A question about making bread

lavender32, Jul 24, 5:03am
Why does the dough have to rise twice? My bread never seems to rise as much in the second rising. Why can't I cook it straight away after just the first rising?

buzzy110, Jul 24, 5:25am
The first kneading is for turning what is essentially a week and fall apart dough into a strong elastic dough with strong gluten threads to hold it together. It is also how you ensure correct hydration has taken place. At first you dough should be sticky, but as you progress along in the kneading (knead 5mins then rest for 1min and repeat for about 30mins) your dough should become firm and elastic with no signs of stickiness.

From there you leave your dough to rise and here is where people go all wrong. They really believe they need to punch down the bread quite vigorously and re-knead.

I'd like to say here and now -DO NOT DO THAT. You dough should already be kneaded sufficiently.

buzzy110, Jul 24, 5:29am
The first rise is what is called 'bulk fermentation' and it gives the yeast a chance to multiply and grow. Usually all the dough is fermented unformed because that is how it is done.

The next step is the 'sizing', where you take your, now full of good strong living yeast, dough and size (i. e. buns, rolls, two loaves, etc) and shape it.

To do this you gently press the dough until it is only sort of flat but still very buoyant. This gets rid of trapped gas, but not all of it, and makes the yeast and gluten bonds stronger so you have a good sturdy loaf when it is cooked.

buzzy110, Jul 24, 5:32am
Take your slightly flattened dough and fold one end into the centre and do the same with the other side. Press gently again and take the left side and fold in half over the right side. Press gently down and then sort of pull the enges under so you have a clear unbroken skin on top.

You should still have quite a buoyant dough and it should still be about half the size it was when you started the sizing.

Now leave it to rest for 30mins under an inverted bowl (stops a skin forming). This rests the dough once again and starts the inflation process.

buzzy110, Jul 24, 5:40am
Cut your dough if making smaller buns or sticks etc or leave as is. If you are new to breadmaking then suggest you make just one loaf till you get that right.

Shape your loaf. There are various methods depending on what you want to end up with - a free form loaf, French sticks or a tinned loaf. Personally, as a newbie then tinned is better till you gain more experience.

For tinned - press your rested dough gently so that it is wider. Turn it upside down so that the skin that you made last time remains unbroken, and gently form a roll by folding the back edge closest to you over toward the other edge in a sort of a rolling fashion.

Without turning your load again, repeat this process until you have the correct size and shape.

Sort of pull the ends under so that you have a nice unbroken skin on top and put into your tin.

Once again, I cannot stress too much that there should still be good buoyancy in the dough you are working with. Don't punch out all the gas. that is just an old wives tale.

Leave to proof till doubled in size and follow cooking instructions.

I always put a metal tin full of hot water into my oven when I'm heating it and leave it there for the first rise and set. When you turn the oven down to crisp up your loaf take the tin and any remaining water out.

Bread needs steam in the early stages of cooking, which is why I use water because domestic ovens don't have timed shots of steam like a baker's oven does.

lavender32, Nov 23, 11:00pm
You are awesome! ! ! Thank you for taking the time to explain it to me, you did a brilliant job. Cheers