Help with simple bread baking recipe


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Hi everyone, a few weeks ago I started making my own wholemeal bread rolls and tweaked the recipe until I got it nice. I have a couple of questions about the recipe and process I am using.

The ingredients I use are:
- Very strong wholemeal flour (https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/produ...toneground-wholemeal-flour/051804-25784-25785)
- Allinson easy bake yeast (https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/271257713)
- Fine sea salt (https://groceries.asda.com/product/salt-pepper/saxa-fine-sea-salt/1000000442953)
- Water

I mix all the dry ingredients in the bowl and then pour in the water and mix everything into the dough. I don't really knead it once it has all come together (just a little before shaping it into the rolls). After dividing and then shaping into the rolls I put them on the baking sheet and leave for 1.5/2 hours and then put them in the oven.

My questions are:
- Do I need to knead the dough more? I read that because I am using easy bake yeast I do not, but I would be keen to get some advice on whether I should be.
- I have seen some videos that mix the yeast, salt and water before adding the flour, and I have seen some that just mix the dry ingredients altogether first and then add the water. Which would you recommend is the better method for my recipe?
- Some recipes let the dough rise and then they knead it again before letting it rise/proof a second time. Is this something I should consider doing or is my current method enough?
- I have been letting it rise at room temperature. Would I be better to let it rise by filling a bowl with hot water and putting it at the bottom of a switched off oven and putting the rolls in as well? Alternatively, I have also seen someone turn the oven on for 2-3 mins and then switch it off and place the dough in to allow it to rise. Would either of these methods be better than the way I am doing it currently?
- Once cooked, I have noticed the rolls are much much crustier/harder than anything I used to buy in a shop and also denser on the inside too. I don't mind this, but I was wondering what causes this to happen e.g. is it a result of my ingredients (e.g. all wholemeal and very strong flour), my process, etc?

Many thanks in advance!
 
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My questions are:
- Do I need to knead the dough more? I read that because I am using easy bake yeast I do not, but I would be keen to get some advice on whether I should be.

- Once cooked, I have noticed the rolls are much much crustier/harder than anything I used to buy in a shop and also denser on the inside too. I don't mind this, but I was wondering what causes this to happen e.g. is it a result of my ingredients (e.g. all wholemeal and very strong flour), my process, etc?

I don’t know what makes you think the dough does not knead to be kneaded. That yeast simply has ascorbic acid, which is vitamin c. All ascorbic acid does is artificially add volume to dough. It is used in mass production because they cannot waste time on fermentation, and need to crank the dough out. But this crap type of bread is the cause of gluten intolerance as no fermentation means the gluten has not broken down in the dough before baking. But volume has nothing to do with dough strength. Dough strength come from kneading.

I put the two questions together they are related...the yeast is meant to increase volume artifcially by adding vitamin c. But you are not kneading, so you have no dough strength. Plus you are using wholemeal. Wholemeal contains the bran, germ and endosperm, so the flour is always going to be very dense and heavy. The yeast you are using is a waste because of the type of flour will never bake up with a lot of volume. Wholemeal is always mixed with another flour to make is lighter.


- I have seen some videos that mix the yeast, salt and water before adding the flour, and I have seen some that just mix the dry ingredients altogether first and then add the water. Which would you recommend is the better method for my recipe?

Salt kills yeast. Yeast is a living organism. The salt kills yeast by forcing out the nuclei by reverse osmosis. Too much sugar will do the same thing. So do not add salt and/or too much sugar in direct contact with yeast.

- Some recipes let the dough rise and then they knead it again before letting it rise/proof a second time. Is this something I should consider doing or is my current method enough?

