Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Demo: Proving Bread

Bread

  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 31 January 2006 - 05:28 PM

Part 1: The words
(pictures in the next post)

Following Wendy’s request I will try and elucidate some of the mysteries of proofing.
Bread dough is a complex, and not entirely understood system. My knowledge is also limited and I hope the greater experts on this list will correct my more glaring errors.

This is inevitably something of a simplification of the complicated things that are going on as the dough matures. For a fuller explanation refer to a science based baking textbook such “Principles of Breadmaking: Functionality of Raw Materials and Process Steps” by Piet Sluimer, published by the American Association of Cereal Chemists 2005 ISBN 1-891127-45-4

Proofing is the last stage before baking, when the formed and shaped dough is left to rise before being baked. For some bread it is the only fermentation stage; a lot of industrially made and some craft bread is produced with a “no time dough”, where there is no or little bulk fermentation, but instead the gluten is developed using intensive mixing.

Softer doughs need support during proof. This is often in the form of a linen lined basket or banneton. For long breads, like baguettes and batons (in the demo) a folded floured linen canvas couche is used.

To understand what is happening we need to go back right to when the dough was mixed.

When the dough is mixed air is mixed into the dough to form micro-bubbles. These micro-bubbles are key to what happens later. Dough mixed in a vacuum or in a closed mixer with no headspace (such as the Amway system) produces a fine, close and uniform crumb texture.

The density of gas-free dough is around 0.8 L/kg; after mixing about 0.9 L/kg, showing a gas fraction of about 10% of volume. Fermentation increases this to about 1.0-1.5 L/Kg, at the end of the bulk stage, depending on the type of product, and then to around 3.5 L/kg at the end of proof for a typical white loaf, more than tripling in volume. After baking this will increase again to around 5 L/Kg, oven spring increasing the loaf volume by about 50%, and an increase of 5 times over the volume of the just mixed original dough. These volumes are for white bread; bread with bits in them, such as seed breads or whole meal breads will rise less since the bran or other inclusions tend to puncture the gas cells, and in some breads, such as those with a large preferment, there is less fermentable material.

A good clue for the end of the bulk fermentation stage is when, if you slash the dough, you can see small bubbles in the cut surface.

“Knocking back” or degassing decreases volume, but also makes new food available to the yeast, and generally results in a finer crumb structure. In the 1950s or so, a fine even crumb, such as in Pullman bread was thought most desirable, and techniques were optimised to produce such bread. Now a more artisan bread with an irregular and coarser crumb structure is preferred, so different techniques (less degassing, wetter doughs) are used to make what our predecessors would have thought of as badly made bread.

The enzymes in the yeast, or from added enzymes such as diastic malt, or the acid in sourdough start to break the starch down into simple sugars that can be fermented. Over time this degrades the starch, reducing the dough viscosity making the dough seem wetter.

The gluten gells slowly in the presence of water, and this gell forms the scaffolding of the loaf crumb. Kneading, stretch and fold, or intensive mixing, depending on the type of bread, all help the gluten stretch into thin sheets and distribute the gas cells evenly, although the primary force for the gluten development is hydration, and the primary stretch is the expansion of the gas cell walls in the dough.

During fermentation the yeast generates carbon dioxide. This expands the micro-gas bubbles present in the dough from air entrainment during mixing. No new gas bubbles are created, although some may coalesce, and the very small ones disappear. These bubbles are not entirely gas tight – think of them as a leaky bucket. If the production of CO2 from the yeast drops below the rate the gas leaks or dissolves in the surrounding fluid, then the bubble deflates, rather then inflates. If the bread is over-proved the rate of gas production rate drops because the yeast runs out of food. For cells near the outside of the loaf this diffusion of CO2 to the atmosphere is greater than for cells deeper in the loaf. This means that the fragile foam in the centre is surrounded by a layer of tougher, less expanded cells, a bit like a balloon skin. This skin needs to be tough enough to support the fragile inside, but not so tough as to corset the expansion.

