Wetter bread dough… Less kneading!

I love reading the Dining and Wine section of the New York Times.  I recently came across and an article by Harold McGee called Better Bread with Less Kneading.  Since Angel and I have started LCD, I have been making fresh, healthy, whole-wheat bread every few days.  My bread making skills are still inconsistent.  One day I will have a gorgeous loaf and the next day something that could pass for a weapon.
The article was accompanied by a recipe for Golden Whole Wheat Bread, which I tried the other night.  This bread was less labor intensive, but more time consuming than other recipes that I’ve tried because of the multiple rises.

I think I definitely did something wrong with my proportions of water to dry ingredients although I followed the recipe to the letter, even using a scale to weigh my dry ingredients and a digital thermometer to ensure my water temperature was spot on!

18.5 ounces of flour and wheat bran
Dissolving the yeast in 115F water
Adding the salt to the dry mixture
Adding the water to the dry ingredients
Mixing
Kneading/Scraping the dough to activate the gluten
20 minute rest (Почивка)
At this stage in the game, as you can see from the instructions, there are numerous rises and folds, so you can imagine what they look like.
Final rise of my bread dough glop
Fresh out of the oven
I am going to give this bread another try because it was tasty, but I didn’t like just how wet it actually was.  I will need to re-examine my moisture content!  To be continued…

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Author: caseyangelova

Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria www.caseyangelova.com

6 thoughts on “Wetter bread dough… Less kneading!”

  1. I make a loaf of bread every 2 days or so as my family loves home-made breads. I normally have to adjust the amount of water used depending on the humidity in the home. The flours are a little drier in the winter and so I add 1 to 2 tbsp extra. At other times, I need to add a little more flour just using the specified amount of water. I use a bread machine but I check during the kneading cycle just to make sure that the dough is right.

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  2. Me, too. I've found that, as tight as recipes are supposed to be, you can't beat the eyeball for seeing when it's just right.

    Thanks, Biren, never thought to equate that with humidity.

    Good tasting breads are worth the trouble of getting it just the way you like it. I await the next result.

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  3. I just started baking bread too about a year ago with mixed results as well. Sometimes I get a nice fluffy bread, nice crust and sometimes its like a brick!

    It is so satisfying and cheap to make your own bread though!

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  4. If you are in Bulgaria and using flour from there or Europe you will not have the same result as flour from the states, as I assume was used by Harold McGee.You may need to do several tests with the recipe to get the proper flour/water ratio. Also look at the possibility of increasing the overall bench time. Maybe the time between punch downs should be increased. Just a thought. Hope this helps. Good Luck!

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  5. I just attempted the bread again with some adjustments please check out Part 2: http://caseyangelova.blogspot.com/2010/03/part-2-wetter-bread-dough-less-kneading.html?spref=gr#close=1

    Thanks Biren, I think as I become more experienced with bread making I will be able to make adjustments on the fly.

    Sharlene, you are right. It is worth the trouble. Check out my second attempt!

    Jenn, bread here in Bulgaria is quite cheap and whole wheat flour is rather difficult to come by and expensive, so it costs more for me here to make bread, but knowing exactly what is in it makes the extra cost worth while.

    Mark – Thanks for the input. I never considered the difference in the flours being regional. I am tempted to bring some flour back in my suitcase and do another test.

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