Problems baking bread?

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    93

    Problems baking bread?

    Has anyone else had problems getting bread to rise here? I've baked in several seasons - though probably more in the summer, and tried various different loaves of bread and last week some pizza dough.

    I've tried following instructions online to get the water just the right temperature, let the dough sit before kneading it, to knead it 4 x longer than the recipe and to cook it in a hotter oven for longer but I just get rocks at the end of it.

    Is it the climate? As I haven't baked a lot of bread outside Hong Kong I can't work out if it's my cooking skills (usually good and following the recipe to the letter) or Hong Kong's unusual climate (eg it tells you to put the dough in your airing cupboard or somewhere warm away from draughts... that's not really needed here!)

    Cheers
    Kazbo


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1,165

    did you put yeast in it?


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    93

    haha! yes, obviously, i wouldn't be wasting everyone's time quite that dramatically!


  4. #4
    fm7

    Overkneading bread will make for a hard dough that struggles to rise. You want to knead correctly, to get air into the dough, but not so much that you break down the structure.

    Also, a mistake a lot of people make is too add too much flour to the dough by over flouring the work surface and/or putting too much flour on their hands/utensils. That also makes for a harder and dryer dough.

    If you can find a copy of Crust by Richard Bertinet, check it out. Excellent book and explanatory DVD. He shows you how to make dough with next to no flour added in the kneading and working stage. Excellent stuff.

    As for climate, the humidity makes a difference. Where I lived before HK had very dry and wet seasons with extreme variations. I was always adjusting the amount of water going into the dough.


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    93

    thanks FM7 - that's helpful. I'll try your suggestions next time - the website I'd found had said that you needed to knead for longer with wholemeal (or in their case oatmeal) flour as it needed longer to break down which is why I kneaded for longer. But perhaps you are correct! I'll try less time next time.

    Will also look out for that book and DVD.

    Cheers
    Kazbo


  6. #6
    fm7
    Quote Originally Posted by Kazbo:
    thanks FM7 - that's helpful. I'll try your suggestions next time - the website I'd found had said that you needed to knead for longer with wholemeal (or in their case oatmeal) flour as it needed longer to break down which is why I kneaded for longer. But perhaps you are correct! I'll try less time next time.

    Will also look out for that book and DVD.

    Cheers
    Kazbo

    With a dough that is half whole half white, yes it takes a little more work, but not much.

    But, my best results with full whole have been Bertinet's approach and using a ferment/starter, made hours before the main batch of dough is kneaded and left to rise. I think that's the best approach to full wholemeal.