The Fresh Loaf

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It is very disheartening and I am on the verge of giving up...

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Cendrillon's picture
Cendrillon

It is very disheartening and I am on the verge of giving up...

In an attempt to improve the taste and look of my breads, I have read all the blogs I could find in French and in English. I have taken on board the advice about sponge and preferment, about overnight rest, about autolyse, about folding... and still I cannot produce a dough which does stick to the worktop and does not spread in the oven.

I have stuck to one recipe in an effort to gauge any improvement after making changes and my bread does tastes better than it used to, but I cannot get the dough out of the mixing bowl or lift it off the work surface without it sticking to my hands, no matter how long I rest it. I have to sprinkle flour on the surface just to pat it and when I try to fold it, the underside sticks to my hands like glue. As I cannot fold it, I cannot find a way to give it a tight skin and it spreads out almost as soon as I turn it out of the floured linen basket.

This is the recipe I use and I make 2 batard-shaped loaves (I hesitate to call them batards, as they flatten so much on the tray). I use a KitchenAid to mix the flour and water to the sponge and rest it 30mn before adding the yeast and salt. I then mix for 2mn on speed 2 before resting it. I have tried to rest it in the bowl, out of the bowl, still it sticks like glue as soon as I touch it. I have tried wet hands, damp hands, lightly floured hands, still it sticks like glue.

It is very disheartening and I am on the verge of giving up...

Judon's picture
Judon

I have shared your pain! Here's how I look at the recipe - sponge hydration is at 86% and final dough hydration is at 60% together they give you a formula hydration of 73%.

Flours have different absorption rates so I'd keep using the same flour mixture and lower the water to say 230 grams in the final dough. That would bring the overall hydration to 68.5%.

5 gr of salt is low and that has an effect on dough handling. 1.8% to 2% is a good working range for this type of formula. So you could up the salt to 8 or 9 grams.

If this works add a little more water each time til you've come upon the right mix for you.

Are you familiar with using baker's percentages, if not, check out the  tutorial posted by Susan on her Wild Yeast blog. http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2008/03/22/bakers-percentage-1/

As your experience and confidence grows you'll be able to handle a high hydration dough with grace and ease!!!!

Good luck, Judy

 

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

this dough is actually at ~ 67% hydration as is, since there's 600 gr. flour and 400 gr. water in the total recipe.

however, different flours absorb different amounts of water, so lowering the water slightly is probably the best way to go. try reducing the water amount in the final dough to 250 gr. or even 230 gr. as you grow more confident, gradually incorporate more water in your doughs.

and: remember to have fun :-) 

Hans Joakim

Judon's picture
Judon

Thanks Hans - I hadn't even looked at the total hydration in that manner. I wish I could say it's too early but I'm a morning person!

I have always calculated them separately so I could adjust one or the other based on the outcome. I based my 'method' on Jeffrey Hamelman's writing on baker's percentage and pre-ferments "…When using pre-ferments, it is therefore a good idea to break the formula into it's component parts…"

So I am mathematically stumped here. Sponge hydration % plus dough hydration %divided by 2 should equal the overall formula within a percentage or two depending on how you round up or down. This formula doesn't work that way at all. Where am I going wrong in thinking about this?

Judy

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

it all depends on the amount of prefermented flour in the recipe. if your preferment is made up of half of the total flour in the recipe, it works dividing by two. usually you don't preferment that much (typically 1/4 to 1/3 of the total flour is put in a preferment). so, if you know the hydration of the final mix and of the preferment, you'll have to weight them accordingly in order to obtain the total hydration of your dough. hamelman's bakers % is really neat in this respect. he lists the bakers % of the total recipe (and those are the figures that are interesting), the amount of prefermented flour, and the bakers % of the preferment. that's all that's required from a recipe, nothing more, nothing less! 

Hans Joakim

Judon's picture
Judon

Thanks - that was my stumbling block!

Judy

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Interesting article!

