I recently purchased amongst others your Finest Bakers White Bread Flour - No.1 (101). and the Organic Wheatgerm and Bran (500g) (508).
I have now tried on two occasions to make bread using this flour and about 3 - 4 tablespoons of the wheat germ and bran. On the first occasion I got a smaller loaf than usual and today a loaf of about half size. On the first occasion I u8sed the white bread programme - 4 hours and on the second the wholemeal- 5 hours (the higher amount of wheat germ and bran).
My standard recipe is:- 2 tsp. salt, 624 gems flour, 400 ml water, 2 teaspoons oil. I use fresh yeast.
Are you able to suggest what error I am making, or steps I could take to rectiry the "small loaf syndrome?
Adding fresh wheat germ opposed to heat treated wheat germ will increase enzyme activity, as well as fermentation activity, and in some cases I add it to my doughs for this very reason, especially when using the mother dough as my form of yeast. However, when using it for this reason, I only run at 2% of my flour weight.
Looking at your recipe you are probably running at 10% of your flour weight. This is fine for the health reasons and will produce a soft moist sweet long lasting loaf, as with the old original Hovis, but the difference is that Hovis would have heat treated the germ to destroy the enzyme activity.
You will benefit from a flying sponge: set it using 100 grams of your flour, all of your yeast (I would only use 2% of the flour weight of fresh) then add 150 grams of your water. This will create a thick creamy batter when blended together. Allow 45 mins for this to ferment. This is what is called a flying sponge in the industry.
When it has had its time add this to the remainder of the ingredients and, if you have chosen to make it on the bread machine, set it to a basic program which is usually 2 hours 45 mins. This way it should be able to carry the amount of germ you have chosen to add without causing over activity and destroying your cell structure. You may well need to trim this amount of yeast a little, as it may still be very active when confined to the bread machine, but the flying sponge add more development in order for the flour to be able to cope.
Dough temperature will play a big part in the activity as well, so the cooler you can set the dough (with in reason) the better chance it will have of surviving.
Hope this helps let me know how you progress