Exposure to the air (or contact with the dry canvas banneton/couche) slightly dries this skin, contributing to its toughness. Too dry, and it will be sufficiently tough not to let the inside rise. Too wet, and it won’t be tough enough and collapse before maximum volume is obtained. Ideal conditions are between 70% and 85% relative humidity. A draught will also dry the skin (and cool the dough), and the bread should be proved in draft free conditions, which can be a problem where a fan or forced convection is used to maintain conditions. Professional bakers have special proofing cabinets where the temperature and humidity can be controlled. Craft bakers cover the dough with a cloth or plastic sheet which reduces draughts and slows evaporation. Putting the dough in its banneton or couche in a loose fitting plastic bag, such as a bin liner is a good home solution.

The relative temperature of the dough and its surroundings is important. If the dough temperature is higher than the air, evaporation will be quicker. Lower than the air, and the air near the dough is cooled, and so the relative humidity is higher. However over time the dough temperature will become that of the surroundings, which is why in proofers where the air temperature is much higher than the dough the first dough pieces stick, and the last ones skin.

Disrupt this skin on ripe dough, and the gas from the inside will rush out, the dough deflating.

As the bubble expands the cell walls are stretched. Gluten hardens and gets stiffer under strain, so the thinner parts of the wall stiffen, pulling harder on the thicker bits, so the bubble expands evenly, until the walls get too thin and rupture, releasing the gas. However cell rupture is rare in most correctly proved bread. Typically dough will stiffen slightly as it matures as the gluten hardens by being stretched, and the bubble jostle each other, although some dough, such as sourdough will slacken with time considerably as the acid degrades the viscosity of the starch. The dough will also feel wetter as the dough begins to overprove.

At the beginning of the proofing period the dough is comparatively robust, and so long as the gas is not completely knocked out of it, it can be handled and shaped. At the end of the proof period the gas cells have expanded to nearly at their breaking point, but held together by the slightly tougher less expanded cell layers around the outside of the bread. The dough is now a delicate foam balloon, with the gas cells near their bursting point. Rough handling at this stage will deflate it.

In the oven the gas in the cells further expand aided by the trapped water turning to steam. The wetter the dough, the bigger the holes. The bread rises like a soufflé. Like a soufflé, bottom heat and direct contact with a hot surface to give maximum heat transfer helps volume. The heat cooks and hardens the cell walls. If conditions are right, the expansion will occur before the walls cook and solidify, giving the desired oven spring. Correctly proved dough will give the largest volume loaf, even though an overproved loaf will be bigger going into the oven.

If the dough is underproved it will not reach its maximum volume, as the gas cells start smaller, and will cook before they reach their maximum expansion.

If overproved, then the gas cells at already at their maximum stretch, or even have started to deflate, and the dough will rise little in the oven. The dough may be bigger going into the oven, but does not gain the extra volume.

The length of time the dough takes to prove depends on many things, such as the activity of the yeast, the amount of food available to the yeast, the stiffness of the dough – stiffer doughs prove more slowly as the sugars diffuse less, and most of all the temperature.
Yeast is most active at about 30C/90F. Above that temperature activity decreases sharply as the yeast begins to die or go dormant. Below that temperature the yeast roughly declines by 10% of each degree C. Thus at 20C/68F the yeast activity is halved.

Posted Image
(Sourdough yeast and lacto-bacillus activity derived from work by Ganzle)

Proof time is also affected by the amount of yeast in the dough. Although the total volume of gas produced is nearly independent of the amount of yeast, being governed by other factors such as the amount of available food and oxygen, the rate of production is can be varied. Craft bakers compensate for lower temperatures, for example when the bakery is cooler in the winter, by increasing the amount of yeast.

In general, straight yeast dough is proofed after about an hour, sourdough after about 4-5 hours at 30C/85F.

All sorts of other complex reactions are going on in the dough, each of which has differing degrees of temperature sensitivity. For example the breakdown of starch into sugars is less temperature sensitive than yeast, as is the activity of the lacto-bacilli in sourdough. Slowly fermented breads tend to be more flavoursome than quick fermentation. By adjusting proof temperatures, yeast amounts and corresponding proof times the skilled baker can to some extent alter the flavour profile of their bread.

The extreme example is where the bread is retarded, cooled to fridge temperatures (4C/40F), so that practically all yeast activity ceases. The dough can be stored this way for up to 72 hours, for example over a period when the restaurant or bakery is closed. During this time other processes continue, most notably the skinning of the outside of the dough and the breakdown of starch into sugars. Retarded doughs have a characteristic reddish crust, from the extra sugars, with fine blistering, but tend to be more flavoursome. The cold also stiffens the dough, and this can make handling of wet doughs easier.

