The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can't Get a Rise Out of My Whole Wheat Bread

BSquared18's picture
BSquared18

Can't Get a Rise Out of My Whole Wheat Bread

Hi,My wife and I recently started on the South Beach Diet, so I wanted to find a recipe for a bread that follows that diet (i.e., whole wheat flour and no sugar). I found one at http://www.yumyum.com/recipe.htm?ID=19364.

But I wanted to use the “hybrid” method I’ve used successfully with bread-machine mixes, which is to have the bread machine knead and initially rise the dough; and then move the dough to a regular loaf pan, re-rise it, and bake it in a conventional oven.

Unfortunately, while the resulting bread is tasty, I have yet to make a loaf that isn’t flat on the top. Also, the bread’s texture tends to be a bit gummy, instead of crumbly.

To see a picture of the results and a detailed list of the ingredients and procedure I used, go to http://bmbmisc.home.comcast.net/bread.html

Any suggestions on how to get the bread to rise so that the loaf is more rounded and to make the texture less gummy would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Bill

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Without knowing the exact process you used, it's hard to say.

First off, regarding the texture, did you make sure to wait until the loaf was *completely* cool before slicing it?  This takes a good 2 hours, but if you don't wait, the loaf won't completely set up, as it continues to cook on the countertop.

Secondly, how did you determine the loaf was done?  Baking time?  Thermometer?  The only sure way is to poke a thermometer into the center (I go in through the bottom) and make sure it registers ~195F.  In my oven, it takes a good 30 minutes at 350F for a 700g 75% WW loaf to reach that temperature.

Regarding the shape, based on the description of your procedure, it doesn't sound like you shape the loaf at all.  You can't just dump the dough into the pan and expect it to bake up nicely. :)  Check out this video for a good video tutorial on shaping a sandwich loaf:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2461/video-tutorial-shaping-sandwich-loaf

The key is getting good surface tension across the top of the batard, otherwise the dough will rise evenly upward in the pan, rather than developing a nice dome.  It also helps to score the top of the loaf before baking as that releases the surface tension and encourages the dough to rise upward.  Here's a shot of one of my loaves baked with such a technique:

Amish Bread SpringAmish Bread Spring

 

BSquared18's picture
BSquared18

Thanks for the quick reply.

"Without knowing the exact process you used, it's hard to say."

Did you go to the second webpage I referenced? I don't know how much more exact I could be in describing the process. Let me know what information is missing.

Thanks for the suggestion about testing for doneness. I hadn't seen that tip before and will try it. But the problem I'm describing occurs during the rising stage, not the baking stage.

I'll check out the video and also look up the word "batard." (You can see that I'm new to this.)

When I use bread-machine mixes following the steps I've described, I get good looking loaves like the one you pictured. It's the use of only whole wheat flour that seems to be the special challenge. Have you had success baking loaves that have only whole-wheat flour?

Regards,
Bill

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

" Did you go to the second webpage I referenced? I don't know how much more exact I could be in describing the process. Let me know what information is missing."

Heh, sorry about that, I actually wrote that comment before I noticed the link you gave.  I meant to delete it... and then... forgot. :)

"Have you had success baking loaves that have only whole-wheat flour?"

Honestly, I haven't gone that route, as I tend to prefer a percentage of white flour in my loaves.  That said, there should be nothing terribly tricky about 100% WW.  You might get a loaf that's a bit more dense due to inhibit gluten development, but it should still come out looking like a loaf of bread with a nice convex top.

BSquared18's picture
BSquared18

Given that what I should get and am getting are different, do you think it would help to add more gluten and/or yeast to the recipe? From what I've read, whole wheat bread can be tricky. That's why I added the extra kneading time.

Worst case, I'll just keep tweaking the recipe and procedures to see if anything works. I'll try incorporating some of the methods shown on the video you provided a link to.

Bill

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hi Bill.

Welcome to TFL. I've baked a 100% Whole wheat bread before as well as 100% whole Rye bread before. Here are several things that jump out looking at the link you provided.

