By following a Simple Baker's Formula, you can easily make a delicious, crusty baguette, epi or round of bread by hand.
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I have been making bread for the past 4 years. I have made this basic bread couple of times. My results were good. My last loaf of this bread refused to take any color in the oven (I steamed it in the beginning), I've kept it in the oven 20 (!) minutes longer then suggested 20 - 25 minutes. Still it came out pale and it did not taste right (I did not forget the salt) and crumbs were dense. When I kneaded the dough (by hands) it did not feel right; I am not sure how to describe it, but the dough felt too pliable, two soft, but not sticky.
The only deviation from this recipe was that I used the starter (for the lack of time) instead of straight method. I left the starter to ferment overnight at room temperature. Should the starter have been left in the refrigerator instead? I am not sure that the starter has caused this failed loaf. I can not imagine I’ve over kneaded the dough either.
Please help me to sort this out.
Sounds like an oven issue. When bread is pale after 20 minutes and more this usually indicates too low an oven. Perhaps your oven needs to be calibrated and is not giving you the true temperature. Perhaps it might be trapping too much moisture. Try a much higher pre-heated oven temperature for your next batch.
I will never buy bread again I will make my own from now on (never is a strong word , lol). I was really impressed on how this turned out it look exactly like the videos. I was worried because I added the salt before adding the flour, but I guess since I added the flour right away it did not affect the activation of the yeast. I let it cool for 30minutes and cut into it and it taste wonderful. I understand and appreciate the process of bread making so much more now, (it's not always about making a sauce, or sauteing) it is so true when it comes out the oven and you know that you are the one who made this with very simple ingredients it is truly a thing of beauty.
Thanks Kimberly I totally forgot about the drill down. My next question is what is the best way to store unused dough. I 'm going to make whole wheat bread (1 baguette and 1 boule) however I don't want to make both today. I made a batch of dough that has risen 3x it's size enough to make two loaves. Also when kneading whole wheat dough (I used whole stone ground flour) does it take longer to develop gluten with this kind of dough? Because I was kneading longer than normal so I wanted to make sure I was not over kneading. Happy cooking.
Ideally, dough should be baked once it has proofed. You can prolong the fermentation time by storing the dough in the refrigerator. Keep in mind that the yeast in dough that is stored for too long it will eventually die off and you won't get a good rise.
Note that whole-wheat flour cannot be substituted 1:1 in recipes that call for all-purpose or bread flour. Usually up to 1/3 to 1/2 can be substituted in recipes, but the texture will obviously be different. Whole wheat flour actually interferes with the development of gluten (see the Wheat lesson for more information). It is very hard to overknead dough by hand. Just keep kneading until you achieve a smooth texture. Hope this helps. Cheers!
I followed the recipe and directions carefully. The dough turned out way too sticky. I am unsure of the ratios used. It seems to be a much too high of a hydration ratio. 2 cups of flour 9-10 oz, 1 cup water 8 oz. This is a 80% hydration level right? I always thought that bread should be around 60% to 65% hydration. I am a little confused. Can you please advise.
This recipe is a practice recipe that supports the lesson on the Stages of Bread Making in the Bread section of the school. The amounts in this practice recipe are definitely a starting point when building the dough. You will likely need to add more flour to the mixture to obtain the proper consistency.
Please watch the lesson on the Stages of Bread Making. The dough should be sticky and not dense. We do go through all of this in detail in the lesson. We show you how to create a shaggy mass and then add flour to get the proper consistency. You are correct that a lean dough often has about a 65% hydration but we intentionally wanted students to start with 2 cups of flour and learn how to get the dough to the proper consistency from there. Let us know if you have any questions after reviewing the lessons in the Bread section. Cheers!
I made this recipe again and finally after adding almost 3/4c more flour than the recipe called for (it was pretty humid that day), I finally got the bread to the point where I could handle it without it sticking to me.
I was afraid that after baking it would not taste good because of all the flour. Actually - it's the best bread I have made yet.
My question - the crust comes out very crunchy on day one. But the next day it is pretty soft. Is there something you can do before, during or after the baking process to keep the crust a little softer?
Continuing practice....... This has been the hardest lesson so far!!!!!
Awesome job on all of the practicing! Yes, bread making is a true art that requires plenty of practice. The learning never ends really.