The dough doesn’t cool in an instant. A typical loaf takes about 2-3 hours to cool down, during which time there is still some activity. Thus an overnight proof in the refrigerator is about equivalent to 2 hours at room temperature. It also takes about 2-3 hours to warm back to room temperature, during which time activity will restart.

Whether to bake from cold, or allow the loaf to regain room temperature before baking is still a matter of debate. If allowed to warm there is the danger of over-proving. Personally I prefer to bake from cold. I find the cold dough stiffer, and so much easier to handle, especially for wet slack doughs. The extra temperature change in the oven gives, I think, a greater gas expansion and hence a bigger oven spring. However this larger spring means that unless evenly made and correctly slashed, the bread may bulge unevenly, with the centre expanding more.

“A l’ancienne” is a technique where the dough is mixed cold, and then retarded. The long cold period allows a long period for enzymatic breakdown of the starch into fermentable sugars but because of the cold there is little yeast activity, so that when the dough is later warmed up the yeast has more food available than would otherwise be the case. With slack dough it can give a highly aerated open structure.

Just before the bread goes into the oven, the baker slashes it. The slashes (“gringe”, French for grin) act as weak points in the crust, allowing the dough to rise evenly in a controlled fashion. Without the slash the bread is likely to tear or bulge, and the rise will be impeded. It needs to be done just before the bread is put in the oven so that not too much gas leaks out – the heat of the oven will replace the gas that is lost. For this reason the slash should be quite shallow, and cut at an angle of about 45 degrees, almost cutting a flap. For plain breads use a very sharp thin knife, traditionally a razor blade on a stick (“lamé –French for blade). Special disposable ones can be obtained from http://www.scaritech.com/ . For seeded breads a serrated knife can sometimes be easier.
Slash quickly and positively – don’t go back and mess with the bread.

By tradition a baguette has seven slashes, nearly parallel to the length of the baguette, that open into a pleasing lattice. Originally the slash pattern allowed a housewife to identify her bread in the communal oven, but now is used decoratively. For example Poilane http://www.poilane.c...1595520020 carves a stylised P into their bread.. Bold simple shapes work best.

Posted Image

It is hard to tell whether raw dough is under, ripe or over-proved, except in extreme cases. If you make lots of the same loaves you can begin to get a feel for when it's ready – from the volume, the look of the crust, and the slight resilience. It should feel taut, a little like a balloon, with a slight resilience and bounce back if lightly pressed. However the changes are very subtle.

One technique is to put some dough into a glass measuring cylinder or jug. When the volume has about tripled from the initial mix, the dough is ready.

It is slightly easier to tell from the cooked loaf. Underproofed bread will have a lighter crust (no so many sugars from the enzymatic action), a less expanded gringe, and a tight crumb. Overproofed dough, by contrast will have a darker, reddish crust, little oven spring, narrow grigne, and an open, but somewhat coarse crumb.


Back to Wendy’s original questions:

What's an over proofed dough look like? Before you bake it and after it's baked.


An overproofed sough will be very fragile, and may collapse. Baked, it will have little oven spring, so the grigne (slashes) will not open much. The crust will be redder, and possibly burnt in places from the high sugar levels.

What's an under proofed dough look like? Before you bake it and after it's baked.

An underproofed dough will not have its full volume, and the crust will be pale. The crumb will be closed and tight.

Do your signals become blurry when your using a proofer verses at room temp. or retarding?

No, they are the same signals. It is easier to over-proof using a proofer. If the humidity is too high it can interfere with the formation of a taut skin, leading to earlier collapse.

Are there different "signals" you look for in different types of bread or is it basically the same regardless?


They are basically the same signals. However wholemeal breads, and breads with inclusions in them will not rise as far. Relying on the bread to double in size, although a reasonable rule of thumb is not always accurate, and can often lead to overproving. If you bake frequently you will soon get used to what your particular bread should look and feel like.

And how does your slashing effect your oven spring....relating to over proofed or under proofed bread?


Too many or too deep slashes will deflate the loaf, as will waiting to long between slashing and baking. Slashes also break the taut skin, so allow the loaf to spread.
The effects are much more serious in overproofed bread.

How do you 'read' the texture to decipher where you've gone wrong?


