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Old 06-29-2005, 08:43 AM   #1
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Trashy Bread issues

Ok, so I've only made bread twice so far.


Once, the bread came out a little compacted.

I was using an Italian Bread recipe, but obviously screwed up somehow because what I got from the oven was 'good', but it was really dense and almost had a cake-like texture.

The second time I made bread was this past weekend. It was a ciabatta recipe (from artisan.com), but it didn't come out anything like ciabatta. I made the dough according to the recipe, but it was absolutely impossible to work with. It was very wet and very sticky. I couldn't keep it from sticking to absolutely everything and anything it came near. So, I decided to pass on the ciabatta and add more flour to firm up the dough. It helped with the stickyness. So I let the dough rest on a board, under a towel all night and baked it Saturday morning. The crust was like thin porcelain tile. It was horrible. LOL The inside of the bread was a little yeasty, which is ok I don't mind that, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for.


Any tips or techniques for making really good bread?

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Old 06-29-2005, 10:28 AM   #2
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nytxn, we have some great bread bakers on this site so I'm sure they'll be able to help you a lot! I'm pretty new to bread baking myself, but the one thing that caught my eye was that you said you let it rise overnight. Did the recipe say to do that? It just seems like a long time. Maybe that had an impact on your results? Just a guess, though--we'll wait and see what the others have to say!
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Old 06-29-2005, 10:30 AM   #3
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nytxn,

I have the book on artisian breads, and as much as I love them, they can be a pain in the patootie I'll take a look and see what I can find out for you. I do know that I love breads that have a long rise. I made a J. Pepin long rice bread last summer and we loved it...I'm off to get things going for the luncheon today, but will look as soon as I can. Bread making is really fun and you can go crazy being creative with it.
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Old 06-29-2005, 10:36 AM   #4
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Kad,
That's what appeals to me so much about it.


If you can master basic breadmaking, you can get really creative with combining styles and ingredients.



PA,
I had already screwed up the ciabatta recipe at that point, so I just winged it. I probably let it sit too long. I'll wait and let the experts chime in.
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Old 06-29-2005, 10:48 AM   #5
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I thought I remembered a seeing big ole bread baking thread thread a while back...but couldn't find it... Does anyone remember?

I did find antother one that might be helpful. (Didn't read it all though) Bread Baking Question
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Old 06-29-2005, 10:51 AM   #6
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I found it! Maybe something in here will help.

Bread Making Invite 4 All - a Collaborative Bread Thread
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Old 06-29-2005, 12:56 PM   #7
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Cool.

Thank you!
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Old 07-01-2005, 05:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htc
I found it! Maybe something in here will help.

Bread Making Invite 4 All - a Collaborative Bread Thread
to hto and nytxn
Hi! I'm the person who started that thread. I and others posted a lot of stuff to it.

Unfortunately, when DC switched to new software for the forums awhile back some of the the pix and posts in this thread no longer display as well as they did under the old forum software but you can still get some good info from it.

I will tell you straight off that a lot of "artisan" breads (like ciabatta) are *very* wet. They're supposed to be that way. If you're used to making a standard "loaf style" bread, this kind of dough will be a real challenge. I found I had to abandon a lot of my hard-won bread-baking knowledge when I first started to make these kinds of bread.

If you hand-knead, one implement you'll find *very* handy is what's called a "dough scraper" or "bench scraper" (same thing - just different descriptions) - they're pictured in one of my posts in that thread. I got the ones I have very cheaply (about $15 for 2 including shipping) on eBay.

I'll try to respond with some other hints in a few days - gotta collect my thoughts. Stay tuned and check on this thread. I promise to reply...

Happy bread baking - sf
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Old 07-01-2005, 11:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nytxn on 06-29-2005 wrote
Ok, so I've only made bread twice so far...

The second time I made bread was this past weekend. It was a ciabatta recipe (from artisan.com), but it didn't come out anything like ciabatta. I made the dough according to the recipe, but it was absolutely impossible to work with. It was very wet and very sticky...So, I decided to pass on the ciabatta and add more flour to firm up the dough.
I already commented on that issue...

Quote:
I let the dough rest on a board, under a towel all night and baked it Saturday morning...the bread was a little yeasty
The bread was "yeasty" b/c you let it sit out overnite at room temp. You "over-proofed" the bread dough, which produces a "yeasty" or acidic taste to the bread. Letting bread dough rise for a long time in a refrigerator is a well known technique for both improving flavor and adjusting bread-making to a busy schedule. However, letting dough rise at room temp for 8-16 hours only applies to making what's called a "pre-ferment" (and only a *very tiny amount of yeast* is added to the pre-ferment if it is going to develop at room temperature for 6-12 hrs).

Quote:
I let the dough rest on a board, under a towel all nightI The crust was like thin porcelain tile. It was horrible.
That's b/c you [1]left the dough unrefrigerated and [2] only covered it with a towel. This means the surface of the dough would dry out, and you'd get a thin, tough crust.

Quote:
Any tips or techniques for making really good bread?
What kind of bread do you want to learn how to make? If you're a beginner, maybe the "artisan" style breads (baguettes / ciabatta etc.) are not a good starting point.

