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#1 Wed 28 Apr 10 8:37am

That Guy

Member
Member since Mon 26 Apr 10

Secrets to bread making?

Hey everyone,
Its my first post, and I'm having to write this because its the first item that I've experienced from Jamies recipes that doesn't seem to work for me - making bread.

I try and ensure that everything is at room temperature, measure the ingredients meticulously, attempt to make the same everytime, but something still isn't right.

Sometimes, I make loaves which are enormous. Other times dont rise at all. Other times, taste really sweet, and others have a 'greasy' texture.

I just dont know what im doing wrong.  Any ideas?

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#2 Wed 28 Apr 10 9:06am

TSR

Member
From Serbia
Member since Sun 04 Apr 10

Re: Secrets to bread making?

What water are you using? Tapwater ussually has a good deal of chlorine, which kills yeast, so better to go with bottled water. Also, how are you baking? The basic rule is to get your oven to 250, put the bread in, and dial it down to 220. after about 30-40 minutes, depending on size, get it out of the oven, cover with cloth and let it sit for about 30 minutes, otherwise you'll have a very strong crust and sort of rubbery insides. Also, do you use a sponge starter?

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#3 Wed 28 Apr 10 9:45am

JoyYamDaisy

Forum super champ
From Melbourne Australia
Member since Sun 12 Apr 09

Re: Secrets to bread making?

have a read through here and see if there is anything that helps :
http://www.jamieoliver.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=56736

and something here might be useful too:
http://www.jamieoliver.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=56788

Good luck!

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#4 Wed 28 Apr 10 5:12pm

SusanneH

Forum champ
From Germany
Member since Mon 13 Mar 06

Re: Secrets to bread making?

Even if you are measuring meticulously, your ingredients work differently. The results will vary depending on the moisture of your flour (you will need more or less water). But most of all yeasts (and if using sourdough the yeasts and bacteria) are living organisms. They react to temperature, draughts, humidity...

When you make the dough make sure that you knead it thoroughly. Then make sure that the dough looks and feels right (add more water or flour if necessary).
Allow enough time to prove, protecting the dough from drying out and from catching (cold) draughts. Covering the bowl helps.

About the flavor: I am not sure where you got the oily flavor from, but if the bread is too sweet add less sugar / honey.

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#5 Wed 28 Apr 10 5:23pm

2Obzest

Member
Occupation Director of obZest.com - Interactive Wellness Initiatives
From Canada
Member since Tue 27 Apr 10

Re: Secrets to bread making?

There is a certain art to making good bread so don't worry, pretty much everyone makes bricks to begin with!

I have found that sifting the dry ingredients 3 times helps a lot. I guess it gets lots of air into the mixture for the yeast to work on.

Also make sure you knead it enough. This works air into the dough. Not enough kneading makes bricks.

Salt impairs yeast growth too.

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#6 Wed 28 Apr 10 9:09pm

SusanneH

Forum champ
From Germany
Member since Mon 13 Mar 06

Re: Secrets to bread making?

I hereby admit to never sifting flour except when making very delicate cakes....

But it is true that it is normal to have a few hiccups. I find that bread making is a lot about feeling that the dough is right. Kneading is the essence of course.

Sugar aids yeast growth, but you can bake with less or no sugar if your bread comes out too sweet.

Salt, fats (oil, butter....), and some flavor ingredients (onions,....)  inhibit yeast growth. Many recipes ask you to add flavor ingredients after the first rising. Just knead in the flavor ingredients then and allow to double in size again.

Although warmth helps the yeasts to grow, too much heat will kill them. So don't make your water too warm (you can use cold water/ingredients - the dough will just need more time to rise).

When you have a perfect dough and then set it down to rise, it will react differently in different climates (as I said before). Here are some ideas: Put your bowl with the dough in a big plastic bag and close it: it will be a bit like a green house. I sometimes preheat my oven to the lowest setting (50), then turn it off and put the bowl with the dough in it to rise. Placing it near the heating might also be helpful. But either way be careful not to overheat.
My friend uses a tupper bowl that shuts tight and then keeps it between her bed blankets (during the day). I have even used my dishwasher after I had just emptied it out. It was still warm (no longer hot though), somewhat humid, and it shut out all the draught. But this may be a bit too crazy to be valid advice.

If the dough rises, but not as much as you hoped for....
.... the dough might be too tough (add more water next time).
.... you may want to leave the dough for longer until the increase in size is big enough.
.... it might be a question of the flour you use. Whole flours rise less then white flours. Allow for more time, mix flours, or use sourdough. Rye will not usually work with just yeast (unless mixed with other flours, or sourdough).

Bread baking is easy really, but it also takes some experience. Go on trying and you will succeed. wink
Happy baking!

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#7 Wed 28 Apr 10 10:12pm

madamada

Forum super champ
Occupation living life
From Friuli northern Italy
Member since Mon 14 Jan 08

Re: Secrets to bread making?

I gave a friend a piece of sourdough and she has made her first loaf with satisfaction ...... and got compliments by her family  ............ but then she managed to make only what you call bricks ........ she asks me what's wrong with it, I really do not know, now that I read this I realize she uses  tapwater (TSR thanks for saying about chlorine) maybe this inhibits the rising.............. I told her to give up, but the next time I see her I think we can discuss  about trying again, maybe with bottle water or my fountain water

thanks all for this thread

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#8 Wed 28 Apr 10 10:48pm

SusanneH

Forum champ
From Germany
Member since Mon 13 Mar 06

Re: Secrets to bread making?

I use tap water too. But the quality of tap water can vary greatly. You need drinking water quality. Bottled water might be a good alternative.

The thing with sourdough is that it is a living thing. Sometimes the balance between yeasts and bacteria gets thrown. I have lost a few starters when the weather changed or the likes. All of a sudden there was mold or a pungent smell...

Don't be discouraged!

I just started baking bread again after a year of sourdough abstinence. The first two were a bit compact (nearly brick), until I had the right feeling for the dough again. The third loaf was perfect.  wink

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#9 Wed 28 Apr 10 11:03pm

madamada

Forum super champ
Occupation living life
From Friuli northern Italy
Member since Mon 14 Jan 08

Re: Secrets to bread making?

..........until I had the right feeling for the dough again ..............

big_smile  thumbsup

I told her just to leave for a while and spend her time in the veg garden instead of getting crossed with brik-bread, then when she thinks it's time to try again it will be a different story wink

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#10 Wed 28 Apr 10 11:39pm

wildly organic

Member
Occupation cooker,baker,gardener,captain,skier and bath bomb boss
From Dogville
Member since Fri 26 Sep 08

Re: Secrets to bread making?

hey!!!!! I'm back ..  wedding was absolutely beautiful,I'll post pics asap Food was a knock out Sea Bass with ginger passion fruit sauce <I still can't believe it.

bread: for me I must have honey and sea salt for moist bread and good flavour

Also unbleached Robin Hood flour (Canada has fantastic hard wheat that makes the best bread flour, we might be frozen but by golly we can get FAT on good bread!)

love to all

wildly wink

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