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I have been making our own French bread for a long time.  People have told me Bollio bread is just French bread made into smaller rolls.

 

However, my bread always turns out a little heavy/thick.  How can I make it light & soft, like what you can get in the store?

 

Plus, I only use unbleached flour.

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated. 

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Are you having problems with the bread being dense or the rolls with the dough or both?  Are you using a bread maker or by hand?

 

I'm assuming you mean the bread, so possible problems in order of likelihood:

1.  Too much flour.  Sift it with a sifter or fluff with a spoon before you measure.    Be careful adding more flour when you kneed.  

2.  Over or under kneading the dough.   Risen but dense over, flatter but dense is under.

3.  Rising --is the yeast good?  Are you letting it rise at a good temperature for the correct amount of time?  It may be too cold in your house for it.  Turn on your oven to 200F.  Turn it off.  Let it rise in the oven that is off.    It needs time to rise properly, but if it overrises, it will collapse and be dense and slightly flatter but still risen.  

 

Bolillo recipes are very similar to traditional French recipes.  No added oil or fat.  Is the French bread recipe you are using truly French or does it have added milk/sugar like Italian?  Make sure it is just flour, salt, water, yeast and just enough sugar/honey to rise the yeast for a true French or bolillo recipe.  

 

Also, you want steam to create that expected crispy crust with French or bolillo, so put a pan with a few ice cubes into the oven on a lower shelf or beside it if you have to when you bake it.  

 

 

Basic French

scant cup water

1 T sugar

3/4 t salt

2 1/4 c flour

1 1/2 t yeast

 

Basic Italian

1 1/2 T oil

scant cup water *

1 T sugar

1 t salt

1 T dry milk*

2 1/4 c flour

1 1/2 t yeast

herbs to taste

(*can use warm milk instead of water and dry milk)

 

**a scant cup means take out about a T or 2.

 

Sometimes I cheat and add 1 T oil to the French.  It comes out with the crispy crust, but the inside is slightly softer and I like it better that way.  

Edited by euphrasyne
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Great suggestions, Euphrasyne, some I was going to make myself.  In addition to those the type of flour can make a difference. Higher gluten flour will raise better.  Also sometimes an extra rise helps make the bread less dense.  

 

The last few years I've had to deal with gluten free bread so am a bit rusty at making bread regular bread. :bounce: 

 

 

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I have been using my bread maker for so long now that I need to start making it by hand again. I am going to get into practicing doing that and baking in the oven. It is not like letting a machine do all the work for you. With my arthritic hands before my surgery, I had a hard time kneading the dough. I think I am going to try to do that again. 

 

euphrasyne, I am going to try your recipe. Sounds good.

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Thank you, thank you!  I will try your suggestions next time I make bread.  I use my Kitchen Aid, for mixing and kneading.  Arthritic hands makes it difficult to knead for 6-8 minutes.  Meh, I improvise. Lol

 

One time, I forgot I was using a 1/2 cup measure, and had to add extra flour, but the bread came out a lot softer....  lol.  
 

Oh, Mommato3, thank you.  I will try that recipe too.  DH & MIL love Bolillo. 

eupphrasyne, thank you for the tips.  It kinda explains, why my bread is dense.  Kinda like me, so says DH..... :shakinghead:

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The French bread recipe I have been using:

 

5 1/2 to 6 c all-purpose flour. ( I use unbleached)

2 pkg active dry yeast

2 tsp salt

2 c warm water (115° to 120°)

cornmeal, sprinkled on greased baking pan

 

Combine 2 c flour, yeast, & salt, add warm water, beat at low speed 1/2 min.  Beat 3 min. High speed.  Add as much of the remaining flour as can be mixed with a spoon, kneed enough flour to make a stiff dough, smooth & elastic. 8 to 10 min.  Shape in a ball, let rise in a greased, covered bowl.  Punch down, divide in half, ( or quartered)  rest 10 min.  Roll out into rectangle, roll up tightly, tapered ends, sealing seam well.  Seam side down, let rise.  Bake 375° 40-45 min.
 

 I don’t brush with water & egg white mixture.  DH likes soft bread crust.

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Annarchy, the recipe you are using is a true baguette recipe.  It is for making long, thin, crispy loaves.  It will always be dense because it is a baguette and they are supposed to be dense.   If you make a french loaf rather than a baguette, you will need to add a small amount of sugar.  This will feed the yeast more and it will be softer.    If you are leaving out the sugar entirely, you will need to add an hour or four to the rise time for it to be less dense (but a baguette is always going to be a baguette).  Sugar jump starts the yeast into rising, but you can just give it extra time to rise.  The amount of flour you are using should be 2-3 baguettes.  

 

 

I love bread.  I wish I could still eat it  :/  I have to settle for making it for my family and neighbors now.   

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Euphrasne, I have made bread for my family my whole life and really miss eating it.  I love bread but can't eat gluten.  I may have mentioned this before, I found Pamela's GF Bread mix that makes a nice loaf of bread, even in the bread maker.  I've used it for pies and cookies too with some modifications.  It's expensive and has xanthan gum in it that bother me if I eat too much of it but it's nice once in a while to have a piece of toast or a sandwich.  I have also used gelatin as a replacement in other gluten free recipes with good success.  I still make regular bread for DH but I've gotten him interested in making it himself and now he makes it both in the bread maker and by hand. :happy0203: 

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I wish it was a gluten issue.  I had GI surgery in 2016 and cannot take most carbs or grains of any sort.  I'm missing most of my stomach and a large tract of my intestine.    Gluten is actually mostly protein and I can use pure gluten as a thickener for gravies thank goodness.  

Edited by euphrasyne
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On 1/31/2021 at 10:10 AM, euphrasyne said:

Gluten is actually mostly protein and I can use pure gluten as a thickener for gravies thank goodness.  

Are you talking about Vital Wheat Gluten? I bought a bag because some keto recipes use it, but I haven't tried it yet because I wasn't sure how it would affect my blood sugars. BUT............. if it is what you are talking about, does that mean I can use it to thicken gravies? I can use cream cheese and HWC for a good many sauces, but SOMETIMES you just want a good BROWN GRAVY and I just don't like what xantham gum does to the mouth feel of them.

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yes, I have used vital wheat gluten to make a roux.  Gluten is the protein part of flour.  You can make seitan out of it, use it for roux, make bread rise better, and give baked goods the proper 'sandwich' bread texture with a low crumb.   When making roux, use the same measure of gluten as flour for the recipe.  It will start out darker in color but not flavor,  so make sure you cook it long enough to get what you are looking for and expect it to look *slightly darker than what it is.  

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  • 2 months later...
On 2/1/2021 at 3:56 PM, Midnightmom said:

Are you talking about Vital Wheat Gluten? I bought a bag because some keto recipes use it, but I haven't tried it yet because I wasn't sure how it would affect my blood sugars. BUT............. if it is what you are talking about, does that mean I can use it to thicken gravies? I can use cream cheese and HWC for a good many sauces, but SOMETIMES you just want a good BROWN GRAVY and I just don't like what xantham gum does to the mouth feel of them.

 

I use glucomannan.  Very little is required to thicken sauces.

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