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Old 09-16-2004, 10:15 PM   #1
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Hand Mixing Woes

Well I took the advice of a few of you and my results were darn awful.

I had a slack day yesterday so I decided to give hand mixing a go - and what a failure. My intention was to make 3 X 500gm (1lb) loaves using the same recipe but using different techniques. The 3 techniques were:
1. By hand mixed & kneaded
2. Bread maker mixed dough
3. A mixture of hand and machine.

The recipe used was a standard white loaf:
300gms flour
180ml water
20 mls oil (Macadamia)
1.5 tspn salt
1.5 tspn yeast
2 tspn sugar

Flour constituents were:
2 Tbspn Gluten Flour (80% protein)
1 tspn Bread Improver (95% soya flour etc)
Topped up with AP Flour

I started by hand and ended up with flour all over the kitchen, the wife right off her rocker, a cracked window, tired arms, bruised pride and crook bread. I could not work the dough to a smooth, soft consistency. Hard as a rock. Very disappointing.
The hybrid method, proved a little more successful, but again, the final dough quality wasn't as I would have liked. End bread was a little flat & too much moisture
The machine mix harvested a premium dough that was ready for the oven by the time the previous 2 were ready for baking.

Baking - gas oven, baked @ top of oven, 170 C (abt 335 F) for an hour then fan on for 10 minutes. I removed the loaves from the tins (on the hour) and pplaced them directly onto my baking stones to force out some remaining moisture. Silver tins used. Would black tins get any hotter?

The loaves brown beautifully, but retain too much moisture, even the machine mixture and I don't know why, very sad.

You might ask about the cracked window, well I'll tell you. After finishing the hand mixing I floured my benchtop, and put my dough onto it and placing the mixing bowl away from my immediate work area to hold extra flour. "Right you mongrel", I said to the dough then startyed the kneading. Well, The dough took off across the floured surface, collected the mixing bowl along with the salt container, water container, flour bag - the lot. The flour bag was instantly airborne and you guessed it, upside down and flour everywhere, the salt went straight for the sink & collected a glass or 2 on the way, whilst the mixing bowl skimmed straight along the bench and CRASH, straight into the window. Now there is a nice crack in it that will smile at me until I fix it next week (maybe).

Bread making is dangerous stuff.

Anyway, my questions are relating to retained moisture. I weighed each wet dough and completed product and all were within 5 grams of each other. Bit over 500 gms each wet and 450 gms baked. I would have expected to have released more than 50mls (grams) of water during the baking process. I'm lost.

I hope you all (y'oll) can understand Strine (Australian language).

Any thoughts?



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Old 09-17-2004, 08:06 AM   #2
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Why don't you explain exactly what you did, from start to finish, and how you went about doing it? It's hard to determine what went wrong without this information.

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Old 09-17-2004, 10:47 AM   #3
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hand mixing woes - observations, questions, etc

For those of us who do not use metric system and measure both liquids and solids by volume, here is the recipie annotated with conversions. [1 oz = 28.35 gr by weight; 1 oz = 29.57 ml by volume]. A big thanks to Google calculator but check my math.

The recipe used was a standard white loaf:

300gms flour [10.6 oz by weight / about 2 US cups by volume]
180ml water [0.761 US cups]
20 mls oil (Macadamia) [4.059 tsp-US or 1.353 TBS-US]
1.5 tspn salt
1.5 tspn yeast
2 tspn sugar
Now to the problems:
my questions are relating to retained moisture...The loaves brown beautifully, but retain too much moisture, even the machine mixture and I don't know why
You have 200 ml total liquid (about .85 cups) which gives you a liquid to solid ratio by volume of approximately 1:2.4 [e.g. 1 part liquid to 2.4 parts flour]. This is about what I use in my standard loaf bread recipie which yeilds 2 - 1 lb loaves. However, ratios don't necessarily scale down (or up) and your recipie is for 1 1 lb loaf so (for mixer/hand methods) maybe your ratio should have been more around 1:3. I have no experience with bread machines but I suspect that ideal ratios are different.

Some more observations:
> mixing/kneading method - the dough declined in quality as you went from bread machine to mixer to hand so it seems to me that you didn't knead long enough by mixer, much less entirely by hand.
> you baked in tins so obviously the only place steam can escape is at the top. (You don't mention whether you slashed the top of the bread before putting in the oven.) Your temp of 335F seems a little low to me (I usually bake at 375F or at least 350F). And yes, dark metal (or pyrex) pans would absorb heat more quickly (shiny silver reflects heat back). However, it sounds as though the dough was too moist to start with.

