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Proving bread - skin problem

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44 replies to this topic

#1 doronin

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 01:51 PM

This is a fully risen loaf on the picture, about 1.25 hours after shaping.

I'm seriously concerned with its skin (or absent of such... notice the holes). The loaf stays pretty low, and doesn't have ovensring (even if I don't wait until it that risen) - in the oven it can be seen that surface "breathes" severily, i.e. gases intensively go out through the holes...

Before it went to the pan it seemed to have nice and smooth surface. What's wrong happened with the loaf? There was no retarding.

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#2 srhcb

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 03:31 PM

My guess: it rose too much in the pan and had already begun to deflate?

#3 alanamoana

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 06:12 PM

from the color of the dough (although I could be deceived because of the photo) it looks like the bread might be whole wheat?! if that is the case, maybe there isn't enough gluten in the dough for it to develop properly during the fermentation/rising process...you might need to work with your formula and include some flour with a higher protein content...

#4 jackal10

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 06:20 PM

Can you detail your formula and method a bit more?

Assuming your yeast is OK, looks to me like the loaf is severely overproved. How long was the bulk fermentation? At what temperature?

For wholemeal, with commercial yeast, you only need something like an hour of total fermentation at 30C, from mixer to baking.

#5 KyleW

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 06:23 AM

I agree that your loaves look a bit over proofed. 1 1/4 hours for a commercially yeasted bread seems pretty long. I also agree that it would be easier to help if we had your recipe. As was pointed out, breads with a high % of whole grain flour need a little extra attention.

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#6 doronin

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 02:47 AM

Hi guys,

Sorry for delay in responding to your posts, I was out for a while...

it rose too much in the pan and had already begun to deflate

One pan of dough consists of 400 g whole wheat (you bet, alanamoana :smile: ) with 80% hydration, which comes to... 320 g of water. I really expect it to fill my regular 5x9 pan pretty much... What can be defined as "too much rise"?

Important: The final skin looks somewhat better if the dough was very wet, I'd think because even at final stage such a dough stays very sticky and as a result more extensible. If I go with 70% hydration or less, the resulting dough doesn't feel sticky, but it's not extensible at all - it tends to tear when stretched regardless of the mixing time. This makes me think that lack of extensibility is the root couse here - skin just doesn't hold when the loaf rises in volume. :wacko:

Can you detail your formula and method a bit more?

Assuming your yeast is OK, looks to me like the loaf is severely overproved. How long was the bulk fermentation? At what temperature?

Well, it is overproved on the picture, but the holes appeared much earlier.

Now, the details:

Basically it's the same formula I used in the recent thread about the yeast behaviour, corrected as Dan advised there.

Starter:
250g coarsely ground organic whole wheat
300g lukewarm water
1/4 tsp instant yeast
stays at room (23 C) temperature for 8 hours, looks full of bubbles by then

The dough:
550g coarsely ground organic whole wheat
340g of room temperature water
*mixed with starter and leaved autolisys for 30 min
2 tsp salt added

Mixed for 5-6 minutes. At 80% hydration dough looks very "all together" and stays on the hook, at higher hydration it rather stays in the bottom of the bowl.

Bulk fermentation takes about 50 min - by then it rises somewhat (far from doubling). All this happens at room temperature, i.e. about 23C and not 30C.

Divide/shape/go to the pans, where it stays for another 50 min - 1.25 h until rised to something resembling the loaf.

Now, when I catch it at about 3/4 height of the pan and bake I do have ovenspring, but when I send the loaves to the oven I can clearly see how the skin breathes, i.e. gases inflate the skin, but almost immediately escape, so the loaf would rise much higher if I could hold them...

For wholemeal, with commercial yeast, you only need something like an hour of total fermentation at 30C, from mixer to baking.


It really depends on amount of the yeast. The Dan's advise not to use yeast straight in the dough - prepare starter with a little yeast, don't add more yeast afterwards made my life much easier, and dough stays alive for far longer then 1 hour. I'm pretty sure that the problem here is not with yeast, but with escaping gases.

breads with a high % of whole grain flour need a little extra attention.

Exactly. This is my passion, to make a good bread without any use of white flour. Isn't it a worthy challenge? :cool:

#7 jackal10

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 03:35 AM

I think it is still overproved. Most of the rise in in the oven spring, not the fermentation.

I doubt if its just a skin problem - you wouldn't want the skin separating with a big bubble under it. One of the issues with coarsely milled wholewheat is that the bran punctures the gas cells.