There are lots of good bread-bakers here. Look at some of the past posts in this topic area. In http://discusscooking.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6298 pancake kindly posted her aunt's "foolproof" recipe for baguettes - her post in this thread was on 18Feb05 and hopefully this link will take you right to it Bread Making Invite 4 All - a Collaborative Bread Thread

oldcoot has posted quite a few recipes and tips for a relaxed (and very successful) approach to artisan-style breads - why don't you search on his posts?
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Old 07-02-2005, 07:20 AM   #10
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Pick up a copy of The Bread Bakers Apprentice by Steve Reinhart, it's fantastic. Lots of recipes and lots of the why's and hows.
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Old 07-02-2005, 10:07 AM   #11
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Ya know, I'm a good cook, if I do say so myself, but baking bread is a skill that I have never mastered. In fact, my family used to tease me about my "5 lb." loaves of bread.
A few years back, my husband bought me a bread machine, and it blew up.
So now, I depend on the grocery store deli or the frozen dough balls.

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Old 07-03-2005, 11:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance
A few years back, my husband bought me a bread machine, and it blew up. So now, I depend on the grocery store deli or the frozen dough balls.

<<wiping coffee off of the computer screen>>
I'm with ya Constance - I bake only one type of bread, and it's my mom's cool rise brioche rolls. Other than that, the grocery store has great artisan bread, and I just found a new bakery that has gorgeous 3lb loaves.
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Old 07-04-2005, 09:57 AM   #13
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Hi Ron

You've had some good replies - I hesitate to stick my nose in here, being new and everything, but what the heck!

I've always subscribed to the theory of 'brick in, brick out' ie if you put a leaden lump of dough in the oven guess what you'll get out of it? If you can, try and work with your dough quite a bit 'wetter' than you think it should be. Ciabatta and the like are very very wet and tricky to handle, don't be disheartened that it didn't work.

I have teenage boys and it would be impractical to try and keep up with their daily bread consumption, but I do bake about three times a week and use a 'no-knead' bread recipe that produces lovely bread. I'd be happy to pass on the recipe and technique if you'd like it.
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Old 07-04-2005, 10:02 AM   #14
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Bee, please do share!
and, never hesitate!
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Old 07-04-2005, 10:16 AM   #15
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Glad I gave you a laugh, Jkath!
I learned to laugh at myself years ago...makes life a lot easier if you don't take yourself too seriously.

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Old 07-04-2005, 11:54 AM   #16
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This is known in our house as 'Kirsten's Bread' because it comes from my friend Kirsten. The recipe and method which follow are hers, my notes on what I do are at the bottom.


1kg granary flour
1 cup wheatbran (optional)
1/2 cup wheatgerm (optional)
1/2 cup oatmeal or porridge oats (optional)
Sometimes I add cornmeal instead of oats.

Take 1 cup of flour out of the bag.
Put the rest in a big bowl with the other grain type ingredients. Add
1 pkt easy yeast (7g), 1 dessertspoon salt and stir up (use the
biggest strong spoon you have). Make a well in the middle and add
2-3tbsp of your oil of choice (this is for keeping quality not taste -
you can omit altogether). Add about 500ml of water initially (warm or
cold, doesn't matter, cold will take longer but the flavour and gluten
will be a bit more pronounced) and stir. If the mix appears dry, add
some more in 50-100ml bursts until you have a sticky mass with no
loose flour visible. I sometimes have to use 750-800 ml and (rarely),
500ml is enough. It doesn't really matter if the dough is too wet, -
because then you can add more flour, but if it is too dry at this
stage, it is very difficult to row back and incorporate more water
after the first proving.
Cover the goo with a teatowel and leave to rise (or with clingfilm
with a small hole in it in the fridge, if leaving overnight or during
a whole day). I usually leave it for about 1-1.5 hours.

Turn out onto a well floured board and knead for about 2 minutes. You
will probably use most or all of the reserved cup of flour if the
dough is the right consistency. Shape into loaves (I tend to make 3
1kg loaves) and leave to rise again. Grease any tins well with white
veg fat - Cookeen seems to work the best - this helps the dough to
rise even if you use non-stick tins. Bake in a hot oven (about 200
degrees) until done. I like to cook the 1kg loaves for 30 mins, then
another 5-10 mins with the tins off to make all the outsides crusty.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The dough really does need to be too sticky to handle and it's quite
an effort to mix with a wooden spoon - when you come to knead you can
add sufficient flour to make a workable dough, but I'd still err on
the stickier than you think side. I don't add wheatgerm, but do add seeds (pumpkin,
sesame, sunflower and poppy). I find it best to leave overnight in the
fridge and it still astonishes me that it works far better than any
other method I've tried :) It also works with white flour or a combination of white and brown.
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Old 07-05-2005, 08:34 AM   #17
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Thank you for the recipe, Bee. I'll get my courage up and give it a try.
Wonder how it would work to mix the bread in my Kitchenaide with the dough hooks? I have shoulder problems and don't have much strength in my arms anymore.
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Old 07-05-2005, 09:40 AM   #18
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It will work absolutely fine in your KA with dough hooks - just remember to make a pretty sloppy dough and don't over knead it, just enough to combine the flour and water. I promise you you don't need courage, it is the easiest bread in the universe
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Old 07-11-2005, 02:24 PM   #19
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Thanks for all the advice, y'all.

I think I'll pick up a few books before I try again.
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Old 07-11-2005, 02:42 PM   #20
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Is artisan.com a good address? I tried it and got some architectural pages.
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