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help me with my bread!

(21 Posts)
chloesbaby Mon 15-Nov-10 10:03:28

Ok, it is rising, but not much.

I'm fairly new to bread baking and think it tastes pretty good. But the loaves I bake never seem to properly lift off.

I'm using 600g flour with a pinch of salt, a 7g sachet of dried yeast and 300ml of warm water.

After kneeding for 10 mins I leave to rise for 1 hour, knock the bread back and leave to rise for another hour before baking at 180.

It comes out flat and round and slightly risen but I want a big ol' bouncy loaf!

Should I be using more yeast? Using a tin to give it shape? Any ideas?

happysmiley Mon 15-Nov-10 13:01:52

It's quite likely that you're not leaving the bread long enough to rise, esp given that it's now quite cold and the yeast will take longer to work. After the first rising has it doubled in volume? If not, you should probably leave it longer.

Also how vigorously do you knock the bread back? I try to be gentle and not to knock all the air out.

TeenageWildlife Mon 15-Nov-10 13:03:24

grin Not helpful, sorry but I read that as help me with my beard.

meltedmarsbars Mon 15-Nov-10 13:04:48

Hotter oven? What is 180? Is that hot?

You are using Strong Flour, aren't you?

CerealOffender Mon 15-Nov-10 13:05:11

it is too cold to leave bread just to rise on the worktop. try an airing cupboard or warm the oven adn then put it in there to rise

meltedmarsbars Mon 15-Nov-10 13:06:21

Or car or greenhouse with the sun on it works too. grin

tb Mon 15-Nov-10 13:16:12

15 secs in microwave on defrost should help, too. Aim for a temperature of 28 deg C for the dough mix, apparently is the best. Bakeries use a temperature probe to calculate the optimum temperature of water to add when mixing.

4merlyknownasSHD Tue 16-Nov-10 10:21:22

As Meltedmarsbars suggests, your oven is too cold. I put my bread in to a preheated oven at Gas Mark 9 (240deg.C), then reduce to Gas Mark 6 (200deg.C) after 20 minutes. Bread gets a real bounce from hitting a hot oven.

mousymouse Tue 16-Nov-10 10:26:08

I don't preheat the oven. I only warm it up slightly to let the dough rise and then turn up the heat to 175 (fan oven) and bake for 50 min. makes nice bouncy bread without much crust.
if you want crust heat up the oven as much as possible, fill a tray in the bottom of the oven with boiling water and bake the bread for 45 min at 200.
I often use the microwave for proving, I warm up my tea in there so it is warmish and then leave the dough to rise in there (leave the door shut).

chloesbaby Tue 16-Nov-10 14:21:27

Thank you, lots of useful suggestions. I think it might be a combination of not hot enough oven plus cold kitchen during proving.

I will try proving in the oven on very low.

My beard is just fine thanks TeenageWildlife grin

frenchfancy Tue 16-Nov-10 16:23:39

I would definately leave it longer to rise if it isn't rising enough. The one hour should be a guideline for a warm place, but you can rise bread in a fridge if you leave it long enough.

Doubled in size is the important bit.

I find proving in the oven makes it all go a bit sticky.

TheChewyToffeeMum Tue 16-Nov-10 17:08:32

Is your dough nice and soft? Sometimes it can get a bit too stiff if you use flour when kneading. Try using a bland cooking oil on your hands and surface instead.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Tue 16-Nov-10 21:32:15

definatly a hotter oven. I have ours on max to preheat and for ten mins after the dough goes in, then turn it down a tad while it cooks through. Make sure the tray you put the dough in on is very hot too.

Put another tin in underneath while preheating and pour boiling water in to it from the kettle when you put the bread in. The steam helps it rise and form a good crust.

You definatly have enough yeast. I use one sachet to rise a 1kg loaf (we make all of our bread) and i only ever prove on the work surface unless i'm in a rush. You can get away with using very little yeast if you give it enough time to rise (though as i say you have plenty).

bacon Tue 16-Nov-10 21:35:12

Rubbish about kitchen temp, you can kill yeast by warming too quick, its better if the room is cooler and really your kitchen isnt freezing. Timing is essential. I wouldnt prove in the oven.

If you were knocking back wrongly then you have killed off all the gases. After a good prove, just cut and shape without stretching or killing the gas.

