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Author Topic: Making Failbread  (Read 3354 times)

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Re: Making Failbread
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2011, 08:48:34 PM »
While you can make good bread from 100% whole wheat flour, I'd suggest that a beginning bread baker start with a plain white flour recipe. I think it's easier to learn what the dough should feel and look like at various stages when making white bread. (At least based on my own experience.) Once you have a basic white loaf down, then start to experiment with various percentages of whole wheat flour, or other flours like rye or barley or things like oatmeal.
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Re: Making Failbread
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2011, 05:27:25 PM »
I strongly recommend that you use either bread flour or high-gluten flour for this recipe -- I keep some gluten powder around to boost some recipes.  Swapping in all-purpose flour is very likely the main culprit here.  Some of the other advice to check your yeast is good as well.  You might also want to try the recipe a bit wetter -- either add a touch more liquid or leave a bit of the flour out.    Get your dough to the point where it's tacky, but not actively sticky.

(Hmmm... I seem to have echoed kkl123 above.  Great minds, etc.)

I'm another big King Arthur fan.  For yeast, I use SAF Instant -- use about 2 tsp if your recipe calls for 3 tsp of active dry yeast.

If you're going back to making white bread, here's my favorite recipe, courtesy of Peter Reinhart (The Bread Baker's Apprentice):

4 1/4 c (19 oz) unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 tsp (.38 oz) salt
3 tbsp (1.5 oz) sugar
2 tsp (.22 oz) instant yeast (use 3 tsp active-dry)
1 large (1.65 oz) egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c (2 oz) butter, margarine or shortening at room temperature, or vegetable oil (artk2002: I always use butter, unsalted of course.)
1 1/2 c (12 oz) buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature

I'm going to assume an electric mixer.  The instructions are similar for hand mixing and kneading

  • Mix flour, salt, sugar and yeast.  Add egg, butter and 1 1/4 c milk and mix.  The flour should be completely absorbed and the dough forms a ball.  If it seems stiff, trickle in more liquid until the dough is soft and supple.
  • Knead for 6-8 minutes.  Add flour as needed.  The dough should be slightly tacky, soft and supple.  In the electric mixer it should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom.  Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough, rolling to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Ferment at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until it doubles in size.
  • Remove from the bowl and divide in half for loaves (you can also do rolls of various sizes.)  Shape the dough into boules.  These are balls with a tight surface.  Mist with spray oil and cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Shape the loaves by patting into a 5"x6" (or 8") rectangle.  Working from the short side,  roll the dough one section at a time, pinching the crease with each rotation to improve the surface tension.  It should spread as you roll, reaching a final width of 8-9".  Don't taper the ends.  Put the loaves into lightly oiled 8 1/2 x 4 1/2" loaf pans.  The ends of the loaves should touch the ends of the pans.
  • Mist the tops with spray oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise for 60 to 90 minutes (again, until double in size.)
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Brush the loaves with egg wash if you wish.
  • Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees halfway through.  The internal temperature should be about 190° F and the loaves should sound hollow when thumped.
  • When done, remove immediately from the pans and let cool on racks.

I know this seems like a lot, but it's really easy to follow.  When I have the time, I bake this for the family and this is our standard sandwich bread.  I also make hamburger or hot dog buns with the same recipe.  You can substitute King Arthur white whole-wheat flour, but add .7 oz (about 1 tbsp) of gluten powder.
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Re: Making Failbread
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2011, 06:23:48 PM »
Leave to cool until lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast over and leave for 10 minutes or until frothy.

I had a whole wheat recipe quite similar to yours, about 7 cups of flour, honey etc. I cannot find it now for the life of me to compare the recipes precisely, but the measurements look very similar.A couple of things I wondered were-

Is the yeast mixture getting too cool?
Are you kneading enough? Whole wheat flour needs more kneading than white flour.


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Re: Making Failbread
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2011, 09:22:37 PM »

In general whole wheat breads will take longer to rise and more kneading than their white flour equivalent. If I remember correctly, whole wheat flour tends to have less gluten (or maybe it was that the whole wheat part tends to cut up the dough more).  So I would definitely use high gluten flour for the white part, knead well - make sure it gets that springy texture - and maybe let it rise longer.

For rising, it's a combination of how much yeast you put in, the type of flour and kneading, the temperature and the time.  The volume of the dough is the ultimate measure. If the room is cooler, or you're using whole wheat, it will take longer, as will dough with less yeast added. Long rising time isn't necessarily a bad thing - in fact, less yeast and a longer rise time can make much nicer bread texture than quick rise version, and there are no-knead recipes that involve putting the bread in the fridge for a day or two to rise.


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Re: Making Failbread
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2011, 03:07:30 PM »
Thank you for all your replies. Sorry I haven't been more conscientious about replying, it's been a tough week  :(

I will definitely be trying some of the tips (and recipes) I have been given! Bread making is such a complex science! I'm not sure I'll have time this weekend, but maybe next.

Maybe I'm not kneading enough. You say it should noticeably change texture?