The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Raisin Bread

Bob F's picture
Bob F

Raisin Bread

Ihave tried several of the bread recipes in the Fr. Dominic book series with poor results.

 My most recent attempt produced a very dry, dense, tough bread which tasted OK but was very disappointing. I ate theree slices the rest went in the waste can.

 I must be doing something wrong because I can't believe that anyone could win a state Fair Prize with this loaf as claimed in the book.

 Can anyone share some comments as to why I seem to get such poor results?

   Bob F


pmccool's picture

Bob F,

How about sharing the recipe and a rundown of your process with us?  That will give folks more to work with than the description of the finished bread.

If you can tolerate some very sketchy guessing, here are some possibilities:

- the combination of dry, dense and tough would suggest that the dough didn't have nearly enough moisture before baking.  Two big possibilities here.  First, it may be that the measurements weren't correct (in the recipe, or in your handling).  Second, it may be that too much flour got worked into the dough during kneading.  Or both. 

- by itself, dense might suggest inadequate fermentation.  Maybe old, less active yeast; maybe too short a time for fermentation; maybe cooler-than-prescribed fermentation temperatures.

Just guesses at this point.  With more information, we may get closer to a useful diagnosis.


Bob F's picture
Bob F

Bob Finsterwalder

 Because my previous tries at bread making were negative I cut the recipe in half. I first started the yeast per instructions in warm water and let stand about ten minutes until it was foamy. Separately milk and butter were heated in a small sauce pan until the butter was melted. This step was set aside until it cooled. When the milk mixture was just warm the yeast (I am not sue how old the yeast was but probably no more that 7 months) mixture was added along with a tablespoon of sugar. The whole mixture was added to a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. The bread flour was added a cup at a time with the raisins and mixed on low speed until the dough pulled away from the sides of the bowl. In all about two cups of the three cups were added. The resulting dough was very sticky and flour was added a little at a time to enable the kneading process. I kneaded the dough for about 3 to 4 minutes (About 1/3 cup less than the recipe amount was used) and placed it, covered, in a lightly oiled bowl. I heated the oven for one minute to "warm" and let the dough rise for one hour.

  I punched the dough down and shaped in a glass 9x5x3 loaf pan  I again warmed the oven for a minute and let it rise for another 45 minutes. I pre-heated the oven to 425 F and baked for 10 minutes then lowered the temperature to 350F for 25 minutes until the loaf sounded "hollow" when thumped. Voila a hard,dry, tough loaf.

 To answer another question the recipe was in volume measure not in mass (weight). All liquid measures were verified; nothing was left out or shorted

  Frankly at this point I don't know if this is just the way home-made bread is or if I am missing something. I'm puzzled how commercial bakers get light, moist loaves. Maybe it better eating through chemistry!

SourdoLady's picture

Dry, dense and tough all describe to me bread that has too much flour in it. How do you measure your flour? If you use a measuring cup and you scoop your flour, you are compacting it too much into the cup and thereby getting too much flour. To measure flour into a cup, first fluff up the flour in the cannister and then lightly spoon it into your measuring cup. Gently sweep a flat bladed knife across the top to level the cup. Your best bet for accuracy in measuring flour would be to use a scale, if you have one.

Cloud's picture

I had bad luck with these recipes too with breads that were too dense. The ingredients are all listed by volume and not by weight. Now that I am learning about bread formulas I plan to go back and "translate" the recipes to see what might be missing.