Softer Loaf - can I make one at home


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I usually bake a 40% wholemeal / 60% strong white flour mix (1kg), salt 22g, dried fast acting yeast 3g, 800g of water @35c. I want to try and soften the loaf, especially the crust, I have considered adding some milk powder and a small amount of honey but do not want anything unnatural in. Is there a recipe someone can help me with that will do this ?
 
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I usually bake a 40% wholemeal / 60% strong white flour mix (1kg), salt 22g, dried fast acting yeast 3g, 800g of water @35c. I want to try and soften the loaf, especially the crust, I have considered adding some milk powder and a small amount of honey but do not want anything unnatural in. Is there a recipe someone can help me with that will do this ?

Milk powder from the retail grocery store won’t make any difference since it is for drinking. The milk powder used in baking is high heat and is used primarily as an emulsifier. So you need to find a source for high heat non-fat dried milk powder.

  1. High Heat Non-Fat Dried Milk Powder: processed at 190˚F for a half hour. Utilized primarily in dry mixes, baked goods, and meat items.
  2. Medium Heat Non-Fat Dried Milk Powder: Processed between 160˚F to 175˚F for approximately 20 minutes. Used typically in desserts, confectionaries, and dry mixes.
  3. Low Heat Non-Fat Dried Milk Powder: The most common form of dry milk powder. Processed at 160˚F for 2 minutes or less. Used primarily in cottage cheese, chocolate dairy beverages, and frozen desserts.
Have you tried any recipes from Bake with Jack’s blog?

 
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When I decided I wanted my sandwich loaf to have a softer crumb and crust, I enriched my dough by replacing about 1/6 of the total liquid with whole milk and added butter; this has softened the crumb. To soften the crust, I brush with melted butter immediately before baking.

I don’t have nearly the technical knowledge to explain why these changes work; I just know they did.
 
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Milk powder from the retail grocery store won’t make any difference since it is for drinking. The milk powder used in baking is high heat and is used primarily as an emulsifier. So you need to find a source for high heat non-fat dried milk powder.

  1. High Heat Non-Fat Dried Milk Powder: processed at 190˚F for a half hour. Utilized primarily in dry mixes, baked goods, and meat items.
  2. Medium Heat Non-Fat Dried Milk Powder: Processed between 160˚F to 175˚F for approximately 20 minutes. Used typically in desserts, confectionaries, and dry mixes.
  3. Low Heat Non-Fat Dried Milk Powder: The most common form of dry milk powder. Processed at 160˚F for 2 minutes or less. Used primarily in cottage cheese, chocolate dairy beverages, and frozen desserts.
Have you tried any recipes from Bake with Jack’s blog?

I have not tried any of the Bake with Jacks blog recipes, I will have a look later today and see if they are likely make it to my Christmas Bake ! Thanks for the info on the milk powder, very interesting, is there a technical reason why it will not work ? Also if I managed to get a high heat version would this soften the loaf ? Thanks.
 
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When I decided I wanted my sandwich loaf to have a softer crumb and crust, I enriched my dough by replacing about 1/6 of the total liquid with whole milk and added butter; this has softened the crumb. To soften the crust, I brush with melted butter immediately before baking.

I don’t have nearly the technical knowledge to explain why these changes work; I just know they did.
Thanks VB, it must be the fat content, I did not want my loaves to get overly ingredient heavy but am more than happy adding natural products if it produces a friendlier crumb that is softer as my wife would like. Thanks !
 
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I have not tried any of the Bake with Jacks blog recipes, I will have a look later today and see if they are likely make it to my Christmas Bake ! Thanks for the info on the milk powder, very interesting, is there a technical reason why it will not work ? Also if I managed to get a high heat version would this soften the loaf ? Thanks.
The crust problem is probably a combination of factors:

  • Not controlling the humidity during proofing
    • are you proofing in the open, letting a skin form on the surface of the dough? A skin forming on the dough will cause a hard crust.
    • place the dough in a very large plastic bag, then place on a baking sheet and put in a draft free area. I use my oven.
  • I assume you are baking in a tin since you use the term “loaf”. Is there enough dough in the tin? If you are using too large of a tin, it will cause the crust to be thick and dry as the volume to dough is not enough to absorb all the heat from the tin.
  • Too high a temperature #1: if using a tin, what type of metal is the tin? Dark metal, anodized aluminum, and coated aluminum radiate heat more intensely than uncoated metal. If you are using one of these tins, reduce the oven temperature. The manufacturers of these tins in the US normally recommend up to 25°F reduction in oven temperature to offset the over-baking problems caused by these tins.
  • Too high a temperature #2: oven temperature: use a oven thermometer to ensure the correct temperature of your oven. If using one of the tins mentioned above, then you must reduce the baking temperature.