See the picture post...

A quick summary of things that matter in bread making:

Hydration: the ratio of the total amount of water to flour. Dough behaviour changes rapidly over a small change in water content: few percentage change – a tablespoonful of water in a pound of dough can make a dramatic difference. Of course, different flours can adsorb different amounts of water. Wholemeal will adsorb maybe 10%-20% more. Higher gluten flours can tolerate higher hydration levels. However what this means is that for repeatable results you need to be accurate in measurement – use weight not volume, and make sure not too much extra flour is not picked up from your worktop, or water lost in mixing.

Dough temperature: Yeast activity and hence proof times vary greatly with dough temperature. The dough temperature can be affected by how much work the mixer does on the dough, the temperature of the ingredients and the ambient temperature.

Degree of proof: Sourdough is reasonably tolerant to the degree of proof since it’s a slow process. Yeast dough, since it is moving faster, much less so, and overproving is the biggest cause of failure.

Things that don’t matter so much:

Strength of flour: You can make good bread from almost any flour. Strong flours can adsorb more water and are somewhat more tolerant, but most European bread, such as French Baguettes are best with the local soft flour.

Additives: Additives can help, give a wider tolerance, but are not critical, and in larger doses will both affect taste and disguise the signals you need to look for.

Handling: Providing it is correctly proved, dough is pretty tough stuff. Overproved dough will deflate soon as you look at it. So long as the dough is mixed evenly, you don’t need to knead – stretch and fold works fine. Nor do you need bulk fermentation for many breads.

Edited by jackal10, 01 February 2006 - 12:51 PM.


#2 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 31 January 2006 - 06:18 PM

Part 2: Pictures

Start with 3 x 500g pieces of dough. This is an intensively mixed sourdough, about 65% hydration, 30% preferment, using plain (AP) organic white supermarket flour,

The measuring jug has about 100g of dough in it. After an hour or so you can begin to see the bubbles.
Posted Image Posted Image

The bread is formed into baton, and rests in the couche (in a bin bag to prevent dehydration). These pictures are taken roughly every hour. I baked one at 1 hour, 4 hours and 7 hours. The pictures at 6 hours are missing.

Posted Image Posted Image
Posted Image Posted Image
Posted Image Posted Image
Posted Image Posted Image
Ready to bake for the next hour or so
Posted Image Posted Image
Posted Image Posted Image
Overproved
Posted Image Posted Image

Baking off:
All three were baked for 40 mins with steam in the first minute.

At 1 hour. The bread is on a plywood hand, cut to the depth of my oven. I find these are the best sort of peel for long breads. The green object is a disposable lame.

Posted Image Posted Image

AT 4 hours and at 7 hours. Note how the dough collapses on slashing when overproved into a pathetic flabby object.
Posted Image Posted Image

The results. Not the pale color and poor volume of the underproved loaf, the burnt crust and narrow gringe of the overproved loaf.
Posted Image Posted Image

Posted Image Posted Image

Posted Image Posted Image
Posted Image Posted Image

The measuring jug: a flat dark crust is characteristic of overproved tin loaves.
Posted Image Posted Image

Posted Image

Nice texture, slightly underproved. This is sourdough from ordinary supermarket flour.
Posted Image

Edited by jackal10, 01 February 2006 - 11:34 AM.


#3 Abra

Abra
  • participating member
  • 3,186 posts
  • Location:Bainbridge Island, WA

Posted 31 January 2006 - 09:37 PM

That's a gorgeous demo, Jack! I don't know why I never thought of the measuring jug trick. I always just eyeball it, and not always successfully. You've reformed me instantaneously.

#4 Wendy DeBord

Wendy DeBord
  • legacy participant
  • 3,653 posts

Posted 01 February 2006 - 07:27 AM

Wow Jack! I've learned alot from this demo!

Your examples of proofed doughs really clarify things beautifully. So much came together in my head from your demo. I can see things I'm doing wrong with my danish.....that I never saw before.

Like Abra I'm going to embrace using a container with measurements on it. That's so simple, yet I never thought about doing it.

I have a question. The last photo you show, you say it's slightly underproofed......... It looks good to me (sorry just trying to grasp this). So can you explain what signal you see in that particular photo that tells you it's underproofed? Is it the small area in the center top area that has even air pockets instead of larger wholes that's your signal?

