 20 houses!).

Anyway, I've done a fair bit of baking but have not had the amount of success I think is deserved compaired to the amount of effort I have put in. Thats why I am here, to basically get acomplised at baking a basic white loaf. I see on this site that there is any number of recipes but all I want to do is concentrate on using the basics (flour, water, salt, yeast and maybe some oil) to make the basic.

The picture below is our last effort. Tastes nice but is as usual - rubbery and when cool a chewyish crust

Basically, whatever I use or do the bread always turns out with this rubbery texture. Different flours, different liquid - milk/water, different kneeding times and techniques, different yeast, different hydration,  steam added/no steam added, bread machine baked from scratch, bread machine mixed & kneaded, manual mixed & kneaded, different proving times, no oil, olive oil.  The only constant is the oven I cook it in which is a Toshiba Combi Micro/Oven but even with this I have used different times and tempratures.  The pic above is not the best I've made but the rubbery mouth feel is the same (some italian bread is like this).  I want to bake what I can buy in the bakery but at home. The bread I bake tastes nice warm (yes I know you should leave it to cool) but is just not so nice when cool.

This recipie was:

500g strong flour
7g yeast (dried)
10g salt
glug of olive oil
320ml cold water
2 hour prove
2 hour prove
220c oven
Recipe was from baker Paul Hollywood with about 30 years experience in the business and supplier to Harrods so I guess he knows a thing or two.... Anyway, this is just one recipe. If I tried any of the other ones I have tried they would turn out the same

Any help would be.. er.. helpful!

New here so If this wasn't the right place to post then sos..

Doc.Dough's picture

The bread looks OK so I will have to take your word for the texture.  Strong flour would make it chewy in any case.  If you want tender crumb, a little softer flour plus a little oil might help.  You might also try a tangzhong method to get a soft crumb (pre-gelatinize about 10% of your flour - look it up on the web).  Do I understand that you are baking bread in a combi/microwave oven using the microwave functionality for at least part of the heat?  Can't tell from the photo very well, but the top crust seems to be about the right color while there is almost no browning on what appears to be the bottom.  Is this a result of the heating element being on the top of the oven, or something else (like my misinterpretation of the photo)?

What kind of a pan are you using?  Or no pan at all? 

cranbo's picture

I agree with Doc Dough on all points, especially about the strong flour, and I'll add a few things:

How are you kneading? By hand or machine? How long? More kneading will typically result in a fluffier, softer (less gummy) and slightly less open texture...think storebought white sandwich bread. Txfarmer has some good examples on this site. 

Also, if you want softer, fluffier, more bap-like texture, try enriching dough with milk in lieu of some or all of your water. 


Redimp's picture

Are you sticking to the two hour prove time? If you're using cold water you may need longer. 10g of salt! Its probably personal preference but 5g is enough for me. 

You may also want to check protein levels. I use allinson very strong white flour. Which has a protein content of 13.9 per 100g. You could try a lower content.

(Give us a shout when you along West End Road, Wyberton.  :-) ) 

mose's picture

you from Wyberton (!) blimey,,,... small small world :-)

The recipe is what it is - i think about 2% is about usual for 500g of flour.. 5 grams per 500 works out at 1%.

I think, reading all your comments and my experience that its me not kneading it enough (this comes with practice i guess) and my oven not being as hot as I think it is. Since the oven is small when the door opens Im guessing a lot of heat escapes. I don't think it's flour - i've tried packet mixes, cheap flour, expensive Maud Foster Mill flour (local windmill ground flour). I bake bread ina mirco/combi oven using only the fan oven setting NOT the microwave. I've used milk before and the result was more flavour but the same-ish texture.

Since the bread kinda comes out tacky - somewhere inbetween an artisan bread and black/german/rye bread I think it may not be cooking for long enough. I usually prove the bread on the pan its going to cook on so I'm going to try to slide the bread onto a hot baking tray and observe the difference.

thanks for your inputs and happy baking...



mose's picture

update.... Just made some bread from an packet mix (alinson parmisan and sundried tomato - pretentious or what!!) - rose in fridge overnight, shaped and proved then cooked at 220C (500g loaf) for around 40 mins- it wasn't done(!) So I cooked it another 10 mins and result once cooled as long as I could stand was that the bread was perfection! Have now invested in a oven themometer to so whats going on.

I'm sure with the added ingredients in the packet mix things have gone easier than from scratch but I think the key is that I was basically eating wet dough that didn't pass the windowpane test.