More whole wheat problems

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by nostalgia, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. nostalgia

    nostalgia

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    Another thread reminded me of my recent 100% whole wheat bread semi-failure. I took away some good ideas from it, but maybe my personal experience will bring out some new ones.

    This recipe is from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart. This is the second time I've made it, and the first time was exactly the same.

    Dough is King Arthur whole wheat. Yeast is Fleischmann's IDY. I know the yeast is good, as I've used it in breads since with no problems (I keep it by the pound in the freezer).

    Here's the dough ball after kneading. Temp is 79 F, and it passes the windowpane test.


    Here it is after it doubled in size, about 2 hours, I think.


    I then divided the dough in half, and shaped them for sandwich loaves.


    Here's the failure part: they roughly doubled in size, but never crested the pans. After forming them, they seemed too small in the pans. I'm not sure if it was my forming process, the recipe, or what. I've emailed Mr. Reinhart, but have not received a reply.

    Here's what they looked like after proofing in the pans:


    And after baking (TicTacs for scale):


    And the dense, chewy crumb:


    Any suggestions are welcome!

    -Joe
     
  2. skilletlicker

    skilletlicker

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    Nice Pictures. Off topic but what kind of camera did you use?

    I've ordered the Bread Baker's Apprentice but don't have it yet. Can you post the ingredients list? Can you describe the kneading/development process?

    Oh yeah, I used Suzanne's link to Amazon to order.
     
  3. scott123

    scott123

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    As far as whole wheat bread goes, the crumb doesn't look that dense to me.

    A listing of ingredients would help.

    It's hard to tell by the picture, but the dough looks a little bit tight. For an airy crumb you'll want it a little slacker, I think. Was the dough sticky?

    And, I hate to sound like a broken record, but the density of the loaf is almost identical to every bread I've ever made with King Arthur's bread flour. It could be the brand of flour.

    This probably isn't causing your problem, but have you considered either scoring a line down the loaf or lines at a diagonal? You might get a little better oven spring. Also, did you bake the loaves on the silpat/cookie sheet? The insulation from that much material might impair your oven spring as well.

    P.S. After taking a look at your finished bread and remembering back to my experiences with King Arthur's flour a thought occured me. I've never had a KA bread collapse on me. It always seems as if the gluten is too strong/unextensible and the CO2 that the yeast creates doesn't result in enough pressure to stretch the gluten. More water helps, but then it can get too sticky to work with. A little extra oil can help weaken the gluten a little/make it more extensible. Did the bread take longer than normal to double/proof?
     
  4. nostalgia

    nostalgia

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    Scott,

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    It's not terrible, but I definately expected taller loaves.

    I'll try to get that tonight.

    It was a little tacky, but not sticky. I've been moving towards wetter doughs in general, so I'll definately try it here.

    This loaf was 100% whole wheat. I'm suprised to hear of your experience with KA bread flour, though. I use it quite a bit, and have never had a problem with dense loaves.

    No, the pans went right on the middle rack of my oven. There was zero oven spring. I'll try slashing one next time to see what happens.

    Yes, the recipe says you can use oil/egg in it optionally. I decided to omit them to see how it went. I'm going to try your suggstions above, first, before enriching the bread. It did seem to take longer than the recipe stated for a double proof, but I attributed that to my cool kitchen.

    Thanks again,

    -Joe
     
  5. kylew

    kylew

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    You should be seeing reasonable volume expansion during the second rise.

    [​IMG]

    If not, you won;t get the open crumb you are looking for. This is 100% whole wheat. While I was tweaking the recipe I was using vital wheat gluten. I've since stopped using it and the results are the same.

    [​IMG]

    As to flour brand choice, I use KA Bread flour exclusively in my breads that are not 100% WW.

    Have you checked your oven temp? My last oven was off by more than 25º, caused me all kinds of problems :)
     
  6. nostalgia

    nostalgia

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    That was my problem. After forming, my loaves were much smaller than yours look (great pix, btw). They did almost double, but stopped short of cresting the pan. I let them rise for almost an extra hour, with no new activity. This may have starved the yeast, and caused the lack of oven spring. So I'm not sure if the recipe is just too small, or if they really should triple. I'll take pix of the pre-risen loaves next time. Yours are gorgeous!

    Yes, I use an oven thermometer. Luckily, mine's always within a degree or two, as long as I let it pre-heat long enough.

    -Joe
     
  7. kylew

    kylew

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    They did almost double, but stopped short of cresting the pan.

    What size pan are you using and how much dough are you putting in it?
     
  8. nostalgia

    nostalgia

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    8 1/2" x 4 1/2" pans, as specified in the recipe. I'm not sure of the amount of dough. I'll check it when I get home.

    Thanks,

    -Joe
     
  9. nostalgia

    nostalgia

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    Ok, I'm trying again. This time I'll weigh the dough ball, and the finished loaves. I'll make a new thread with the results. I've got my soaker on the counter, and poolish in the fridge.

    Thanks,

    -Joe