The longer the better, yeast occurs in flour and water without addition of yeast.

Allowing the crust to form which proving also stops the rise, make sure you use a large plastic bowl with big plastic bag covering. Blow in the bag and place clip on.

HannahHack Thu 18-Nov-10 15:41:19

You need SUGAR to make the bread rise. Add a teaspoon of sugar/honey to every 600g of strong bread flour you use.
The yeast 'eats' the sugar and emits CO2 which makes your bread rise.
You might want to think about up'ing the salt to half a teaspoon for 600g of flour as well.

sethstarkaddersmum Thu 18-Nov-10 15:48:08

You don't need to add sugar, but if you don't it needs a longer proving time, especially if the kitchen is cold.

The thing is, there are all sorts of factors you can adjust - there is no one right temperature, or amount of sugar, or right time, but they interact, so if you change one the others have to be adjusted accordingly.

leave to rise until doubled in size, whether that takes 1 or 6 hours.

I sometimes prove in the oven if I want it fast but it's a switched-off low oven - even the lowest setting on our oven is too hot.

generally a slower risen loaf will have a better flavour.

you do need a hotter oven but that shouldn't affect the rise, it'll give it a better crust.

mousymouse Thu 18-Nov-10 20:38:08

no need for sugar.
I can recommend the sponge method, works every time in my house:

mix 1cup of water with 1cup flour and half a teaspoon dried active yeast.
leave for at lease 6 hours (I often do that before going to work)
then mix in 500g flour, another cup of water, 1 tablespoon oil, half a teaspoon salt.
let rest for one hour
shape loaf and rest another hour
put in the cold oven 175c (fan) for 50 min if you don*t like crust or if you want crust heat up the oven as much as possible, fill a tray in the bottom of the oven with boiling water and bake the bread for 45 min at 200.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Fri 19-Nov-10 08:43:45

absolutly no need for sugar.

savoycabbage Fri 19-Nov-10 08:47:43

I wouldn't put it in the oven to rise either. You just need to wait a bit longer I think. I put mine in the garage to rise in the summer, or it rises to quickly and then sort of sinks.

Doesn't Nigella leave hers in the fridge overnight?

WhitePeacock Fri 19-Nov-10 09:05:23

Totally second mouseymouse and the sponge method. This is what I do (but I have to confess that pregnancy has made me a total bread-geek):

Mix half the flour, all the liquid and all the yeast together in a deep bowl covered with a binliner to ferment overnight. Your quantities give 50% hydration (water to flour ratio) - I prefer at least 60%, so for your recipe I would use 400ml of warm water rather than 300)

Mix in the rest of the flour and other ingredients, including salt, in the morning

Knead, let rise till doubled (min one hour, but the long initial fermentation means the yeast will get to work like billy-ho and the dough should rise with a vengeance)

Preheat oven to highest temp. Shape loaf, prove till doubled again (maybe 45 mins)

Whack loaf in the oven and leave it at 230 degrees or so for 10 minutes, which is the period when you get the 'oven spring' or the final rising which happens in the oven, helped by heat. After this the crust is too hard for the gluten to stretch any further - turn oven down to 180 for another 20 or 30 mins till loaf baked (also cover with foil if browning too fast.)

If crusty loaf wanted, as other posters have said, put a baking tray in the bottom of the oven when you preheat it, and, just after putting in loaf, pour a cupful of boiling water into tray to generate steam. Also, spritz outside of loaf with plant-bottle of water before you put it in. Another way to generate maximum oven spring is to use a baking stone - I have noticed a big difference between the toweringness of my loaves baked on a baking sheet and on an inch-thick slab of granite. The stone transmits a lot more heat a lot more evenly to the base of the loaf and helps to make it reach for the stars! Realise though that lugging what looks like a paving stone around your kitchen may be a step too far and really not essential. If you want to use one, though, you put it in the cold oven to preheat before shaping and proving the loaf.

Nerd that I am (toddles off to buy flour)

mousymouse Sat 20-Nov-10 18:10:42

peacock I am alway amazed at how fast and big my bread rises despite using only a teeny tiny amount of yeast.
so fascinating grin
sadly I can*t get hold of fresh yeast in my area, that would work even better, but dried active is good as well. the fast acting stuff I never buy anymore.

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