Hensberger recipe keeps failing
I've made some wonderful loaves with my new bread machine, the West Bend Hi Rise. However, I'm completely stumped by this one recipe and I wanted someone else's opinion. I've been wanting to try this for a while, and boy was I disappointed.
Edit: I meant to say that this recipe is from Hensberger's Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook, and it is the recipe for Sennebec Hill Bread on page 188.
This was for 1.5 pound loaf. My experience today is the same as my experience with this recipe previously, but for the 2 lb loaf.
The dough was very sloppy and wet after the first knead, spreading out over the bottom of the pan and sticking to the sides, so I started to add small increments of flour during the second knead. And then iI added more. And more, and more, and still the dough was sloppy and incredible sticky. It seemed as though the more flour I added the stickier the doough became. In the end I took it out of the machine and kneaded by hand for a few minutes just to see if I could incorporate enough flour, but even then, the dough stuck to everything. I chucked it back in the machine, but I don't have much hope. Now it's sticky dough with unkneaded flour in the mix.
I'll list the ingredients here:
1 1/4 cups water
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons oil
2 tablepoons molasses (I hate this stuff so used light brown sugar)
1 1/2 cups bread flour
3/4 cup ww flour
1/2 cup medium or dark rye flour
3 tablespoons rolled oats
3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 tablespoons gluten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon bread machine yeast
I just took the second loaf out of the baking pan at the end of the second rise to try to shape it. I've never seen gluier dough, and that was AFTER I added, and added, and added, more flour.
Is there something off about this recipe, or is it just me?
Try the same recipe, but with the following two variations: first, substitute plain flour for bread flour, and, then, secondly, try this technique, even it might seem unusual: blenderise all the wet ingredients, along with sugar and salt, until homogenous, and then mix in all the dry ingredients, except the yeast, to achieve a shaggy dough in which every dry particle is properly hydrated. Refrigerate in an air-tight container overnight. The next day, pull the mixture from the refrigerator, add the yeast and proceed as per normal. If you wanted to gain deeper flavour, you could do the exact same procedure, but set aside all of the wheat germ, oats, rye flour and whole wheat and equal plus a few tablespoons its weight in cool water (this is subtracted from overall water amount). Add quite literally a pinch of the yeast, and allow to ferment in a cool, dry place overnight (i.e., think basement temperatures, not refrigerator temperatures). The poolish (which could also be a sponge) is ready when it is just about to collapse but still retains a convex shape. Then mix the autolysed refrigerated portion to the poolish along with the rest of the yeast and add to the bread machine.
The first suggested technique would allow decreased mixing time, a consideration when making breads in a bread maker that require longer-mixing times, such as enriched doughs (as in your recipe here), or those needing greater dough-strength (e.g., doughs with high-hydrations or long bulk-fermentations) . The second suggestion is merely to added because it fits into the same active time (i.e., two easy dough mixes that can be accomplished by hand in two different bowls in a matter of minutes, and then simply being mixed together and added to let the bread machine to the rest) as well as the same non-active time (the overnight refrigeration for the autolyse portion, the overnight cool room-temperature poolish-fermentation, and then a next-day final mix) but with the need for decreased final-mix time necessary for a very strong dough to develop as well as having a much-tastier end-product.
I hope this might be helpful, maybe even tasty!
Thanks. As the ingredients look great I really would like to make this bread work. I'll try your suggestions.
The loaf that just came out of the bread machine had risen well enough in the pan, but it doesn't smell very nice and looks slightly overcooked. We'll eat it of course, but it's a disappointment.
The presence of brown sugar in your substitution might also lead to excessive browning of the crust at your normal bake temperatures. Try lowering your normal bake temperature by approximately 90% in the last one-third of the bake, or you can even eliminate the added sugar altogether! The poolish adds a lot of sweetness already. Best of luck.
The loaf does have a heavy crust - which would be lovely on an artisan-style bread, actually. It's just not so great in a regular-shaped loaf. Maybe I'll use honey next time as a substitute for the molasses.
Now that I've fogiven this loaf for being such a pain, I am able to see that it is actually not bad bread, good moist texture, a nice spring, and pretty decent flavour.
There is an odd after taste, though. If I didn't know the ingredients I used, I would say that the loaf contained Canola oil, which always tastes slightly fishy to me so I won't use it, but I used safflower oil. I suspect that the culprit may be the wheat germ. It seems fine in the bag, but it has an almost sesame smell and taste once it's been toasted. All my ingredients smell nice and fresh, though.
mix up tiny dough balls of each (marble size) and let them sit and see if one of them pancakes. Also smell & taste your ingredients to make sure none of the dry ingredients are rancid. If any of them have an after-taste, you've found your culprit.
mix up tiny dough balls of each (marble size) and let them sit and see if one of them pancakes.
