20 December 2009

The Dough Also Rises

photo of a cat yelling at a computer html cannot do that

As some of you may remember, several months ago I made my first sour dough starter. From that starter, I have embarked on a tasty journey in bread making. During that journey, I have learned a few valuable lessons which I would like to share with you today. To assist those who may stumble upon my original article, I will also be linking this article to my original posting of Baking with Your Sourdough Starter.

When I first began making bread many years ago, I did it the old-fashioned way and kneaded it by hand. I read that by using this method, it was almost impossible to over-knead your dough. Well, I erroneously carried that belief over to how I prepared my dough using a machine. Once the dough came together, I would let the machine knead the dough for an additional five minutes or more and guess what, I consistently ended-up with a dough that rose very little. Yes, the bread was still very good, but it was not as light and fluffy as I wanted it to be.

The result: I only use the machine until the dough is completely mixed and then I let the machine go for maybe another 30-45 seconds. After that, I shape it into a ball and let it go for its first rise. It took quite some time and research for me to discover this little secret, but since I have started doing this, my dough has not failed to rise.

Next, I was always under the impression that when you are adding the flour, the dough should not be sticky when squeezed; meaning that when you squeeze it, your fingers will come out clean. Now, I would add flour until the dough reached this "dry" consistency and I soon discovered that this was causing the bread to turn-out "heavy". You see, I am constantly working to make sure that my bread will come out as light and fluffy as possible, so once I discovered that more flour meant a heavier bread, I began to research what I needed to do.

It was only few weeks ago that I discovered that the dough is supposed to be sticky. So, over the next few weeks when made the bread, I made sure that the dough ended-up being sticky (meaning that when I handled the dough, it stuck to my fingers). Since I began doing this (along with not over-kneading), my bread has come out lighter and fluffier.

As I continue to make bread every week, I am constantly trying to improve how it turns out and even though I will mess-up every now and then, I will strive to make sure that the dough also rises.


  1. I learned something new today. I love making homemade bread.I use my bread machine when I make it. I haven't tried it from scratch and kneading the dough on my own. I did make cinnamon rolls from scratch. That was messy but everyone liked them. Good for you for trying to master it more and more as you make it. You will get that perfect combination in no time.

  2. a49erfangirl: I used to use a bread machine, but ours broke down a few years ago, so I have to use our mixer. Those rolls sound really good and I wouldn't mind making some. Yes, you made me hungry :)

  3. It was the first time I made those handmade. I have the recipe on my blog I believe. I want to try this other cinnamon roll recipe that calls for Vanilla Pudding in it. I am trying more things when it comes to breads too. So much to explore and learn.

  4. a49erfangirl: Drooling here!! If you want to try a sourdough starter, I can send you the link. It's kinda fun to do and the longer you use it, the more flavor it gets. Also, all you use is flour and water...no yeast!.
    Please let me know how the vanilla pudding recipe turns out.

  5. Great information to know should I ever find the ambition to actually make my own bread. The closest I've ever gotten to home made bread is buying the frozen dough. I am soooo lazy...lol

  6. Glad you are perfecting your bread recipe and thanks for sharing the tips with us! Wish you could send out samples!

  7. Ann: After baking all day, probably the last thing you want to do when you get home is...bake ;)

    BeadedTail: Thank you. I really wish that I could send you some samples.

  8. Not good for your diet, but I made Garlic Cheese & Sundried Tomato Beer Bread today. :)

  9. Oh, homemade bread sounds so, so delicious. Mmmm...

  10. Storm, The Psychotic Housewife: Forget the diet! Must...have...recipe!!

    Your Daily Cute: It is, especially with butter :)


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