View Full Version : Rising Dough

23rd Apr 2013, 10:04
Mysterious trucks bring pre-mixed dough to every supermarket around here, where it is baked into all sorts of forms and sold OTC. Yup, we buy it as does everyone.

However yesterday the mem' and I went to a small French cafè in Roses and after beings served Americano's and sticky buns by the owner's daughter (of whom I will only say that Slash would have approved) we bought a loaf of bread to take home.

a) It was far more delicious that supermarket bread, and
b) it was stale by the evening of the next day. (Jolly good toasted, though).

Which makes us wonder what they put in the 'supermarket' bread which lasts a week.

23rd Apr 2013, 10:11
I use a bread maker. I had always assumed that my own bread would get stale much more quickly than S/market bread, but it doesn't.
Mediterranean style bread does go stale more quickly, but when we are on holiday, it all gets used up for Pa'amb oli anyway. And not just in Catalunia.

23rd Apr 2013, 10:15
One of my pleasures when staying in Southern France is freshly-baked bread, although it only remains fresh on the day of purchase. As the nearest boulangerie is ten kilometres away then this presents a logistical problem.

23rd Apr 2013, 10:16
One of the oddities of French bread is that it is delicious when fresh but by lunchtime, if bought in the morning, it's either as hard as a rock or suffering from brewer's droop. I've never quite worked out why it's either one or the other.

In South Africa the Portuguese and Italian bakeries produce bread which is as good as the French but remains edible for much longer, as does our home made bread. I can only assume that the French are good at built in redundancy.

23rd Apr 2013, 10:21
I bake a lot of bread (flour, salt, yeast, water, sometimes seeds, sometimes olive oil) and it can go stale quickly. Give it a quick misting with water, 2 minutes in the oven and it's pretty good next day as well.

23rd Apr 2013, 10:24
Longevity of bread is to some extent down to what is in it. Fat or oil in the mix (olive oil, butter) makes the finished bread last longer. Baguettes don't have oil in them - its just flour, water, yeast and salt..

green granite
23rd Apr 2013, 11:25
Mrs GG makes her own, uses the mixer and then finishes the kneading by hand. As I only eat either white or granary and she only eats brown, she divides the mixes up into 4 or 5 'lunch sized' baguettes, bakes 1 but only part bakes the rest which go into the fridge and are finished off an hour or so before we need them. :ok:

23rd Apr 2013, 11:57
Given the erudite nature of some of the respondents to this thread, I am puzzled by the responses: yes, baguettes and "batards" and "batons" and other regional names do go stale very quickly, which is , I believe a result of both the flour and chemical supplements used. Complaining about it ( if that is what I have read ) is a mis-understanding of what it is for. It is for same day use and is therefore very well-designed: cheap, excellent on the day, fairly useless thereafter

There are lots of other breads which in my limited regional (Savoie ) experience are longer -lasting and tastier. One example being a 1 kg loaf called a "Tourte" that I buy from my local Carrefour which costs E 4.60 ( approx 2.5 cost of baguette per kg ) which is wholegrain and lasts 4-6 days and very tasty.

EDIT: Every hamlet ( 20 - 200 souls ) in the commune where I live has a bread-oven and the way they used to be run was that every family would take a turn ( every two or four weeks according to season ) to fire them up and then people would come and make their bread which obviously had to be "edible" for two or four weeks, so they would change the recipes to suit.

23rd Apr 2013, 12:04
Which makes us wonder what they put in the 'supermarket' bread which lasts a week.

(a) Look at the list of ingredients on supermarket bread, your answer lies therein.

(b) What you were eating was probably not based on a dough made with natural starter ("sourdough"), but rather dough made with bakers/brewers yeasts.......... dough made with the latter goes stale relatively quickly.... sourdough bread lasts a good few days. Also depends on some extent on the hydration levels of the dough, hence why more artisanal style recipes with high hydration levels last longer.

