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Old 02-28-2011, 08:49 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by FrankZ View Post
The water may be too hot. While yeast can be tough little critters, if the water is slightly too hot you could be killing off the weaker ones. You want water about 100-110F. This should feel warm, not hot.

A quick explanation on my process:

I weigh everything. Once I have the amount of yeast, total sugar and water I put a cup of water into the microwave to heat it. I know 1 cup, 50 seconds, and my microwave hits the sweet spot.

I proof using the yeast, half cup of water and 8g of the sugar. The rest of the water I heated just goes back in my big cup that I weighed.

I mix the dry stuff in the mixer bowl while the yeast proofs (the rest of the sugar, salt, flours, dry milk).

Once the yeast is proofed it and the rest of the water goes in the bowl with the oil.

Set the mixer to slow and let it mix for a minute (so I don't get a dust cloud) and the up to the dough setting.

By the time the yeast is in with the salt the salt is fairly well mixed through the rest of the dry stuff so it should be an issue.

One other thing to keep in mind. Because whole wheat flour absorbs water slower it also develops the gluten slower. Salt hardens gluten (this is needed but it also is in your way). More gluten means the bread has better structure to rise.

I do notice when I add whole wheat flour my bread doesn't rise as fast or get as fluffy. I think I might play with the process a bit and do a quick mix, let it sit for a while, then add the salt and finish the mixing kneading and see how that goes.
Frank, I'm going to make my next batch (white, not wheat) either today or tomorrow, and I'd like to try your technique described above. One quick question. I have not been using an electric mixer, I mix it by hand with a large wooden spoon. I do have a stand mixer and a hand-held, is there an advantage to using the mixer? I just hate the extra clean-up.

Thanks!
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Old 02-28-2011, 09:34 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by cmarchibald View Post
Frank, I'm going to make my next batch (white, not wheat) either today or tomorrow, and I'd like to try your technique described above. One quick question. I have not been using an electric mixer, I mix it by hand with a large wooden spoon. I do have a stand mixer and a hand-held, is there an advantage to using the mixer? I just hate the extra clean-up.

Thanks!
It is easier but that I suppose is it.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:33 AM   #33
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Yup. After my parents visited and heard me moaning about not being able to buy nuts, they sent a "care package" on their return home that included several large bags of nuts. It was appreciated and I do use them, but it cost them more to mail it than the total contents of the box was worth. I only had to pay about $10 customs duties on that box but the shipping was pretty outrageous. I just feel like it's not worth it. *shrug*
Darn...I was going to put my white hat on and come to the rescue!
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:02 AM   #34
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Darn...I was going to put my white hat on and come to the rescue!
Awwww....I appreciate the thought nonetheless!

Well, I made my 5th set of loaves today and I gotta say, I'm getting the hang of this....largely thanks to everyone's advice here!

Frank, I borrowed some of your technique. I didn't weigh everything and use percentages the way you do, I'm not there yet, still sticking to the recipe that's working for me and altering slightly.

Following Frank's lead and Bolas' advice about salt killing yeast, I left the salt out until after the 1st of my 3 rises. I also tried "proofing" the yeast this time (the same yeast I've left out of the fridge) and lemme tell ya....it worked so fast that I barely had time to get the dry ingredients together before it puffed over the edge of my measuring cup. It appears my yeast is alive and well.....seems it likes this humid weather.

So I mixed everything up with the first 4 cups of flour (still following this recipe for those keeping track: Grandma VanDoren's White Bread Recipe - Allrecipes.com ) except I left out the salt. I let it sit for about 30 minutes until it doubled, then added the salt and stirred / kneaded the remaining 4 cups of flour in. Remembering what someone else said about how oil is what makes the final product moist, every time I added a cup of flour to the final mix I added a teeny bit more oil, adjusting every time I thought the mix looked too dry. I think I ended up almost doubling the total oil called for in the original recipe, but.....

The final product is the best bread I've made yet. It was so moist and fluffy and delicious.....the first loaf was gone within a few hours. Looks like I'll get the chance to tinker with this some more when I bake again soon.
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:02 PM   #35
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Glad to hear it is coming along well.

When I autolyse the dough I don't kneed it. I mix mine shaggy and let it sit. It doesn't really rise. It does however puff up the lid on the mixer bowl quite nice. Then I kneed it and do the rising. I know this is a small detail, don't know which would give you better results. The whole purpose of the autolyse is to allow the flour to absorb water. More water absorbed more gluten.

I did some pizza dough last night and I use a 80/20 mix with AP and semolina flour. I let it autolyse for 20 minutes and it made a HUGE difference in working the dough, flavor and texture of the final pizza.
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:14 PM   #36
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Thanks Frank....in light of the other discussion going on about AP flour, I noticed you mentioned you have some rice flour floating around. I have a bag of rice flour leftover from when I bought it for a specific recipe. How do you think the rice flour might do as part of the "flour mix" for bread?
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:49 PM   #37
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Heck if I know.. I didn't buy the rice flour. Kathleen got it for something she never got a chance to make. Its your time, your time down here... erm... you should have a go and see what happens. Worst thing is you throw some bread away.
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Old 03-02-2011, 01:03 PM   #38
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To make your bread even lighter, try adding for every three cups of flour, about 1 potato's worth of either leftover mashed potatoes, or instant potato mix (use the stuff that only has potato flakes in it, without a bunch of added chemicals. In fact, if you add a bit more sugar, with the potatoes, you get a really great yeast-risen doughnut dough. The added potatoes add more starch, and help make the loaf more tender, without affecting the rise, or gluten. I'm not sure how it all works, but I know it works wonderfully as that's what I now do with both whole grain, and white bread. You can purchase those soft and tender potato rolls, or potato bread at the grocery store. That's how they are made, with mashed spuds added to the flour and other ingredients.

Tip, my now famous (or infamous) pancake recipe gets its extra tender and fluffy texture from a little more cooking oil added to the batter. That's where I learned about extra oil making the end product more moist. It also works with cakes, biscuits, any quickbread.

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Old 03-02-2011, 11:09 PM   #39
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Heck if I know.. I didn't buy the rice flour. Kathleen got it for something she never got a chance to make. Its your time, your time down here... erm... you should have a go and see what happens. Worst thing is you throw some bread away.
LOL! Well you're my "go-to-guy" for bread questions at the moment so I thought I'd ask!

I've got a few more tweaks I want to try on the current recipe, but in the meantime I'll just google it and see what comes up.

Thanks for the potato tip, goodweed! I always make my potatoes from scratch so the next time I make mashed potatoes I'll just preserve a small portion for breadbaking.
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:39 PM   #40
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I have some dough rising right now. I have been having good results with a 20 minute autolyse after mixing.

Today after letting it autolyse I started the kneading and realized a couple minutes in I forgot the salt. Disaster averted.

I am also reducing my yeast a bit to see if I can get a slower rise.
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