I find your description about all hand-kneading confusing. You say the dough was
hard as a rock
which suggests to me that too much additional flour (beyond the amount in the recipie) was kneaded in and yet your main complaint is that the dough was too moist :?: :!:

Give us more info on your equipment:
> oven - regular or convection? ("fan on" makes me wonder if it is convection or some kind of hybrid oven???)
> mixer - regular or heavy duty? If heavy duty, uses dough hook or spiral hook for kneading? If regular, stand or hand mixer?

Lastly, I second jasonr's reply - it's hard to know exactly how you went about this experiment.

Keep in touch and good luck making bread!
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Old 09-17-2004, 01:09 PM   #4
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LMAO Don't give up and having your wife there is bad Karma. Do the messy part when she is not home. Thats what I do.
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Old 09-17-2004, 01:42 PM   #5
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OK Brooksy, I am still giggling. You have a wonderful way of describing what you did.

I am not sure where you went wrong, but it sounds like a too much flour, not enough kneading issue. The moisture thing I have no clue on. I am not nearly as technical as the boys on here, but I will share with you my bread recipe.

3 cups flour
10 oz milk
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 (or 3) tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp fast rise yeast or 2 tsp regular stuff

I have found this recipe foolproof both in the machine and by hand. When you mix by hand you need to remember that you must knead long enough to break up all the gluten. (Think that is the right term) So when mixing it all by hand use the last 1/2 cup of flour to flour your board, don't actually put it into the mixture. This is a beautiful soft loaf of bread and I think the milk works better than the water. Good luck to you. This one as I said is foolproof (and I am the fool that proved it!)
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Old 09-18-2004, 05:44 AM   #6
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Last first & I work backwards.

Thanx for the giggle Alix, much appreciated. Thanx for the recipe also I'll give it a try - best I can. :oops:

My darking wife ALWAYS walks into the mess. I know when she is about to arrive home - the mess is at it's worst.

Unfortunately conversions never work for me either imp - metric - imp. I'm still caught in pounds, shillings & pence, and that changed in 1966. :oops:

Sub - good work on the conversion. From what I have read elsewhere (now I've come to the best), a soft white mixture should be about .67 (2/3) liquid/flour for tin loaves and .6 (3/5) for free form (or 10% less water)such is the 200/300 ratio in my recipe. A 3/5 would be 180mls of liquid. I have only seen the ratio, or Baker's Percentage referred to in metric terms and not in imperial or US terms so I can't say. About the only thing I know for sure is that 1ml of water weighs 1gm. :)

Prior to commencing my experiments I measured out all my ingedients into separate containers, checked them against each other & weighed the again before use.

I mixed the hand mixed dough by the bowl method - liquid, oil, sugar and yeast into the bowl first, then flour added slowly whilst mixing in a swirling action ensuring that then first half of the flour is smoothly incorporated. The balance is added as before but it got horribly stiff& the fun started. And I'm not going to tell where the dough ended up after richoceting all over the work bench.

My hybrid system was to initially mix the dough in my mixer until completely mixed, rested it, and kneaded it several time in the mixer pausing between spurts. My initial mixing used the 'bowl method', water in the mixing bowl turned the machine on and added the flour over about 5 or 6 minutes. After about a total of (less than) 10 mins I removed the dough to the kneading bench and gave it a workout for about minutes by palm and rolling.

With the bread maker I just threw everything in (liquid 1st) let it go on a dough setting and pulled it out 90 minutes later - knocked it down, divided it (for hi top) rolled it and wacked it in the tin. No hassles.

Compared to the doughs later 2 doughs the handmixed was as hard as a rock and I intend to wait until I can get my darling wife to visit her mother 2.5 hrs drive away before I try hand mixing again (but she'll find out).

The end product appeared too moist not the dough. I did another bake yesterday with the bread maker and got comparable results but I set the oven at about 350F (175 C), removed the loaf from the pan and replaced it with fan on for 10 minutes. If I can produce that sort of quality consistently I'd be chuffed, but.......