As always, I can't thank-you enough for sharing/teaching Jack!!! Personally, I get soooo much from this.........thank-you.

#5 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 01 February 2006 - 10:29 AM

WOW thanks Wendy. You do stuff everyday, like your joconde demo that I could not even begin to do.

Its a subtle thing but I think the bread may be underproved mostly from the appearance of the crust, and the grigne in particular, and the general feel. It could have waited maybe another half an hour, and you can see the dough had not quite tripled. Unfortunately I had a meeting to go to and could not wait any longer (which also is why the 6 hour photo is missing). Still, underproving is better than overproving. You are trying to prove it to just before the dough starts slumping and collapsing under its own weight

If your dough has gone sticky, or is sticking to the banneton, then either it started much too wet, or it has been overproved.

Edited by jackal10, 01 February 2006 - 10:32 AM.


#6 chezcherie

chezcherie
  • participating member
  • 1,288 posts

Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:15 AM

please, sir--what is "gringe"? thanks, and thanks for the mouthwatering demo. now i got the need to knead!

edited to add that i googled gringe, and was sorry i did...

Edited by chezcherie, 01 February 2006 - 11:29 AM.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."
www.chezcherie.com
Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

#7 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:19 AM

Gringe is the slash mark that opens to a grin. Gringe is the french for grin.
No need to knead...

#8 jsolomon

jsolomon
  • participating member
  • 2,534 posts
  • Location:Medical school

Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:25 AM

No need to knead...

View Post

Where's the therapeutic value in bread-making then? :raz:

Seriously good demo, Jack. I put a banneton on my wedding registry 'cos of you. Come to think of it, I put a kweez on because of you, too. My fiance is going to give you the stink eye if she ever finds out.
I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

#9 devlin

devlin
  • participating member
  • 648 posts
  • Location:Indiana/Kentucky border, Kentucky Derby country

Posted 01 February 2006 - 01:36 PM

Jack, can you explain how to get from percentages of flour and hydration to actual weights of each?

#10 Anna N

Anna N
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,620 posts
  • Location:Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Posted 01 February 2006 - 02:05 PM

Jack,
Thanks so much for doing this. I need some time to concentrate and learn more from this demo and then I might have questions!
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

"It either works fine or not, but what the heck. This is bread, not birth control." Susan of Wild Yeast blog
Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog

#11 Beanie

Beanie
  • participating member
  • 414 posts
  • Location:Mohawk Valley, upstate NY

Posted 01 February 2006 - 02:22 PM

Jack,

Thanks for much for the demo. I've been baking bread almost every weekend, inspired by your posts on several recent threads.

Do you have any recommendations for baking bread under the following imperfect conditions: Small countertop convection oven; highest temperature is about 470F; baking stone is on bottom shelf, but there's no room underneath for pan of water. Top of bread is only a few inches from electric element and has tendency to burn (should I just lower heat and cover with foil?). I've tried spraying water on sides of oven during first minute of baking, but it lowers the heat in the oven and doesn't seem to make enough steam to make a difference.

Would also like advice on slashing. I fashioned a lame with a double sided razor blade and plastic stirrer. The blade is slightly curved like the one on the bottom of this page., but the edge gets caught in the dough. I can't seem to make a quick, clean slash, and laboring over it only makes it worse. Is it just a case of practice makes perfect?

Here are a couple of photos of my imperfect loaf that tasted fantastic and impressed my family. :smile:
Posted Image
Posted Image

Edited to say "tasted fantastic" not "toasted." (It didn't need toasting!)

Edited by Beanie, 01 February 2006 - 06:21 PM.

Ilene

#12 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 01 February 2006 - 03:11 PM

Jack, can you explain how to get from percentages of flour and hydration to actual weights of each?

