help with bread baking

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by heidi, May 31, 2001.

  1. heidi

    heidi

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    Hi everyone, You are all awsome! You are so good at giving advise and helping everyone out, I just love it.

    I need help with bread baking. I want so bad to learn how to bake bread but everytime I try I just can't seem to get it right.

    I tried a crusty white bread yesterday and it came out looking like a dog bone - flat as could be. My hubby said he liked the taste so I guess that's good.

    I have read books but I think there is just something I don't understand. Is it possible to knead too much? I don't think so but what's wrong.

    The dough was pretty sticky even after I added 3/4 C more than the recipe suggested. Should the dough stick to my hands or do I need to keep adding flour until it is soft and not sticky?

    I am just so frustrated.
    I hope someone can help.

    Thanks again to you all!

    Annastacia
     
  2. momoreg

    momoreg

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    Hello Annastacia,

    Are you kneading your dough by hand or machine? If you knead by machine, it is possible to overwork the dough. Kneading by hand is a good idea (if you are strong enough, because it will give you a real feel for how the dough transforms as the gluten develops.

    Make sure your recipe is from a reputable source. There are a lot of duds out there, and you may end up having to tweek it here and there to get a nice soft dough.

    You do want a soft dough for most breads, rather than sticky. There are a few exceptions, though.

    If you want further help, you can post the recipe and method, and we will be happy to assist you. :)
     
  3. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Hi:

    If it's standard unbleached flour that you're using, the dough should be a bit tackey but not outright stickey. It sounds to me, though, that your dough may have been either over risen or over proofed.

    Get yourself a book with lots of informative pictures. As a first text, I strongly, strongly recommend ULTIMATE BREAD by Treuille and Ferrigno (sp). Their pictures, instructions and recipes are imho the best and simplest.

    Do keep us informed of your progress. Don't give up. It was the fifth loaf that marked my first success and now I make bread twice a week. I love it. :D :D :D :D :D

    [ May 31, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
     
  4. pooh

    pooh

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    Ditto, overproofed dough comes to mind.

    As suggested earlier, post your recipe so we can see what's going on...

    :)

    P.S.: And don't give up! It's so much fun when you finally get the nack of it!

    [ May 31, 2001: Message edited by: pooh ]
     
  5. jill reichow

    jill reichow

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    Hi! Are you making sure that your yeast is active and alive? Are you proofing it before you add it to the rest of the ingredients? If your liquid is too hot, it can kill off the yeast. Also, temp. and humidity are a factor in your dough and the amount of liquid it absorbs. Different types of doughs will also have different feel and tackieness. I would also recommend a good bread book. I like Beernard Clayton's New Complete book of breads. Sometimes some of the most foolproof bread recipes are on the side of flour sacks!

    jill
     
  6. heidi

    heidi

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    I did proof the yeast and it foamed up nice. If it sits too long will that ruin it?

    I work with a Magic Mill assistant mixer. Has anyone heard of these or do you have one? They are supposed to be good for bread so hubby bought me one.

    Here is the recipie I used:
    Crusty French-Type Bread by Shirley O Corriher in "Cookwise".
    1 pkg yeast
    1 TBL sugar
    1 1/2 C warm water
    1 3/4C and 2C bread flour
    1/4C semolina flour
    1TBL soy flour
    1/4 500 milligram Vit. C tablet
    1/3 C crushed ice
    1 tsp and 1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
    1 TBL oil for bowl
    3 TBL butter for top of loaves

    Proof yeast incl. sugar and water. Add 1 3/4 C flour, semolina, soy flour. Beat 4 min. to beat air into dough. Let the sponge sit 30 min to 2 1/2 hours.

    Remove paddle and insert the dough hook. Add Vit. C, ice, 1 tsp vinegar, 2 cups flour. Knead for 5 min. on low-med. until elastic.

    Place in oiled bowl and coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

    Punch down and turn inside out.

    Put on counter and divide in half, shape each into an oval.

    Rise again for 2 hours.
    30 min. before 2 hours is up turn oven to 450, 5 min. before ready to bake turn down to 425. Also place a pan of water in bottom of oven.