Hi Mini, what is this a test of? Thanks.
:) making a mess of things. ---->thiol compounds?
Okay, now you're getting too technical for my pea-brain. I'll go look that up and get back to you. :)
It's not that technical! She's just asking if there might be a problem with your flour from the outset that would affect its performance, but I would say likely not, as it's the sort of flaw rarely encountered in today's modern milling world. (It's also one of those culprits that gets more attention than it should, as it's very rarely to blame for a dough's problems.)
thickness or flow of matter. Make a few squishy balls of dough and see if they behave themselves. I would cover them with a glass bowl or plastic wrap so they don't dry out. Nothing should happen. :)
:) making a mess of things. ---->thiol compounds?
Is that like too much starch damage in the flour? That's what it sounds like to me.
The hydration in the recipe may be slightly off?
Some rough conversion & calculation suggests to me that the hydration is over 80%, which of course would be a very wet sticky dough. The egg yolks add a bit of moisture too. Add to the fact that rye is naturally sticky, and oats can great a gluey character. However, I can't account for the water absorption of the nonfat milk, oats, cornmeal, gluten and wheat germ, all which will dry out the dough somewhat. Also WW flour does absorb more water than bread flour. So maybe 80%+ is OK, but usually that means a wet and sticky product.
Next time start with 1c of water only, then add the remaining 1/4 cup if the dough looks too dry. This should cut your hydration down to around the 66% range, more normal for a sandwich bread.
(FYI, here are my calcs, I use 236g per cup of water and 125g per c of flour:
187.5g white flour
94g ww flour
295g water / 344g flour = 86% hydration)
The hydration seems perfectly appropriate. Her problem was likely during the mixing step, which was compounded in the bulk fermentation.
80%+ hydration is appropriate for what appears to be a somewhat standard multigrain sandwich loaf?
:) :) says my favorite owl
It seemed that the problem was related to the stickiness during mixing. I don't disagree that your suggestion for an extended rest in the fridge would help tighten a slack dough, nor do I disagree that the brown sugar substitution could've contributed to the excess browning that was notes...
...but without reading the full recipe & instructions, it seems to me that something in the original recipe may not be correct. I can only speculate that hydration may be the issue here, based on what I've read. Of course there are other variables, including technique (of recipe and of baker), ingredients, etc.
Then again, maybe you've made this bread and you know how it's supposed to turn out. I haven't so I can't say. My experience does suggest to me that 80%+ hydration may be too wet for a loaf that's only about 50% whole grain.
In any case, it appears something needs adjustment for this loaf to turn out correctly.
Yes, try either making the recipe or fully calculate all variables at play in the formula before being skeptical. An 80%-plus hydration is irrelevant without considering all the counteracting variables. For water, this would meaning accounting for the impact of all hydrocolloidal and hydroscopic agents, e.g., the xyloglucan quantity and quality in the oatmeal, the water-binding capacity of the maize starch, added gluten, or non-fat dried milk, the impact of the sugar, and so on. Furthermore, water-amount also means nothing when not expressed as bound-water versus free-water. Remembering that there are many water-binding agents in this dough (we still have not mentioned the significant protein contribution from the egg yolks, let alone their lecithin content, which helps increase the water's and therefore the dough's viscosity by emulsifying it with the present fats), and all serve one purpose: they control the flow of water, which is the principal rheological concern of a baker up until the very instant a loaf goes into the oven (at which point the protein network is converted to a gelatinised starch network, forever "freezing" whatever water remains in to an edible, tearable form, or, as Poilane put it, "solid beer"). At this point, we still have not factored in the wheat protein contributions or even determined how the gluten-strands covered in an emulsified fat-network either decreases or increases strength, and this is all still before we have even discussed what increases in strength the mixing and fermentation offer!
As a last note, an 80%-hydration using even an American all-purpose flour should not be too difficult for more experienced, weekend home-bakers. The question should not be about water-content, but about whether or not the baker has the resources available to him or her to control that water.
BTW that's a fantastic quote, I'll have to remember that.
You are absolutely correct.
