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Old 03-21-2006, 08:39 AM   #1
Assistant Cook
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 32
White bread tips

Sunday I made my first two loaves of bread by hand. (well, the Kitchenaid did the kneading). I used the recipe for white bread from The Bread Maker's Apprentice and did the free form torpedo shape. They turned out very good. They were a tad crumblier that I would have liked, so I'm wondering what causes that? I forgot the butter (4 T) during the mixing, so I hurredly added 2 T of olive oil during the kneading, so that might be it. The book said to cook them to 190 degrees internal temp, and I think I exceeded that a bit (it wasn't burnt though)

I'm sure there are a thousand possibilities but I'm wondering if there is a general principal for what alters the internal texture of the bread.

(I used unbleached bread flour. kind of freaks my family out because it's white bread that isn't white)


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Old 03-21-2006, 02:55 PM   #2
Senior Cook
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: California
Posts: 270
I have been making bread for 50+ yrs and still have not managed to my satisfaction a country loaf that is crispy on the outside with lots of texture inside with holes. I make good brown bread and white bread. The key to good bread is a good hard winter wheat flour high in protein. That flour is easy to obtain now but for many years it did not exist to the home baker. I do not know what causes crumbly bread. The stars, weather, additives, time, etc. I have made lots of sour dough starters iover the years too.
I can just wish you good luck as we all have our own ideas of the perfect loaf.

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Old 03-24-2006, 04:02 AM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 196
Crumbly Bread

First off, congratulations on baking your first loaves. There is something fundamentally engaging and enjoyable about making your own bread. After my first loaf, there was no going back.

What you will come to discover is that while basic bread has so few ingredients required, varying each one of these ingredients, as well as the time spent preparing, rising, baking, etc all contribute to vastly different types, flavors, and purposes.

You said your bread was a bit too "crumbly." I assume that means that when you cut it or eat it, it tends to fall apart a little bit? If this is the case, I would maybe guess that you are using a little too much flour. For a normal loaf, you only want to add enough flour so that it is possible to handle the bread. The best way to do this, I have found (I dont have a machine, only hand kneeding), is to slowly add flour and mix until the mixture pulls away from the bowl and is a round clump on your mixing spoon. I then drop it onto a lightly floured work surface and begin kneeding. It should be sticky, but continue adding very small amounts of flour so you can kneed for 7-10 minutes or so without it sticking to your hands or your countertop. This should ensure that you dont add too much flour. It should be fairly light and not difficult to kneed. The "wetter" your bread, I have found, the more possibility you have to make nice, airy loaves.

Also, as you pointed out, try to add your fat (oil, butter, etc) during the mixing process and not during the kneeding. I have found that adding it during the actualy kneeding process tends to make a heavier, harder loaf.

The best advice, however, is to keep trying different variations. You will be surprised at how much difference in texture and flavor will result from small changes. I would also recommend reading some of the other threads on DC, there is a WEALTH of information you can not find in a recipe. Personal observations, discoveries, and above all, costly mistakes that people have discovered.

Good luck with your future loaves!
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Old 03-25-2006, 11:07 AM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 562
Originally Posted by Swann
I have been making bread for 50+ yrs ...The key to good bread is a good hard winter wheat flour high in protein. That flour is easy to obtain now but for many years it did not exist to the home baker.
Boy, you are so right about the flour. When I first started baking bread you couldn't find "bread" flour anywhere. I noticed that, as bread machines for the home baker became popular (I think they were introduced in the mid-80s), bread flour became available. Now it is easy to find.
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