The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My attempt at making bread

Beetroot's picture
Beetroot

My attempt at making bread

So im fairly new to bread making.

After researching recipes I decided to make a whole grain wheat bread. 

I began making my own starter and after 3 or so weeks in I made a bread with it. Using only the simplest ingredients - whole wheat flour, water and salt, I mixed everything. 

I left the mixture to autolyse for about an hour. I did stretch and fold 3 times with 15-20 mins of waiting in between. Once I was finished I've put my dough inside the fridge for ~ 16 hours. After that I preshaped the dough once it was warm enough to work with. Since it was pretty cold where I live yesterday I left my dough to rise inside the slightly warmed up oven for about 1 h and 45 mins. I've put it in the oven at about 240 degrees C for 25 minutes.

The bread had a weird texture. Some parts of the bread had big holes and some parts didn't have them at all. It's as if the starter didn't do the job right.

Here is a picture since a picture is worth more than thousand words. I did something wrong and I don't know what. Please tell me what you think about it.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

And/or bulk ferment not done properly. 

I suggest following this recipe: https://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/sourdough-pain-naturel/

sadkitchenkid's picture
sadkitchenkid

I think you're doing very well for a beginner! What I do suggest is starting out with regular bread flour or all purpose flour, rather than whole wheat. Maybe use a mix of the two. 100% wholewheat bread is tricky for even the most seasoned bread makers. If you're using a starter, I suggest feeding it the night before and/or a few hours before using it. Just make sure it's at it's  most active (bubbly and doubled in volume). As a beginner I suggest you try working with poolish or a sponge, which could be used in place of a sourdough starter and is much more reliable. Or add a little bit of yeast with your starter as insurance! maybe up the time between stretch and folds to 35 minutes and increase the number of stretch and folds to maybe 5. For the final proof, maybe leave it out at room temperate or in an un-warmed oven for as long as it needs to expand rather than placing in a warmed over for 1 hour 45mins. It can take anywhere between 2-6hours for some breads to proof! And proof time can vary even more especially with whole wheat flour. Dough is proofed well when you gently push down at the surface, it should make an indent then slowly spring back and feel a little jiggly an airy. 

Beetroot's picture
Beetroot

Thank you for your response people. I wasn't aware of creating a preferment for bread might do the trick. I just read the article Lechem posted and will certanly try it out for my next bread.

IceDemeter's picture
IceDemeter

...learning from experience, as well as from all of the tips and tricks?!

I'm a beginner, too, and your result actually looks a bit like one of my first attempts (using commercial yeast instead of sourdough).  What caused my issue was not using my thermometer to see what the actual temperature inside my "barely warmed" oven was --- and it was actually high enough that it was starting to kill the yeast, so I was cooking instead of proofing. When I did some testing later, I was shocked that having just the light on and the door closed over time was enough in my oven to bring the temperature over 60 degrees C (140 degrees F) - and the "slight warming" that I did definitely brought the temp over that level.  The randomness in the baked vs proofed areas inside my loaf was from the oven gradually cooling, and the interior of the loaf only hitting the "death range" of over 60 degrees in places.  This was likely made even more random with my inexperienced shaping causing very irregular tightness in the loaf.

I found this table useful in figuring out what temps were usable for working with the dough: http://www.theartisan.net/dough_fermentation_and_temperature.htm .  You might want to get an oven thermometer and check to see what the actual temp is in your oven when you've "barely warmed" it - and to see if there might be a better place for you to proof your loaves.

As has already been mentioned, using whole wheat brings a whole dimension of extra difficulty for us beginners as we start out.  My best successes so far have been using the 1-2-3 (1 part starter - 2 parts water - 3 parts flour) formula (just search the site here for 1-2-3 challenge for all kinds of great recipes.  I found it here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/48829/challenge-123-bread) or with using the Stiff Dough recipe from Trevor J Wilson's Breadwerx site: http://www.breadwerx.com/how-to-get-open-crumb-from-stiff-dough-video/ 

While I prefer the flavour of all whole grains, I personally don't have the skill level yet to get a consistently good result in a lean dough with 100% whole grain, so am learning by starting with more all purpose flour and gradually working my way up in percentage of whole grain and hydration.  Maybe doing the gradual approach will work well for you, too.

Good luck, and have fun!

inumeridiieri's picture
inumeridiieri

Sourdough failure.

Do not be discouraged, try again.

Gaetano

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Tasty Doorstops are a required element of the sourdough learning experience...,

Wild-Yeast

Beetroot's picture
Beetroot

Ok, so... I've just finished todays loaf.

I followed the recipe from Lechem's comment. The only thing I altered was that for the poolish I used whole wheat flour and left it overnight. The poolish fermeneted for good 14 hours. 

For the rest I used standard wheat flour (The other 340 g). I've let it rise for more than two and a half hours.  Once I noticed the rise stopped I did the finger test and noticed the described characteristic. After following the rest of the recipe I've put it in the oven with a bowl of water to create steam for a better browning on the crust. The last 10 mins of baking I increased the temperature.

The bread had a nice hollowish sound to it. I didn't create the cuts on top since I have no razor or sharp enough knife to create one. Either way I'm extremely satisfied with the outcome of this bake.

Thanks again to everyone.

 

Beetroot's picture
Beetroot

Beetroot's picture
Beetroot

I can't seem to put the picture inside the comment. If anyone know how to do that please tell me. In the meantime here is a link of the upload from my 500px account.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Can't wait for the crumb shot and taste report. I like what you did with the whole-wheat. 

Btw... although they call it a Poolish, it is a sourdough and its technically called a levain. A Poolish is a Pre-Ferment with yeast.

Beetroot's picture
Beetroot

Will post crumb shot once I run out of the older ones, thanks.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Final proof with the seam side down! So when you tip the dough out of the banneton the seam side is up and will act like a natural scoring. 

Beetroot's picture
Beetroot

Alright, so...

here is the crumb shot.

I have to say that this bake was successful.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Looks great. Success!

What a huge difference. Just comparing the original pic and your new one. WOW.