Do you use only wholemeal or do you add some white flour as well? Baking with 100% whole meal flour is a real challenge and not recommended for a "novice" baker. I recommend trying some breads with a small percentage of whole meal flour in order to get the feel of dough and have the pleasure of successful loaves! Don't be afraid to flour if necessary (not TOO much) when handling the dough especially if it is high hydrated. A little bit of flour won't kill your bread and as you get the feel you can reduce, or use wet hands.

Or you could also change recipes alltogether for awhile. That one looks nice, but would be easier if less whole meal.

Just a suggestion.

Jane 

Cendrillon's picture
Cendrillon

Thank you for the encouraging suggestions. I'll answer in the order of the replies:

I have tried mixing the dough witholding some of the final mix water, but the dough was still sticky. It could be that I did not hold back enough and that will be my next change. I have not looked at bakers' percentages, thank you for the link. It's on my "to read" list.

I have increased the salt to 10g as a matter of course whenever mixing the dough, as similar recipes I have read usually suggest that weight for that quantity of flour.

Judy, I smiled when reading about "grace and ease" ! Nothing easy or graceful about the sticky mess this morning... Still, it's something to aim for (she says, sighing wishfully)!

Jane, I use farine de campagne (blé + seigle) for the sponge and T65 for the dough mix. I buy them from the local farmers'cooperative (Gam Vert) and they both come from this producer. Having looked at the packets, I now notice (a bit late in the day) that the flours contains added gluten and wheat malt.

My next purchase will be for unadulterated T65 and I will report on my next attempts.

I should add that the final result is perfectly edible (and better than it used to be before I started reading this and other baking forums) and that my annoyance comes from my inability at reproducing the smooth silky doughs I see on all your pictures and videos.

Thanks again.

Cendrillon
Virtual French Person

Janedo's picture
Janedo

If you want, I can make the bread using T65 and a bit of rye and tell you the results. We'll be using the exact same flour. Have you got a biocoop near you? I buy all my flour there. It makes great bread (Moulin des Moines, Cenat, Biocert)

Jane

PS Those flours look good! Auverge has very nice bread flour. 

Cendrillon's picture
Cendrillon

Hi Jane

I know my local farmers' coop has at least one other brand of local wheat flour as well as a Celnat one, but they only stock in small packets and the cost is likely to be prohibitive.

I will investigate what's available in Aurillac when I drive there next week.

I'd be very interested in your comments if you do decide to try making that bread. I'm quite certain that, with your experience, your results will be more positive than mine!

Cendrillon
Virtual French Person

Janedo's picture
Janedo

At our biocoop, we can order whatever we want. I get 25kg bags of T65 for 34 euros. Not bad. Otherwise you can order 5 kg bags. Just because they don't have things on the shelf doesn't mean they can't order. I order all sorts of stuff from them.

I'll try the recipe, start it this evening. I won't do it all whole wheat, I'll do it with T110, some T65 and maybe a bit of rye. The type of flour will change everything because of the way they absorb water. If you do it with mostly T65 you sill get an incredible wet and sticky dough, while the recipe is saying mostly whole wheat. It just has to be fiddled with.

More news tomorrow!

Jane 

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

I had the same issue, I was getting tasty but flat bread that was very difficult to handle. I switched to the Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough recipe and FINALLY had a loaf I could handle, wasn't as soft as the previous recipe and would even stay upright after slashing. My pancake loaves are no more. Now that I've successfully made this bread several time, I can say with a certain degree of confidence that I have a better idea what the dough should feel like - definitely drier than what I'd been making before. I guess this is where taking a breadmaking class would have been helpful, learning right from the start what the dough's texture is supposed to be like as opposed to the self-taught hit-and-miss method. But I think I could now go back to those recipes and adjust knowing what texture I was really aiming for.

