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Von Trapp Oatmeal Bread


petite tête de chou
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I'm a novice bread maker and have baked, including this one, three different kinds of bread. My first was a simple, white sandwich loaf and the second was a french bread. Both turned out "okay." The french bread wasn't kneaded enough and spread quite a bit. The slashing, oven moisture and flavor were good. However, this oatmeal bread was awful. In the interest of full disclosure I didn't sprinkle the yeast over the top of the oatmeal mixture, I stirred it in. It foamed after about 6 minutes, I added one teaspoon of salt and five cups of flour. Kneaded it for about twenty minutes, slowly adding a bit less than one cup on flour (all-purpose). Elastic, smelled great, let it rest under a bowl for about fifteen minutes. Cut in half with a chefs knife, formed into two loaves, dropped into two lightly oiled loaf pans, brushed with egg, sprinkled with oats. During the doughs resting stage I turned my electric, pizza stone-bedecked oven to 225 for a few minutes then turned it off- just to warm it a bit. Inserted said loaves and promptly left for the hardware store.

Should not have gone to the hardware store. What appeared to have happened is that the loaves over-rose. :angry: They were lumpy on top. -sigh- Removed them, preheated my oven to 370 and baked for about fifty minutes. I let the misshapen, sad things cool and sliced off an end to taste. If the flavor and texture were there then I wasn't too concerned with the appearance. Yech. Too dense. Not enough salt. Blech.

Is there something I should know? Bad recipe? Outstandingly incompetent baker? What?

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Yech. Too dense.

Reminds me of the Fran Leibowitz quote: "Bread that must be sliced with an axe is entirely too nourishing." :laugh:

:biggrin: Indeed. Especially sad considering that this particular recipe was to result in a "lighter" weight bread. I really do suspect the over-rising for it's demise but I thought that I would pick the collective brain otherwise known as Egullet. :wink:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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I think the main problem is the recipe called for too little salt and too much yeast. 1/2 tsp salt for close to 3 pounds of flour+oatmeal is way off. My rule of thumb is 1/2 Tbs (1.5 tsp) per pound of dry. This should have had at least 3-4 tsp salt. You added 1 tsp, which was twice as good as the recipe, but still not enough. The salt (in addition to flavor) slows down the yeast and the rise, which means it won't over-proof too quickly. A longer rise develops flour. I think you need to knead longer, too, when you use oatmeal because the oats interfere with glutin development. If you kneaded by hand, give it 12-15 minutes. In a KA mixer, 8-10 minutes.

ps--2 pkgs of yeast could be cut down easily to 1 pkg or less.

Edited by JayBassin (log)
He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau
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I think the main problem is the recipe called for too little salt and too much yeast. 1/2 tsp salt for close to 3 pounds of flour+oatmeal is way off. My rule of thumb is 1/2 Tbs (1.5 tsp) per pound of dry. This should have had at least 3-4 tsp salt. You added 1 tsp, which was twice as good as the recipe, but still not enough. The salt (in addition to flavor) slows down the yeast and the rise, which means it won't over-proof too quickly. A longer rise develops flour. I think you need to knead longer, too, when you use oatmeal because the oats interfere with glutin development. If you kneaded by hand, give it 12-15 minutes. In a KA mixer, 8-10 minutes.

ps--2 pkgs of yeast could be cut down easily to 1 pkg or less.

Thanks JayBassin. I'll definitely add more salt next time. The recipe says to let the loaves rise for about an hour and I was gone for a little under that and yet they had time to rise aaand fall like some yeasty Roman Empire. So hopefully more salt will slow it down. But no more hardware trips during bread-making for me.

I did knead the bread for about twenty minutes and was pretty happy with it's elasticity. It's supposed to get a bit more difficult towards the end of the kneading process, correct? Activating the gluten and all that? Or was I just getting tired?

Also, I don't understand about cutting the yeast in half. What will this do? Should I then let the loaves rise longer? Sometimes bread can have an over-yeasty smell and flavor that kind of turns me off, will reducing the yeast help with this problem?

My husband bought me a KA this Christmas but I feel that I should learn how to make bread completely by hand before making use of it's convenience. But I DO use it to whip egg-whites and cream. :smile: Thanks again.

Edited by petite tête de chou (log)

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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I did knead the bread for about twenty minutes and was pretty happy with it's elasticity.  It's supposed to get a bit more difficult towards the end of the kneading process, correct? Activating the gluten and all that? Or was I just getting tired?

Also, I don't understand about cutting the yeast in half. What will this do? Should I then let the loaves rise longer? Sometimes bread can have an over-yeasty smell and flavor that kind of turns me off, will reducing the yeast help with this problem?

If you were happy with the elasticity, then kneading time was fine. Cutting down the yeast does reduce the "yeastiness" smell. More importantly, it slows down the rise, which gives the dough longer to develop flavor. Too much yeast, as in the recipe, especially with insufficient salt, creates a very rapid rise. You get "double the volume" too fast, without time for the dough to develop, and when you bake it, you get too much oven-spring (the extra puff created by the warmth before the yeast are killed). You can then get a collapsed loaf, contributing to dense crumb.

I recommend you look at some good books in your library about bread baking. One of the best is "Bread Baker's Apprentice."