1. Immediately upon seeing the picture the tell tell sign of over proofing the loaf jumped out. That flat concave top is a sure sign of over proofing. Incidentally in your directions you don't say how long this dough was proofed. For the dough of 3.3/4 cups the final proofing should be in the neighborhood of 1.5 hours.

2. With 100% whole wheat you need to take special care to develop the gluten. The bran and germ present in the whole wheat flour cut the gluten strands, thereby acting as shortenings. To get around this I recommend that you soak your flour for a couple of hours before mixing the rest of the ingredients. Put all of your recipe's water into the mixing vessel and about 75% to 80% of your flour, mix to integrate and leave alone to hydrate for a 2 - 3 hours. You want this mixture to be very wet so that it will easily accept the rest of the ingredients later.

3. To further help in gluten development, I recommend that you leave out the margarine and dry milk as they will further shorten your dough. Plus you'll need to effectively knead your dough or use folding techniques, to be certain that gluten is developed fully.

4. The recipe as given will not yield a very tasty bread, because it is lacking any and all preferment. This is probably the reason they suggest adding honey and molasses in. I would recommend that you employ the use of preferment as it is easy enough to do. To make preferment: Take 25% of the water from the recipe and dissolve 1/8 of a teaspoon of yeast in it. To this mixture add 25% of the flour also from your recipe amount. Let this stand at room temperature for 24 hours. And that's it, it's ready to be used.

5. Lastly, in my experience. 30 minutes at 350F is nowhere near enough to bake up 3 3/4 cups (which is 1lb of flour) of bread. I think that should be 1 hour and 15 minutes and perhaps a full 1 hour and 30 minutes

Sorry for such a long winded reply but that recipe is just fraught with problems.

Rudy
-----------------------------
My TFL Blog Page

BSquared18's picture
BSquared18

Rudy,

Thanks for the detailed suggestions. I have a few questions:

1.  What does the term "oven proofing" mean. I put the loaf in an oven warmed to about 80 degrees F. Is that what it is? Should I have done it a different way?

2.  What is "preferment" and what is its purpose? I'm no connoisseur of bread, but my wife and I think what we have so far, with all its shortcomings, is quite tasty. Naturally, I'm open to trying ways to improve the taste and will try your idea.

3.  You mention kneading. Do you think that the bread machine's kneading cycle will suffice? Does my adding some extra minutes to the normal cycle make sense? Is hand kneading required too?

4.  You mentioned baking the bread for much longer than 30 minutes; yet, I baked the last loaf for 45 minutes, and the edges were burned, making me think I should reduce the time. Any thoughts as to why the bread seemed to take much less time to bake than you had suggested? 

Looking forward to your responses.

Bill

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hi Bill. Apologies up front for any confusion.

1.  What does the term "oven proofing" mean. I put the loaf in an oven warmed to about 80 degrees F. Is that what it is? Should I have done it a different way?

 

I'm afraid you misread my comments. :) I didn't type Oven Proofing. I typed Over Proofing. Over Proofing is when the dough rises too long at the final stage of proofing, which takes place right before the bread goes into the oven.
2. What is "preferment" and what is its purpose?
A preferment is a mixture that is fermented for much longer than the bread. This allows it to develop deep, well rounded and nuanced flavors, which it then imparts to the dough it is mixed into. In yeasted doughs about 25% of the final dough is a good ratio for a preferment. For sourdough a ratio of 15% to 25% works. Depending on the recipe. At the bottom of my posts there is a link to my blog that further defines these concepts and terms.
I'm no connoisseur of bread, but my wife and I think what we have so far, with all its shortcomings, is quite tasty. Naturally, I'm open to trying ways to improve the taste and will try your idea.
Again my apologies. I hope I didn't come off sounding too harsh. In my experience breads, with very few exceptions, that employ a preferment technique are far tastier than breads that do not. Very Sweet Breads may be the only exception.
3. You mention kneading. Do you think that the bread machine's kneading cycle will suffice? Does my adding some extra minutes to the normal cycle make sense? Is hand kneading required too?
No hand kneading is not required. And if you employ the soaking technique that I outlined above the extra cycles on your bread machine may be enough. Also if you poke around the old threads on these, invaluable, forums you'll see extensive discussions of folding techniques that eliminate the traditional kneading as we know it. Very very cool stuff. At the end of the day, you need to make sure you have developed enough gluten in your dough so that when it is baked it helps you bread rise.
4. You mentioned baking the bread for much longer than 30 minutes; yet, I baked the last loaf for 45 minutes, and the edges were burned, making me think I should reduce the time. Any thoughts as to why the bread seemed to take much less time to bake than you had suggested?
I'm rather puzzled and amazed. However, if it works no sense in trying to fix it. :) I'm far far far from an expert, that's for sure. But I've baked quite a few 1lb loaves before in many different ovens and they took over an hour to finish at 350F. But again if it's not broke, and you are happy with the crust and the crumb, no need to fix it.

Rudy
-----------------------------
My TFL Blog Page

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

On the topic of preferments, it's worth noting that virtually all sandwich breads are enriched with sugars, fats, or other products, and as such, a preferment is probably less important as the flavours in these breads come not just from the flour, but from the enrichments as well.  In my case, I used to incorporate a poolish into my breads, but lately I've been making them without and I haven't noticed a lot of difference, as the flavour contributions from things like molasses tend to overshadow any enhancements a preferment might provide.

As such, I'd *strongly* recommend mastering the existing recipe, as is,before altering it with a preferment.

Same goes with the autolyze.  Yeah, it'll really help with gluten development, particularly with wheat breads where heavy kneading can actually do as much harm as good, but it seems better to master the basic recipe, even if it doesn't come out quite perfect, before moving on to more advanced techniques (and the fact is, I don't bother doing an autolyze for my basic sandwich breads, and I get very nice results... heck, that photo I posted is an example of such a bread).

I'll bet you're spot on about overproofing, though... that hadn't cross my mind until you mentioned it, but based on the steps as described, it's very possible that's the issue.  A proper shaping step should hopefully resolve it, as that'll restructure the dough before the final proof.

"But I've baked quite a few 1lb loaves before in many different ovens and they took over an hour to finish at 350F."

I think your oven must be busted. :)  My sandwich loaves are 750g each, on average, which is roughly  1.65 lbs, with around 66% hydration.  These loaves, without fail, hit 195F at center when baked at 400F for 5 minutes, followed by 25 minutes at 350F.  I can't imagine needing to bake them for more than 45 minutes, let alone a full hour and a half.

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Yeah, it'll really help with gluten development, particularly with wheat breads where heavy kneading can actually do as much harm as good,
Well too much of anything is never good, and I hope I wasn't advocating heavy kneading above. But to the best of my knowledge, 100% whole wheat breads need more gluten development than breads with white flour. It is the latter that Hamelman warns against overworking.
I think your oven must be busted. :)
Perhaps. Although more likely the oven user. :) However, this is in at least three different ovens over the course of several years. Again as I said above if it works, no sense in trying to fix it. The only reason I commented on this is because Bill mentioned a couple of times in his original post that his crumb came out gummy and not crumbly. That to me is a sign of bread that didn't spend enough time in the oven. However, later he mentioned that at 45 minutes his crust was almost burned. So I had to bow out of that point right there and then, as I clearly had no idea what was happening and why. Perhaps the sugar from honey and molasses are to blame for caramelization.
My sandwich loaves are 750g each, on average, which is roughly 1.65 lbs, with around 66% hydration. These loaves, without fail, hit 195F at center when baked at 400F for 5 minutes, followed by 25 minutes at 350F. I can't imagine needing to bake them for more than 45 minutes, let alone a full hour and a half.

Maybe the keyword there is sandwich. Admittedly my loaves tend to be always lean loaves which call for a slightly deeper crust. I can see how enriched sandwich loaves which prefer a softer crust would call for shorter baking times. So good thing you chimed in. Your advice is most welcome. Although I'm still not sure whether we resolved Bill's problem.