Why did my previous loaves go flat when obviously other people's did not? I dunno. Maybe the type of flour available to me and them are distinctly different? Maybe my water is wetter? (Not serious there.) I don't know. But although the idea of sticking to a recipe and trying it over and over is valiant, if you're not getting the result you want, it may not be all YOUR fault. After giving it a fair shot, it's probably OK to try another.

--------
Paul

ericb's picture
ericb

I second Paul's suggestion that it very well could be the recipe, and Jane's suggestion that wholemeal (is that the same as whole wheat?) might be a tough place to start.
I have three recommendations. First, consider using a different recipe, preferably one with a poolish. King Arthur's website has an excellent Baguette recipe that does not require sourdough starter: http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2008/05/02/baguettes-do-try-this-at-home/. Second, if you are able to do so, take the dough out of the mixer and knead with your hands. You might need to add more flour than the recipe calls for, which will prevent the dough from being so sticky, but you will never know this if you don't get your hands in the dough (note: this is not the case if you're using rye flour, which gets stickier the more you knead it). There's a trend lately to use very high hydration dough (and for good reason!), but it's perfectly acceptable to add flour if your dough is too wet and sticky to work with. As you improve your technique, you will find that you can use less flour. There are many kneading techniques, but with time and practice, you'll find one that works for you. Third, try a different brand of flour. I'm assuming you're in the UK, so I'm not sure what brands are available to you there. Perhaps you could buy smaller bags of slightly more expensive flour until you find one that you like. That way, you don't have to commit to a full 5 lb bag. Of course, you might find that the least expensive flour is your favorite, so don't rule that out, either. Don't give up! Baking bread can be one of life's greatest pleasures. One of the best benefits is that even if you only turn out mediocre loaves, your friends will think it's the best bread they've ever tasted. Good luck!Eric 

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Don't give up!  It took me 6 weeks of frustration before I started hitting the target anywhere near consistently, but after that it got better and better (not necessarily easier, but more fun!).

A few suggestions:

  •  
    • Watch the King Arthur Artisan Bread video and made the recipe that is included with it (I can post it tonight).  I think this video is now out of print but you should be able to get it from the library.
    • See if King Arthur is having a Bakers' Tour presentation in your area and go to that
    • Take an evening class at a community college or a Viking Cooking School - just having someone help you once is often all it takes to get going
    • There is nothing wrong with kneading in the bowl.  I have a very big, wide, plastic mixing bowl with a shallow curvature and I often knead in it using a plastic dough scraper (79 cents at the cooking store or King Arthur).   That keeps the dough from sticking to the counter.

You can do it!

sPh

Oddball trick:  if you have a lot of hair on the back of your fingers, as I do, shave it off with an electric razor.  Dough sticks to hair more than it sticks to skin.  And dough sticks to dough.

Patf's picture
Patf

Cendrillon- suggest you do all mixing by hand in your bowl. Shouldn't be too difficult as only about 1lb of flour. Add your yeasty sponge, then oil,then warm water a little at a time, until you get the consistency you want.

I don't measure the fluid, but use the above method, as flours vary so much in the amount they absorb.

Keep trying!

josordoni's picture
josordoni

I do understand what you mean about sticky dough and gluey hands.  I hate that feeling, so can't get on with Bertinet's slap and fold method, and I find normal kneading too sticky in the early stages.. 

 I work with mainly sourdough with a bit of added yeast as back up, and with a (roughly) 40/60 rye/white mix, so the basics are different to you, but the tricks I find that work for me are:

  • fold rather than knead - either the in the bowl method described by janado and dsnyder (and also described in Hamelman) OR, my preferred method, envelope folds in an oiled baking tray.
  •  Use Wet hands rather than flour, and just keep dipping my hands whenever they get sticky.  This works grand for keeping my hands unsticky, especially for doughs that are already quite high hydration , and means that I can do two sets of folds each time and get good gluten development without kneading, which helps enormously when I come to shape later..   

Good Luck! 

