The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A Few General Baking Questions

frogg's picture
frogg

A Few General Baking Questions

I'm a beginner baker. 

I made 2 x 1.5 lb wholemeal loaves in well greased bread tin pans - one of them slipped out nicely and the other had to be more or less cut out and came out in jigsaw pieces ! Does anyone use greaseproof paper for baking their loaves - does it work? Why do I have this problem when, the dutch oven way, it's no problem at all and the loaf just literally drops out?

Also, I added some honey to the bread dough before folding it - I had read somewhere that honey makes for a lighter wholemeal loaf...and I think it worked ! Has anyone else had experience of adding just straight honey to wholemeal, and if so, at what stage do you add your honey?

My dough was a mix of poolish, inactive sourdough for flavour , and dough mix - wholemeal flour, yeast, salt, water. I left it about 18 - 20 hours before trying to work it a little. I had quite a shaggy soggy dough.  I  tried to follow Richard Bertinet's suggestion in his book "Dough"  for working the dough by just lifting it and wrapping it around itself as much as posisble to trap air and get it easy to work with. Although I found it easier to work with  than on previous occasions, it didn't come together enough to enable me to shape it.....I left it an hour befrore working it a bit again and trying to shape. In the end I just let it all drip into the 2 loaf tins....and I can't say  shape was really a problem although i would have felt better if I had been able to shape them nicely. Does anyone else work with shaggy dough like this and not bother shaping? The loaves were risen but could perhaps have risen more. I was wary about adding more flour as Bertinet says there's a danger of baking bricks in doing that, but I ahve added a lot more flour on a previous occasion baking the dutch oven way and it didn't seem to affect the loaf. 

 Baking time is my next question. I baked these 45 mins at 250 c - had to go up to gas 9 surprisingly to get that temp. Tried to turn down heat a little after 15 mins but didn't really come down much. Also opened oven door for a few seconds to let some air out hoping that migth help get temp down. Had added a pot of hot water at the bottom of over as loaves went in. They came out way too dark on top and not as risen as I would have liked. Edible, but nothing stunning to look at.

 I wrapped in teatowels and put butter over the top hoping that might soften them a bit on top.

At what temps and for how long do you bake a 1.5 lb usually ?