The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

there's gotta be a trick...

plainjane90200's picture

there's gotta be a trick...

I am desperate! My family wants sub rolls! Every recipe I have produces the same result...a fabulous, medium density hoagie roll, worthy of lobster. But NO, they want it more like Subway, at first I was offended, and thought of disowning, but now I'm on a mission! Please, can someone help break the code of the light and airy, yet still chewy sub roll???

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Take your recipe, use milk and butter instead and keep the dough very soft, not so much flour, this can be achieved by letting the mixed dough sit an half hour before kneading and it will then take on less flour. 

Mini O 

dickgeneva's picture

Why do my loaves rise unevenly and break open along one side of the pan?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Can you please give a little more information?  Before or during baking?  Do you protect your rising loaves from drying?  How do you mix/knead/fold your dough? 

Mini O

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Not having had my morning coffee, I'll rush in where angels fear to tread. While I'lll be interested in more information about how you made the bread, I do have a few key suspects in mind.


If your loaf is not even before rising, it won't get more even as it rises. These numbers are for illustration, not intended to be exact. Let's imagine you form your loaf and there is a 1/2 inch bump in it somewhere. When the dough rises and doubles, that 1/2 inch rise will become a 1 inch rise. First get the loaf even, then adjust the length as needed.


Another potential, though less likely, issue is inadequate dough development. If the dough is not evenly developed, it will tend to rise more at the weak spots than at more developed spots. The answer is to knead a bit longer. Make sure your dough passes a windpane test, and that it seems uniformly developed.


As to the ripping, that is more straight forward. You mentioned your pan. Violent oven spring, of the sort that causes dough to rip, has three major causes. Insufficient dough development is one. We've already covered that one, so we'll move on.


The next is insufficient rise. Many people put too much dough into a pan. I suggest filling a bread pan between 1/3 and 1/2 full so it will rise to fill the pan and go just a bit over. Where between the 1/3 and 1/2 full? It depends on how much the dough will rise. You want to let the dough rise as much as it can without over rising and becoming fragile. It is in the rise that the loaf develops its flavor. When the pan is overfilled, it will quickly completely fills the pan and then"reach for the sky." The baker panics, knowing the dough is about to fall over the sides of the pan and bakes the bread at once.  While the loaf is as large as the baker wants, it is still under-risen.  Under-risen loaves, like the one I described, will have tremendous oven spring and tear themselves apart, and they will oven have a denser crumb than the baker would like in areas other than where the loaf ripped itself apart. So, play with how much you put in the pan. The target here is to cut back on the amount of dough in the pan.  If you want larger or smaller loaves, you can get bigger pans.  If your recipe is too much for one pan but not enough for two, you can play with the recipe size or bake the second loaf as a free-form loaf.


And then there is insufficient slashing. When bread has oven spring, it will tend to tear at the weakest spot. Slashing the dough creates that weak spot and allows the baker to make something attractive. If you don't slash enough and deeply enough for the bread you are making it will still tear in other places. So, if you aren't slashing, start. If you are slashing, slash more!

Hope this helps,