 Lynne

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Cendrillon,
Thank you for reaching out in the face persistent disappointment. I have experienced the same sticky dough on occasion. After a few attempts at trying to fix it, mid stream, I've come to the realization it can't be fixed and tossed it into the bin. No point in adding more good flour into a loosing mix.

The basic problem here is that the recipe calls for 3 grams of dry yeast when .5% would do. The yeast is eating the food in the flour overnight and turning it soft and sticky.

I wrote a long post and deleted it, detailing how to fix this recipe but instead I suggest splitting your recipe in half. Part 1 is the preferment and part 2 is the dough. Part 1 gets 1/4 teaspoon of yeast and part 2 gets 1.5 teaspoons (dry). Second, use All Purpose flour as the recipe suggests in the dough mix. You need to be at 20% whole grain and 80% AP flour. Once you have a successful loaf in these percentages you can adjust slowly if you wish.

For the purpose of learning how dough should feel, I would skip the fat (butter) until you can produce a good lean loaf. 

So in summary, lower the yeast levels in the preferment, make up the dough with the balance of yeast later, skip the butter and don't use warm water (no need to speed this up). Shoot for a final dough temp of 78F.

The article was interesting but the recipe is a mess IMHO.

Eric 

Cendrillon's picture
Cendrillon

A few clarifications in view of the latest suggestions:

As I am based in France, I have to "translate" your tips to match what is available here.

EricH, thanks you so much for your suggestions. By AP flour, I take it you're referring to plain flour (T65) as opposed to the one I am using, which has added gluten. I will do that. I take on board the water temperature and olive oil/butter tips and will do as suggested.

I use fresh yeast and I use it as per the recipe, i.e. 5g in total in the sponge. Should that weight be reduced and by how much?

Keesmees,  the recipe on the packet calls for 330g of water to 500g of flour (66%?).

Lynne and Patf, I would prefer to mix and knead by hand and have been using the KA because of the sticky hands problem. I have not tried the oiled tray/bowl, but I have seen a fold-in tray-video for ciabatta. I get the gist of it.

sPH and eDogg, I have not seen the KA video. I have the Bertinet book and did tried the slap and fold shown on the DVD, but the stickiness persisted.

So, to recap (apart from the suggestions to use another recipe altogether, which I will do):

  • use less yeast?
  • use AP/plain flour
  • hold water back
  • use cold water rather than warm water 
  • forget the KA and use wet hands and oiled tray/bowl

If I can get over this massive sticky hurdle, I will be much more confident about kneading/folding and shaping.

Thank you all.

Cendrillon
Virtual French Pers-on

dougal's picture
dougal

1/ I wonder about your flour, you don't seem to have specified what you have been using. Rye flour makes for a horribly sticky "low" dough.

Whitely is going to be using a relatively high protein flour compared to French flours.

He's using a wholemeal/wholegrain flour which is going to absorb more water than a white flour.

If you are changing to a T65 or a fully white flour, you are going to need to reduce the water a little. Perhaps you might try reducing the water by 1/10.

 

One thing I'd suggest is to mix in a little bit of imported Canadian extra-strong flour. Millers mix flours (and grains) and so can you. A "stronger" (higher protein) flour will give you a more 'rubbery' and less sloppy dough. Its a great help while you are getting started. Adding a bit of Canadian is a better idea than adding Gluten.

 

2/ The yeast - and water temperature.

Fresh yeast is what many pros tend to use - not least because it is the cheapest!

But if you are adding it it to an already-mixed dough, then it needs to be very finely crumbled before adding to the dough. Like breadcrumbs, not like powder, definitely not like big lumps.

I think "instant mix" dried yeast is the easiest thing for learning with. It mixes in very easily, even into mixed dough. Use 1/3 of the quantity that is specified for "fresh" yeast. I'd suggest avoiding "active dry" yeast. The names and descriptions (even in English) are confusing - instant mix is the easy one - its instructions will say to mix it with the dry flour (but you can mix it with dough even if they don't say so). But I'd suggest you avoid the old-fashioned big grains of so-called active dried - which MUST be mixed with 'warm' water (otherwise it doesn't work).