    I hope that makes sense.
    Thanks
     
  7. svadhisthana

    svadhisthana

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    Have you ever made bread with just one type of flour. I would try an even more basic recipe to begin with. The Enchanted Broccoli Forrest Cookbook has a great section on the how's and why's of bread baking. As mentioned before, if you use a mixer to knead the dough it is possible to overwork the dough. Also be sure and check the water temp. so as not to kill your yeast. I always use a thermom. but you can rely on the old "no warmer than your wrist" test. Another factor I can think of is how you measure your flour. I like to give it a stir and then lightly spoon it into a dry measure cup, sliding a knife over the top to even it. Good luck.
     
  8. kimmie

    kimmie

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    Dear Annastacia,

    I would stick with the basics and follow Koko's advice:

    Your recipe seems quite complicated! Just keep in mind that a classic French bread is made with the following:
    • Bread Flour
    • Cool water (about 78 degrees F)
    • Yeast
    • Salt
    Also, watch TV! Cooking shows, preferably the ones that will teach you how to bake bread. Vermont PBS has reruns of Baking with Julia, featuring quite a few bread masters. Isn't that show televised all over the US through various PBS stations?

    Don't be blue :( ...practice makes perfect!

    Keep us posted on your progress.

    and Welcome to Cheftalk Cafe, Annastacia!

    :p
     
  9. m brown

    m brown

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    Relax. Really, relax. Bread has a mind of it's own. It sences fear and uncertenty.

    a simple loaf of bread

    1 tablespoon very fresh dry yeast (leavening)
    1 tablespoon malt syrup (food for leavening and enrichens the product while retaining moisture, relaxes the gluten making a softer crumb and caramelizes for golden loaf colour)
    1 and 1/2 cups warm water (blood temp)
    2 tablespoons oilve oil(makes dough tender)

    whisk all together cover with a piece of plastic wrap let it sit maybe 5 min. and meanwhile you measure and place the following in a mixing bowl.

    start with

    3 cups bread flour or ap flour (structure)
    1 and 1/2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt (flavor and retards proofing)

    pour the yeast mixture over the flour and begin developing with dough hook on first speed. let the dough come together, if it is way to wet, add more flour until it pulls away from the sides but is not brittle.

    develop the dough on second speed for 5 min. (4 min if using ap flour)
    turn into an oiled bowl and let proof 30 min. punch down and let proof again 20 min.
    shape and let proof another 30 min and bake in pre heated oven 400F until the bread has risen, is golden, smells fab and is golden on the bottom too. you can use a glaze of water and egg white for egg shell type crust, whole egg for golden glaze or malt and water for chrispy glaze.

    play with the formula until you are happy with it.

    do not over develop on electric mixer, it is easy to do with small batches.

    no need to knead is a great fun bread book, also the clayton books are wonderful as well as beard on bread, the bread bakers and carol walters italian baking book.


    ;)
     
  10. momoreg

    momoreg

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    A crusty French bread is a good one to start with, but follow Kimmie and mbrown's advice. That recipe from Cookwise is much more complicated than it needs to be. French bread never contains vitamin C pills ice, balsamic, or soy.
     
  11. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    To all:

    Based on information gleaned from professional bakers, it is impossible to overwork dough on a domestic mixer like KA or Magic Mill. Overworked dough occurs in a Hobart, you know, at a capacity of 30+ quarts with a motor rated at multiple horsepower. Don't worry about overworking.

    Stick with a simple recipe and work with it, only. Vitamin C is a yeast food. I prefer using a squeeze of lemon or grapefruit as opposed to a tablet. It won't hurt. Also, yeast thrives in an acidic environment provided by white vinegar. The latter is what gives rye breads their flavor.

    :D

    [ June 01, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]

    [ June 01, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
     
  12. m brown

    m brown

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    gonna have to disagree as a professional baker who teaches regular folk, you can over mix, over dry, over do bread dough by hand and in a home mixer. small batches don't need a lot of kneading to produce a lovely bread.
    that is why i say to relax and don't over do the dough. the dough once developed should feel like a babys butt, smooth and slightly warm. :)
    this is a great topic and discussion by the way!
     