Rudy
-----------------------------
My TFL Blog Page

BSquared18's picture
BSquared18

Rudy & "FancyPants,"

Thanks for some great information and tips.

Concerning the oven--er, over proofing, for the loaf that I showed on my web page, I heated the oven for a minute or so until it got to 80 degrees F and then put the loaf pan in, along with a pan of hot water. I turned off the oven and turned on the oven light, as I had read somewhere, to maintain some heat. The loaf was in there for about an hour before I took it out, preheated the oven to 350 degrees, and put the loaf back in. At no point, did the dough rise above the level of the pan. So, based on what you have said, it seems like over proofing may not be the culprit; what do you think?

My plan is to make one change to my procedures/recipe at a time to see what effect that has. So, I'm thinking I'll start by presoaking the flour and see what that does. If that change isn't sufficient, I'll try something else, such as eliminating the margarine and dry milk.

Also, at some point I want to try the shaping techniques shown in the video whose link was provided.

I'll get back with an update after trying my next loaf.

Bill

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Incidentally, I would *strongly* recommend you switch to a good shaping technique as your first modification.  Between that and proper cooling of the bread, I'll bet dollars to donuts you'll see an improvement in your bread.  Shaping is really a truly fundamental bread baking skill, while I consider all the other tricks (such as autolyzing) to be just additional refinements on the basic techniques.

BSquared18's picture
BSquared18

Oh, Rudy, one question: Do I add the wheat glutin before or after pre-soaking 80 percent of the flour?

Thanks,
Bill

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Before.  The purpose of the soak/autolyze is both to soften the bran and to trigger gluten development, and so you want to add any additional gluten at that stage.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Great suggestions here. I've been baking with whole wheat for a while, so here's my suggestions.

  • Over-proofing: Looking at the recipe, it's calling for 3 tsp (which, of course, is 1 Tbs) of active dry yeast. That's a lot of yeast for single loaf, and it one of the reasons your dough is over proofing (i.e. rising to the point that the gluten web bursts and can't hold air bubbles). I'd scale that down to 1 tsp.
  • Pre-ferment:A pre-ferment is a good idea, though you can also simply let it rise overnight in a cooler area. Here in the Pacific NW, the nights are now getting down close to 50 degrees, so I'll just make up my dough after dinner, let it rise for 3 hours or so, shape it, and let it sit outside overnight, covered. The next morning, it's ready to bake. The overnight slow rise greatly increases flavor and the length of time it will keep.
  • Quality of flour:Whole wheat flour will go rancid after a month or two at room temp, and quality differs a lot brand to brand. I grind my own these days, but I found King Arthur Flour's whole wheat performed beautifully. Make sure it gets stored in the freezer.

Here's a recipe that might work a little better.

Ingredients
3 to 4 cups (or 500 grams) whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp (or 10 grams) salt
1 tsp (or 3 grams) instant or active dry yeast
1.5 to 1.75 cups water (about 380 grams)
1 Tbs butter
2 Tbs honey (optional)

Instructions
If you're using active dry yeast, warm 1/4 cup of the water to lukewarm and then dissolve the yeast in it. Otherwise, mix all the dry ingredients together, melt the butter and then mix the butter, water and honey together. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until everything is hydrated. It should be shaggy. Cover and wait about an hour.

Give the dough a good stretch and fold and cover it back up. Wait 20-30 minutes and do another. Wait 20-30 more minutes and do another. Finally, let it rise for another hour to 90 minutes. It's done when a wet finger poke into the dough fills in only verrry slowwwly.

Shape the dough into a sandwich loaf and place into a pre-greased 8.5" x 4.5" baking pan. Cover and either put it in the fridge or, if it's cool enough (getting down to 40s or 50s) set it outside to rise overnight. If you put it in the fridge, it may need to rise some more in the morning at room temperature.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 55 minutes. Let it cool on a cooling rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.
KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hi Bill.

