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Topic: Bread Issues!  (Read 1657 times)
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craftyczarina
« on: July 02, 2009 09:18:25 PM »

I just made my first loaf of bread ever. It came out fine, but I had some major issues in the process. Kneading before the first rise was really difficult. This dough just did not want to be kneaded, and I kneaded it way more than the recipe said, and the bread never passed the window pane test.

Any ideas of what I did wrong? I really want to continue baking my own bread, but I really don't want it to be as difficult as it was yesterday. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2009 03:24:36 PM »

I just made my first loaf of bread ever. It came out fine, but I had some major issues in the process. Kneading before the first rise was really difficult. This dough just did not want to be kneaded, and I kneaded it way more than the recipe said, and the bread never passed the window pane test.

Any ideas of what I did wrong? I really want to continue baking my own bread, but I really don't want it to be as difficult as it was yesterday. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

What recipe are you using? I've been making bread my whole life, so hopefully I could help some, but I'll need more info! :-)
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2009 05:58:51 AM »



By far, the easiest bread recipe around these days is the http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html, if for no other reason than the technique.  I've amended the recipe somewhat: 15 ounces flour, 10 ounces water, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 instant (also known as rapid rise) yeast. 

Like all skills, breadmaking and kneading have to be learned through trial and error.  Just relax!  Eventually, you'll learn to recognize by touch and sight.  In the meantime, try mixing the ingredients and let them sit overnight to let the gluten form naturally, about 10 to 14 hours.

Scrape dough onto floured surface, flour your hands and knead maybe 15 times....that's it.  Shape it anyway you like or put in loaf pan.  Bake according to directions.  (I bake mine the same way the original recipe says, in a cast iron dutch oven, but you don't need to do that.) 

Once you see how easy it is and what wonderful results, you'll be able to gain more confidence and bake whatever you like!
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2009 08:21:18 AM »

I have started making breads not long ago and I always have to knead the dough like, FOREVER. Seriously, I spent a good 20-30 minutes on it one time (and it said it should take 5 or so).  I'm assuming it's because I'm no good at kneading dough yet, so I'm being slow.  But even when the kneading is awful the bread is good in the end so yay!  And last night for the first time my dough was super quick to knead up, even though it was the exact same recipe I made the night before and had issues with.  The only difference was that you know the step where you dissolve the yeast in warm water? I added a tablespoon of sugar, and let it stand for 15 minutes instead of 5.  Not sure if that made the difference, but you can always try xD

But if you have more space than I do and a little money to spend, get a bread machine.  They aren't excessively expensive and they do the kneading for you!  Worth it if you plan to make a lot of bread.
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doyouloveanapple
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2009 11:44:31 AM »

I also make my own bread. I found my Kitchenaid stand mixer is really helpful for kneeding. Also, the recipie makes a HUGE difference for the quality of bread.

I also recently came across the "5 mintue bread". I am a complete convert! Check out my post here with my recipie:
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=312021.msg3585119#msg3585119
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brokenporcelaindoll
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2009 02:24:28 PM »

I always used to have trouble with bread until I started keeping a live yeast culture in my fridge.

I mixed upsome dried yeast with sugar and warm milk and let that sit for a while until it began to froth.  Then I added it to a deep mason jar with warm water, flour and a little milk to make a liquid (needs to be a fluid, more watery than batter).  Filled the jar about 1/2 - 2/3 up.

I keep this in the fridge with the lid popped to let gases seep - once a week at least I use up about half of it to make a dough and then top up the jar with more water, flour and sugar, and every once in a while I close the lid, give it a quick shake and CAREFULLY pop the lid again, to stop ingredients from resting.

My bread dough rises so quickly now and kneads better, too!  I really recommend making up a starter - it is ready to use pretty much about 10 minutes after making and they can last for years if kept properly.
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GlitteringPeacock
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2009 08:32:13 AM »

Seriously try the 5 minute bread recipe. I had the worst luck with bread before that.  I kept getting sinking centers  Embarrassed

But now its perfect everytime  Cheesy
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2009 09:41:54 AM »

There might have been no problem with you or your recipe, it could have been bad yeast.  I've had that happen before, so don't give up, making bread is a lot of fun (I recommend gettign a copy of Edna Stabler's Food That Really Smecks, she talks a lot about making bread).
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2009 05:56:40 AM »

It might be easier to diagnose your problems, craftyczarina, if you provided your recipe and method.

Generally, when I make bread, immediately after roughly mixing the dough (it doesn't matter if there are lumps), I let the dough sit for 15-30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid fully. This step is called autolyse if you want to get fancy. Smiley This shortens the kneading time considerably all on its own. The no-knead methods of making bread have proven that gluten develops all on its own over time in a well-hydrated dough - that's just an extension of autolyse, really.

Then I do four sessions of kneading - knead 10 strokes, then set the dough aside and repeat in fifteen minutes, and so on. There are similar methods using a stretch and fold instead of kneading. I haven't got the hang of stretching and folding yet, so kneading is easier for me, although I'm still working on developing my stretch and fold technique. Then allow the dough to do its first rise. Honestly, I've had plenty of breads that turn out great using JUST that amount of kneading.

Also, if your dough is too dry, it'll be more difficult to knead. More hydrated dough is easier to knead, but it also has the added benefit of developing bubbles easier, which is what causes the rising. More hydrated bread dough means more bubbles in the bread, a more open crumb.

If you're currently measuring according to volume measurements, you could be adding too much flour. I've read informal studies that show that a cup of flour ranges anywhere from 80 to 250 grams of flour, depending on who's doing the measuring and what method - scooping, sifting, and so on - and that means a HUGE variance in the amount of flour that could be used in making dough. Using recipes that go by weights (ounces or grams) are better since they give you a much closer approximation to the final result. There will still be variances in how much flour to use to reach the exact same goal because of variances in humidity levels in the flour (region, manufacturer, species of wheat used, and so on), but it is significantly less than the amount of variance introduced by the various methods of measuring a cup of flour.  For an experienced bread baker who knows how the dough should feel, it's not as important, but for beginning bread bakers, measuring ingredients by weight instead can mean a lot less frustration and a lot more consistent results from batch to batch.
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2009 05:58:14 AM »

Also, if you want to really geek out about making bread and learning how to make better bread, there's The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. Excellent book, loads of geekery, great recipes, and pictures to help explain techniques.
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