The yeast wants to be added to something that isn't too cold (because that means very slow), or too hot - which will kill it, resulting in dough that never rises properly.

The best indication is "like a baby's bath", when you put your finger in, it seems neither hot nor cold - exactly neutral.

 

3/ The water. If you mix the flour with hot water, that could make it sticky and gummy. The ideal is somewhere around 30C. Pros might use a bit hotter or colder, but that's usually to control the rising time, so that it fits in with their work schedule! Using water at about 30C isn't going to mess things up. Too hot might. 

 

4/ Don't worry about the mixer. Mixing slowly, you'd have to mix for a very long time to overmix the stuff. 15, 20 minutes of slow mixing shouldn't be a problem. Just one minute in a food processor can be enough.  

Cendrillon's picture
Cendrillon

Hi Dougal and thanks for taking the time.

1/ The flour I have used so far for the sponge is a ready-mix of wholewheat and rye. The flour used for the dough itself is T65. I realised today both have added gluten, which partly explains the stickiness problem. I take your point about Canadian flour, but I wouldn't know where to start to buy it in France...

2/ I always crumble the fresh yeast in the 18-19°C water, then add the flour to make the sponge. I have not tried using dried yeast for this recipe, be it instant mix or active dry. I bought a packet marked "Dry Bakers' Yeast" last week, as a stand-by in case I run out of fresh yeast, but haven't used it yet. The instructions say to mix 1 sachet to 250g-1kg the flour, according to the recipe used.

3/ I have made a point of buying a probe thermometer and I always check the water temp: as per the recipe, I use it at 18-19°C for the sponge and at 30°C for the dough mix. As has been suggested in previous posts, I will use it at 18-19° for the dough mix when I next bake using this recipe.

The first change I make will be the flours I use. I have a hunch that the added gluten combined with the warm water are causing the sticky problem.

Cendrillon
Virtual French Person

josordoni's picture
josordoni

Cendrillon,

Have you checked out Jane's (janedo) fantastic bread blog ...au levain? 

 

http://aulevain.canalblog.com/

 Jane is working in France, with french flour and makes wonderful bread,  you can't do better than try at least one of her recipes as she will be using flours you can get easily in France rather than UK or US flours.

Lynne

 

dougal's picture
dougal

I think much of the stickiness is going to be coming from the rye.

 

Your 'mix with the flour' yeast sounds like instant.

I think you'd probably be fine using less yeast than Whitely suggests (especially less than his 'dried' suggestion of 60% the fresh quantity). The sachet is likely 6 or 7g. I'd suggest using 1/4 of the sachet (just divided by eye).

 

You can add a bit of strength (I think its more remove weakness, but its the same result) by adding a very little Vitamin C. This is especially effective with wholemeal flour. (Rye has almost no 'strength', but some weight, to contribute.)

How much Vitamin C to use? Very, very little!

Suggestion: dissolve a 500mg ("one a day") Vit C tablet in 250ml of water.

Each 1 ml of solution now contains 2mg of Vit C. I'd use 1 or 2 (15ml) tablespoons of the solution as part of the liquid used in making up the final dough. 60mg VitC should be plenty for 600g flour. And you won't notice any taste from it.

Drink the rest of the Vit C yourself ... !!!

 

And enjoy playing!

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I definitely agree with Eric, the sponge has WAY too much yeast and then there is none in the final dough. I'll do what he says and play with the flour.

Jane 

dougal's picture
dougal

While I agree with Jane that Whitely seems to be using more yeast than expected (and a strange {wrong?} conversion to dried - and he doesn't even say what sort of dried), it is actually in the nature of the English usage of the term "sponge" to incorporate all the yeast in the recipe.

There's 150g of flour in the initial mix. It shouldn't need more than 2% fresh/compressed yeast, so 3g rather than the 5g listed. Applying a 1/3 conversion to instant would indicate just 1g (not 3) would be required. (so about 1/6 of a packet) But a little extra, even using 3g of instant, is unlikely to be responsible for making the dough into a sticky, no-strength, flowing soup.