The crispy crust is the nature of this formula and type of bread. It should be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and it sounds like you are doing a fine job in attaining this! When the bread comes out of the oven it will be crispy; but, as it sits, it will become soft and even leathery from the moisture in the air (and from the fact that it starts to stale the moment it is taken out of the oven). The structure of bread changes as it sits/ages.
For this particular formula, you can't really get a soft crust. Softer crusts are generally created by using formulas that have added ingredients which enrich the dough, such as eggs, milk, butter, oil, etc. You could play around with this formula and substitute whole milk for water. Enriching dough, however, is a completely different lesson and it is so large that it can't be covered properly in the context of a forum. Down the road we will get to Enriched Breads, but there are other fundamental culinary techniques (and some basic baking techniques) that need to be covered first in the basic curriculum.
An example of a soft, enriched bread is this one. I made it over the weekend and filled it with apricot jam and walnuts. It was delicious! You could try this out, keep it completely plain and shape it however you like. Cheers!
Just finished the Basic of Bread lessons and decided to go on to a text recipe. http://rouxbe.com/recipes/3346-basic-bread-lean-dough/text
Now the lesson told me all about warm water, clean water, best to activate yeast at 95 F. Well I start my first recipe and the ingredients is cool water? Is this a typo?
Any help would be appreciated.
Good eye, but don't worry, cool water is fine for dissolving yeast. Warm water just activates the yeast a bit faster. Cool or cold water on the other hand, slows down the fermentation process allowing more flavor to develop. This is why many bread-makers use cold water. So in summary, either warm or cold water works. It’s like toasting nuts in a hot vs low oven: both work, one just has a better guarantee you won’t over-roast (meaning that warm water, if it's too hot, can kill the yeast). Hope that helps. Cheers!
Making bred is hard science!
Don’t get me wrong, I have always been interested in making bread, pizza etc. I just spend the weekend on it, pizza on Saturday bread on Sunday. Pizza was ok, still I need to get it right I don’t think it raised enough, but the flavor was great! On the other hand bread…. When they say do not use bleach flour they meant it!! My flour didn’t call on the ingredients for bleach or peroxide then I figured must be ok! Wrong!! I ended up with a messy soup on the counter no matter how much flour I added, it always returned to the thing on the horror movie! But I did not toast it I let it rise and baked it after some time, no shape just like a…. whatever shape it took, hey it tasted good! It had no crust more like soft bread but good w/ some olive oil jejeje. I try it again later with some hole wheat flour, mix w/ bleach flour, (again) it was better at least I was able to shape it an bake them they came out good I may have under prove them but for the first time I like them.
Is there a way to post pictures of our practices other than on the profile picture to get some criticism? Or feed back?
Good job on practicing Alberto. No one becomes a good chef/bread-maker without lots and lots of practice.
As for being able to post pictures is something that will be coming in the future. In the meantime, you could post your pictures to flickr (and include the link) or you could try posting them to the Rouxbe Facebook page. Cheers!
Tried this today. I made some mistakes, but even so I got a kickass loaf out of it. It had real crunchy crust and a soft and juicy inside - lots of bubbles. Very stoked, and eager to go again to correct some mistakes I made.
My oven has a steam facility built into it - can I use that instead of the cup inside the oven? I'm not entirely sure how it works, but there's a cup on the outside I can pour water into, and I think it's supposed to generate steam inside the oven. I failed the steam today as I put in a narrow and deep cup, and the water didn't start steaming until long into the process.
I am not familiar with your particular oven but I am sure that if your oven has the capability to steam, then I don't see why you couldn't use that instead of adding the water. You might just want to check your user manual to make sure. Happy bread making Christian. Cheers!
I have been gifted with a perf"ed french bread pan that is not non stick. How do I prepare it? I would seem if I shape the dough and put it in the pan it would stick or if i oiled it, the dough would push through the perfs and still stick.
Putting parchment would seem to negate the reason for the perforations.
Silly question from someone who has been baking as long as I have but I just never used one of these before.
Happy new year all!
Wow! It worked. I floured the bottom of my baguettes a little. Let them raise and popped them into the oven. Out came two beautiful loaves of bread. They didn't stick at all. It's a good thing I'm not a gambler cause I would have lost big. I would have sworn there would have been bread clutching at each tiny hole.