Not enough flour, possibly?


I'm not quite a novice bread baker, but not terribly experienced, either. Usually, my whole-grain breads fail to rise very well and wind up tasty but very dense.

I have a new KitchenAid Artisan and used it today on the 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread recipe -- the one with the potato flakes. Not having potato flakes, I used some cooked potato, which they said in the comments to that recipe's blog would work all right.

Now. One of my fears has always been that I added too much flour, so this time, since I let the mixer knead it (it's only one loaf; the mixer handled it fine with the dough hook and didn't even get warm), I didn't handle it as much. While I found it a bit sticky and knew that using potato would increase the moisture, I added only an extra tablespoon or two of flour and resisted the temptation to keep adding flour. So it was stickier than I'm used to, but I have a feeling I have always added too much flour.

I made it, it rose beautifully, and it's delicious, but it is definitely a little bit ... too moist, I guess. It's almost a bit shaggy inside. I tested it with a thermometer to make sure it got to 190, and even the pieces on the ends are that way, so I don't think it's that it was underdone.

Does it seem logical that this was the result of overcorrecting for too much flour, and I wound up leaving the dough too sticky? Based on taste, I plan to make this bread a LOT, so I want to make sure I fix the problem next time.

badge posted by: lindaholmes on March 04, 2012 at 3:25 pm in Baking, misc.
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reply by: frick on March 04, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I'm not qualified to rate the amount of flour since I seldom bake whole wheat bread, and since you added potato, that part is better answered by someone else BUT I can pretty much promise you that you need to bake that bread to 200F. I don't know many people who think bread is done at 190.

reply by: hickeyja on March 04, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I agree with Frick. 190F is not really hot enough for loaf bread. I generally go for 198-203F for white bread and 205F for whole grains. Jan

reply by: lindaholmes on March 04, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Well, 190 isn't my number; I got it from the recipe.

reply by: Mrs Cindy on March 04, 2012 at 8:37 pm
Mrs Cindy

When you used already mashed potatoes you added extra moisture. So, you needed to add a little more flour. Probably almost 1/4 cup, but it depends on how you measured your ingredients.

First, have you made many WW breads? Did you get to a window pane? How long did you knead the dough?

I suspect you didn't add quite enough flour. You under kneaded. You measured instead of weighed ingredients and you under baked.

All that said, this can all be corrected and you can end up with a great bread. Please post back with a little more information and let us make this into a perfect loaf of bread!


reply by: lindaholmes on March 05, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I have made WW breads; as I said, they tend to come out heavy, which I think was both from underkneading and too much flour. I'm not sure I underkneaded; I will check the windowpane thing next time more carefully. But! I weighed ingredients. That is one thing I have going for me. That was like a revelation, figuring that out. I always thought it would be more complicated, but it's so much easier and less messy, I can hardly believe it. So that much, I did right.

But yes, I suspect it needed a bit more flour, maybe another few minutes of baking, and a double check on the post-knead situation.

The good news is that it's still extremely delicious. :)

reply by: Mrs Cindy on March 05, 2012 at 6:09 pm
Mrs Cindy

As long as you didn't have to feed it to the ducks! 😄

Sounds like you are on the right track. Now, don't forget, there is a fine line between kneading enough and kneading too much. WW has sharp edges that will cut the gluten strand if you overknead. This means you can't just knead until you get tired of kneading. You really have to feel the dough and look for a windowpane.

And use your thermometer and bake to 205-210 degrees.

Isn't weighing ingredients the best? Life is so much easier when you can just dump stuff in the bowl, hit tare and add the next ingredient and hit tare and so on and so on and so on. I love the one bowl method and it's so accurate!

Do you have to have a 100% WW bread or can you use a small amount of WWW to, maybe, make it a little lighter? If you used a 50/50 with WW and WWW, your bread would be much lighter. Are you using VWG?

Just some additional thoughts!