 

Quote:
The flour I have used so far for the sponge is a ready-mix of wholewheat and rye.
Personally, I think its the use of lots of Rye (and in the mixer) that's causing the stickiness. Pentosans! (Google: Rye Pentosans Sticky Dough)

While I like adding a little (like 1%) Rye (for a flavour boost), the stickiness thing is the reason I suggest that beginners don't start with Rye!

And Whitely's recipe, as printed, does NOT use Rye!

 

The "sponge" (or 'quarter sponge') method is described by Elizabeth David (in English Bread & Yeast Cookery, citing Banfield's 1930's work Manna), as the baker's method of minimising the use of (in those days expensive) commercial yeast. The idea is to breed the yeast, to get enough for the whole dough batch, in a progressively larger quantity of flour. The incidental long fermentation developed a good flavour, but the commercial advantage of economising on the yeast was the reason that the method was initially developed.

Nowadays American writers seem to use "sponge" as a term indicating a different hydration to a biga or poolish -- which owe their use to flavour development.

Banfield credited us famously financially 'careful' Scots with inventing this economical method, so perhaps I'm inspired by nationalism!

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

There's a mention of "England" and "sponge" in Hamelman's prefermented semolina breads. Here, he's putting all the yeast in the preferment. In the straight recipe, there's 3% fresh yeast. He calls it a "flying sponge", that'll be ripe in roughly 1hr 15 mins. I've tried this recipe a couple of times, and it works like a charm. If you want a preferment that'll be ripe and ready in roughly 12 to 16 hours (at room temp.), you shouldn't use more than ~ 0.2% fresh yeast in it. 

Hans Joakim

Cendrillon's picture
Cendrillon

Thanks for that comment Hans.

Viewed from that perspective, there seems to be some degree of inaccuracy in the recipe I have used.

It  is by Andrew Whitley, who runs a bakery school in the UK, as well as writing books and articles on bread baking.

It could be that there was a misprint in the recipe...?

Cendrillon
Virtual French Person

dougal's picture
dougal

Quote:
...I cannot get the dough out of the mixing bowl or lift it off the work surface without it sticking to my hands, no matter how long I rest it. I have to sprinkle flour on the surface just to pat it and when I try to fold it, the underside sticks to my hands like glue. As I cannot fold it, I cannot find a way to give it a tight skin and it spreads out almost as soon as I turn it out of the floured linen basket.

Quote:
The flour I have used so far for the sponge is a ready-mix of wholewheat and rye.

These problems arise from using Rye, and mixing the rye-containing dough thoroughly in the mixer and then giving it a long fermentation.

'Normal' bread dough mixing, if you do it to Rye makes a very sticky dough.

Long fermentation of such a rye dough makes for a weak, flowing, spreading dough. 

Rye wants specially light handling and an acid environment (like sourdough).  

 

But Whitley's recipe specifies NO rye.

 

 

Whitley may indeed be using a slight excess of yeast, but THAT will not cause stickiness or slumping.

 

Regarding the yeast quantity, Banfield used 0.6% fresh yeast to the flour in his first stage of the sponge. (6oz to 64lb flour) That stage is 14 hours at 21 to 24C. (And followed by a further (total) two hours fermentation of the dough.)

For Whitley's quantities this would be about 1.8g (not 5) of fresh yeast (and 0.6g, not 3 of instant mix.)

I think HansJoakim may be mistaken if he is really suggesting using even less yeast than this. BUT 0.2% of the TOTAL flour (1.2g fresh yeast) is pretty close to Banfield (and not far off my suggestion).

For less than 14 hours, especially in a cooler environment, you could do with a little bit more, as I suggested above.

 

 

Whitley is best known as a polemicist, publicly arguing against industrial bread.

I'm sure that public profile brings in plenty students.

