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Apr 28, 2011 07:59 AM

Questions from a long time baker, first time bread maker!

So I have been baking all my life, but have never ventured into the land of bread (other than sweet breads, doughnuts etc.) and yesterday I decided to make the plunge and bake my first loaf of white bread.

My recipe made enough dough for two loaves, so I baked one loaf and put the rest of the dough into the fridge so I could make it today (after I had tried my first loaf). My first loaf was tasty and gorgeous but sadly super dense, which was okay for a first try but not perfect by any means.

I was able to determine that my mistake was not kneading enough but now am not sure what to do about my second loaf. The second loaf which is in the fridge has already risen, so I'm not sure if I can bring it up to room temperature and re-knead it or if that will ruin the bread. Can someone give me any insight into what I should do?

Should i bring the second batch up to temperature, re-knead and let it re-rise? Should I just call it a day and make another dense loaf of bread and remember to knead more the next time?

Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!

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  1. I would bring it to room temperature, shape when you can and let it rise again before baking. Don't reknead. The second loaf should be better because you've let it rise longer. And, the rise/rest in the refrigerator will help w/ it not being kneaded enough.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      And, based upon the Breadbaker's Apprentice, that time in the fridge should also improve the flavor, by a lot, if my experience is any indication.

      Get that book if you're really wanting to make bread. It's the bible of the home breadbaker.

    2. As dough sits for long periods of time, the gluten structure starts forming on its own, which takes the place of kneading -- I hardly knead my bread (a long-rising sourdough) at all, and no-knead bread is practically touchless. So no, don't re-knead! Bring the batch up to room temp and bake, and you'll probably be surprised by how different the texture is than the first batch.

      I often recommend for new bakers, especially their tutorial for absolute first-time bakers. It takes you through your first few loaves of bread, making little adjustments as you go to improve flavor and texture.

      How long did you knead the dough? What type of flour did you use? Did you knead by hand or in a machine? In the early stages of learning to bake yeast bread, almost everyone does two things: they overknead (especially in a mixer), and they add WAAAAAAY too much flour.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LauraGrace

        Thanks for all of your help! I also posted my questions on the fresh loaf and got lots of great tips! I will bake it tonight and definitely NOT KNEAD!

        Thanks again everyone!

      2. Next time, when you're kneading, do the window pane test to make sure you've kneaded enough--it's a good check.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chowser

          I've been baking bread at home for going on 15 years and have never once been able to get that &$*#&*$( window pane test to work, despite which my breads consistently turn out well. So, if it doesn't work for you, don't be too worried.

          The great thing about bread baking is that it's so much more like cooking than most other baking - much more forgiving, and much more about the senses.

        2. I would take to room temp and fold it but not knead again. I will say, congrats to you, I only have home bread and you will learn, no recipe needed, you just have to learn what it's supposed to look like. I made plenty of doorstops before I figured it out,