He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau
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The crumb was dense alright. Not actually raw but the yeast

smelled like it hadn't cooked through. My next attempt will be slow and easy. Less yeast, more salt, slow rise. Kind of makes me wonder how the folks on Epicurious who reviewed the recipe "really liked it." How could they? Then again, perhaps their loaves didn't collapse. And because of the strong yeasty smell and flavor I don't think that I'll even use it for stuffing. -sigh- At least the ingredients aren't expensive. :rolleyes:

Edited by petite tête de chou (log)

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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The crumb was dense alright. Not actually raw but the yeast

smelled like it hadn't cooked through. My next attempt will be slow and easy. Less yeast, more salt, slow rise. Kind of makes me wonder how the folks on Epicurious who reviewed the recipe "really liked it." How could they? Then again, perhaps their loaves didn't collapse. And because of the strong yeasty smell and flavor I don't think that I'll even use it for stuffing. -sigh- At least the ingredients aren't expensive.  :rolleyes:

Let us know how your next batch turns out. It's possible that the Epicurious recipe simply had a typo (or two).

He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau
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Success! Thank you so much JayBassin. I took your recommendation and added 3.5 teaspoons of salt, kneaded it for about a half hour (!) and cut the yeast in half. Also, I used three cups of unbleached bread flour and three cups of AP. I allowed it to rise about an hour and a half in a warmed oven and voila- bread. :smile: The only slight problem I encountered was that the loaves fell a bit when I removed them from the oven to cool on a rack. Hmm. Not sure what caused it. Thanks again.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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The recipe you used looks proportionally the same as the one I used last weekend, (and several times previously), from Betsy Openmiers book, EXCEPT the 1st rising period would be about one hour, and the 2nd (in loaf pans) about 45 minutes.

It's really rare to see a yeast bread recipe with such a short initial rising time.

SB :blink:

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The recipe you used looks proportionally the same as the one I used last weekend, (and several times previously), from Betsy Openmiers book, EXCEPT the 1st rising period would be about one hour, and the 2nd (in loaf pans) about 45 minutes.

It's really rare to see a yeast bread recipe with such a short initial rising time.

SB  :blink:

Since I'm SUCH a novice bread maker I don't rightly understand the purpose of multiple risings. As per the recipe, after kneading I let the dough rest (and ME :wink: ) for about 15 minutes, shaped and dropped them into the pans for their final and only rising. After your first rising did you punch down the dough? If so, what does this do, exactly? For such a "simple" bread recipe it sure gives rise ( :raz: ) to lots of questions.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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It's really rare to see a yeast bread recipe with such a short initial rising time.

SB  :blink:

Since I'm SUCH a novice bread maker I don't rightly understand the purpose of multiple risings. As per the recipe, after kneading I let the dough rest (and ME :wink: ) for about 15 minutes, shaped and dropped them into the pans for their final and only rising. After your first rising did you punch down the dough? If so, what does this do, exactly? For such a "simple" bread recipe it sure gives rise ( :raz: ) to lots of questions.

As several other respondents have pointed out, there's something "fishy" about this recipe. It may be the salt, the yeast, the rising time, or ....

In basic terms, rising gives the bread it's lift as the yeast eats and gives of carbon dioxide. It develops the flavor,(ie: gets rid of the "yeasty" taste). Most breads use two rises, one in a bowl and one after they're shaped into loaves, but many recipes, especially sourdough breads, use even more rising periods.

The only one-rise, in the loaf pan recipe I use is for English Muffin Bread (posted on RecipeGullet), which includes a heavy yeast to salt ratio plus the addition of baking soda to give it an extra boost. Even at that, this bread has kind of an odd taste until its toasted., then it's great!

SB :smile:

Edited by srhcb (log)
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Since I'm SUCH a novice bread maker I don't rightly understand the purpose of multiple risings. As per the recipe, after kneading I let the dough rest (and ME  :wink: ) for about 15 minutes, shaped and dropped them into the pans for their final and only rising. After your first rising did you punch down the dough? If so, what does this do, exactly? For such a "simple" bread recipe it sure gives rise ( :raz: ) to lots of questions.

You generally need 2 risings, as Srhcb says. Both should go until the volume doubles. The first rise developes the gas bubbles that provide the airiness. Don't knead the bread after the first rise---just collapse the dough, give it a couple of turns, and shape it. You don't want to lose all the gas bubbles. You're redistributing the yeast to give them more food for the second rise. After shaping and putting in the pan, let it rise (covered) again until doubled in volume. Then bake. You said your loaf sagged somewhat when taking it out of the oven. That's not a good sign---you may have underbaked the bread, but if the center was cooked, I don't know why it sagged. The crust usually hardens first. If you have an instant-read thermometer, stab it into the center of the loaf when you think it's done: it should be about 190-200 F or about 90 C.

Edited by JayBassin (log)
He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau
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You generally need 2 risings, as Srhcb says. Both should go until the volume doubles. The first rise developes the gas bubbles that provide the airiness. Don't knead the bread after the first rise---just collapse the dough, give it a couple of turns, and shape it. You don't want to lose all the gas bubbles. You're redistributing the yeast to give them more food for the second rise. After shaping and putting in the pan, let it rise (covered) again until doubled in volume. Then bake. You said your loaf sagged somewhat when taking it out of the oven. That's not a good sign---you may have underbaked the bread, but if the center was cooked, I don't know why it sagged. The crust usually hardens first. If you have an instant-read thermometer, stab it into the center of the loaf when you think it's done: it should be about 190-200 F or about 90 C.

There are several good observations here, in addition to the advice about "collapsing" the dough, which is often called punching it down. (And some days that feels real good!)

Most breads should rise until (roughly) doubled in volume. How long that takes is not the point. Even surrounding air temperature can make a lot of difference. Generally longer rises develop better flavors, and some doughs are even designed to be refrigerated overnight.

The sagging could have been caused by an air bubble that built up beneath the crust. Improper rising time can cause this to happen.

Checking for doneness with a thermometer is good advice. Just like rising time, baking time just plain takes as long as it takes. (checking your oven temp is a must too)

Lots of bread books have trouble shooting sections which offer some help, but there's still a lot of live and learn involved.

SB (still living and learning) :wink:

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