I seem to have stumbled onto something excellent that I hope to continue to take advantage of.
It started with pizza dough.
I have a recipe for making a big mountain of dough, kneading it, letting it rise, punching it down and then tossing it into a big zip lock. Then tear off pieces over the next week to use for pizza dough.
Or tear off a piece to make dinner rolls.
Or tear off a big piece to make a loaf of bread.
Yesterday I made bread. I tore of a piece, mashed it into a loaf pan, let it rise and then baked it for 30 minutes. Nice stuff. Pretty plain. But ....
The crust was a bit too stiff and the bread a bit too crumbly to be able to cut slices off and use for sandwiches. Any suggestions?
The ingredients and procedures for pizza dough are forumalated to give a nice chewy texture and crunchy crust. It doesn't make for all that great a bread. I'd look for less of a "one size fits all" recipe for bread.
I remember I used to have a housemate that baked bread a lot. He made soft loaves. He said that you get a soft loaf by adding oil. I thought maybe I could knead in some oil before baking the bread - that might at least take care of the crust.
Maybe I need to knead it more to get it to hold together better?
We make bread at home and 'falling apart' is what happens when you eat fresh bread. Get a good bread knife and practice. If you ignore the insides and cut the crust then the rest almost takes care of itself.
Have you tried brushing it with milk to harden the crust?