Airborne Aircrew
23rd Apr 2013, 12:12
I bake most weekends and yes, homemade bread can go hard quite quickly if it is "simple bread", (flour, water, salt, yeast). Putting it in the fridge made it soft, wrapping the end in foil didn't help either and just leaving it on the counter made it hard rather quickly. After some research on the internet the general consensus was that homemade bread lasts the longest in a bread bin, on the kitchen counter with the bread placed cut side down. Funny, just like I remember my parents keeping the bread all those years ago. I purchased a nice bin for $20 and, surprise, surprise my bread lasts almost twice as long. :ok:

23rd Apr 2013, 12:25
bread lasts the longest in a bread bin, on the kitchen counter with the bread placed cut side down. Funny, just like I remember my parents keeping the bread all those years ago. I purchased a nice bin for $20 and, surprise, surprise my bread lasts almost twice as long.


23rd Apr 2013, 12:50
Have found that if you throw the extra you have bought into the freezer and thaw or nuke as required it is not much different to the fresh stuff. Wrap it though or it will taste like the lobster you are saving in the bottom box of your freezer

23rd Apr 2013, 12:51
The French, before World War 1 generally ate levain (sourdough) raised breads. After the war, industrialisation increased and stronger flours, machine mixers and steam injected ovens became available. They were used as they shortened the production time - the wider use of brewer's (baker's) yeast helped that as well. The baguette (and croissant) began in Paris in the 1920s.

Using steam in the baking process delays the formation of the crust, which results in a greater "oven spring" to the bread. That's what gives the baguette it's light, very open, crumb. Steam also helps produce a really crisp crust. When the surface of the dough reaches 180°F, the starches in the slowly forming crust start absorbing moisture. They eventually become so saturated that they burst and liquefy. As the bread continues to cook, this starch gel turns into a brittle and glossy shell. The more moisture there is on the surface of the dough, the more abundant the starch gel, and the crisper and more crackly the eventual crust. When a freshly baked baguette cools down, steam from within can pass straight out through the crust because a thin crust is more porous, which preserves its crispness but results in a much lower water content in the finished bread than in an English loaf.

With the open crumb, porous crust and lower moisture content the starch content can undergo retrogradation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retrogradation_%28starch%29) faster than in an English loaf. Retrogradation is the process of bread going stale, as the linear molecules, amylose, and linear parts of amylopectin molecules in the starch crystallise. (Incidentally, that's a process which is fastest at temperatures between –8 and +8 °C, which is why you keep bread in a bread bin, and not in the refrigerator!)

It's a very short-lived bread in terms of quality, however. The scent of a new baguette comes from the crust, where 2-Acetyl-1-pyrolene produces the roasted note the Strecker aldehydes methylpropanal, 2- and 3- methylbutanal the malty note and the compounds (E)-2-nonenal and 1-octen-3-one are responsible for the fatty impression. The roasty and malty chemicals are not very stable, though - so even four hours out of the oven the fatty note begins to predominate. That's why supermarket "off the shelf" baguette's have nothing like the aroma of a fresh baker's loaf.

Airborne Aircrew
23rd Apr 2013, 13:51




23rd Apr 2013, 14:16
OFSO - The ingredient is called "bread improver" in the upside-down part of the world. The ingredients of bread improver can vary according to the manufacturer.
Ascorbic, and often, citric acid - which are both natural preservatives - are most often a part of the bread improver formula.

I understand that, according to French law, true French bread may contain only the basic four ingredients, and sometimes small amounts of rye flour or ascorbic acid.
This would largely account for the reasons why French bread tastes so good when freshly produced, but does not stay fresh for very long.

Bread Improver (http://www.basicingredients.com.au/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=26&products_id=116)

(check out the chemical numbers in the bread improver ingredients and you'll be quite amazed at the constituents)

23rd Apr 2013, 14:36
The answer is: live nearer the bread shop!

We pop out to get fresh bread morning noon and night.

If you can't, it's your choice. You must really like living in your field.

Loose rivets
23rd Apr 2013, 14:43
I can't eat bread made with wheat. I was probably affected for some years before I finished flying, but thankfully it only got serious after I'd hung up me hat. I don't know which allergy really gets me, but one of them saw me on the side of the road, 999 call and epi-pen in hand.

