Any Bread Bakers Out There?

Decorating By CakesByJen2 Updated 9 Oct 2008 , 12:31pm by susies1955

CakesByJen2 Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 10:00pm
post #1 of 26

I've made quick breads and dinner rolls before, but never regular bread. I tried making my own whole wheat bread this weekend, and wasn't totally happy with the results. The flavor was good, but it was dense, and a little dry; the loaves were not tall enough. It seemed like it needed to have risen more. The recipe I used was :

1-1/2 C hot water
1/3 C honey
3 T oil
1 t salt
2-1/2 to 3 C all-purpose flour (I used about 2-2/3 C)
2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C bran
1 packet yeast

I proofed the yeast in part of the water and a little honey, seemed active, combined with remaining liquids and half the flour and mixed with mixer, then kneaded in the remaining flour (kneaded about 8 min). Shaped into a ball, placed into a greased bowl and let rise 1-1/2 hr in oven with light on (seemed to have doubled). Punched down, let rest 10 min, then shaped into 2 loaves and put into pans, covered and let rise 1 hr (not quite doubled, and did not fill the pans). Baked @ 375 for 40 min.

Do you see anything glaringly wrong in the recipe? I'm certain the baking time was either too hot or too long, which contributed to the dryness, but I'm not sure why it didn't rise more and get a lighter, softer texture. Do you think it needs more yeast? Could I have kneaded in too much flour (or not had enough liquid) and made the dough too stiff to rise well?

Thanks for any advice!

25 replies
DsLady614 Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 10:05pm
post #2 of 26

I have to be honest, I have always found homemade whole wheat bread to be really heavy. There is something about the gluten differences that changes the way the bread bakes up. I had a bread maker a few years back and I remember that I finally decided to only use a recipe that used a little whole wheat flour, rather then ALL whole wheat. Otherwise the bread was near inedible. There is a trick to it, but I never really figured it out.

When I bake breads, I use regular flour, I just find it turns out better.

cutthecake Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 10:08pm
post #3 of 26

This is the time of year for bread baking!
I love to bake bread, but I'm not an expert. However, I have found that whole wheat bread recipes usually need to be adjusted to taste. My family prefers less whole wheat flour, and more all purpose flour. I keep the total amount of flour the same, but adjust the amounts of the two types of flour.
I hope that helps you.

anitadoskas Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 10:15pm
post #4 of 26

Here is a great tutorial for a 100% whole wheat bread that is really excellent. I have made it and the whole family loved it. It calls for grinding your own wheat but would work fine with the other. Hope this helps....

happy day

sweettoothmom Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 10:23pm
post #5 of 26

Oh Honey if it is in the carb group I love it!

Bread is so yummy and I bake a loaf everyday. Rain or shine.

I think that maybe the weather does affect bread as well. I know when it is humid out I have to add more flour because the dough tends to be more wet than usual.
I am not a big on whole wheat either. Maybe I should try substituting the all purpose flour for part of the whole wheat to adjust the taste.

I love onion bread. It is sweet and savory. It is soooo good. My second favorite is Scali/scala bread. HEAVEN i tell you pure heaven. icon_razz.gif

Sweetcakes23 Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 10:28pm
post #6 of 26

LOVE BAKED BREAD! One thing I learned is: When it says punch down? They don't really mean that. They mean....Scrape dough up from sides, fold it over the other half, and fold it in on itself a couple times. Just enough to expell the gases and air. They mean kind of gently. Don't over knead it. That might be what happened on that last kneading time....I'm not sure. But it's certainly worth another try, your recipe looked good!

FromScratch Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 10:41pm
post #7 of 26

Making bread is not as easy as it sounds. You need to knead the crap out of it before you let it rise and then be gentle with it after that. If your wheat bread isn't rising enough you may need to let it rise longer and add some vital gluten to it. Since whole wheat flour has less gluten than white flour, but that's more common in 100% whole wheat recipes.

When I let dough rise I put it in the oven with a 9x13 filled 3/4's the way with boiling water and the light on. This environment is wonderful for proofing bread. I do it for the second rise too (and third if it calls for it).

It takes some trial and error, but you really have to get a feel for it. icon_smile.gif

I'm baking some bread right now actually.. LOL.

Narie Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 11:17pm
post #8 of 26

Whole wheat flours don't rise as easily as white flours -less gluten. I would allow the a bit more time on the second rise, wait until it rises to the top of the pan. I wish you luck with this, I've never found a wheat flour recipe that I particularly liked. White - yes; rye - yes; cornmeal- yes; Wheat - no.

I haven't tried it but supposedly a tablespoon or two of Vital Wheat Gluten ( from King Arthur Flour) will help the problem.

BakingGirl Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 11:43pm
post #9 of 26

For the best bread in the world which is also the least work, try the No Knead Bread. It is genius. Basically you stir together flour, salt, water and a tiny bit of yeast, leave it for 18 hours then you have two more very easy steps before taking out a sensational crusty loaf out of the oven. The best bread ever!!