That said, to me a "good" recipe is one whose set of instructions take into account (or provide appropriate guidance on) the variables that may come into play, for a people with a variety of skill levels. A good recipe should be easy to follow and ensure the baker knows what to expect at each stage, whether the baker has baked 2-3 loaves or 200-300. Did the author explicitly say "this is supposed to be a sticky, goopy dough?" Did the author say "it will be too sticky to handle, so mix until blended and rest in the fridge overnight?" I don't believe it does, and if so, this is a failure on the author's part, leading to a disappointing experience for the OP. Sure, this is something an experience baker might know to do to fix a problem, but not everyone does, and that's my main issue with the recipe.
The OP seems to have some experience making a number of loaves, but was stumped on this one recipe. I feel the OP's pain, I've been there; you follow the instructions, you use the right ingredients and it doesn't turn out "right." Before questioning their technique, I like to verify that the formula/recipe the baker is using makes sense, based on my own experience. As I'm sure you know, just because a recipe appears in a book doesn't mean it's been thoroughly tested and known to work across a wide variety of scenarios. Some authors are more meticulous about this than others. I don't know if that's the case with this specific recipe, but...
...the only way to really know is I will have to try it myself :) because I can't pretend that I could calculate all variables at play, and I doubt anyone could calculate all those variables anyway.
Looks like it should be a tasty loaf.
But the recipe seems solid to me. Again, the problem she described sounded like a mixing problem, and nothing more. The starches present require sufficient hydration time, as well as the fats. Rather than trust the recipe, OP decided to add more flour. Who is to say where the problem lies, then? What's more, it seems as though, despite this variation, the bread turned out decidedly okay. I'd love to have a pressed Reuben on that bread. Wouldn't you?
Suppose we could look for posted corrections. Has She got a web site? I'm still suspicious of one of the flours. Rancid flours can do strange things and we've run into thiol compounds running rampant before although it had more connection with feeding sourdough starters.
The goop getting goopier does not sound good.
Hi Mini, yes she does http://bethhensperger.com/thebreadloversbreadmachine.htm, but no errata posted that I could find. I'll leave it up to the OP to make contact with the author if desired.
No doubt ingredients may be an issue. I'm going to try the recipe/formula out this weekend and see how it turns out. I don't have a bread machine but at least I'll be able to see how the dough handles.
That picture looks far worse than my loaf turned out!
I think I'll try holding back some of the water. All of the ingredients I used seem okay, and in fact I've used them in other recipes, so I can't say it's that.
I took a good long look at the recipe as written in the book, and I wonder if some of the quantities were transposed between the 1.5 and the 2 lb loaf recipes? The smaller loaf gets a larger quantity of two of the ingredients. The 1.5 lb loaf calls for 1/2 cup of rye flour and the 2 lb loaf calls for 1/3 cup of rye flour, and the quantities for dry milk powder are the same.
I just find this odd, since I've been using Hensberger's book almost exclusively and everything I've tried so far has been lovely, but it's always possible that there's something gets missed in the editing process.
I'm not the best with math but somewhere between 1.5 and 2 pounds could be the answer. More milk powder and more rye should make the dough dryer but the eggs might be mucking things up if they are the same. I like the idea of mixing all the wet incl. milk pwd & sugar and then adding to the dry as suggested.
Wet doughs can be fun if I don't panic. Just sort of fold over the blob onto itself using just your finger tips. I like to build a ring of flour to keep the dough from escaping. I don't mix in the flour just use it to hold the dough. Then with the tips of my fingers touch the edge and try to pull it up and over the rest of the dough. Do that from north, south, east and west and then cover with a large upturned bowl. If it looks like it needs it again (and if very wet, it does) do the folding again before covering trying not to trap fresh flour between the folds. Wait 20 minutes or so and do another round. If I keep the dough only on my finger tips and be quick about it, I can avoid all that messy flour kneading stuff that only messes up my hands and mind. The idea is to stretch it into shape and not tear or dry it into shape. Adding more fresh flour often turns into lumps and competes with the dough for the moisture it needs to develop. Try it and see.
The problem with this dough is not in her flour (thiol compounds, etc.) but in the fact that no one here is viewing this as an enriched dough, which is technically is. Due to the presence of the fat, mixing-time should therefore be increased. My suggestion for incorporating all the ingredients, except the yeast, the night before performs a similar step to an autolyse (though, the proteolytic development is slightly delayed): it allows all the water-binding compounds to fully absorb all available water, as well as allowing the fat and added protein network (egg yolk) to relax and evenly coat the gluten-strands. This makes for a better incorporated dough that requires less mixing-time. The technique is also used by good pastry chefs for a variety of doughs and batters, and, because of its result, is also the reason many good bakeries age their cookie doughs now.