I can't touch beer. Not a spoonful. Something has reprogrammed my immune system.

A neighbor - not sure if she was a professor at the Uni but very analytical - tells me she can eat bread in some States, but not in others. Certainly not here in Texas. She blames the way wheat has been modified to make it a certain height. :confused: Easier to harvest, but it's undergone a change. Chemicals? Don't know, but that's the problem with the modern world, there are so many chemicals introduced into food it's difficult to find a cause to these allergies.

However, a family baker in my old home town in Essex makes a gluten free bread which is dark, heavy and woooooonderful. Such a treat after so many years of not having my tea, toast and marmalade in the mornings.

It's made of Teff grain, but all my attempts at getting such a product in the US have failed.

Just had two rice things with me morning tea.:( Just something to balance marmalade on.

Erwin Schroedinger
23rd Apr 2013, 14:45
At risk of being shot down in a barrage of disgust, we frequently enjoy certain (though not all) brands of the part-baked baguettes and petits pains available in major supermarkets. Bake until quite a lot darker than normal, eat piping hot, within seconds of removing from the oven. Chopped tomato and olives, black pepper, chunks of ham or cheese; delicious. Care needed to avoid lacerated cheeks and gums; the crust is sharp.

23rd Apr 2013, 15:33
Chemicals? Don't know, but that's the problem with the modern world, there are so many chemicals introduced into food it's difficult to find a cause to these allergies.

Its particularly a problem in the good ol' USA where lots of weird and wonderful things go on with food that have either been long banned or are so heavily frowned upon they are no longer practiced in the rest of the world.

For example.... the bleaching of flour is still permitted in the USA.... long banned in Europe and many other parts of the world.

or Dairy.....
EU, JP, NZ, AU and CA all ban milk and dairy products from cows treated with synthetic growth hormones.
Uncle Sam's FDA/EPA/NIH all maintain that the hormones make cows produce more milk but pose no threat to humans.

or Man-made fat......
US has no requirements for manufacturers to list "trans-fats", nor do they regulate the quantities permitted. Most EU countries stricltly limit the amount of hydrogenated oils permitted in products (e.g. Denmark = max 2%).

23rd Apr 2013, 15:46
You must really like living in your field.

Or in the case of OFSO up the mountain. The 600' down isn't the problem.

23rd Apr 2013, 15:53
The answer is: live nearer the bread shop!
If you can't, it's your choiceHmm, easy to say. I live in a town of 8,000+. Our last bakery closed a few months ago. Tesco gets the blame but that's not the full story, of course.

23rd Apr 2013, 18:38
Didn't realise so many people baked, thought I was an outlier.

Used to bake every day, (five kids living at home.) Now we're down to about two or three times a week as Mrs VJ has almost given up bread too.

I really have no problem keeping bread for three days. I use plenty of olive oil (large dollop) in bread mixer and remove as dough, (I don't punch it down at this point,) let it rise some more and then bake in oven. Also I put in about three table spoons of lemon juice to help it rise quicker.

When I cut it the first time I wrap the cut end in plastic bag. If left for more than half a day I usually cut a sliver off in case the end has staled. It's a habit and not always necessary.

Usually a bit stale on fourth day if it lasts that long, still good for toasts and emergency until the next one is baked.

23rd Apr 2013, 20:43
I've lived in cities all my 65 years, and I've never had to think about buying, making, and keeping bread.

But again, you guys made your choices about where to live, so I suppose you are happy with those ...

Airborne Aircrew
23rd Apr 2013, 20:53

I can drive to any one of several bakeries within ten minutes or so... It's the fun of making your own bread and, more importantly, having my house smell like it did half a century ago for half a day a week...

Priceless... :ok:

23rd Apr 2013, 20:59
After some research on the internet the general consensus was that homemade bread lasts the longest in a bread bin, on the kitchen counter with the bread placed cut side down.

