Bread is a staple food in almost every household across the world. It is also an essential part of many meals. Bread is usually eaten with butter, margarine, jam, honey, cheese, eggs, etc.
Bread is an essential part of the American diet. It’s a staple food that has been around since ancient times. However, bread can also be a source of frustration if it doesn’t taste right.
A poor loaf can be caused by a variety of circumstances and errors. A lack of gluten development, inactive yeast, incorrect shape, and the amount of time your bread is allowed to rise can all result in a thick, heavy, and even chewy final product.
Bread making appears to be quite straightforward until it doesn’t come out the way you want it to, so here are some reasons why your bread might not be coming out the way you want it to and what you can do to improve the situation next time. 1) You’re Using Too Much Yeast: The first thing to check when baking bread is whether or not you have enough yeast in your recipe. If there isn’t enough yeast, then the dough will never get big bubbles on top as well as rising properly. This means that the bread won’t expand much during cooking either.
Here are some common problems people encounter with their bread. If you find yourself experiencing these issues, then read on to learn how to fix them.
Have you ever wondered why bread seems to get denser and heavier after sitting out for a while? It’s because the yeast has done its job and started to convert the starches into sugars. The longer the bread sits out, the more sugar it makes.
If you want to keep your bread fresh and light, try storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Gluten growth and a lot of gas production from the yeast are two extremely essential factors in making excellent bread with a more open crumb. The best way to avoid this problem is to use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast. Active dry yeast needs warm water, whereas instant yeast only requires lukewarm water. Instant yeast tends to produce less volume than active dry yeast, but it does work better at higher temperatures.
The length of time your bread rises depends on several factors including temperature, humidity, and type of flour used. For example, wheat flours take about twice as long to double as rye flour does.
You won’t get the open texture you anticipate from bread if you don’t give your dough enough time to prove. You won’t be able to let the yeast create enough gas and raise your dough if you don’t give it enough time to prove. You should always allow your dough to rest before shaping it into loaves. Resting allows the gluten strands to relax and develop strength. When resting, the dough gets bigger and stronger.
Furthermore, allowing your dough to be proof too quickly may cause it to collapse. To prevent this, cover your bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place it somewhere cool. Don’t worry; the dough shouldn’t actually go through any changes in temperature. Just make sure that the room where you put your dough stays between 60°F and 70°F.
When using active dry yeast, you need to know how many grams of yeast per cup of flour you’ll need. Most recipes call for one packet, which equals approximately 23 grams of yeast. However, you can also add up to three packets depending on the size of your batch.
To determine how much yeast you need, multiply the weight of the flour times.063. So, if you weigh 100 pounds of flour, then you would need 6.25 cups. Therefore, you’d need 2 packages of yeast.
In addition to knowing how much yeast you need based on the amount of flour, you must also consider the activity level of the yeast. Some brands of yeast contain inactive yeast, which means they’ve been stored improperly. Inactive yeast produces very little carbon dioxide, which causes the bread to rise slowly.
Active dry yeast contains live yeast cells that start producing CO2 immediately upon mixing. This gives your loaf plenty of lift when baking. If the yeast is dead or inactive, however, there will not be sufficient CO2 produced by the yeast to help leaven your bread properly.
As mentioned earlier, gluten formation occurs during the first few minutes after kneading. As soon as the dough starts forming elasticity, the proteins begin bonding together. They do so because they have already formed strong bonds due to their exposure to heat while being mixed.
This process continues until all of the protein molecules bond together. At this point, the dough has reached its maximum potential. It’s important to note that some people prefer softer crusts over chewy ones. The reason why a soft crust might appeal more than a chewy one is because it takes longer for the gluten network to form.
If you want a chewier crumb, try adding an extra minute or two at the end of the kneading stage. During this period, the dough forms additional gluten fibers. By doing so, you increase the overall density of the finished product.
The Poke Test
One way to tell whether your dough is ready to shape is by poking holes in it. A poke test ensures that the dough isn’t under-kneaded. Under-kneading results in dense, heavy bread. On the other hand, well-kneaded dough yields light, airy bread.
Poke the center of your dough gently with your finger. If the indentation remains visible even after five seconds, then your dough needs more work. Try again later.
Another method for testing the quality of your dough involves looking at the window pane effect. When you roll out your dough into a rectangle, fold it lengthwise like a business letter. Then unfold it and repeat the same steps. You should see a pattern emerge from the folds.
A smooth surface indicates that the dough was rolled evenly throughout. A rough texture suggests uneven rolling.
You may notice that different types of flours yield different textures. For example, whole wheat flour tends to produce denser loaves than white flour does. White flour typically creates lighter bread.
Whole grain flours are usually made from hard red winter wheat varieties. Because these grains contain bran and germ, they tend to create heavier bread. Whole wheat flour is often used interchangeably with "wholemeal" flour. However, wholewheat flour differs slightly from wholemeal flour. While both use 100% whole wheat flour, only wholemeal uses cracked wheat instead of milled whole wheat.
