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Anadama 1st attempt... collapse?

joeg214's picture

Anadama 1st attempt... collapse?

I was stuck without power for 4 days following Irene... fortunately, the local library was open and they had Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice.  I've been reading it for a couple of days (by flashlight :) )  One of the first recipes I looked at was for "Anadama" bread and I figured I try it now that I've got power back.

I started the soaker last night and, this morning, I mixed part of the flour with the yeast, water and corn meal mixture, covered it and let it pre-ferment for about an hour.  The instructions said, "or until bubbly" and mine was certainly bubbly by the time the hour was up.  Once the pre-ferment was ready, the remaining flour, salt, molasses and shortening (unsalted butter) was mixed in to form the dough.  After a couple of minutes in the KA mixer, the dough was still very sticky, so I ended up adding a couple of teaspoons of flour (little by little) to get it (to where I thought it was) right.  

After mixing for some time, it still didn't appear to have a very well developed gluten structure (window pane test) so I decided to do some stretch and folds, rest, and S&F again.  It really is amazing how doing something so simple for a short amount of time can have such an immediate impact on the dough... It literally changes before your eyes.   Anyway, once I was satisfied (or so this newbie thought), I put it in the oven to bulk ferment.  The instructions said 60 to 90 minutes (or until doubled in size).  I looked at mine after an hour (about 78F in my oven) and it was more than doubled.  

All in all, I ended up with a dough that was pretty easy to handle and it felt "right" to me; not stiff, very suptle.  Now, since these were going to go into 9x5 loaf pans (first time I've used loaf pans), I didn't think it was THAT important to get the forming done perfectly.  Ah, but that was a newbie error :) 

 Turns out the bread had a nice "oven spring" within the first 10 min or so and, it looked like I hit a home run.  However, one of the loaves basically flattened at the top and the other did so partially.  This was either due to improper forming or possibly over-proofing (or both)? 

This is what the loaves looked like after proofing in the pans (one in stoneware, the other aluminum).  At this point I thought they looked just fine.


Here you can see how the one in the aluminum pan gained some height within the first 10 min of baking

But darn it, not too long after, I took a peek and found it had "collapsed" a bit.  I was pretty disappointed...   (The other one in the stoneware did the same but only on one side).

 Here's what the crumb looked like:

I think the unevenness of the holes in the crumb was just due to my own inexperience at working / forming the dough after bulk fermentation.  Aesthetics aside, the crumb was nice, light and chewy and had a nice "sweetness" to it.  I used "Grandma's Molasses" but not the light variety the recipe called for.  I guess this resulted in a "stronger" flavor of molasses, but I really liked it.  The crust (sprinkled with corn meal) had a nice crunch to it. 

 So, not a "total" failure after all... just need to know how to handle this better the next time. 


Joe G

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

a little bit overproofed, that first rise sounds like it went too long also.   Shorten your rise times and try to press out air bubbles when shaping and you're on your way!  I like to spread out the dough just a little  (keeping it thick) on a flat surface and then slap it all over to shock out the big bubbles.  Roll up tightly without using flour and then pinch well to seal and lay into the forms.  Try not to let it double but go only 3/4 of the way, letting the oven do the rest.  It really did come out well for the first try.  Don't forget to mark temps and times in your notes.  

Looking forward for the next batch!  :)


joeg214's picture

Thanks Mini.  I figured that (even with my limited experience) this was both a proofing and forming issue.  

Reinhart's instructions said to proof 60 - 90 minutes "or until the loaves crest fully above the tops of the pans".   Now, I've had issues with over-proofing on the few breads I've made and, while I thought these felt over-proofed, I just figured loaves might be treated differently (since the top wouldn't be slashed).  The bake before this Anadama was a 25% WW boule.  I tested that proofing dough often and popped it in the oven when I thought it was just right.  The result was the best oven spring I've had to date.  (see below).  I'll just have to make sure I do the same for future bakes.  As far as the crumb is concerned, I'll make sure I press the dough out more prior to forming.  I've got some pretty uneven and hefty holes running through these loaves :)  However, this bread is absolutely delicious and I do believe that after just a few short weeks, I'm addicted to making bread at this point LOL   Thanks so much for your feedback.  

BTW...  forgot to detail the time and temps :)  The Anadama was baked in the center of an electric oven at 350F for 20 minutes turned and then baked an additional 25 minutes.  Internal temp was 190F upon removal.   

Take care,



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

thanks for the pic!  :)

flournwater's picture

Yep, I'd have to agree with Mini's diagnosis.  Be patient with yourself.  Mistakes are the best learning tools available in this bread making arena.

hanseata's picture

I agree with Mini and Flournwater - the breads are a bit overproofed. Reinhart's description about the cresting over the rim of the loaf pan is very general, and also, your loaf pans might differ slightly from the ones he used - I definitely would not only go by that. Also the proofing time - don't go just by the kitchen timer, either.

I very much recommend the finger poke test, instead. Your bread is ready for the oven, when a gentle, but decided, poking with a finger results in an indentation that slowly comes back just a little bit. If the indentation fills right up again, the breads have not fermented enough. If, on the other hand, the indentation stays as deep as you made it, your bread is already on the brink of overproofing, especially with such a soft dough.

But you really shouldn't scatter ashes on you head, for a first trial this turned out okay, even if the crumb is not perfect, the bread tastes good - and isn't a jaw-breaking brick (as I produced in the beginning of my bread baking career many times).


joeg214's picture

LOL...  No "ashes on my head" :)  I figure, if it's edible, it can't be all that bad LOL  Actually, the bread is even better now.  Some morning toast with butter on it well,  it's VERY tasty.   It wasn't much to look at,  but the crumb, crust and flavor were all very pleasing.   Thanks so much for your input and encouragement :)  I can see now that it's very easy to get a little "down" when something doesn't quite come out like it should :)  Then again, there's always next time.