I get good results with
a) decrease the water a little to 75% hydration (300g instead of 340g)
b) No need to autolyse. The long preferment period will have more than enough enzyme activity
c) Omit the bulk fermentation step; that is mix the dough and then immediately divide and shape, prove for 1 1/4 hours, slash and bake

Edited by jackal10, 27 February 2006 - 04:19 AM.


#8 doronin

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 01:56 AM

I doubt if its just a skin problem - you wouldn't want the skin separating with a big bubble under it. One of the issues with coarsely milled wholewheat is that the bran punctures the gas cells.

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You're right, although if the dough was more extensible, the gas cell membranes were thinner, cells larger, and there would be no skin issue. You know, it's a strange feeling when you try to stretch a ball of dough, and it tears instead... Doesn't happen to me often, perhaps something wrong with the flour.
Now the question what extencibility depend on.... :wacko:


I get good results with
a) decrease the water a little to 75% hydration (300g instead of 340g)
b) No need to autolyse. The long preferment period will have more than enough enzyme activity
c) Omit the bulk fermentation step; that is mix the dough and then immediately divide and shape, prove for 1 1/4 hours, slash and bake

View Post


That sounds very convenient, time wise. Gonna try it, though it's kinda difficult to me to adopt this idea since all the books I read call to prolong, and prolong, and prolong... the fermentation time.

As for autolyse - I used to consider it as a good aid for gluten development, given whole grain is limited in it... Do you suggest to drop it just as unnecessry stage, or 'cause it harms the process?

#9 jackal10

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 02:33 AM

You don't want to believe everything you read in books, or here for that matter.

It also a question of style. In the old days, a fine even crumb structure, a little like Pullman bread was considered desirable, so the dough was punched down to redistribute the gas cells. Now we prefer an uneven crumb structure, so a single rise works better. There is also a long tradition of a having only a single rise for wholemeal breads.

Its fine to prolong if you are using sourdough, However commercial yeast is designed for a fast fermentation. Because of the sponge step you are adding lots of active hungry yeast. If you want to prolong (although I can't think why, except for oven scheduling) keep it cool - like 4C/10F to inhibit the yeast activity. Another technique is to mix the flour and the water components of the dough (but not the yeast or pre-ferment and leave for some hours. Some claim this gives more grain flavour, but I can't tell the difference.

Autolyse was to allow time for the enzymes in the yeast and the acid the sourdough starter (some say the flour but that cannot be) to degrade the starch into simple sugars for the yeast to feed on. That process is somewhat inhibited by salt. However you add a lot of saltless well developed dough as a starter, so there is no point in having a autolyse step.

Ultimately try it and see. Its what works for you wih your flour, yeast, water and oven, and experimentation with a small batch is fun and not expensive.

Edited by jackal10, 28 February 2006 - 03:01 AM.


#10 culinary bear

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 04:42 AM

Jackal10's right, in the olden days competition loaves were routinely put through a mangle as often as twenty times to completly break down air pockets before the final prove giving as even a crumb structure as possible.

From my own experience relatively high-hydration wholewheat doughs are very prone to overmixing, as well as overproving. In overmixed batter goods you often see a 'tunneling' effect similar to what you describe.

Have another go and let us know what happens.

I'm making guinness and onion bread today in the worst oven in the world. Wish me luck...
Allan Brown

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#11 KyleW

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 04:49 AM

You know, it's a strange feeling when you try to stretch a ball of dough, and it tears instead... Doesn't happen to me often, perhaps something wrong with the flour.
Now the question what extencibility depend on....  :wacko:


This is AKA the Window pane test and is an indication of gluten development. If it tears, the gluten is said not to be developed properly. using 100% whole wheat tends to make this a marginal test. As Jackal pointed out, the bran in whole wheat tends to cut the gluten strands. This will give you a false result. In my head, extensibility depends on, among other things, hydration and gluten development. The trick is to moderate the cutting effects of the bran. Trial and error :)
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#12 Anna N

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 04:49 AM

...
I'm making guinness and onion bread today in the worst oven in the world.  Wish me luck...

View Post


I do wish you luck and am sure you will have it! Bread baking is perhaps my favourite cooking activity and even when the results are less than fantastic, I get a high just from trying.
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#13 jackal10

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 05:06 AM

I've had good results uning intesive mixing for wholewheat and spelt breads, to give a very extensible dough.
Its a variation on intensively mixed "no time" doughs
Spin the dough in a food processor or mixer on high until it picks up and then releases, and starts sticking. For me its about 2 minutes in a robo with the steel blade. Watch the temperature, and you may want to use ice water in the mix.
You get a very sticky extensible dough, almost like cream or warm toffee. A turn with some flour or oil makes it behave.