  13. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    M Brown:

    What observations indicate an overworked dough, then? My understanding is that as long as the dough clings to the hook and doesn't "come apart", it's okay. If the ball of dough comes apart, then it's probably too dry or overworked.

    I realize that the dough can be excessively kneaded. It's tight and requires some "relaxation time" although the dough isn't ruined in this case.

    :confused:

    [ June 01, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
     
  14. m brown

    m brown

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    the dough will look fiberous, the gluten becomes so tight that it rips apart the dough feels tough and hard and will not relax enough to allow proper fermentation. in a word, it gets ugly......
    if i recall, the dough should come together in the bowl, break apart once, come back together and become smooth, done.
     
  15. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    M Brown:

    What you're saying, then, is that when using a mixer there is a narrow window of time in which all the flour must be incorporated into the dough. One should not add tbsp after tbsp of flour over several minutes. That slow addition and prolonged kneading (by mixer) allows to dough to become tough and fibrous.

    [ June 01, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
     
  16. pooh

    pooh

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    Dear Annastacia,

    Your hesitations and fear are familiar territory to me. They disappeared when I took lessons at culinary school (by professionals for food enthusiasts), for 8 weeks, twice a week. At that point, it all started to make sense to me.

    May I suggest that you start doing small batches by hand (no more than 2 loaves at a time, that's about 6 to 7 cups of flour).

    You need to get familiar with hand kneading to understand what is happening to your dough as you knead. I found it quite extraordinary. I DO use my Kitchenaid for most breads, especially brioche and breads where butter or oil are added after an initial kneading period.

    But for my sacred French Baguettes, I do them by hand, all the way! I don't even use a bowl.

    It makes a mess but it's so much fun!

    BTW, I also use squeeze of lemon juice sometimes. Never tried grapefruit. Thanks KOKO.


    :D

    [ June 01, 2001: Message edited by: pooh ]
     
  17. heidi

    heidi

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    You people are a wealth of information and you are helping me and eveyone else so much. Thank you

    I have the same question as kokopuff, So I only have a few seconds to determine if I am going to need more flour or not? If I am mixing for only 5 minutes or less that doesn't give much time to determine if it is going to be sticky or not.

    Today I am going to try the recipie m brown posted. I hope it works, if I can manage to not screw it up. :p

    I will try it by hand, I am not real strong but hubby is home so maybe he can help.

    What is the best way to knead by hand?[/B]

    I live in a small town in Idaho so we don't have much for cooking/baking shows on t.v. unfortunatly. I did take a foccacia class at a local grocery store and it has screwed me up because the dough is impossible to make in a standard mixer and she only told us to let it rise for 10 minutes and everytime I try it never works so I need to just forget that whole experience and start fresh with simple breads and a clear mind.

    Thanks again everyone.
    Annastacia
     
  18. heidi

    heidi

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    Okay, I just punched it down after 30 minutes and it stuck all over my fist.

    IS THIS NORMAL? or should I have added even more flour in the beginning?

    thanks again
     
  19. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Duplicated by mistake. :eek:

    [ June 01, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
     
  20. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    If you are using regular unbleached flour, then the dough should be tacky, not sticky. Tacky means that it will pull away from your hand CLEANLY upon withdrawing it from the dough ball. Sticky means that a measurable amount of residue sticks to your hand after withdrawal; the residue must be rinsed off of your hands with warm water.

    Dough for white bread is tacky; dough for rye and whole wheat breads are sticky.

    Just before punching the dough, rub flour on your hands to prevent sticking.

    Although I'm still learning breadmaking and reserve the right to be wrong, it sounds to me that your dough could use a tiny bit more flour.

    If rising in a tupperware-like bowl, I leave the lid on tight. It will still allow excess air pressure to bleed out. If using plastic wrap as a cover, leave it loosely covering the bowl. You don't want the dough to dry out.

    [ June 01, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]