I hope this could be of help.
I wonder if a little different technique is called for. This recipe is heavy on different grains that take a long time to absorb water so as you are mixing, the water is present around the grains and flour particles and contributes to a liquid seeming dough. Also, the presence of high starch grains like rye and oatmeal will make this dough seem very sticky and no amount of flour wil change that. Look up "working with rye" or Working with a sticky dough".
If you want to do this dough outside a breadmaker (except for mixing) it might work better with the following ideas:
Boil half the water and pour over the oatmeal and corn meal and wheat germ. Let sit for about 30 minutes to absorb.
Add the remaining water, molasses,eggs,dry milk, and oil to the WW flour. Mix so all is incorporated and let sit for a minimum of 30 minutes and possibly up to a few hours.
Now mix both those mixtures.
Now the other ingredients but HOLD BACK some of the AP flour. I always use that at the end of a mix to get the dough to where I want it. It will be a very sticky dough. As long as it holds its shape, be cautious about adding any extra flour.
Mix/knead well to develop a good gluten network.
Use a bowl scraper to do a stretch and fold in the bowl if it is too sticky.
Now rise,shape,proof and bake. This may be prone to overproofing easily.Some doughs (esp multigrain and whole grain) don't work well without long soaks (autolysing) which a lot of bread machines are not able to do adequately.
Have delicious fun!
Looks like I could end up making this bread several times using different techniques. It's probably worth it. I have some virtually no-fail recipes for very good daily bread, but I want something more substantial to add to my repertoire and this one looked like it would fit the bill. And I'm not tied to the notion of the bread machine handling the entire process; in fact, I've been pulling my doughs out of the machine after the second knead and hand-shaping for the final rise, which seems to produce a nice even loaf.
I've done a search on line and it seems that many of the recipes out there for this kind of bread require soaking the grains in hot water before starting to make the bread. I guess the soaked grains would count as liquid ingredients (would they?)
Nora, you got me interested and I baked this bread today. I ended up adding MORE WATER : )
Hensperger's recipe is OK and she got it from Clayton, his recipe is 2x (for two loaves) and it's the same, except for the small addition of gluten in Hensperger's recipe. Originally, this recipe is from Arly Carman Clark, from Sennebec Hill Farm.
Yes, the dough is somewhat sticky at the end of blending phase and it becomes extremely sticky at the end of mixing. I don't own a bread machine, so I mixed in mixer and kneaded in food processor. The solution to that sticky dough is not to add more flour, but simply oil the working surface, oil your hands and use scraper to help bring dough into a ball and later during shaping it.
Mixed dough (no kneading yet)
Fermented dough. As you can see, there is no gluten to speak of , because it wasn't kneaded after mixing, so the dough breaks as it rises.
Kneaded dough. One half was simply kneaded, another was kneaded with addition of more water. It is super sticky, gluey even, as you noticed.
Proofed loaves before going into oven
Baked loaves, 2lbs each. The one on the right rose faster during proofin and got overproofed (I didn't add gluten and this loaf had more water) and its top flattened.
Interesting. Now, My dough was not stiff enough to make a ball after it was mixed. The cooked loaf came out looking just like the one you have pictured on the right, except for my too-dark crust from the brown sugar.
You fermented a batch of dough. Is that the same batch that you used to make the two loaves? Did you ferment (overnight) and then knead the dough?
I think it's a matter of measuring dry ingredients as well. I know that this recipe is originally for 1 kg of flour (mix of six flours/flakes/cornmeal), and I know how much a cup of flour/cornmeal, etc. exactly weighs (both Clayton and Hensperger in her Bread Bible tell that a cup of flour is 140g, bread flour - 150g), so I had no problem with proportions.
Clayton's dough is stiff (50% hydration, to knead by hand) and Hensperger's is slightly softer (60% hydration) to be kneaded in the bread machine (she increased water). I increased water even more, to 70% hydration.
425g bread flour, 285g whole wheat bread flour, 145g whole rye flour, 70g baker's dry milk, 60g wheat germ, 40 g rolled oats, 40 g yellow cornmeal, 12g salt, 15g ADY, 85g molasses, 70g oil, 4 large egg yolks (70g), 700g water. 50 min bulk fermentation at 85F, knead and preshape, 30 min bench rest, 30 min proof at 85F, 1hr bake at 375F.