Talk about stating the bleedin' obvious - where else would you keep it? That's where I always keep my Tesco's bread - and very nice it is too. £1.30 a large loaf. No idea how long it lasts because it always eaten by the next day in this house, and another one is transferred from the freezer to the breadbin.

I've heard of people in North London paying £20 for an "artisanal" (= expensive) loaf and sitting around dipping chunks of it in olive oil.


Mike X
23rd Apr 2013, 21:05
The four ingredients?

Flour, salt, yeast and water won't make a great bread. The yeast needs to feed on something. Oil is not obligatory, but sugar is. And don't forget the water temperature to activate the yeast and manner of mixing all together perfectly !

The correct balance between yeast and sugar will ensure a long lasting dough (punch it down each day a few times unless you want sour, less punching periods) and a universal mix i.e. bread (add your seeds etc...), pizza base et al.

I would love to give the quantities, but 'tis a trade secret in my business. :8

Why do humans complicate (oversimplify) the proven ways.

P.S. Flour is cake (all purpose).

Airborne Aircrew
23rd Apr 2013, 21:11
Why do humans complicate (oversimplify) the proven ways.

Because we are trying to learn the old ways Obi Wan... ;)

Mike X
23rd Apr 2013, 21:20
Airborne :

Hey Kenobi.

Not being smart, I learnt hands-on.

One becomes one with the process, depends on outside temp (seasonal), quality-of-ingredient batches blah,blah,blah.

Like sushi chefs, we become Wan. ;)

Seriously, when one understands one's dough, 'tis not the same as eating franchised dough. :yuk:

Airborne Aircrew
23rd Apr 2013, 21:27

I know you're not trying to be smart... I only started a few months ago and love it... Fortunately the wife and daughter love it too... :ok:

Now I need to mess with the sugar in the warm water premix of the fresh yeast... Or is that wrong?



23rd Apr 2013, 21:34
In the UK, all the pre-packed bread and most of that baked in supermarkets is made by the Chorleywood process. You need to visit the smaller specialist bakers to get something different/better.
Chorleywood bread process - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chorleywood_bread_process)

23rd Apr 2013, 21:36
I tried many times to bake bread, but it always resulted in sad loaves that smelled strongly of yeast. I tried all sorts of environments (airing cupboard and even low-temperature oven) without success, different types of yeast (dried and fresh) and all sorts of flour. :ugh:

Airborne Aircrew
23rd Apr 2013, 21:40

Right now I put the dough in a cold oven, covered, with a small bowl of almost boiling water on the shelf under it to keep the area warm and moist... I'm getting good results. A warmed oven alone dries the outside of the dough...

23rd Apr 2013, 21:43
The yeast needs to feed on something

Correct - but sugar (sucrose - polysaccharide) needs to be broken down to monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) in order to be useful to the yeast.

The addition of sugar to dough products enhances the taste, crumb texture (how the gliadin and glutenin 'sheet' to form body), acts as a humectant and, to a very small degree gives a more available immediate source of potential nutrient than the more complex starch. It also provides colour through the temperature and protein interaction in the Maillard catalysed process.

Sucrose is not required in bread; you can possibly retard a dough's formation with excess sugar (best case) or you will kill the yeast straight away by increasing the osmotic gradient (worst case).

The staling process is not fully understood, but current thinking is that it is not a 'drying out' - the starch granules reabsorb the water present in the loaf. This can be released by gentle warming at c. 80C. for 10 mins. in a standard (non-convection) oven. No misting or covering required.

The standard French loaf does not use modifiers by law. Most 'improvers' and 'enhancers' are there for the convenience of the baker and are destroyed by enzymic activity during baking. Not all E numbers are bad Ascorbic acid / Vitamin C is E300; an antioxidant.

The stuff from Tesainsmorrispencer is crap. Don't touch it!

23rd Apr 2013, 22:08
A warmed oven alone dries the outside of the dough...
I used to cover the bowl with a wet tea towel.

Mike X
23rd Apr 2013, 23:24

I'm not a scientest. I speak from experience of making my own dough on a daily basis (restaurant) and having a reputation for its uniqueness.