Whole wheat flour can be found in most grocery stores. Look for bags marked "100%" or "stoneground."
Your bread can be dense if there is a lack of water or too much flour. In fact, many recipes call for 1/3 cup less water than called for on the package.
When making pizza dough, I’ve noticed that using too little water makes my dough very sticky. To remedy this problem, I add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil before incorporating the rest of the ingredients.
In addition, I find that using too much flour causes me to make an overly wet dough. This leads to tough, dry bread. Instead, I recommend starting off with half as much flour as called for on the recipe. Once you get comfortable working with the dough, gradually add more flour until you reach the desired consistency.
Once you have developed a good feel for how much flour works best for you, you’ll need to know what type of shaping technique will give you the best result. The shaping of the dough is also important as it affects the density of the bread Here’s a quick guide:
Round – Round-shaped bread such as baguettes and rolls are generally softer and moister than square-shaped ones like ciabatta and focaccia. They’re great when baked immediately because their softness allows them to absorb moisture quickly.
Square – Square-shaped bread-like ciabattas and focaccias are firmer and drier than round shapes. Their crusts develop a crunchier exterior while retaining some chewiness inside.
Bread baking time varies depending upon its shape. Generally speaking, round-shaped loaves take longer to bake than squares do. Also, loaf size matters. Smaller loaves require shorter cooking times than larger ones.
For instance, a small sandwich loaf takes approximately 20 minutes to cook through. On the other hand, a large panettone requires 45 minutes to fully proof and another 30 minutes to bake. You may test it in two ways to see if it’s totally cooked. Either use the tap test or take the temperature inside. Take your bread out of the oven and tap it on the bottom a few times.
It should have a hollow, almost echoing tone to it. Alternatively, use a thermometer to poke it in the center until it reaches 190–210°F (88–99°C), depending on the bread. If you don’t own either tool, then just stick a knife into the middle of the bread and pull it out again. When done, remove the bread from the oven and let cool completely before slicing.
If you want your bread to rise properly, you must keep the oven at 200° F during the first 15 minutes of rising. Afterward, reduce the heat to 180° F.
For example, if you plan to bake a 12 x 18-inch rectangular loaf, set the oven to 200° F for 10 minutes, then turn it down to 180° F for the remaining 90 minutes. You can tell whether your bread has risen by poking it gently with your finger. It shouldn’t leave indentations; instead, it should bounce back slightly.
To ensure the even distribution of yeast throughout the dough, be sure not to overmix it. Use only enough kneading action to incorporate all the ingredients without deflating the air bubbles created by the yeast.
Also, remember that the weight of the dough does not always correlate directly with volume. For example, 1 cup of flour weighs 4 ounces but contains less than 3 cups of space. Therefore, one pound of dough might weigh 5 pounds yet contain fewer than 6 cups of room. This means that using more flour won’t necessarily make the dough heavier. In fact, adding too little flour could cause the dough to become dense and heavy.
So, rather than weighing the amount of flour used, measure the volume of the dough. To calculate this, divide the total weight of the dough by 0.6. Then multiply the resulting number by 2.5 to get the approximate volume of the dough.
Chewing is an important part of eating well. The act of chewing helps break food apart so we can better digest it. However, when making bread, there are certain things you need to avoid doing. Here are three common mistakes people often make:
1) Overworking Dough
When working with dough, try not to work it beyond the point where it becomes sticky. Once the gluten begins to form, the dough will begin to feel stiff and resistant to stretching. At this stage, you’ll notice that the dough starts sticking together as you stretch it. Don’t worry about getting every last bit of flour off your hands—just wash them after mixing!
2) Using Too Much Yeast
When baking bread, it’s best to err on the side of caution. A good rule of thumb is to add half the recommended amount of active dry yeast per recipe. That way, you’re guaranteed to end up with some extra leavening power. But if you do go overboard, simply increase the quantity of water or milk called for in the recipe.
3) Not Adding Enough Liquid
The most obvious mistake here would be leaving the dough underdamped. As mentioned above, excess moisture makes the dough very difficult to handle. Also, having too much liquid in the dough causes the finished product to spread excessively.
To fix chewy bread, follow these steps:
• If possible, use fresh yeast. Instant yeast tends to have a higher protein content which may result in denser baked goods. Fresh yeast also produces a stronger flavor.
• Add just enough salt to taste. Salt inhibits yeast activity, causing the dough to rise slower.
• Reduce the temperature of the oven from 450°F to 425°F. Lower temperatures allow the crust to brown evenly while keeping the inside moist.
If you want light-textured loaves, don’t overload the mixer. Be careful not to overwork the dough because it will develop tough gluten strands.
And keep the oven at its lowest setting until the loaf has risen sufficiently. Finally, reduce the time spent rising the dough before shaping it into loaves. By reducing the resting period, you’ll produce lighter loaves.