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Q: It seems like every time I try to make a bread-like thing with yeast... it comes out rock hard, like a brick. Should I be adding gluten, like I've read professional bakers do?

A: There are many possible problems that might cause brick-like results:
- the yeast may be too old (dead)
- the water temperature when you proof your yeast may be too cold or too hot (either failing to activate the yeast, or killing it)
- there may not be enough food for the yeast to grow on (a little organic sugar or brown rice syrup in the proofing water helps)
- too much or too little kneading
- too little resting/raising time before baking

Yes, you can add gluten, but the ratios are tricky. Too much, and you'll actually make a denser brick! You might want to try a blend of 50% whole wheat bread flour (high gluten), and 50% whole wheat pastry flour (low gluten) in a recipe that came out too dense. That might give you enough natural gluten to help the dough rise properly, without the difficulty of dealing with extra gluten powder, while still being nice and healthy.

It takes a lot of trial and error to work out a bread or baking recipe, because it's all about ingredients, ratios and chemistry. Look for bread cookbooks that teach you the theories first, and that don't just feed you recipes, so you can figure out what's going on with your crusts.
Good luck!


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Please note that we are not medical professionals, and our advice is not intended to treat any disease or to substitute for the knowledge and advice of a medical professional. We're just trying to help by passing on what we've learned from others.

 

 

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