I'm pretty excited to see both fancypantalons and JMonkey's posts here because they are both great great bakers and will help bring this recipe closer to a great loaf of bread. Yay. :) My apologies in advance for such a long winded reply. Sorry folks.

Oh, Rudy, one question: Do I add the wheat glutin before or after pre-soaking 80 percent of the flour?
Well you may actually do either. Here is why. As fancypantalons pointed out the reason for autolyse is to allow the dough to develop gluten on its own without our interference. However, this is not what I was suggesting, and this is the reason I did not refer to it as autolyse. My suggestion is to soak the whole wheat flour because, the presence of margarine in this recipe will shorten the dough. Additionally the presence of bran and germ in the whole wheat flour will shorten the dough even further, making the development of gluten a big challenge. So softening up the bran and germ edges will prevent cutting of as many gluten strands later on when we fold/knead the dough. So since most of the gluten will be developed after the dough is mixed you can add the wheat gluten either before or after, the difference will be very small. Now the following paragraph you can ignore if its too much info :) Why is it important to develop gluten? Well as the dough is folded/kneaded the gluten strands become elongated and line up in the same direction. Forming as it were an "umbrella" within the dough. Once the dough is placed into the oven The yeast activity increases significantly and it emits a lot of carbon dioxide gas which then tries to escape the dough. Additionally the water that is in the dough comes to boil and vaporizes, also trying to escape the dough. As these gases try to leave the dough they hit the "umbrella" of gluten strands and lift the dough up.
Concerning the oven--er, over proofing, for the loaf that I showed on my web page, I heated the oven for a minute or so until it got to 80 degrees F and then put the loaf pan in, along with a pan of hot water. I turned off the oven and turned on the oven light, as I had read somewhere, to maintain some heat. The loaf was in there for about an hour before I took it out, preheated the oven to 350 degrees, and put the loaf back in. At no point, did the dough rise above the level of the pan. So, based on what you have said, it seems like over proofing may not be the culprit; what do you think?
I wish it were that simple. :) Unfortunately it is not. You see yeast feeds on sugar to produce the carbon dioxide (as well as alcohol). Now the enzymes already present in the flour break down some of the starch in the flour to simpler sugars which the yeast is then able to consume. So the dough slowly rises. When you add sugar, honey, molasses or other sweeteners to your dough. All of a sudden the yeast has an enormous amount of food and it goes hyperactive. Imagine a five year old after a 3lb bag on candy consumed in 10 minutes. :) Now when you put the dough into a warm oven next to a hot bowl the yeast go ballistic ( nukular :)) on top of that, thanks to JMonkey who noticed that the recipe calls for too much yeast which takes the ballistic activity and magnifies it into the stratosphere. :) Taking all of this into account 1 hour is enough time to over proof this dough twice. :) I would suggest not placing the dough into the oven, forgo preheating and the hot bowl of water. Simply cover your bowl with dough tightly with a plastic wrap to preven the skin from being formed and let it rise on the counter. Note JMonkey's tip that the slower the dough rises the more flavor it will develop. As an additional benefit leaving your dough on the counter top will allow you to see how fast the dough rises. And once you see it almost double, you can fold it over for another bulk fermentation, or fold it over and shape it for the final proofing.
My plan is to make one change to my procedures/recipe at a time to see what effect that has.
That is an awesome awesome plan. It will maximize your learning to a great degree.
I'll get back with an update after trying my next loaf.
I'm definitely looking forward to it. One of the great things about this forum is how excited it makes all of us about baking.

Rudy
-----------------------------
My TFL Blog Page

BSquared18's picture
BSquared18

Hi,

After all the great advice you all have given me, I wanted to get back to you with version 2.0 of the whole wheat loaf I'm trying to master. It's a work in progress, but this loaf is, in some ways, a big improvement over the previous version.

Below are a couple of photos of the loaf. First, a profile:

 

And a close-up showing the texture:

For the loaf shown, I decided to use JMonkey’s instructions as a starting point: that is, using multiple stretches and folds instead of kneading the dough in the bread machine, and doing the final proof overnight in the refrigerator. The other change was to reduce the amount of yeast to one tsp, as suggested by JMonkey.