But he's better known for his opinions on industrial bread than anything else...

Cendrillon's picture
Cendrillon

Hi Dougal

The farine de campagne ready-mix I have been using is clearly not suitable for this recipe.

A flour purchasing trip is already planned for next week.

Cendrillon
Virtual French Person

keesmees's picture
keesmees

french farine and english recipe... 

is there a bread recipe printed on the packets you bought?

what is the hydration-level they advise?

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Cendrillon, I have just started another thread on the topic of your frustration that may be of some consolation.  I did not want in any way to hijack your thread but I did think that you would find it interesting to hear what other pros thought....

Hope it helps.....

 

This Day's picture
This Day

I dislike sticky dough clinging to my fingers and hands, so I use a flexible plastic bench scraper in each hand to handle the dough.  The rounded ends of the bench scrapers are ideal for removing the dough from the bowl; the straight edges can be used to  stretch and fold, scrape the work surface, shape the loaves, and pick them up from the work surface.  I usually dust the side of each bench scraper with flour before lifting the formed loaves.  If the dough sticks to one bench scraper, you can scrape it off with the other scraper.  I haven't tried bench scrapers for kneading by hand, but it may work if your plastic scrapers are flexible enough.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Sorry, you must be getting a head ache from all the interest this thread has caused. The amount of yeast in the recipe you linked to is causing the stick issue. Here is a link to a post I made here that will work for sure. It's called Italian bread but really the name has little to do with the bread. I didn't realize you are in France so sorry about the measures and temps. Try this and get started making good bread. T65 should be fine for this straight out of the bag. If you can't get malt, use molasses or honey as a sub.

Eric 

Cendrillon's picture
Cendrillon

Hi Lynne

Yes, I read both Jane's and Makanai's blogs (and a few others!) and have bookmarked both (and a few others!)

Once I started looking into bread-making, I found so many methods, tips, suggestions and recipes that I felt overwhelmed, which is why I decided to stick to one main recipe, which I wanted to feel confident with, if not master, before moving on to other breads and other methods.

Cendrillon
Virtual French Person

dougal's picture
dougal

Quote:
Once I started looking into bread-making, I found so many methods, tips, suggestions and recipes that I felt overwhelmed, which is why I decided to stick to one main recipe, which I wanted to feel confident with, if not master, before moving on to other breads and other methods.

This is exactly the right idea!

But I'm not so sure you chose the best one to start with! :-)

Cendrillon's picture
Cendrillon

 Clearly, I did NOT choose the right recipe!

Eric, thanks for the link to your Italian bread. I will try it this weekend and will report next week. I particularly appreciate the metric measurements :)

Cendrillon
Virtual French Person

Cendrillon's picture
Cendrillon

Much happier today, as I succeeded in producing baguettes for lunch without any of the problems I had encountered before!

I used a different recipe (here) but I had forgotten about the bio shop being closed on Mondays and about the bank holiday on Tuesday (Remembrance Day, 11/11), so I decided to use the gluten-boosted T65 flour I had left-over from my previous attempts and turned disaster into success!

Yeah!

Cendrillon
Virtual French Person

TroutEhCuss's picture
TroutEhCuss

I believe that the aging of dough, yeast, and water, makes a huge difference in the taste, the additional ingredients, and finally the way you stretch and strengthen the dough.  I have messed around with the ingredients, but haven't had much change to the quality of the taste.  I must conclude that the other aspects have a much grander impact.  Patience, Patience, Patience.  I am still trying to find what I like and the best way I like doing it that works quickly and effectively for myself.  I would recommend that you enjoy the failures and the process; stop focusing on the end result.  Instead, focus on what you learn from each experiment - make a bread journal. 

Cendrillon's picture
Cendrillon

Quote:
... enjoy the failures and the process; stop focusing on the end result...

As I have already explained in this thread, I have been quite satisfied with the end result; the process was the problem.

Cendrillon
Virtual French Person