Go to for videos and recipes. The basic recipe is a white loaf but on this website you will also find whole wheat variations.

I have successfully made sour dough starter using the instructions I found on the site. I am still experimenting with various recipes. I love baking bread, it is so satisfying.

Mike1394 Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 12:12am
post #10 of 26

icon_biggrin.gif I baked about 500 pieces of bread each of the last two nights.

What I see the recipe looks fine, sort of lolol. I don't like using AP flour for bread. It's very easy to mix to long, and destroy the gluten. It's possible that might have happened. The other is the water temp. I noticed the recipe called for hot water. You want your water temp in the high 70s low 80s. This will give you a dough temp of approx 80 deg. That of course depends on room, and flour temp.


CakesByJen2 Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 12:17am
post #11 of 26

Thanks for all the input! I really want to stick with the whole wheat; I can buy white bread easily enough, but they don't have any un-sliced whole wheat bread. The reason I was making it is to use for French toast. I want to use something with more whole grain, but all the whole wheat bread at the store is sliced too thin, so I thought I'd try to make my own so I could slice it the thickness I want. I thnk I'll try adding some gluten and giving it more time to rise.

Interestingly enough, one half I just shaped into a loaf and put in the pan. The other half, I rolled out so I could sprinkle with cinnamon and raisins, the rolled up into a loaf. That second one turned out a little bit lighter than the plain one. The kids really loved the cinnamon-raisin swirled loaf. I made my 5 yo's PB&J with it for lunch, and he said it was the best PB&J he ever had, and he is quite the PB&J afficionado, icon_biggrin.gif

FromScratch Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 12:35am
post #12 of 26

I roll out my dough and roll it even if I don't put anything in it if I am baking it in loaf pans. It makes for a nice uniform texture in the bread. You have to make sure you don't over work the dough or it will take a long time to rise (at least that's my experience) and be tougher.

I have made this wheat bread and it is good..

3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/3 cup honey
5 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey. Add 5 cups white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.

Mix in 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup honey, and salt. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky - just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch. This may take an additional 2 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Punch down, and divide into 3 loaves. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes; do not overbake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely

bettinashoe Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 12:40am
post #13 of 26

I love to make wheat bread. Your post brings back so many memories because I used to make it almost every day when I was married. As others indicated, homemade WW bread is much denser than commercial brands. You may want to lessen the amount of WW flour slightly and replace it with the same quantity of AP flour until you get the density that you prefer as everyone's taste differs. Your recipe sounds fine, however. Did you possibly let it over rise or under rise? Keep trying because bread making does take effort and skill. Before long you'll know your dough is correct by touch.

bethola Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 12:51am
post #14 of 26

I'm going to make Challah Loaves this weekend to take on my "road trip" next week. I have recipes for cinnamon cranberry and apple and am planning to make both.

It's been a WHILE since I've made bread and I've never made Challah. Sure hope it turns out!

Beth in KY

Mike1394 Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 1:06am
post #15 of 26
Originally Posted by bethola

I'm going to make Challah Loaves this weekend to take on my "road trip" next week. I have recipes for cinnamon cranberry and apple and am planning to make both.

It's been a WHILE since I've made bread and I've never made Challah. Sure hope it turns out!

Beth in KY

Challah is wonderful bread. Take the left over, and use it for bread pudding. YUMMY icon_biggrin.gif Are you braiding? There are some good videos on u-tube


bethola Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 2:17am
post #16 of 26

Well, I haven't gotten that far yet! LOL I would LIKE to braid 'cause I think that makes a very nice presentation. Plus, it's a skill and I like thinking I have "skills"! LOL

I'll check out the You Tube videos. Thanks!


sweettoothmom Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 5:25pm
post #17 of 26

I am in the process of reading the most wonderful book.
I can tell you that this book has been a real bread education.
I would reccomend it to any bread lover.

Artisan bread in five minutes a day. by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

I am still reading so I have yet to make anyof the recipes included or to put the theory to the test (5 mintues) but the first chapter has been really educational about the protien, gluten and yeast found in various combinations or recipes and the results of these combos.
I hope to finisht he whole book this week but I have childrena dn a hubby and animals to care for not to mention cakes to bake so I think that is pie in the sky thinking : )

According to the authors "unbleached, white, all-purpose flour is thier number one choice..." for breadmaking due to its Medium to rather high protein content, which in wheat is almost all gluten. Gluten is the elastic protien that allows the bread to rise by trapping the gases with a network of microscopic strands." Without gluten bread wont rise. That is why flours like rye with minimal gluten need to be mixed with wheat flour to make a successful loaf.
Bread flour has a protein percentage of 12 and King Arthur AP Flour has a protein content of 12-13 percent.
Wheat flour- The naturally occurring oils in wheat germ prevent formation of a crackling crust, so you're going for a different type of loaf when you start increasing the proportion of whole wheat flour but it is too low in protein to be used in 100 percent whole wheat, however.

I hope that helps you with your next loaf. Warm up the oven and break out the butter!

Mike1394 Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 10:04pm
post #18 of 26

Anything from Rienhart is also a very good bread read. The thing with using the AP flour is you have to be careful to not to destroy the gluten. In this case I would certainly suggest bread flour till one learns what bread dough is supposed to feel like. When done correctly it will look as smooth as silk. You can take a piece of dough, and stretch it out so thin it looks like cellophane. Then you will see what gluten is.


sweettoothmom Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 10:17pm
post #19 of 26

OH I am running to the library right now.

I am a bookworm with a sweettooth.

Thank you for the book suggestion and for starting the thread!!!!!!!!!!

FromScratch Posted 9 Oct 2008 , 12:53am
post #20 of 26

Ooooh Mike.. I just made Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza Dough tonight for tomorrow night's (maybe friday night's) dinner.. the dough tased so good and it had a great mouth feel.. I can't wait to try it all baked up and lightly covered with sauce and fresh sliced buffalo mozzarella.

Mike1394 Posted 9 Oct 2008 , 2:13am
post #21 of 26
Originally Posted by jkalman

Ooooh Mike.. I just made Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza Dough tonight for tomorrow night's (maybe friday night's) dinner.. the dough tased so good and it had a great mouth feel.. I can't wait to try it all baked up and lightly covered with sauce and fresh sliced buffalo mozzarella.

I have his "Bread Baker Apprentice" book. The guy is a master.


FromScratch Posted 9 Oct 2008 , 2:52am
post #22 of 26

I just read the forward to that book on-line and I am going to order it.. like I need another hobby.. icon_lol.gif but reading it just made me want to make bread and crackle the crust and smell it all day long. I can't wait.
You have to know your shhhhhhht to teach at Johnson and Wales.. I was >this< close to going there when I graduated high school, but being a stupid kid I decided not to. icon_confused.gif Yay me??

I'll let you know what I think about the pizza dough.. it'll be great though I'm sure just from the smell and feel and taste of the dough.

BlueDevil Posted 9 Oct 2008 , 3:22am
post #23 of 26

Bread Baker's Apprentice is gooood!

If you really want to get crazy good bread, you need to ferment a sponge for a few hours at room temp then overnight in the fridge..

Just regular old French Bread made this was is unbelievably good!


PS Yes, 100% whole wheat bread is ALWAYS gonna be dense like that. The most I usually use is 50% or less with AP.

FromScratch Posted 9 Oct 2008 , 4:25am
post #24 of 26

I always make a sponge when I make brioche.. I am going to have to seek out some new recipes and buy Reinhart's book.

My daughter and I tried to cultivate some wild yeast.. though it started out great it got sick.. icon_sad.gif We'll have to try again.

I wish I could spend all of my days cooking and trying new things.

berryblondeboys Posted 9 Oct 2008 , 12:00pm
post #25 of 26

I bake bread at least every other day and here are a couple suggestions (aside from what you've already been told - which is great advice). First, if you have a bread machine or a mixer, let it do the kneading for you for two reasons - one, it's less messy and two, they can do it better than most people can by hand. One thing that tends to happen with hand kneading is that people make the dough too stiff by adding too much flour to the board. This can make it dry. In a mixer or bread maker, this factor is erased.

Also, I JUST learned about plopping dough in a pan and letting it rise and rolling it out slightly and rolling it up. Rolled breads rise better and most bread makers do this (which I just discovered!). You don't roll it much, just a bit and only so it's a bit longer than the pan you are letting it rise in. When you roll it back up, do it tightly, but gently, creating a bit of tension in the bread dough. then, put the seam on the bottom, tuck both end under so it looks nice and tidy and then put it in your pan. To rise.

I've learned a few more tricks too, but this is a good start. We started making our own breads because I was tired of paying through the nose for something I know I can make and something that REALLY is pretty cheap when made oneself.


susies1955 Posted 9 Oct 2008 , 12:31pm
post #26 of 26

Here are some photos of my breads:

I like to bake bread. LOL! icon_smile.gif Sometimes I use my bread machine for the whole process but most often I use it to knead and I place it in my own bread tin and bake in the oven.
Your water shouldn't be hot. You should use vital wheat gluten in wheat recipes and you should use bread flour when ever possible. Make sure the salt doesn't touch the yeast before you or the machine starts to mix and make sure your ingredients are at room temp.
It is best to have some white mixed with the wheat so it rises better and it not so dense. I have made all wheat though and the vital wheat gluten really helps.
I would be more apt to use a recipe like what is below and you can leave out the walnuts.

Whole Wheat Bread

1 1/8 Cups warm Water
3 Tablespoons Honey
2 Tablespoons Butter -- or stick margarine
1 1/2 Cups Bread Flour
1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 Cup Walnuts -- chopped, toasted if desired
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Teaspoons Bread Machine Yeast


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