The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Brand new, with a question

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Hairy Crumb's picture
Hairy Crumb

Brand new, with a question

Hi,

 

I ran across the site last night and was so impressed that I had to sign up.  I have a thousand

questions, and here is one of them:

 

The last two loaves I've baked (a french bread and a buttermilk honey bread) have done this

funny thing to me during kneading.  The surface of the dough is rough and broken, with glutenous

craters forming from tears, apparently, in the surface during kneading.  I add flour and the surface

is smooth for a few turns, but then goes back to this craterous stretched surface.  The dough also

tastes a little different...weaker to the tooth.  I pressed on anyway, and after considerable kneading

let the dough rise.  During shaping the dough definitely felt softer than usual.  It baked wonderfully,

but still I feel that something has gone wrong.  Anyone know what's happening here?  I'm thinking

that I didn't manage to develop the gluten properly, but is there any way to save it?  More kneading

didn't seem to work... 

 

Thanks

Ian

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

hope we can help out but you might have to answer a few Qs youself.  Like what kind of flour are you using?   Are you using a machine or your hands?  (I personally am all hands!)

Meanwhile, try two things... mix a little less flour into the dough before kneading and See if letting the dough rest covered between mixing and kneading, say 20 min. helps. 

Mini O

Hairy Crumb's picture
Hairy Crumb

Thanks Mini,

 

I am using my hands, strong white flour in the case of the french, and half white whole wheat/half strong white on the buttermilk honey loaf.  The idea of letting it rest for a while makes a lot of sense...I will try.  Does the gluten untangle a bit when you let the dough rest before kneading?

 

thanks, Hairy

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You are most welcome! To answer your question if gluten untangles when you let the dough rest. Actually it helps develop it. The strong flour absorbs more moisture than say All Purpose and it is important that the gluten has enough moisture to develop.

Your instinct that the gluten it tight is probably right. By using a little less flour and letting the dough rest, the moisture has a chance to work with the gluten and result in more stretch. It is important not to rush into putting too much flour too fast into the dough. Take your time and have some fun slopping it around a bit in the bowl. There is no set rule that says all the flour has to go into the dough.

After mixing (and hard to say in writing but) try to keep it a little looser this time and after resting, you may find, you will hardly need to knead in lots of flour. (It will take less time too!)

Mini O

Hairy Crumb's picture
Hairy Crumb

Great reply Mini.  That makes a lot of sense.  I think some extra time to let the  gluten develop is exactly it.  I will take your advice and leave the dough looser (which is easier as well!)

 

hairy

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

What a handle! Hope that isn't a serious discription of your bread! I've had that happen to me on occation eating sweet rolls in foreign countries. Not an appetizing thought.... and enough to make you wanna bake your own bread forever.   So tell me how the next loaf came out?

Mini O