Scientists make white bread. Death.

You cannot retard the feeding of yeast on anything that is considered as a sugar. Yeast gives off alcohol and CO2. (Why do you think bread is a staple.)

Sucrose is not required in bread

Explain me : What does the yeast (it's alive, if activated at the correct temperature) feed off then ?

Without yeast, you're talking unleavened bread.

24th Apr 2013, 02:15
Loose Rivets.
My partner is gluten intolerant and we have spent a couple of years now trying all of the available gluten-free products in our area.
The big challenge is decent bread, and acceptable pasta, we have found both.
However, we live very close to SF and have a huge array of really great markets to choose from.
Drop me a PM and I'll send you links to what works for us, and hopefully you can source it from your neck of Texarse.
(orig. Geordie, now in a decent climate)

24th Apr 2013, 06:47
Explain me : What does the yeast (it's alive, if activated at the correct temperature) feed off then ?

Without yeast, you're talking unleavened bread.

Look up Sourdough.

No yeast there. No sugar there.

It feeds off the flour.

24th Apr 2013, 07:04
Flour, salt, yeast and water won't make a great bread.
A good baguette isn't great bread? Water, yeast and a little flour to make your poolish in the evening, use it with the 4 ingredients next day to make great bread.

24th Apr 2013, 08:06
Mike-X - also look up soda bread. The baking soda is an alkaline, add an acid (buttermilk) to it and you get CO2 which is what the yeast produces.

24th Apr 2013, 08:14
What does the yeast (it's alive, if activated at the correct temperature) feed off then ?

The glucose and fructose derived from complex starches (constituting the endosperm, c. 85% of flour) broken down by amylase (and other enzymes) found naturally in the flour.

Basic white bread recipe is flour, water, yeast - salt is added for retardation, flavour, structure and colour.

Without yeast, you're talking unleavened bread.

Soda bread?

5% sucrose addition will cause dehydration of the yeast and therefore retard its desired result; 10% will kill it.

Try your bread recipe without sugar - make a usual batch with sugar and one without. Without will just take longer but will probably have a more subtle flavour.

Addendum to last - sucrose is a disaccharide - problem caused by another byproduct of Saccharomyces cerevisiae :O

24th Apr 2013, 08:14
A good baguette isn't great bread? Water, yeast and a little flour to make your poolish in the evening, use it with the 4 ingredients next day to make great bread.

Just for sake of completeness.... alternetive to the poolish method is sourdough starter. :cool:

Quality of ingredients also matters, especially the flour.

Good flour from a good mill can make more difference to the taste and texture of your loaf than you may think.

e.g. the sort of stuff Shipton Mill produces (or even something like Moul-Bie Campaillette Grand Siècle if you can get your hands on it).

24th Apr 2013, 09:09
mixture, my sourdough starter went odd, and I haven't made a new one; thanks for the reminder, I'll get one going tonight. The poolish is a quick alternative.

Incidentally, for baguettes I use regular plain flour, rather than strong bread flour.

Bread bin was nearly bare this morning. Might do a focaccia tonight with sundried tomatoes, and have it with a lump of taleggio for lunch tomorrow.

24th Apr 2013, 09:40
my sourdough starter went odd

Howso 'odd'? In my experience of these creatures 'odd' is usually an overwhelmingly offputting smell of vinegar and possibly even death! Be brave when this occurs - you might well have the best potential starter on the planet...

A poolish is good because you are encouraging a slow development and maturation of flavours in a 'fridge but it is not a replacement for a sourdough starter. These two produce completely different products, both with their own merit.

24th Apr 2013, 09:43
Apart from the sour liquid (that's OK; drain it off, give the remainder a feed), it had curdled and slightly discoloured. I thought better safe than sorry.

24th Apr 2013, 10:09

Tell me about it.... I've managed to kill a couple of sourdough starters, but fingers crossed my current one is still happily living.

Nothing wrong with the poolish method, was just me being nitpicky. :E

24th Apr 2013, 10:25
curdled and slightly discoloured

Sounds totally normal... Be brave!

