Bread sliceFarmhouse Loaf:
  • 210ml water
  • 350g bread flour
  • 25g whole wheat flour
  • 15ml milk powder ¼ cup milk
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ¾ tsp instant-rise yeast 1¼ tsp active dry yeast
I'm trying another bread machine loaf. Again I don't have milk powder, so I used 2% milk instead.. I am using active dry yeast instead of instant rise. I didn't think the loaf rose enough last time, so I added the yeast to the warm water while I measured the other ingredients. Since I thought the last loaf was too dry during the knead I just added the milk rather than substituting some milk for some of the water. This is about 2 tbsp more liquid than what I used last try, so I may be overcompensating.
First potential goof of this try is that I looked at the yeast package when measuring it out and used 1¼ tsp yeast instead of the recipe's ¾ tsp. Add that to my pre-blooming the yeast and I may be overdoing the yeast for this loaf. We'll see.
As I am typing to this point, the machine has finished the first knead/rise cycle and is kneading again. During the first cycle I briefly thought it might still be too dry, but didn't make any adjustments. However the dough didn't ball up on the paddle and spin around a few times like it did on my last loaf. In the second kneading, however, I think the dough is now too sticky as there is some dough sticking to the bottom of the pan, and the ball is periodically sticking to the side of the pan while the paddle kneads the bottom portion. Also there are bits of dough sticking to the sides, but overall most of the dough is mixing and kneading. So without making changes I've thought it was too dry at first and now too wet.
Well, I'll just leave it be and see how it turns out. At the moment I'm thinking there may be too much yeast and too much liquid.
Play-by-play: I checked on the bread to see it's risen nearly to the top of the tin. Then I noticed it hasn't started the bake cycle yet! Hopefully it won't fall or overflow the tin before it starts baking and sets. The heck? The machine just knocked the dough down again. I guess there are three rise cycles on this machine. (later…) It just knocked the dough down again. If I'm counting right, that's two kneads, two knockdowns and four rises so far. (later…) I didn't intend to watch the machine this closely, but I have been working on the computer and check on it when I hear it do something or when I grab a snack or drink. The second and fourth rise cycles appear to be a good bit longer than the first and third. The dough is nearing the top of the tin again. Hopefully it will start baking soon because I have been thinking about fresh bread for at least a couple of hours now. (later…) Heard the baking cycle start with a click; the crown of the dough is just higher than the tin, but there is an average of about an inch of pan showing around the sides. This should be good! (later…) The top seems like it might have tried to collapse because there are some odd dents in it, but apparently it has been baking long enough to set the shape and prevent a major collapse.
After baking the crown of the loaf was a little shy of the top of the tin, so I think it tried to collapse but had set enough to avoid it. I put the bread
on a rack to cool for 30 minutes and then cut into it. The entire loaf is softer and feels lighter than my previous try with this recipe. The crumb is very soft and light. It slices very easily with a bread knife.
It has a sharp taste. I think this was too much yeast for this recipe (recall I accidentally added twice as much as was called for), or maybe I shouldn't have bloomed it. It tastes good, but I don't want that m
uch sharpness next time.
Partially collapsed bread crown
I put peanut butter on the two slices and am eating them. The bread may actually be
 too soft for sandwiches; it tried to tear when I spread the peanut butter, and I miss some of the chewiness of my previou
s loaves. This could be a good texture for a soft hamburger bun roll, though.
I am a novice bread baker, but from what I see and understand I think the dough was a slightly too sticky, and that plus too much yeast made the dough rise to the point of collapse just as the baking was setting the dough. Note in the photo how the crown seems slightly caved in. Too much yeast also caused a harsh flavor. Not to say this fresh bread isn't delicious, it's just that I am making notes to learn how to bake better bread.