The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

struggling to slice bread without snagging

zubo's picture
zubo

struggling to slice bread without snagging

hi all

 

thought i asked about this a while ago but i am still struggling....

 

i use a Paul Hollywood recipe for a lovely tin loaf....

using a great French bread flour...

i mix the flour butter water salt and yeast and create a lovely dough...

shiny smooth firm...

it doubles well

iturn it out and knead for a few minutes and put into a buttered tin...

leave it for another hour and it increases well...

i make a couple of slashes with bread razer

 

put in oven with a steaming water tray .. bake on 200 for 40 minutes

turn out on rack to cool... looks beautiful

 

i put butter on top when cooling to soften the crust...

 

when cool i can cut but not too thinly … has to be thick otherwise it crumbles … see pics

 

ny advice to stop it from crumbling please...

 

thanks

 

george

Chef De Plongeur's picture
Chef De Plongeur

Are you using a cutting guide or holding the loaf in hand? Is your knife serrated and adequately long?

zubo's picture
zubo

im holding the loaf in my hand and using a 'proper' bread knife which cuts other commercial loaves fine.

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

It sorta looks like your bread separates in a spiral, suggesting that you're rolling up the dough when shaping it for the tin. Perhaps you're using too much flour on the surface and it prevents the dough from adhering to itself?

zubo's picture
zubo

i wondered if it was in the shaping... 

i use a number of techniques in the second kneading...

sometimes i stretch the dough into a rectangle and fold into centre all sides like a letter, sometimes i fold from the rear a small length and fold that over again and then roll the dough or maybe fold over the ends over... sometimes i form a cob shape rotating thru 45 degress and cupping stretching the cob, then get a rectangular shop and put it into the tin...

maybe i need to use just one shaping technique....

 

one other question... for the first kneading I wonder if I do not knead enough... can you over Knead the dough??? its almost like it hasn't fully formed...

 

george

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

it is very hard to over knead dough.  You would really have to work up a sweat.  But it is easy to work in too much flour.  A certain amount of stickiness should always be present so that when folding and kneading, the dough will stick to itself.  Try to limit and reduce bench flour when kneading and brush any excess off before rolling up to shape the loaf.  Using a bench scraper can help reduce the bench flour.  

To me the bread looks pale like it could use a little bit longer in the oven and perhaps it was sliced when still a little bit warm.  What's it completely cooled?

 If a dough is very extensible and rises too much when proofing, the resulting loaf will have a firm outer shell for crust and tear easily when cutting.  Could try not letting the dough rise more than double before baking and see what happens.

 

zubo's picture
zubo

thanks mini... i try to use exact measurements for prep... and try to keep water just under measurement,,, not dry but not wet... think ill make it just a tad wetter...

I never use bench flour at all … so i have no loose flour and i always use a plastic scraper in initial prep until i turn it our and knead... i sometimes use oil on bench...

pale ... yes... i hve a suspicion that 40 mins is not long enough... i tend also to wrap baking parhmnt around top of the loaf to stop it burning.... mmmm maybe that is significant....

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

what flour and what's the basicrecipe?  From the photo it looks so yellow but that just might be lighting. 

zubo's picture
zubo

Mini

Sincere apologies... family commitments has slowed me down....

the recipe is here simple bread

the flour is from wessex mill French flour

my variation on the recipe is i make 750g and adjust all other ingridients accordingly

and i have a rectangular tin i bake in and use butter all over bottom and four sides to grease prior to baking to ensure i can easily extract the bread. 

I have stopped using baking paper on top of the tin during baking...

and for my most recent bake i used slightly a bit more water... and that was a wet dough which i kneaded aggressively.... i also baked for 45 minutes... and STILL the same softness snagging cutting with bread knife...

 

and the bread looks holier or looser....

help.....

 

 

 

zubo's picture
zubo

http://www.geosz.com/stuff/bread1.jpg

zubo's picture
zubo

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

I've been using a 'guillotine' cut on most of my loaves. I'm using a very thin, long bladed, butcher knife and I place the loaf on its side, angle the knife at about 45 degrees and pull the blade up and toward me. When the blade has been withdrawn to its fullest extent I let it move forward until the blade touches the cutting board and again draw it up and toward me. I don't apply any pressure on the forward strokes and only light pressure as I draw it up. This technique seems to aid in making a square cut to the long axis of the loaf and it spreads the pressure over the greatest surface area thus limiting any tearing. I don't know if it will work on the other side of the Atlantic (after all I'm a left-handed Colonial) but it's worth a try if the other suggestions you've received don't completely resolve the issue.  

zubo's picture
zubo

thanks justanoldguy … but i need once cut to be able to spread stuff on it and its too soft....

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Don't melt butter, add softened.  Reduce the yeast to one package and bulk rise twice knocking the doubled risen dough down before shaping. When shaping, try rolling out the dough first to make a rectangle and then to make a log the length of the pan.  Cover.  Let it rise only 1 cm above the edge of the pan.  

When the loaf starts to brown on top at about 30 minutes into the bake and oven bloom has slowed down, tip the loaf out of the pan gently, rotate it and place it directly on the oven rack to finish baking and browning.  I'm guessing the pan is shiny, it may be reflecting too much heat away from the bottom of the loaf and rising too much before the crumb sets.  If the bottom of the loaf seems too soft, bake the loaf on it's side or upside down.  :)

If the top of the loaf is getting too brown, a small tent of alufoil can be placed on top of the loaf until the loaf is done. 

See if this improves the loaf.  Also handy to know would be a picture of the loaf going into the oven showing oven set up.  :)

im going to go play with the recipe a figure out the exact reduction of ingredients, so you can compare them.  Perhaps too much butter is giving the "shortened" looking crumb..

zubo's picture
zubo

thanks mini 

 

will try all of those great ideas.... i even asked Wessex for comment... they said they thought it was in the shaping and probably need a bit more baking time...