Seriously, though, if you didn't feel comfortable with it, quite right - sling it. However, it is very unlikely to do you harm - it is sufficiently acid to prevent nasty pathogens from forming. It could be you have some mould growing in little recesses in your 'fridge - no bad reflection on you, just normal contamination. are you covering it lightly with lid or clingfilm?

24th Apr 2013, 10:45
Kilner jar. Perhaps I should clean the seal more often.

24th Apr 2013, 12:15
Apart from the sour liquid (that's OK; drain it off, give the remainder a feed),

Try stirring this in, discard half, feed, stir in the feed and then seal with your cleaned (sterilised maybe?) lid.

The solids do settle in the swamp - the liquid is part of the gubbins. Another thing to remember is that you are trying to have aerobic digestion; tightly sealed is not necessary - and maybe harmful (to the barm) - you want a starter, not beer!

24th Apr 2013, 13:14
you want a starter, not beer!

Speak for yourself . . .

Solid Rust Twotter
25th Apr 2013, 05:22

Bread dough doesn't need the addition of sugar. As mentioned, it gets what it needs from the flour.

Simplest recipe I use is 1kg white bread flour (or other wholegrain types if heading that way), 1.5 teaspoons salt, pack of Anchor dry yeast (find it works best), and a 330ml bottle of beer, followed by the same bottle filled with lukewarm water.

I use the beer for a malty flavour with a touch of hoppiness in the bread. Just use the same quantity of water if you don't want that. Knead, prove and bake as normal.

I find rye bread made with three parts rye flour and one part wheat flour, along with a dark ale and water in a 1:1 ratio to be particularly good. Loads of flavour and keeps for more than a week.

25th Apr 2013, 11:56
Mrs OFSO foresook her usual sculpture today and got cracking in the kitchen: when I returned from the gyrm this morning this was awaiting me:


25th Apr 2013, 13:52
Stunning - she made you a laminated Beech worksurface! Can you move the bread so I can admire the craftsmanship?:}

Good loaves - heavy grade steel tins will give you a crisper edge and texture - those silicon buggers are useless.

25th Apr 2013, 14:09
a laminated Beech worksurface

That's from Lidl, and has fallen to bits after several naughty rides in the dishwasher: I got some ginormous screws and screwed it back together.

25th Apr 2013, 14:25
Good loaves - heavy grade steel tins will give you a crisper edge and texture - those silicon buggers are useless.

Look a little bit overbaked to me (probably because they're all different sizes and so you were probably waiting for the biggest one to finish cooking), and wheres the photos of the crumb? :cool:

Also forget tins, just bake on a solid thick metal tray that has been pre-heated.

25th Apr 2013, 15:50
A heavy grade tin will allow you to bake the likes of Brioche Nanterre with an even light colour.

Try putting some boiling water into a tray on the bottom shelf of the oven and givig the loaves a wash just before slashing (good'n deep - like a hungover hussar - be brave!).

OFSO - were these baked in a convection oven? If so, do you have a bottom heat only function? That might well alleviate the 'leathery look'.

A good effort. Keep it up!

Incidentally - sesame seeds stick better; poppy seeds are a nightmare underfoot...

28th Apr 2013, 04:28
Probably get decried as a Philistine, but the beeper on my bread maker went off thirty mins ago, and the crust on my reduced-wheat loaf was something you dream of. Reduced-wheat - 1 cup bakers flour, 1 cup spelt flour, 3/4 cup rye flour and 3/4 cup of brown rice flour, plus add freshly ground linseed meal. 1 tablespoon linseed/flax in coffee grinder. Plus salt sugar, oil yeast etc.

Bread makers are alright if you make all your own bread - like two to three times a week, every week. And there's no washing up afterwards. Stick all the stuff in the pan seperately, then into the machine which mixes it, waits for it to rise, remixes and rise again then cooks it. Empty out loaf of bread, and after short wait eat.

No chemicals at all. It doesn't hang around long enough to need preservatives.