View Post


These are baker's percentages, that is relative to the total weight of flour.
Total flour is thus always 100%

In this bread

Sponge
200g flour
200g water
10g mother starter

Dough
All the sponge
1Kg flour
600g water
20g salt
5g Vitamin C

Total flour: 1200g
Total water: 800g

Divide one by the other to give hydration of 800/1200 x 100% or 67%

#13 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 01 February 2006 - 03:19 PM

Do you have any recommendations for baking bread under the following imperfect conditions: <snip>[img]

View Post


You are doing very well!

a) Make sure the oven and the baking stone are hot - preheat them for an hour or so.
b) When you put the bread in, splash half a cup of water on the stone, and shut the oven door quickly (caution scalding steam) Its the superhot steam at the beginning of the bake that does it.
c) Try using something stiffer, like a craft knife to make the slashes, and make the slashes nearly parallel to the length of the loaf rather than across it. You might try, for a loaf of that shape, a single slash in the middle down the length of the loaf. Try and hold the knife at an angle of 45 degrees, so you are sort of cutting a flap, but cut fast and bold. Dipping the knife in water first might help if the dough is sticky.

Edited by jackal10, 01 February 2006 - 03:32 PM.


#14 Beanie

Beanie
  • participating member
  • 414 posts
  • Location:Mohawk Valley, upstate NY

Posted 01 February 2006 - 06:23 PM

Do you have any recommendations for baking bread under the following imperfect conditions: <snip>[img]

View Post


You are doing very well!

a) Make sure the oven and the baking stone are hot - preheat them for an hour or so.
b) When you put the bread in, splash half a cup of water on the stone, and shut the oven door quickly (caution scalding steam) Its the superhot steam at the beginning of the bake that does it.
c) Try using something stiffer, like a craft knife to make the slashes, and make the slashes nearly parallel to the length of the loaf rather than across it. You might try, for a loaf of that shape, a single slash in the middle down the length of the loaf. Try and hold the knife at an angle of 45 degrees, so you are sort of cutting a flap, but cut fast and bold. Dipping the knife in water first might help if the dough is sticky.

View Post


Thanks for the encouragement. I'll try again this weekend.
Ilene

#15 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 02 February 2006 - 02:44 AM

I've used Proof and Prove more or less interchangibly above.
Strictly, prove is a verb and proof is a noun, with prove (according to the OED) more usual for bread. (the bread proves, but its a mathematical proof) http://bbcwords.oed....&result_place=1

However the earliest written example of prove, applied to bread it quotes is 1854. Surely the use is much older. Anyone with old cookery books out there who can provide an earlier source?

Also that the french term for the "grin" that forms from the slash is grigne, not gringe, and sometimes my spellign has slipped...

Edited by jackal10, 02 February 2006 - 02:49 AM.


#16 Anna N

Anna N
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,620 posts
  • Location:Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Posted 02 February 2006 - 10:15 AM

Jack,

I have now had time to carefully review your demonstration and absorb the lessons. I have to say that I have learned a great deal! I have printed it out, highlighted many points and will continue to try to relate them to my own bread baking. I bake 2 to 3 times each week and yet, each time I have a "good" bread, I suspect that it is partially the result of magic. Now I understand a bit more of that magic! With this new knowledge, I hope I can make conscious decisions on how to ensure that all breads are good and maybe even bake some that are great!
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

"It either works fine or not, but what the heck. This is bread, not birth control." Susan of Wild Yeast blog
Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog

#17 oraklet

oraklet
  • participating member
  • 812 posts

Posted 02 February 2006 - 04:17 PM

Jack,

I have now had time to carefully review your demonstration and absorb the lessons.  I have to say that I have learned a great deal!  I have printed it out, highlighted many points and will continue to try to relate them to my own bread baking.  I bake 2 to 3 times each week and yet, each time I have a "good" bread, I suspect that it is partially the result of magic.  Now I understand a bit more of that magic!  With this new knowledge, I hope I can make conscious decisions on how to ensure that all breads are good and maybe even bake some that are great!

View Post


amen to that!
christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

#18 miladyinsanity

miladyinsanity
  • participating member
  • 1,363 posts
  • Location:Manchester, UK

Posted 03 February 2006 - 05:45 AM

I may give breadmaking a try one fine weekend. Great demo Jack!
May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

#19 doronin

doronin
  • participating member
  • 158 posts
  • Location:Montreal, QC

Posted 07 February 2006 - 05:34 AM

Jack,

With regards to your recent experiment with wholemeal boule, do you mind to share your impression from proving wholemeal dough?

The skin it formed, was it just as the skin on the white flour loaf here? I mean, was it tight and springy, or fragile and sticky? I found behaviour of these two kinds of dough to differ a lot. Where white dough would be nice and supple, wholemeal one is still sticky and easy tearing, so I have difficulties to form a good skin during shaping without expelling most of the gas...