#14 culinary bear

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 08:01 AM

One commis at work tried that with very hard white flour, and I swear you could have used the resulting bread as artillery shells. I've seen it used for wholemeal with decent results.

The Guinness loaf turned out decently, considering the oven :

Posted Image

BFT 55 minutes, final prove 25 mins, oven 210C for 45 minutes with steam for first five.
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#15 Anna N

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 10:51 AM

...
The Guinness loaf turned out decently, considering the oven :

...

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Looks good! How does it taste?
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#16 culinary bear

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 01:09 PM

Good... malty, with a slight Guinness bitterness to it.
Allan Brown

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#17 Anna N

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 01:20 PM

Good... malty, with a slight Guinness bitterness to it.

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Thanks. Sounds intriguing.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#18 doronin

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 02:41 AM

From my own experience relatively high-hydration wholewheat doughs are very prone to overmixing, as well as overproving.  In overmixed batter goods you often see a 'tunneling' effect similar to what you describe.

Have another go and let us know what happens.

View Post


Time to report the results... :wink:

This entire story doesn't stop to amaze me... When quite a while ago I started with all that whole meal goodness, I was busy trying to apply complicate classic recipes to whole wheat… well, mainly due to lack of books dedicated to whole grain specifics. I was spending pretty much whole day trying to imitate those lo-ong proof times of French bread, the results, of course, were pretty much miserable. The progress now brought me to a point where it takes just about 2 hours from initial mix to finished bread (starter is extra), and it tastes much better then the attempts from the past…

Now, back to business.

So I dropped the bulk fermentation – mixed, shaped right away, proved, and baked. I have to admit the rise was much livelier, I had better ovenspring, crust was good, and I generally liked the crumb, although there is much yet to work on. My conclusion – this is the way to go. Thank you guys!

However, the story with the skin didn't change much, there were lots of little "breaks" and holes in what was supposed to be the skin, and it caused me to still believe some of potential volume was lost due to some escaped gases. I examined the surface thoroughly; it indeed looked as the skin was torn due to inability to stretch itself enough to match the "new" volume of rising loaf. Gotta try another, more "glutenious" brand of flour I guess…

#19 jackal10

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 03:23 AM

Can we have some pictures?
I doubt if changing the flour will have much effect.
Are you slashing the loaf?

Another point is that I note you are covering loaves with clingfilm. This will inhibit the slight drying and skining needed to form a good crust. Try covering with a cloth, such as an oven cloth, and then putting the whole thing in a large loose plastic bag like a bin liner to prove.

#20 doronin

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 04:24 AM

Can we have some pictures?
I doubt if changing the flour will have much effect.
Are you slashing the loaf?

Another point is that I note you are covering loaves with clingfilm. This will inhibit the slight drying and skining needed to form a good crust. Try covering with a cloth, such as an oven cloth, and then putting the whole thing in a large loose plastic bag like a bin liner to prove.

View Post


This time I've got only pictures of already baked bread, I hope to upload them tonight.

Clingfilm is another thing that confuses me from my early days :)
From one perspective if I let skin dry somewhat, it'll be tough and may inhibit ovenspring. This is actually why we steam the oven.
From another standpoint, if it's sweats for too long under the clingfilm, excessive humidity may weaken the skin. Where's the truth lays?

I do not slash as at the point of would-be slashing the skin already resembles a sieve.

Why I think about flour change? The one I use has just 12.5% protein, and this is a whole wheat - pretty low IMHO. Also, it's very coarsely ground, not as granular as semolina, but the particles are large enough to be felt on touch. Initially I didn't believe it's possible to do any bread from it, so I consider what I've done as a "success" :). My understanding is that dough extensibility must also depend on it, as large porticles can penetrate gluten as good as bran...

Edited by doronin, 05 March 2006 - 04:31 AM.


#21 jackal10

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 04:55 AM

Slashing allows you to control where the loaf shreds. Slash at a 45 degree angle just before baking.

You need the dough to skin slightly to support the weaker foam inside, like a balloon. It won't inhibit the rise.

I think your flour is already strong enough. I use a Doves Farm, sairly coarse wholemeal, 12.0% protein, or a Spelt 11.5% protein.

