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Old 04-11-2005, 10:47 PM   #1
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Handmade Bread

Hi,
Greetings to everyone.
I'm a newbie, happened to stumble upon this wonderful site, I have an old problem and hope some of you experts can throw some lights.

I have been trying to bake my own bread and I hand knead my dough. No matter how long I knead, it never look shiny or elastic like those in books. The more I knead, the harder the dough becomes however, when I do the stretch test, the dough is elastic enough and doesnt break easily.

I usually leave my dough in a bowl cover with damp towel to proof. I normally do the poking test to see if its done.

Problem is, my bread also turned heavy and hard the next day

I'm convinced I need a heavy duty mixer so went on to buy my Kitchen Aid, result has slightly improved but still not ideal.

Any idea where did I go wrong??? I don want to give up bread making yet.

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Old 04-12-2005, 03:13 AM   #2
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Kneading the dough for a long time is never a good idea, it overdevelops the gluten in the bread resulting in a harder, less desirable bread.

You shouldn't need a mixer to achieve the desired result. You should only knead the bread enough to turn that sticky mass into a ball that feels smooth when you knead it. I don't think you need it to look as pretty and shiny as in the book, remember they are pictures from a book and may have gone through some sort of pre/post photograph editing to make it look more desirable.

However my baking skills and knowledge are far from complete, but these are just my thoughts.
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Old 04-12-2005, 07:35 AM   #3
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I don't do the bread baking here, but I read this post to my husband, who does bake our bread, and he suggested that your moisture content might be too low. You have to kind of go by feel and not always follow the recipe exactly, because the moisture content of the flour will change with the humidity in the air. He says he always kneeds his bread dough for 15 min., which seems to be fine. If the dough is a little bit stiff, then slowly add tiny amounts of water so that the dough becomes soft and supple. He does make excellent bread. Hope this helps.
P.S. We do have a bread machine, but he really prefers to do the kneeding himself.
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Old 04-12-2005, 09:36 AM   #4
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Given we make bread everyday (mostly wheat bread) I agree with what Cat stated. One pay attention to your moisture content. If it's less, no amount of kneading is going to give you a smooth dough. If the content is right you will not have to do a lot of kneading to get it to a nice round mass.

Finally to comment on the shiny dough in cookbooks, normally once the dough comes together you can take 1 tbsp of oil (any kind) and just rub it over the dough's surface. The oil helps keeps the dough from drying out and gives it a shiny texture.

Then lcover the dough and let it rest for a few hours (even non-yeast ones) and you will be amazed at how well it comes together and how easy it is to manage and roll it.
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Old 04-13-2005, 01:23 AM   #5
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Geee...thanks for all your suggestion and advise.
I guessed I was too rigid in following the books, it didnt occur to me that the moisture content was too low.
In fact, as I was kneading, I added more flour to prevent it from becoming too sticky
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:00 PM   #6
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MY FAMILY'S FAVORITE BREAD RECIPE
  • 2 pks. yeast
  • 3/4 c. warm water, 110-115o
  • 2 c. scalded, then cooled to lukewarm milk, whole is best (I do not heat til scalded and I like to use the milk at just about the same temp as the water)
  • 3 tbs. sugar or honey
  • 3 tbs. vegetable oil or melted vegetable shortening
  • 1 tbs. salt
  • 4 c. all purpose flour
  • up to 3 more c. all purpose flour
Dissolve the dry yeast into the warm water and stir. Let foam up, about 5 minutes. Add the warm milk, sugar and oil, stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the salt, stir. Add the first 4 c. of flour and mix well. Stir in the next 2 c. of flour and add just enough to make a smooth as a baby's bottom dough (not sticky). Grease a big bowl, put dough into it and twist and turn to put greased side up. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 1 hour or until doubled. Turn out onto counter and knead out the air bubbles. Divide into two equal pieces. Roll into a 12 inch log; with a rolling-pin flatten out to get air out. Starting at one short end start rolling tightly; pinch the seam to seal and tuck edges under the loaf. Put into a greased 9 inch loaf pan. Repeat for other loaf. Brush melted butter over the tops and let rise for another hour or til doubled. Bake in a preheated oven at 425ofor 25-30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when thumped. * You can use up to 3 c. whole wheat flour in substitution of an equal amount of all purpose flour. The loaves may not rise as much (use less flour when kneading the dough) and it will be a heavier loaf.
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Old 04-13-2005, 08:46 PM   #7
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I bake 2 loaves of my own bread every week - and it has never been "shiney" after I kneaded it. I, too, use my KitchenAid to mix and knead it ... but I used to knead it by hand with the same results.

Perhaps is you would care to share your recipe with us someone can help you sort things out.
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Old 04-14-2005, 02:40 PM   #8
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The recipe I posted yesterday will shine a bit and as long as you have enough liquid and do not over-knead it, it turns out every time!! I knead mine by hand and used to make 10 loaves a day, minimum. My daughters would take their home made bread sandwiches to school and a couple of teachers would call me and that is what I did to make ends meet for awhile.
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Old 04-24-2005, 07:18 PM   #9
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Bluemoon, someone else posted this advice a long time ago - it is quite true: "Wetter is better"!

I have the best results with a very soft dough - just barely non-sticky.

And 10 minutes start-to-finish with the dough hook on the Kitchen Aid at speed 1 or 2 is always sufficiient. Then form into a ball and let it rise, covered, for 1 hour at normal room temp. Then punch down, form into a roll as others have described, put in a loaf pan and let rise another 45 minutes to an hour. I bake mine in a preheated 375 F oven for a softer crust.
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Old 04-26-2005, 05:14 AM   #10
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10min on Kitchen Aid at speed 1 or 2??? Gosh, I used about 15 min at speed 6!!!! No wonder my bread is tough! Guess I have over kneaded.
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