Gas oven with switchable convection fan. Bread placed as high in the oven as possible. Have baking stones as well - preheated before bread put on top. Thought these would maintain heat at the base rather than a rack.

Mixer is only lightweight with counterrotating spirals & hook. Never again, not worth it.

Whew, How did I do?


P.S. Thanks to all, sorry about the spelling..........
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Old 09-18-2004, 08:13 AM   #7
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Strewth cobber dunno what these galahs made of all that. I just wished you'd vidoed it! Sounds hilarious.

I grew up baking by hand, so I guess it's an acquired art that I take for granted. Never take my advice again!!!

You made me homesick listening to that outburst!
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Old 09-18-2004, 09:55 AM   #8
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Wow Brooksy. I hope it wasn't as complicated a procedure as it sounded! I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but this was just a standard white loaf, right? Now I'm a perfectionist too, and I'm the first person to check every single detail when baking, but even I think you might possibly be overthinking this thing. For example, why would you be concerned about moisture ratios in a pre-existing recipe? Isn't the point of using someone else's recipe that they have already measured and balanced these factors? It sounds to me like you are trying a mish-mash of different techniques to deal with your dough. Did your recipe recommend all of this stuff? Certainly, a little hand kneading towards the end is useful with machine kneaded dough to achieve the right consistency, and I could see the value of a little machine-kneading for a hand-kneaded loaf to achieve a more consistent texture, but what you're doing sounds way too complicated for plain white bread.

In my opinion, you should follow your recipe to the letter, with as little variation as possible. Improvisation is the enemy of good baking, in my experience; why do it differently when someone more experienced and knowledgeable than you (the person who wrote the recipe) has done it better already?
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Old 09-18-2004, 02:04 PM   #9
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G'day Brooksy:

I'm no expert bread maker, but one thing that seemed to be missing from your strenuous workout was letting the dough simply rest between bouts of wrestling. A little benign neglect might be just the thing. Let 'er rise a bit before beating back into submission.

Haven't a clue about the moisture and temperature and science and all that.

No worries, then. Please send Eric Thorpe to me straight away.
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Old 09-19-2004, 01:51 AM   #10
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Thanks Kyles, but I think the only Galah is the one trying to make bread.

Jasonr: Really the only complicated parts are my explanations. :) Just simple bread, bit o' flour, water, sugar, oil, yeast the usual stuff. I really want everything to be the same in all breads, fastidious - maybe, but it beat the question of did I put more water etc in any of the mixes. I can definitely say they were the same - within the error of my measuring equipment anyway. The recipe is very good and I can taste the different oils, but until I am convinced I'm doing it right, then I'll keep trying. I realise moisture content in the finished product is essential to retain freshness, but I still think there is something wrong with something. :?

Mudbag: I'll bite, where did you get the handle mudbag from? You're prolly right. I could be too busy trying to beat the stuffing out of my dough instead of beating the stuffing into it.

At the end of the day, I can do all my mixing by B/Maker and oven bake, but if asked to make some bread at a BBQ, what do I say' "Sorry, haven't got my bread maker with me" How embarassing. A bit like horses really, I was taught "If yer can't shoe 'em, don't ride'em." Really determined to succeed.

As a bit of an aside, I went up to the airstrip yesterday for a break & took our 14mth old Pomeranian X Jack Russel (PJ). After he'd been belting around for a while he decided it was time for a nap so up onto my knee he came. He immediately assumed the 'baby position', exposing all his God given gifts to the World and I continued reading. Madisson, a 5 yo daughter of a good friend of mine came up and pointed to PJ's jewels, "What are these? she asked.

Without thinking I answered "Nuts."
Uh oh I'm in strife here.
"Er, yes. Spacer nuts."
"What are they for?"
"To keep his back legs apart"
"Sascha hasn't got spacer nuts." she said looking at me as if I was pulling her leg.
"Sascha is a big Labrador and her legs are wide enough apart so she doesn't need them" Whew, I wish she go away.
"And what's this?" she enquired pointing to the other part.
"That there is the adjusting screw in case his legs need to be made wider or narrower"
"Oh. Ok. Can we adjust them now?"
"No, he is trying to sleep."
"Oh. Ok. I'll go and tell Mummy we gunna adjust them later." With that she was off like a shot.

10 minutes late Mum comes over..............

All of your info is great and I cannot thank you all enough. Good value.

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