The milk powders have very different functionalities determined by three major factors: moisture content, protein content, and particle size. There are other factors, but these are the major factors used to categorize functionality of milk powders.

High Heat Non-Fat Dried Milk Powder is processed for a minimum concentration of whey protein (34%). In other words it has a minimum concentration of milk solids (proteins). So its water solubility is specific for certain applications.

Low heat and medium heat milk powders are also processed to specific standards for milk solids since they will be used primarily as milk replacements (reconstituted for drinking or as milk replacement in dry mixes (thickener/stabilizer milk products, powdered milk, package cake mix, puddings, smoothies, etc.).

High Heat Non-Fat Dried Milk Powder is not as readily soluble as low and medium heat milk powders since it is not reconstituted and used like a milk replacement. It is used primarily as an emulsifier.

The moisture content also determines performance. It determines how the protein binds. It also affects color and texture. Too much moisture causes nonenzymatic browning, while too little causes fat oxidation.

The particle size is also a factor. Since the high heat milk powder is less soluble, it has to have a different particle size than the low and medium heat powders.

You can read more about milk powders in food production in the attached paper.

A good rule of thumb when you are tempted to try something you read on the Internet is to research the food science behind it.


https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2012.00199.x
 
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That's great, thanks for the info, the bread is being baked in a small dutch oven and I suspect the crust formed at the time of proofing as although it is completed in a moisture sealed bag it still forms a crust. I will try reducing the temp a tad and experiment along those lines, the addition of milk powder was not my ideal choice.

Thanks.

I will share some pictures if I can !

Phil
 
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That's great, thanks for the info, the bread is being baked in a small dutch oven and I suspect the crust formed at the time of proofing as although it is completed in a moisture sealed bag it still forms a crust. I will try reducing the temp a tad and experiment along those lines, the addition of milk powder was not my ideal choice.

Thanks.

I will share some pictures if I can !

Phil


Oh you’re making a bloomer—meaning the dough rises free standing not in a tin. In the US we just call it artisan or sourdough or we refer to the shape (boule, batard, baguette, etc.) A loaf usually refers to dough placed in a tin, like a sandwich loaf.

Baking in a dutch oven is a bit tricky.

Do not use flour to knead. This is the most difficult lesson to learn in artisan bread baking. Adding flour changes the flour to water ratio as the bench flour is absorbed into the dough. See Jack’s videos on kneading dough without flour. But you don’t have to be rough with the dough. Kneading is a simple motion.

Do not over knead. Kneading is a simple motion of pat to flatten, fold in half, 1/4 turn, repeat. Yes, dough is sticky, but will get less so as it is kneaded.

If using a high hydration formula, then stretch and fold technique is used instead of kneading.

Excessive heat is a problem with the dutch oven; try reducing your oven temperature

If you are not removing the lid in the latter stage of baking, definitely remove it.

Bake to internal temperature of approximately 205°F (96°C). Water boils at 212°F (100°C) at sea level. If the internal temperature of the bread reaches boiling, there is near total evaporation of water in the dough. This causes a thick hard crust.
 
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I bake my bread at 180C in a combination microwave oven (not using microwave functions.) I've been using that temperature because it appeared to work and I could fix the hard crust by painting with melted margarine afterwards.

Given what I read above, I'm going to try cooking my next batch at 170C and see what happens.
 
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Hi AT, do you use a fan or non-fan when you bake? I’m pretty new to this and always bake at 200C fan. I’m often also using a ratio of 300ml water to 500g of whatever flour and 30 mins. Any comments gratefully received. Al
 
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I usually bake a 40% wholemeal / 60% strong white flour mix (1kg), salt 22g, dried fast acting yeast 3g, 800g of water @35c. I want to try and soften the loaf, especially the crust, I have considered adding some milk powder and a small amount of honey but do not want anything unnatural in. Is there a recipe someone can help me with that will do this ?
yes simply, more honey.
 
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