Edited by doronin, 07 February 2006 - 05:36 AM.


#20 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 07 February 2006 - 06:37 AM

I've not noticed that much difference. Do you have some rye in there? Adding rye can make the dough very sticky.

I'm still not happy with my wholemeal, and will take pictures next time.
Its good bread, nicely textured, crisp crust, tasting of the grain and the sour, good salt balance but somehow...dull and boring.
Can I ask what are peoples expectations? What makes a great wholemeal loaf? What is your ideal wholemeal boule? Fine texture or big holes, like white? Should it have whole grains in it?

#21 doronin

doronin
  • participating member
  • 158 posts
  • Location:Montreal, QC

Posted 07 February 2006 - 07:20 AM

I've not noticed that much difference.  Do you have some rye in there? Adding rye can make the dough very sticky.

View Post

That's interesting, may be the white flour from your preferment consealed the difference. I used wholemeal preferment. By the way, what flour did you use to flour the workbench? I tried both, and white flour coating seals the bread surface much better then wholemeal.
The other thing is that I do it with +-90% hydration.
I tryied adding rye, from 20 to 40%, but with yeast dough it doesn't seem to enchance the taste - I'd guess rye goes better with sourdough. And yes, it adds stickiness.

I'm still not happy with my wholemeal

Neither me :smile:

Can I ask what are peoples expectations? What makes a great wholemeal loaf? What is your ideal wholemeal boule? Fine texture or big holes, like white? Should it have whole grains in it?

View Post

Well, I used to taste local breads always when I travel, and I have to admit I know only one case of successful whole wheat boule, meaning that all the rest of very good 100% wholemeal breads I tasted were made in pans. That boule was Montignac Whole Wheat Sourdough of Montreal's Première Moisson bakery. But it was so unbelievably good for a whole wheat bread, that my unconscious still can't believe there was no either some 30-50% white flour, or some magic in the recipe - and I failed to get the list of ingredients.
As for the crumb, I'd say either relatively fine, or irregular structure with small-n-medium sized holes. Whole grains are usually good in finer crumb.
BTW whole grains - I tried to add whole grains a couple of times to my bread, but even after overnight soaking in initially hot water they were too hard... Should I have boiled them?

#22 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 07 February 2006 - 11:18 AM

I use wholemeal flour on the bench - quite a lot of it.
90% hydration is, I think too much. I find the bread comes out pudding like, with thick webs.
I've not tried it, but Dan Lepard mentioned a technique where wheat berries were boiled, then soaked, and the swelled like grapes.

#23 doronin

doronin
  • participating member
  • 158 posts
  • Location:Montreal, QC

Posted 08 February 2006 - 12:57 AM

Hmm.. I feel we're drifting slightly off topic, but I just can't stop here :smile:

I use wholemeal flour on the bench - quite a lot of it.

View Post

How do you manage to avoid excessive picking up the raw flour from the workbench?

90% hydration is, I think too much. I find the bread comes out pudding like, with thick webs.

View Post

What's true, with that hydration it doesn't rise high, I'd even say it stays pretty low. However my last two attempts produced quite thin webs, holes in range of 3-5mm, and quite pleasant taste.
But, getting back to proving, I couldn't get the skin any tight, which might explain the resulting height. Shaping of wet wholemeal dough is still a problem for me...

#24 Dom W

Dom W
  • participating member
  • 10 posts
  • Location:Melbourne

Posted 08 February 2006 - 12:48 PM

Dan Lepard mentioned a technique where wheat berries were boiled, then soaked, and the swelled like grapes.


Dan's technique makes for fantastic grainy (but soft) bread.

To start you could try using 10% whole grains (10% of dry flour weight)
Simmer in boiling water for half an hour. Then soak overnight in water (or even better in ale or wine). The next day drain and incorporate the grains.
50g of dry grain will yield about 125g of simmered and soaked grain.

cheers
Dom

#25 a10er

a10er
  • participating member
  • 5 posts
  • Location:Washington, DC

Posted 11 February 2006 - 08:39 AM

Great discussion here. I've been experimenting with a super healthy whole wheat sourdough. I usually make it in a loaf pan and I try err on the side of a stickier dough. While I hydrate the grains overnight, I think the grains still suck up a lot of moisture from the dough.

