Why is my bread so heavy?

Discussion in 'Cooking' started by Still Learning, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. Still Learning

    Still Learning Well-Known Member

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    DH & I made our first ever loaf of (whole wheat) bread lastnight by hand {whew, kneading is good cardio! lol}. :bouncy:

    First off, let me thank everyone here -- without reading here on HT, I would have NEVER had enough confidence to try it. Honestly, I've bought 2 other bags of bread flour... but then whimped out trying because I thought it'd be a total disaster! :(

    Anyways, it turned out beautiful... and ohhhh so delicious!

    But why is it so heavy? I mean heavy versus the whole wheat bread you buy at the store. It tastes great, but it's like a rock! :eek: :)

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    ~Ashley
     
  2. 3ravens

    3ravens on furlough-downsized Supporter

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    Most storebought "whole wheat" has at least some white flour in it to lighten it up. Next time you could use 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten per cup of whole wheat flour to provide more gluten and help it rise and be lighter. Sometimes sold as just wheat gluten. Or dough conditioner, just to be confusing..... Or try using 1 cup white or white wheat flour per 2-3 cups whole wheat flour. You will still get that nice whole wheat flavor.
    Did you use whole wheat bread flour or just plain old whole wheat flour? The plain or the stone ground makes a heavier loaf because it is more coarsely ground. The finer the grind, the lighter the loaf. Your loaf is beautiful, BTW, and the crumb (the way it looks inside) is nice and even, no holes or ropey places. Good first job!
     

  3. Still Learning

    Still Learning Well-Known Member

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    Oh, okay I was wondering what wheat gluten was. I'll have to get some of that and try it out.

    I used King Arthur 100% whole wheat flour. I have some regular white bread flour... but I haven't tried to use it yet.

    Thank you for the reply and the compliment. I cannot even tell you how intimidated I was before... but it was pretty easy after all! And it tastes so good --> the kids even had a slice after breakfast! Yum! :)
     
  4. 3ravens

    3ravens on furlough-downsized Supporter

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    OK, without going to the store you can try again. Use the same recipe for a good comparison, but sub a cup of your white flour for a cup of the whole wheat. Most of mine I use 2 cups whole wheat per 1 cup white. This works the other way too. You can sub a cup of whole wheat in a white bread recipe.
     
  5. woodsman

    woodsman Well-Known Member

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    This is a beautiful loaf. Congratulations. It's heavy because that's the nature of the beast. I usually use 1/2 to 3/4 whole wheat to white flour ratio to make it lighter.
     
  6. Joe123

    Joe123 Well-Known Member

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    That looks great.. Now have to go an get wife to make some for family. Made me hungry after looking at that loaf of bread.
     
  7. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    wow! Ive been making bread for years, and Ive never had a loaf look that good.
     
  8. Kim_NC

    Kim_NC Always Thinking

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    Lovely loaf...terrific first attempt!

    I use 100% whole wheat flour, but I add vital wheat gluten as 3Ravens already mentioned. It helps the yeast build structure with the heavier flours.

    Also, I let it rise longer than lighter doughs made with bread flour or white flour. Make sure the dough rises until at least double in bulk before you bake it.

    Here's our favorite everyday whole wheat loaf. The recipe shows directions for a bread machine, but you can just mix and knead it, rise, shape, rise again (like any handmade dough). I often use the bread machine to mix and knead my dough, then shape and rise in a standard bread pan, bake in the oven.:

    http://www.millriverfarm.com/recipe.cfm?id=162&catname=Bread, Rolls, and Muffins
     
  9. davisdj

    davisdj Active Member

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    I made bread for years by hand, but always with white flour or a combination of white and whole wheat. I then got a bread machine, and during the time I was using it, also got a grain mill. Because of that, I started making a totally whole wheat bread using flour I ground myself, but always in a bread machine.

    I wore out the bread machine (it lasted for about 7 years, used about three times a week, so I cannot complain), but opted not to replace it.

    The first loaf of totally whole wheat bread I made by hand was a disaster. It was so HEAVY.

    I discovered that there is a huge difference in "feel" between white, or predominantly white, bread dough and whole wheat. The whole wheat seems to absorb way more water, and get dry easier.

    When kneading, you have to really focus on NOT adding a whole lot of flour, even though the dough remains sticky throughout the kneading process. I time my kneading - actually setting a timer - where I used to just knead white dough until it "felt right."

    It took several loaves before I got a light(ish) whole wheat loaf of bread.

    Sally
     
  10. Charleen

    Charleen www.HarperHillFarm.com Supporter

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    I think that's a beautiful loaf! Great job! :rock:

    We use a combo of whole wheat and white wheat flour in our bread. I add a bit extra gluten too. But we do ours in the bread machine and I proof the yeast first.
     
  11. Kimberly

    Kimberly Member

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    I knead my bread no more than 15 min.
     
  12. Shawna

    Shawna Well-Known Member

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    Water is also an issue with whole wheat bread....and it's a tricky one too. This is what I have found; whatever the amount of water the recipe calls for, add just a smidge more than the lragest amount. For example, the WW recipe I use calls for 10-12 ounces of water. I use 13 ounces. Use too little and your loaf can be heavy, use too much and it won't rise. You really have to play with it, but that's the general rule I follow with the water amount, which does make a difference as to how heavy your loaf turns out. It's usually just right when you can poke your fingertip into the dough and it feels like the dough is going to stick to your finger when you pull it out, but it doesn't stick. The gluten makes a big difference too!

    BTW, gorgeous loaf of bread!!!!!!! Great job!!!!!!!

    Shawna