Small Kitchen in Tokyo
Hello happy bakers,
I joined this community because I enjoy cooking very much and as time goes by I find more interest and enjoyement in the making of bread. I am a cook by profession, with a little experience making bread in my last job. Although I work as a cook, I must admit that I have very little understanding of bread, or more specifically, I hardly understand how to read my dough.
I have recently moved to Tokyo, I have no bread mixer, so I am kneading by hand. My last few attempts have produced a increasingly worse outcome each time. This evening I made a dough using fresh live yeast plus a tablespoon of a natural yeast that I have been trying to make at home following some guidelines from this forum.
The biggest problem for me is getting my dough to be elastic. I knead by hand from 12 minutes. The dough seems smooth and I can stretch it quite far before it rips. I allowed for a 6 hour fermentation at 30 decress Celsius, after kneading as the recipe for using the natural yeast said. The dough had become very weak. No elasticity at all. I tried kneading again fro another 6-8 minutes but could not bring it back.
I am losing hope, but dont want to give up. I could produce decent breads at my last job. However I used a ready made crusty bread mix, and a Hobart mixer, and instant yeast plus sugar. So the proofing time was always short.
Can someone please help? Perhaps my natural yeast is too aggressive too active and the dough is decomposing because of it? Is the gluten being broken down? or am I not kneading it enough?I'm following a recipe, besides adding a bit of my home brew. But I can't get good results.
I am kneading the dough with a very amateur technique which I call turn and squash. I have a very small toaster oven in Tokyo, so I am making small doughs. So using the fold and stretch technique shown by Richard Bertinnet isnt possible. Or maybe my recipe is to dry since if I try to flip the dough down on to the counter it just flings back around without stretching... I get frustrated with wet doughs while hand kneading, the dough never seems to stop sticking mostly to my hands and never comes together as one soft whole and healthy dough.
I have been able to make breads in this oven using instant yeast and a different recipe, but it never produced a good taste, so I wanted to follow a more artisan approach which has only made things worse for me.
I am clueless. If someone can point me in the right direction I would be very, very grateful.