I never heard of kneading twice. The whole point of knead is to develop the necessary gluten network so the dough can stretch and hold the air created from the yeast. So that is done when the dough is mix, before bulk fermenation. Bulk fermentation (that first rise) is when organic acids develop if you are making a bread with a preferment or sourdough; autolyse occurs, an enzymatic activity in which amylase breakdown starches in the flour to sugars; yeast develop my feeding on the starches created in autolyse; dough expands when yeast create gas from expelling waste after feeding on starches. There is a technique of stretching and folding at intervals over a period of several hours to develop gluten in doughs with high hydration levels. Bulk fermentation can be as long as 36 hrs for some dough in the refrigerator.


Kneading twice would develop too much gluten in the dough.

After bulk fermentation, the dough is portioned and shaped. It is then proofed (that second rise), then baked.

- I have been letting it rise at room temperature. Would I be better to let it rise by filling a bowl with hot water and putting it at the bottom of a switched off oven and putting the rolls in as well? Alternatively, I have also seen someone turn the oven on for 2-3 mins and then switch it off and place the dough in to allow it to rise. Would either of these methods be better than the way I am doing it currently?

Creating a proofing box in your oven assumes you understand Desired Dough Temperature (DDT) since relative humidity and temperature are critical extensions of DDT. Too much humidity and temperature is detrimental to dough development, so you need to know what humidity and temperature range you need to shoot for in your oven. Simple set an instant read thermometer on a plate inside the oven to take a reading. You’ll need a hum


DDT, humidity and temperature vary by type of dough, but these area general guidelines for the home baker.

DDT is usually 75°F (24°C)
Bulk fermentation 75% relative humidity; 80°F - 90°F (27°C - 32°C)
Proofing: 80% relative humidity 75°F - 85° (24°C - 30°C)
 
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My questions are:
- Do I need to knead the dough more? I read that because I am using easy bake yeast I do not, but I would be keen to get some advice on whether I should be.

- Once cooked, I have noticed the rolls are much much crustier/harder than anything I used to buy in a shop and also denser on the inside too. I don't mind this, but I was wondering what causes this to happen e.g. is it a result of my ingredients (e.g. all wholemeal and very strong flour), my process, etc?

I don’t know what makes you think the dough does not knead to be kneaded. That yeast simply has ascorbic acid, which is vitamin c. All ascorbic acid does is artificially add volume to dough. It is used in mass production because they cannot waste time on fermentation, and need to crank the dough out. But this crap type of bread is the cause of gluten intolerance as no fermentation means the gluten has not broken down in the dough before baking. But volume has nothing to do with dough strength. Dough strength come from kneading.

I put the two questions together they are related...the yeast is meant to increase volume artifcially by adding vitamin c. But you are not kneading, so you have no dough strength. Plus you are using wholemeal. Wholemeal contains the bran, germ and endosperm, so the flour is always going to be very dense and heavy. The yeast you are using is a waste because of the type of flour will never bake up with a lot of volume. Wholemeal is always mixed with another flour to make is lighter.


- I have seen some videos that mix the yeast, salt and water before adding the flour, and I have seen some that just mix the dry ingredients altogether first and then add the water. Which would you recommend is the better method for my recipe?

Salt kills yeast. Yeast is a living organism. The salt kills yeast by forcing out the nuclei by reverse osmosis. Too much sugar will do the same thing. So do not add salt and/or too much sugar in direct contact with yeast.

- Some recipes let the dough rise and then they knead it again before letting it rise/proof a second time. Is this something I should consider doing or is my current method enough?

I never heard of kneading twice. The whole point of knead is to develop the necessary gluten network so the dough can stretch and hold the air created from the yeast. So that is done when the dough is mix, before bulk fermenation. Bulk fermentation (that first rise) is when organic acids develop if you are making a bread with a preferment or sourdough; autolyse occurs, an enzymatic activity in which amylase breakdown starches in the flour to sugars; yeast develop my feeding on the starches created in autolyse; dough expands when yeast create gas from expelling waste after feeding on starches. There is a technique of stretching and folding at intervals over a period of several hours to develop gluten in doughs with high hydration levels. Bulk fermentation can be as long as 36 hrs for some dough in the refrigerator.


