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Baking help needed for tea loaves


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#1 Anna N

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 07:17 AM

Baking help needed for tea loaves

I am going to call these tea loaves but they may also be called quick breads. They are normally baked in a loaf pan. In the past week I have made three different ones. I attempted David Lebovitz' orange poundcake, a lemon drizzle loaf and a malt loaf. Each has come out a rather pathetic flat slab.

Baking soda and baking powder are fresh and I have tested them.

My oven is relatively new and accurate. I keep a thermometer in it at all times.

I try whenever possible to use recipes that call for weight rather than volume.

Most of the recipes use the creaming method.

What should I be looking for improve the loft of these breads?
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#2 andiesenji

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 10:42 AM

Do they rise and then fall?  If they are particularly dense, they might not rise much at all.  I have a couple of recipes that will "dome" in the center a bit but do not rise all that much. 

 

Are they going into the oven immediately after beating the dry ingredients into the wet?

 

If they are particularly "wet" batters, try putting the oven temp up 25 degrees for the first 15 minutes and then reduce it to the regular temp.  That is what I do with a particularly wet and dense pumpkin bread which otherwise just behaves like a brick.

 

Lastly, try omitting the soda entirely unless there is a LOT of acidic components in the batter.  For most applications, unless you are using REAL old-fashioned buttermilk, which is much more acidic than the commercial stuff, the baking powder should be sufficient - you can increase the amount slightly - because in these recipes, soda is only added to promote browning - and in the case of some ingredients (carrots and zucchini) is essential to SOFTEN those raw ingredients. 

 

I have a couple of recipes that call for 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder -  I use 2 teaspoons and have had good results.   Recently one of the segments on America's Test Kitchen had a bit on quick breads and she mentioned specifically that they had found that some of the recipes they tested did much better consistently with more baking powder than the original recipe specified. 

 

I make one applesauce/oatmeal muffin recipe that is quite dense and in addition to the baking powder and the soda, specifies 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar - which is a component of baking powder  - so I just use additional baking powder, instead of the soda and C of T, and the results are better than the original recipe.


Edited by andiesenji, 13 May 2014 - 10:44 AM.

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#3 andiesenji

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 12:36 PM

I saw your post about the Malt loaf.  -  Every malt loaf I have made - both "quick" with chemical leavening and with years have been DENSE and with very little rise.

 

The one recipe that uses baking powder - calls for a TABLESPOON - "if not using self-rising flour or if your S-R flour is more than 6 months old." 

I remember it - I made it last December for a potluck - I think I got it out of Good Food, the UK magazine. 

I used a paper loaf pan and filled it to the top because it stated the loaf would rise very little.

It was dark, dense, moist and very tasty.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#4 Anna N

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 01:36 PM

I saw your post about the Malt loaf.  -  Every malt loaf I have made - both "quick" with chemical leavening and with years have been DENSE and with very little rise.
 
The one recipe that uses baking powder - calls for a TABLESPOON - "if not using self-rising flour or if your S-R flour is more than 6 months old." 
I remember it - I made it last December for a potluck - I think I got it out of Good Food, the UK magazine. 
I used a paper loaf pan and filled it to the top because it stated the loaf would rise very little.
It was dark, dense, moist and very tasty.

Andie,


Thanks so much for attempting to diagnose my problem. I had no intention of performing experiments this afternoon but I wanted to make Franci's cookies. The first batch I did in my regular (reliable?) oven. They simply would not colour. I baked them for much too long but still no colour. I checked the temperature. It was 350°. It's always possible that my thermometer is inaccurate. I recognize that but doubt it. I then put small tray into my Breville oven and they browned in the suggested 12 minutes of baking. I then tried a tray in my regular oven using the convection setting. No better results. I finished baking everything in the Breville oven and turned my regular oven to broil to check that the top element came on. It did. I am stumped. Per haps the top element does not come on during the bake cycle. I will attempt to check that. The plot thickens.

image.jpg

Cookies on right are over baked in regular oven. Cookies on the left cooked in Breville oven.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

"It either works fine or not, but what the heck. This is bread, not birth control." Susan of Wild Yeast blog
Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
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#5 Lisa Shock

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 02:08 PM

Some ovens have two internal controller mechanisms that regulate the temperature, one of yours could be broken.

 

Do you have a pizza stone? If so, place it on the bottom rack, or, if you have a sealed element bottom, place it directly on the bottom of the oven. It will help keep the oven at temperature because it's a big heat sink.

 

On the cake front, are your eggs fresh? When you cracked them did they have lots of firm whites and very little thin whites? Old eggs don't have the leavening power of fresh ones. Old eggs also don't have as much intact protein in them and protein is one of the ingredients which firms up during cooking and holds air bubbles in place. With old eggs the air bubbles tend to deflate due to a lack of protein.

 

There's an old myth that old, room temperature eggs are best for recipes calling for whipped whites. The old whites appear to whip of wonderfully, and it happens really fast. But, once added to a batter, they have no structural integrity and result in product that doesn't rise at all, or product which rises and then collapses.

 

One other tip is to really thoroughly cream the butter and sugar. I just read advice from Shirley Corriher recommending creaming for seven minutes in a stand mixer. But, that's probably not signficant enough of an issue to affect your outcomes so drastically.



#6 Anna N

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 02:22 PM

Thanks, Lisa.

Pizza stone always in place on the lowest shelf. Eggs are fresh. If the recipe suggests a creaming time I will follow it otherwise I do 3 to 5 timed minutes in my Bosch stand mixer.

I am beginning to suspect my oven is the cause of the problem. Tomorrow if I have time I will make my malt loaves and bake them in the Breville.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

"It either works fine or not, but what the heck. This is bread, not birth control." Susan of Wild Yeast blog
Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog

#7 Anna N

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 11:04 AM

Well is not my oven. I have established that by turning out a perfectly baked lemon pound cake well within the suggested baking times. In another thread Blether is suggesting my beloved all purpose Canadian flour, with its high gluten content, might be the culprit. And he might have something. And number of the recipes I am using are of British origin and from what I can determine British flour is only about 10% gluten. So if I still care by the end of the week I will try at least one recipe and use cake flour. Thanks to everyone for their help.
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

"It either works fine or not, but what the heck. This is bread, not birth control." Susan of Wild Yeast blog
Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog

#8 barolo

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 12:08 PM

The Guardian has a feature on "how to make the perfect malt loaf" : http://www.theguardi...alt-loaf-recipe

Looking at the pictures, it looks to me like flat slab is pretty close to the perfect malt loaf.
Cheers,
Anne

#9 Anna N

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 03:19 PM

The Guardian has a feature on "how to make the perfect malt loaf" : http://www.theguardi...alt-loaf-recipeLooking at the pictures, it looks to me like flat slab is pretty close to the perfect malt loaf.


I seriously considered using this recipe. However there was just something about the photo made me question just how perfect it could be. The photo is not in the least appealing. I also found the whole series just too much like Cook's illustrated. I have no excuses for my prejudices.
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

"It either works fine or not, but what the heck. This is bread, not birth control." Susan of Wild Yeast blog
Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog