The Fresh Loaf

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Too much salt? Can I go with less yeast?

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Leftie's picture
Leftie

Too much salt? Can I go with less yeast?

Hello!

It's been a few months since I got started with bread making. I seem to find myself gravitating towards lean bread. I'm not sure which forum is the best for my post, so under the assumption artisan baking = lean bread...

So far,

8-9 oz. water
3 cups flour
1 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 tsp salt

Warm up water to lukewarm in microwave, soak yeast for 5-10 minutes. Add 1 cup flour, let sit for 1 hour. Mix in salt, add rest of flour, mix and let sit for 10-20 minutes. Fold dough a few times, let rise for an hour or so. Shape and proof for an hour or so in a non-stick pie pan. Score and bake in a 450F oven for half an hour, cool the loaf for an hour or so. Loaf is ready.

Questions from your neophyte.

* 1 teaspoon of yeast is less than half of what's in a packet of supermarket yeast. Commercial recipes seem to encourage a full packet for approximately the same amount of dry ingredients. How much really is the amount of yeast I want to get the job done, short of spending hours to get the dough to rise?

* A stiffer dough seems to make for a fluffier crumb, until the stiffness of the dough gets in the way of dough's ability to rise in the oven. Most of what I read about lean bread say I want a slack dough (for a crunchy crumb). I like to get the crumb as fluffy (and the crusty chewy) as possible without adding sugar (makes for a really fluffy crumb), so I'm thinking stiff dough is fine. Am I thinking wrong for lean bread?

* The crumb is nice and fluffy, with lots of holes. However, the bottom third of the loaf is visibly denser. When I shape my (round) loaf, I do pinch the dough at the bottom, so I suppose that part of the dough is almost void of any gas going into proofing. It's also part of the dough that's in (indirect) contact with the cold stone surface of the kitchen counter. Also, I haven't invested in a baking stone. Would any of these contribute to a denser bottom?

* The bread tastes fine while eating. But I get a salty aftertaste. Is it still too much salt for the amount of flour used?

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Leftie asked:

* 1 teaspoon of yeast is less than half of what's in a packet of supermarket yeast. Commercial recipes seem to encourage a full packet for approximately the same amount of dry ingredients. How much really is the amount of yeast I want to get the job done, short of spending hours to get the dough to rise?

 

You are using a sponge.  Any sort of sponge decreases the amount of yeast you need to use, as the yeast multiplies in the sponge.  Also, your loaf of bread is fairly small.  I'd be surprised if it weighed 3/4 of a pound.  Most home bakers make larger loaves.  Larger loaves need more yeast.

 

 * The crumb is nice and fluffy, with lots of holes. However, the bottom third of the loaf is visibly denser. When I shape my (round) loaf, I do pinch the dough at the bottom, so I suppose that part of the dough is almost void of any gas going into proofing. It's also part of the dough that's in (indirect) contact with the cold stone surface of the kitchen counter. Also, I haven't invested in a baking stone. Would any of these contribute to a denser bottom?

 

I'd let the dough rise a bit longer to get a more consistent rise. 

 

* The bread tastes fine while eating. But I get a salty aftertaste. Is it still too much salt for the amount of flour used?

 

It's hard to know how you're doing on the salt thing.  Cups can vary all over the place, and it's not clear how much, if any, additional flour you are kneading in.  However, if you are sifting your flour before you measure it, you are using about 360 grams of flour.  The amount of salt would be close to 5 or 6 grams.  If you aren't adding more flour,  the amount is close to 2%, which is generally considered to be the correct level.  If you are using heavier cups or adding flour in kneading, then the percentage is even lower.

 

So, I am at a loss to know where the salty aftertaste is coming from.  If it bothers you, try cutting the yeast in half and see what happens.  I suspect your dough will rise farther and be more fragile so handle it with care.

 

Good luck,

Mike

 

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

By a quarter of a tsp. at least; use a scant 1/2 tsp. salt.

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hey Leftie.

Just wanted to toss a couple of ideas regarding your denser bottom than top. You didn't describe how you shape your dough and what kind of flour you use. However, there are many reasons for why the dough comes out denser on the bottom than it does on the top. A few might be that when you shape your loaf for final proofing the yeast doesn't get enough of unprocessed sugars to munch on to leaven your bread. Another reason might be that your pie pan is too thick and doesn't heat up fast enough. Last reason, and most probable is that there was no steam in the oven and the crust may have formed too soon.

Rudy