Two things I didn’t do that I would do next time: (1) After the dough has risen overnight, let it rise at room temperature for a while to finish off the proofing; (2) Score/slash the dough before putting the loaf into the oven.

As the photos show, the bread is less flat than the earlier version. But it’s still not as high as I’d like. Making the two changes mentioned in the previous paragraph, plus trying the pre-soak that Rudy suggested, might improve the situation.

The loaf’s texture still seems to be a bit on the gummy side, as you may be able to see in the closeup photo (I baked it at 350 degrees for 50 minutes; I used an oven thermometer to confirm that the oven temperature is accurate).

Strangely, while JMonkey and Rudy mentioned that letting the dough rise more slowly usually improves the bread’s flavor, this loaf was less flavorful than the flatter, denser ones I had baked previously. The taste seems bland by comparison. I’m not sure why. The main changes were no kneading, less yeast, and a longer proofing period. Any ideas as to why the difference? At some point, I expect I’ll introduce Rudy’s preferement suggestion into the recipe to see if that makes a difference.

Thanks, folks, for introducing me to the wonderful world of break making. Just what I needed—another hobby!

Bill

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Looks like there's still problems with overproofing, as that loaf should've got a better spring.  Did you do any shaping this time 'round?  Letting it hit room temp would likely also make a big difference, as the yeast will get nice and active before hitting the oven.

As for flavour, silly question, but:  are you sure you didn't just mis-measure the salt? :)  Other than that, there's really no good reason for the flavour to be more mild.

That's a definite improvement, though, nice job!  It looks pretty delicious to me. :)

BSquared18's picture
BSquared18

When you mentioned salt, I remembered asking myself after mixing the ingredients whether I had remembered to add salt. Next time, I'll be sure to do that and see if that was the problem.

I stretched and folded the dough several times as recommended in this thread. Is there something else I should have done?

Bill

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Definitely looks much better. You are well on your way. Welcome to addiction that is TFL and good bread. :) I agree with fancypantalons that it does look a little overproofed. What was the total final proofing time?

If you feel the crumb was still gummy, do you think the crust can tolerate a longer bake?

Rudy

BSquared18's picture
BSquared18

"Looks like there's still problems with overproofing, as that loaf should've got a better spring."

On the other hand, JMonkey's instructions said that additional proofing might be needed if the loaf is kept in the refrigerator overnight. It went directly from the frig to the oven, so it didn't get a chance to rise more at room temperature. If, in fact, it should have risen higher overnight, any suggestions on what might have caused that? Would the fact that it is whole wheat flour (albeit with some gluten added) be a factor?

"If you feel the crumb was still gummy, do you think the crust can tolerate a longer bake?"

My sense is that the problem wouldn't be solved by baking the bread longer. A thermometer inserted into the loaf indicated that the internal temp was plenty high. The problem seems to be more basic, such as maybe something to do with the recipe? However, if I wanted to increase the bake time, I think I would need to reduce the oven temperature somewhat. Otherwise, the crust would start burning.

"What was the total final proofing time?"

Would that include the time the dough was rising after each stretch and fold? The sequence was stretch and fold, let sit 20 minutes, another stretch and fold, let sit 20 minutes, another stretch and fold, let sit for an hour, shape into a sandwich loaf, put into loaf pan, cover, and keep in the frig overnight, about eight hours.

Is it possible that the problem is due to under-proofing rather than over-proofing?

Bill

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Given that schedule, I'd definitely suggest letting the dough come up to room temp for a couple hours before popping it in the oven.   That'll give the yeast a chance to wake up before hitting the oven, and also gas up the dough a little bit more (speaking of which, how much did the dough rise in the fridge?  I'm guessing no more than 50-75%, so I doubt overproofing is the culprit here).

