foodie mcfooderson

a home cook with notions & an appetite

bread…the early failures

Bread has not been an easy road.  It still isn’t.  Instead of completely re-creating the failures, I thought some fun highlights might be more exciting.  And why even highlight the failures?  First, it reminds me that I’ve made progress.  Second, I think it’s nice to share the fact that we all have issues in the kitchen as no one’s cornered the market on perfect cooking yet.

an attempt at sandwich bread

A few issues:

  • uneven browning
  • very dense bread
  • limited oven spring

This is a yogurt bread recipe that was provided by an individual following my bread exploits as an easy bread they make on Christmas.

Early on, I hadn’t really read up on yeast differences.  I just used it and followed the time listed in the recipe instead of the size it should be…big mistake.  Most of the grocery store yeasts are marked “instant.”  This means they rise in about half the time of regular yeasts.  So if a recipe says “about 30 minutes” for the doubling, an instant can easily be done in 15 minutes.  (This is for actual rises, not making sponges or fermentations.)  I learned I was basically tiring out my yeast before it got to the oven – so no oven spring and a denser loaf.  As to the browning, I could have let it bake a few minutes longer and/or tried an egg wash on top.

an attempt at whole wheat bread

Other than noticing that I didn’t clean up the kneading flour on my board, we have some similar issues to the yogurt loaf:

  • VERY dense loaf
  • no oven spring
  • brick-like weight as it digests

This was actually lesson #2 from the Fresh Loaf website.  How sad is that?  Again, the obvious problem was that I was tiring out my yeast and destroying any and all oven spring.  The other problem?  I was also kneading this hard.  To the YouTubes:

I am now in love with the silky texture of kneaded dough.

cinnamon raisin oatmeal bread bricks…

The usual:

  • no oven spring
  • dense didn’t even begin to describe this loaf
  • could have been used as doorstops and/or bricks

The photos in the recipe over at Fresh Loaf were inspiring.  Mine were the opposite.

Lessons?  Same as before.  Tired yeast.  Bad kneading.  I’m not even sure where the raw oats came into play on those…

And the best one ever – sweet potato rolls:

Again, gorgeous over at Fresh Loaf.  From my oven, let’s see:

  • spreading instead of rising
  • flat and dense
  • not-so-sweet-potato-y
  • not a roll

Potato breads are still a nemesis.  If you consider two attempts to be nemesis.  The other attempt has no record beyond the potato photos as the project was abandoned before it made it to the oven (if I recall, the extra flour that was added to make it into something that resembled dough ended up more than tripling the amount of flour…I knew where it was going).

This involved wet hand method with kneading and other advanced techniques (the potato!) that I wasn’t prepared for…running when I needed to be gently walking.  If I’d watched this video, I would have done much better (I went way too far with what the kneading should be and added TONS of flour)…obviously I wouldn’t have gone so far as to make pita bread, but you get the idea:


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This entry was posted on July 6, 2011 by in bread and tagged , .

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