The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread Newbie - - where to start?

Wisbreadcat's picture
Wisbreadcat

Bread Newbie - - where to start?

i have just started my bread baking journey. I have been making my way through Beth Hensperger’s The Bread BibleI have two consistent problems. The bread browns much too quickly even though oven temp is correct(calibrated to be right on). More troubling is the bread texture. It’s either too soft (like the smooth product that comes from bread machine) or very tight and crumbly (especially if I use a sponge starter recipe). I switched to pure convection on oven and use a bread stone that I preheat at 425 F with a temp reduction to 25 F degrees less than recipe temp when the bread goes in. I have also tried using a pan of ice on bottom rack. This has helped the browning issue but still not getting that beautiful stretchy chewy crumb and crust for which I started baking my own bread.  I use a Kenwood mixer with paddle for initial mix then switch to dough hook for the knead. I know I must be doing something that doesn’t let gluten develop but not sure where to go for basics tutorial. Looking for any advise please don’t worry about being too basic also happy for any book, blog article references. Also would like opinion on convection vs convection bake vs straight bake. Thanks in advance!

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

And which four are you using? 

Wisbreadcat's picture
Wisbreadcat

I have tried various recipes.  I use King Arthur whole-wheat or white whole wheat or Unbleached AP as called for by recipes. if it gives me a choice of ap vs bread flour I use the King Arthur bread flour. I was thinking of ordering their high protein Lancelot flour. I’m reading through the lessons section of this site too

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

The chewier the crumb. Also try and get in an autolyse as it really improves the bread. It also gets the gluten to work before you add in the yeast and salt. Incorporating the stretch and fold method will give you the kind of crumb you're aiming for. Kneading tends to give a closer crumb. Knowing when the fermentation is done correctly and the gluten formation is properly formed will come with practice. 

What's the next recipe you're thinking of trying? 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

By any chance does your bread contain a lot of sugar? The sugars in bread are a common cause of over browning. 

Posting your recipe might  help us to better understand what is going on. Which ever recipe you are most interested in at this time.

We’re here to help

Dan