Kneading twice would develop too much gluten in the dough.

After bulk fermentation, the dough is portioned and shaped. It is then proofed (that second rise), then baked.

- I have been letting it rise at room temperature. Would I be better to let it rise by filling a bowl with hot water and putting it at the bottom of a switched off oven and putting the rolls in as well? Alternatively, I have also seen someone turn the oven on for 2-3 mins and then switch it off and place the dough in to allow it to rise. Would either of these methods be better than the way I am doing it currently?

Creating a proofing box in your oven assumes you understand Desired Dough Temperature (DDT) since relative humidity and temperature are critical extensions of DDT. Too much humidity and temperature is detrimental to dough development, so you need to know what humidity and temperature range you need to shoot for in your oven. Simple set an instant read thermometer on a plate inside the oven to take a reading. You’ll need a hum


DDT, humidity and temperature vary by type of dough, but these area general guidelines for the home baker.

DDT is usually 75°F (24°C)
Bulk fermentation 75% relative humidity; 80°F - 90°F (27°C - 32°C)
Proofing: 80% relative humidity 75°F - 85° (24°C - 30°C)
Thanks. When I am proofing the rolls, sometimes I find that they flatten out and sometimes they do not. Is this due to not using enough salt and/or letting them proof for too long, or what causes them to do this? Whenever this happened, I just reshaped them before putting them in the oven.

I've attached some photos of the rolls and one loaf I made using this recipe. Do you mean that if I used a different flour along with the wholemeal flour, the resulting loaf/rolls would have expanded even more than these?
 

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You need to learn the fundamentals of baking. You are not properly kneading; your dough is rough, dried out, and not properly hydrated. The biggest mistake people make with wholemeal is not using the proper hydration. Wholemeal requires 100% hydration. Master bakers use 105% hydration. But you do not have the knowledge and skill to work with that level of hydration. You should be working with a mix of wholemeal and strong flour. But you really need to learn the basics of baking. I would ditch at yeast, and get regular active dry yeast. You need to understand you yeast works; using some artificial means for volume is not going to give you any understanding of yeast and flour.




I would recommend you review the videos at Bake with Jack on how




What is wholemeal - he calls it brown flour, but do not call it that. It is not the standard terminology. Wholemeal in the UK; Wholewheat in the US. But you need to understand what you are baking with and why it does NOT rise well.

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/136

How to use wholemeal flour

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/137


Why we knead bead

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/2016/8/25/bread-tip-5-why-do-we-knead-bread-dough

How to knead bread

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/2016/8/25/bread-tip-5-why-do-we-knead-bread-dough

How to shape dough

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/2016/8/11/bread-tip-4-how-to-shape-a-loaf-of-bread

When to tell your dough is ready to bake


https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/2016/8/4/bread-tip-3-when-is-my-bread-ready-to-bake


Jack’s bloomer loaf made with 50/50 wholemeal and strong flour

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/blog-1/2017/7/25/wholemeal-multiseed-bloomer


list of all Jack’s videos


https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos
 
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You need to learn the fundamentals of baking. You are not properly kneading; your dough is rough, dried out, and not properly hydrated. The biggest mistake people make with wholemeal is not using the proper hydration. Wholemeal requires 100% hydration. Master bakers use 105% hydration. But you do not have the knowledge and skill to work with that level of hydration. You should be working with a mix of wholemeal and strong flour. But you really need to learn the basics of baking. I would ditch at yeast, and get regular active dry yeast. You need to understand you yeast works; using some artificial means for volume is not going to give you any understanding of yeast and flour.




I would recommend you review the videos at Bake with Jack on how




What is wholemeal - he calls it brown flour, but do not call it that. It is not the standard terminology. Wholemeal in the UK; Wholewheat in the US. But you need to understand what you are baking with and why it does NOT rise well.