I keep both a white and whole wheat sourdough chef in the fridge, but usually build this from the whole wheat chef. I'll post the measurements below. I've based this on Peter Rienhart's "Basic Sourdough" from the Bread Baker's Apprentice. If these measurements are not clear, i'm happy to email the excel spreadsheet. (a10er@yahoo.com)

Grams %
Firm Starter
Barm* 115 88%
High Gluten Flour mix* 130 100%
Water 45 35%
Totals 290


Final Dough
High Gluten Flour mix* 580 200%
Firm Starter 290 100%
Sugar/Honey 85 29%
Salt 14 5%
Water 340 117%
Toasted Multigrain Blend** 100 34%
Handful toasted sunflower seeds***


Totals 1409


* I have been using 90% whole wheat and 10% white flour. Sometimes I substitute some rye for whole wheat.
** I like the Bob's Red Mill 8-grain mix (I didn’t like the 10-grain mix) mix and then add other grains sometimes (whole millet, quinoa, etc.) I toast the grains lightly and then add about 1C hot water and let sit overnight. I add them to the dough about 80% thru the kneading process.
*** I toast a handful of sunflower seeds and mix some in once the dough is well mixed and throw some on top before baking. Toasting them first brings out their great flavor.

-Adam


I've not noticed that much difference.  Do you have some rye in there? Adding rye can make the dough very sticky.

I'm still not happy with my wholemeal, and will take pictures next time.
Its good bread, nicely textured, crisp crust, tasting of the grain and the sour, good salt balance  but somehow...dull and boring.
Can I ask what are peoples expectations? What makes a great wholemeal loaf? What is your ideal wholemeal boule? Fine texture or big holes, like white? Should it have whole grains in it?

View Post



#26 a10er

a10er
  • participating member
  • 5 posts
  • Location:Washington, DC

Posted 11 February 2006 - 09:10 AM

I forgot to mention that there is good news on the whole wheat bread front. Peter Reinhart is working on new book of all whole grain breads. http://peterreinhart.typepad.com/

-Adam

#27 doronin

doronin
  • participating member
  • 158 posts
  • Location:Montreal, QC

Posted 07 April 2006 - 02:03 PM

Are there any methods to check the state of the dough while proving: is it under- over- or just proved - beyond the well known finger poke test?

#28 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 07 April 2006 - 02:55 PM

I just made a coarse ground 100% wholemeal loaf, (including a wholemeal preferment) that I was pretty happy with. It used 50% of the total flour as preferment, that is the dough step has 200% preferment. Overall hydration was about 80%. Proof time was, of course much shorter - about half. Good wheaty flavour and crumb texture.

Posted Image

Edited by jackal10, 07 April 2006 - 02:57 PM.


#29 lizztwozee

lizztwozee
  • participating member
  • 75 posts

Posted 15 May 2006 - 12:20 PM

Jackal: What a fabulous learning opportunity you have given everyone, with your comprehensive posts and photos that illustrate each point so well! Thank you so much. I baked 24 oz. "fat baguettes" this weekend, and found that the last ones I placed in the oven "sprung" so much higher than the first, those being about 1 hour later than the first batch (I baked three batches of two breads each -- that's all that fit on my teeny home baking stone). After consulting my glass jug with a bit of dough, I realized it was just over doubled. And I noted that the grignes were more developed, and the crusts were darker. Now I know why, thanks to you! Thanks again.:biggrin:
Lizz

---
"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"
-Wayne Gretzky

#30 lizztwozee

lizztwozee
  • participating member
  • 75 posts

Posted 25 July 2011 - 06:58 AM

Greetings! This demo was awesome . . . but I have a question. The first set of pictures show the boules of bread, and the glass jug with the dough inside. Is this done right after mixing, or after a bulk rise, and with or without a "rest"? I'm wondering why, if it's after bulk rise and rest, it needs a full 4 hours to prove -- is it in a cooler condition? And is there a need for a "rest", if you're baking round breads? I'm doing so in mass quantity, and wonder if I can skip this step, going right from bulk rise to shaped loaves.

I wanted to send this as a PM, but Jackal10 seems to have a full mailbox! Can someone answer . . . Jackal10, are you out there? Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!
Lizz

---
"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"
-Wayne Gretzky





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Bread