When I mixed my dough, it was also very soft, spread all over the mixer bowl, but it became more cohesive after a few minutes of rest and I took it out of the mixer with a plastic scraper. Still it was more like sandy dirt, than like yeasted dough, i.e. almost no gluten.
After I mixed the dough, I gave it one hour of bulk fermentation and then divided into 2 portions and kneaded each separately in my food processor. The dough became impossible gluey and sticky. Part of the reason is that my whole wheat flour is Red Fife and it doesn't tolerate kneading or any mechanical handling too well. I shaped it into balls with oiled hands and plastic scraper and gave them 30 min bench rest (they doubled in volume) and shaped loaves. That is what Clayton's recipe says (give it one 50 min period of fermentation, possibly two, but the second one is not necessary).
This bread is very cake-like (no acidity, very soft and luxurious bread with crunchy crust and slightly sweetish crumb) and I belive that it would benefit from a generous addition of raisins and other mixed candied fruits. In pure form it would be tastier in sourdough version, which I will attempt tomorrow.
Nice loaves Mariana! Also nice to know a bit more about the recipe history.
I took a crack at the Sennebec Hill bread today as well, with slightly reduced hydration, my results & write up is here.
With the slightly lower hydration (1c of water instead of 1.25c as originally listed above), the dough was much more manageable, however (not surprisingly) the openness of the crumb suffered somewhat.
I can tell that the openness of the crumb that you achieved would be more pleasing to me. Mine wasn't cake-like in texture, rather shreddable but slightly dry. I do totally agree that some kind of bump in sweetness (raisins, candied fruit, etc.) would be better, as well as perhaps the sourdough. It just didn't have a deep enough flavor for my taste.
Cranbo, I followed your suit and baked this bread exactly as in Beth Hensperger's book/recipe. I did two versions
- white Sennebec Hill bread (i.e. white whole wheat flour, white rye flour, white corn, light honey) with and without candied fruit. Yeast only, everything as in the recipe.
- dark Sennebec Hill bread, with and without candied fruit and replacing water in the recipe with water from sourdough starter, to give bread at least some sourness. I took liquid rye sourdough starter and passed it through strainer, used about 850g of this liquid instead of 665g of water per 1 kg of flour mix in Hensperger's recipe.
Hensperger's hydration doesn' t give a very sticky dough, indeed. But increasing hydration further improves crumb (and taste of bread), along with increase in stickiness of dough. This is how fully kneaded dough looks
I didn't like the white version in bread form (66% hydration gives stiff dense crumb and it lacks flavour), but for the same reason it makes great croutons and biscotti style cookies for tea in toasted form.
Sourdough (levain-levure version) is way better, very nice toasted and in sandwiches, and especially the one with candied fruit. It is to die for. I will call it "Christmas on Sennebec Hill" bread. It is so heavily loaded with fruit, it's like fruitcake and takes 1.5hrs to bake. (20 min @3750F, 40 min @350F, 30 min @300F)
This time I tried gently mixing everything except the yeast and let it sit in the baking pan in the fridge overnight. I let it warm on the counter, added the yeast, and started the Whole Wheat cycle. After kneading the dough was still a bit soft and sticky but it was cohesive and shiny and looked great. By the end of the final rise it was looking good, but halfway through the baking process it fell, and fell, and fell. The result is actually inedible - the first loaf like that from this machine.
There's a link to a picture of a fallen loaf of this bread farther up this thread. That's what I got this time.
Conclusion: for some reason I simply can't make this bread work, for whatever reason. Every other loaf of bread I've tried in this machine has been either fairly or very successful, but this one is obviously not for me at this stage of my bread-making.
Sorry to hear that it's not working. Very odd!
Consider cutting down the yeast. Try using 2/3 or 1/2 of the yeast specified in the recipe. You might not get quite as much lift, but it may help adjust for what appears to be overproofing during the final rise.
I could try that. There seem to be so many suggestions for fallen loaves! Less water, more heat, less yeast...
The loaf didn't rise at all until about 1/3 of the way through the last rise in the machine. Then it rose quite spectacularly. I wasn't too worried about that because my buttermilk whole wheat bread does that too and comes out perfectly, but I guess for a loaf with these ingredients that's not such a good thing...
Really, I was going to give up on this but even though the loaf fell my husband ate it for want of any other bread in the house. He pronounced the taste of the bread wonderful and asked me to keep trying to work this one out. It does have a nice chewy texture (I guess from the cornmeal) and because of the soaking the flavour was very good.