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/136

How to use wholemeal flour

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/137


Why we knead bead

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/2016/8/25/bread-tip-5-why-do-we-knead-bread-dough

How to knead bread

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/2016/8/25/bread-tip-5-why-do-we-knead-bread-dough

How to shape dough

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/2016/8/11/bread-tip-4-how-to-shape-a-loaf-of-bread

When to tell your dough is ready to bake


https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/2016/8/4/bread-tip-3-when-is-my-bread-ready-to-bake


Jack’s bloomer loaf made with 50/50 wholemeal and strong flour

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/blog-1/2017/7/25/wholemeal-multiseed-bloomer


list of all Jack’s videos


https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos
Thank you, I will have a look at the videos. Appreciate it!
 
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You need to learn the fundamentals of baking. You are not properly kneading; your dough is rough, dried out, and not properly hydrated. The biggest mistake people make with wholemeal is not using the proper hydration. Wholemeal requires 100% hydration. Master bakers use 105% hydration. But you do not have the knowledge and skill to work with that level of hydration. You should be working with a mix of wholemeal and strong flour. But you really need to learn the basics of baking. I would ditch at yeast, and get regular active dry yeast. You need to understand you yeast works; using some artificial means for volume is not going to give you any understanding of yeast and flour.




I would recommend you review the videos at Bake with Jack on how




What is wholemeal - he calls it brown flour, but do not call it that. It is not the standard terminology. Wholemeal in the UK; Wholewheat in the US. But you need to understand what you are baking with and why it does NOT rise well.

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/136

How to use wholemeal flour

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/137


Why we knead bead

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/2016/8/25/bread-tip-5-why-do-we-knead-bread-dough

How to knead bread

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/2016/8/25/bread-tip-5-why-do-we-knead-bread-dough

How to shape dough

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/2016/8/11/bread-tip-4-how-to-shape-a-loaf-of-bread

When to tell your dough is ready to bake


https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos/2016/8/4/bread-tip-3-when-is-my-bread-ready-to-bake


Jack’s bloomer loaf made with 50/50 wholemeal and strong flour

https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/blog-1/2017/7/25/wholemeal-multiseed-bloomer


list of all Jack’s videos


https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos
Hi, I watched the videos, thanks again for posting them. I just tried another batch of rolls. Do these look any better to you?
 

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Edit to the above post to include this photo.
The crumb is tight, which is wholemeal. It’s dense. Developing the gluten and using a combination of wholemeal and bread (strong) flour will produce a lighter more open crumb and softer crust. This recipe by King Arthur flour add potato flour (not potato starch) to give the dough added softness. But as you can see, the dough is kneaded.

The educational director of King Arthur flour is Jeffery Hamelman. He is considered one of the foremost experts on bread, and is internationally known. He is one of the few bakers to earn master status. He has a book titled, Bread A Baker‘s Book of Technique and Recipes. It’s a no frills book written for serious bakers. You won’t find any photos. You have to be willing to read and learn.


 
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The crumb is tight, which is wholemeal. It’s dense. Developing the gluten and using a combination of wholemeal and bread (strong) flour will produce a lighter more open crumb and softer crust. This recipe by King Arthur flour add potato flour (not potato starch) to give the dough added softness. But as you can see, the dough is kneaded.

The educational director of King Arthur flour is Jeffery Hamelman. He is considered one of the foremost experts on bread, and is internationally known. He is one of the few bakers to earn master status. He has a book titled, Bread A Baker‘s Book of Technique and Recipes. It’s a no frills book written for serious bakers. You won’t find any photos. You have to be willing to read and learn.


Thank you again. I'm trying to avoid using white flour as I don't like it. I think these might have been overproofed a bit based on the finger push I did (they sprung back a bit, but not a lot), despite only proofing for ~45 minutes in a not-overly warm kitchen. Perhaps I used more yeast than needed, or need to shorten the proof time.
 

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