BSquared18's picture
BSquared18

The website where I got the recipe had two receipe options, one for a smaller loaf and one for a larger loaf. I chose the larger-loaf option. I'm using a 9-1/4 x 5-1/4 inch loaf pan. On one of the videos it was mentioned that you don't want the dough to fill the loaf pan too tightly. Could part of my problem be that I'm using too much dough?

Bill

puddintane's picture
puddintane

hay, im pretty new to the bread thing also and i use whole wheat and was having pretty much the same problem with flat top... lol i didnt do any of the other tecnices ...well because i didnt know about them! i just found this site not long ago and am tring to .... take it all in.

 

well what i did is.. one i was using the large loaf pan so i moved to a small one. because i could never get the last rise ubove the top of the pan and there was not enough oven spring? to get it up there.. so i down sized pans and also i allowed it to sit longer then i normaly would and MADE it rise above the pan untill it was about what i would have wanted it to be after baking.

 

with the smaller pan and the longer rising time i get a LARGE top now and it dosnt go flat WOOT. well i hope this helps at all. if anything worth a shot on the next loaf :) good luck !

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker


My sense is that the problem wouldn't be solved by baking the bread longer. A thermometer inserted into the loaf indicated that the internal temp was plenty high. The problem seems to be more basic, such as maybe something to do with the recipe? However, if I wanted to increase the bake time, I think I would need to reduce the oven temperature somewhat. Otherwise, the crust would start burning.

Perhaps it's amatter of perception. :) High hydration doughs will have a moister crumb. That's just the nature of the beast. Since whole grains retain more moisture, their crumb will appear more moist as well. The only alternates are longer bake time or you can wait till next day to eat the bread, by which time the crumb will dry a tiny bit. BTW how long do you let the bread cool? And what was that plenty high temperature?
Would that include the time the dough was rising after each stretch and fold?

No. There are two distinct proofing phases in every bread dough development. The Bulk Proof phase includes stretch and folds. The Final Proof/Fermentation happens right before the dough goes into the oven.
Is it possible that the problem is due to under-proofing rather than over-proofing?

No. I believe the problem is still over proofing. When your dough is under proofed it "explodes" in the oven, which causes rips at weak spots of the dough.
It went directly from the frig to the oven, so it didn't get a chance to rise more at room temperature.

I think you may have just discovered why most bakers recommend that the dough be refrigerated at the Bulk Proof Phase, rather than the Final Proof/Fermentation. If I were to make a suggestion I would recommend that you use the fridge for Bulk proofing. Then take the dough out let it come to room temp. Shape it and place it into the baking pan for final fermentation. When it has nearly doubled, 75% to 90% rise. It's tome to score and place it into the oven.
I'm using a 9-1/4 x 5-1/4 inch loaf pan. On one of the videos it was mentioned that you don't want the dough to fill the loaf pan too tightly. Could part of my problem be that I'm using too much dough?

No. The only thing that the pan size affects is the size of the "crown" on your loaf. Smaller pan will give you a larger "crown" and a larger pan will give you a smaller one.

Good Luck. You are almost there.

Rudy

BSquared18's picture
BSquared18

"...most bakers recommend that the dough be refrigerated at the Bulk Proof Phase, rather than the Final Proof/Fermentation. ...I would recommend that you use the fridge for Bulk proofing. Then take the dough out let it come to room temp. Shape it and place it into the baking pan for final fermentation." 

Thanks, Rudy. I'll add your suggestion to my list of things to try. Won't be able to try another loaf for about a week, but will let y'all know how it goes.

Bill

BSquared18's picture
BSquared18

Hi,

Back from vacation, and tried another loaf. The ingredients and procedures are shown at:

       http://bmbmisc.home.comcast.net/bread_2.html

The results were improved, with a better texture and taste and a somewhat more pronounced crown.

I've read elsewhere that a couple of tablespoons of vital wheat glutin are recommended per cup of whole wheat flour. As the link above shows, the recipe I'm using calls for much less.

If I want a somewhat lighter loaf with more of a rise to it, would it make sense to experiment with more wheat glutin? What do you think?

And thanks for all the helpful advice given so far.

Bill