#22 doronin

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 01:58 AM

Here, the promised pictures. Comments are appreciated.


Posted Image


Posted Image

#23 jackal10

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 02:17 AM

Looks to me like a wet dough that has been under developed but overproved.
The flat top and rather coarse crumb with thick webs between the cells are characteristic. Did you cut the water to 75% hydration? (300g instead of 340g?).

How are you mixing? Mix on high speed until the dough "picks up" and the continue mixing until it releases again. Some Vitaman C (ascorbic acid) - about 0.5% will help as well.

Then cut the prove time. You'll need to experiment a bit

#24 doronin

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 02:45 AM

Looks to me like a wet dough that has been under developed but overproved.
The flat top and rather coarse crumb with thick webs between the cells are characteristic. Did you cut the water to 75% hydration? (300g instead of 340g?).

How are you mixing? Mix on high speed until the dough "picks up" and the continue mixing until it releases again. Some Vitaman C (ascorbic acid) - about 0.5% will help as well.

Then cut the prove time. You'll need to experiment a bit

View Post


Hmm... "under developed but overproved" - how can it be so it we just dropped the bulk fermentation, leaving only proof? :wacko: Actually, when I did the bulk fermentation stage, which was supposed to help the dough to become developed, the webs were just as thick, but holes were smaller. Any idea?

The hydration, I couldn't drop it this time - the flour I bought last time was extremely thirsty for water: strangely, at 75% it was very very dry. So I started to add water while mixing, until I saw that little dough stays on the bottom of the mixer bowl (i.e. not all stays on the hook). I'll try to cut water next time.

Mixing - KitchenAid standing mixer, second speed, 5-6 minutes. It will break if I go higher.

"Mix on high speed until the dough "picks up" and the continue mixing until it releases again" - you mean food processor mixing, not mixer, right? Otherwise, when it releases, won't the dough be overkneaded by then?

Ascorbic acid - it's not that simple here in Israel. It's considered to be a chemical stuff, so pharmacies don't generally carry it in pure form. And the price is unbelievable.

Edited by doronin, 06 March 2006 - 02:51 AM.


#25 jackal10

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 03:25 AM

Ahh, you are in Isreal..
Don't health food stores sell Vitamin C powder or tablets? You only need a pinch, but its OK to omit.

You are trying to over knead in conventional terms, so long as the dough doesn't get too hot. It will get wetter as it proves. Mine comes off the mixer almost as a cream, and then magically transforms as you shape it.

I'll try and do some pix later.

#26 doronin

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 04:27 AM

But what are suggesting to do about "underdeveloped"? Get back to bulk fermentation?..

Don't health food stores sell Vitamin C powder or tablets? You only need a pinch, but its OK to omit.

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Of course they do, but I used to read the labels, they all contain tons of additives, from food colorants to artificial flavourings. Do you think it's it all right to add such stuff to the dough?


You are trying to over knead in conventional terms, so long as the dough doesn't get too hot. It will get wetter as it proves. Mine comes off the mixer almost as a cream, and then magically transforms as you shape it.

View Post

Now that's intriguing at least. This is a first time I'm encouraged to overknead... Why and how does it work? I used to think that overkneading leads to degradation of gluten network...

#27 jackal10

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 09:47 AM

For big holes and an artisanal texture you must develop the gluten much more then normal, either by a long hydration (for example mix the flour and the water but not the yeast 24 hours beforehand, and keep in the fridge, or intensively mix past the normal point.

Here is my 100% wholemeal sourdough,
I use Doves Farm 100% Organic wholemeal, a fairly rough textured wholemeal, sold here in larger supermarkets. The pack says 12% protein. Their Spelt flour is also good. http://www.dovesfarm...king-flour.htm/

500 g Flour
350g water
200g starter (100% hydration, 12 hour ferment)
12g salt
1g Vit C

Whizz together or use a mixer until it goes past the pick-up stage and the gluten is well developed, and starts sticking to the bowl. Shape, prove in a banneton in a plastic bag for 4 hours at 30C

Posted Image Posted Image
Posted Image Posted Image

Note how extensible the dough is, and how it tends to form fine sheets.

More in 4 hours or when I bake it.

Edited by jackal10, 06 March 2006 - 09:52 AM.


#28 jackal10

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 02:46 PM

3.5 hours later:

Posted Image Posted Image
Posted Image Posted Image
Posted Image Posted Image
Posted Image Posted Image
Posted Image Posted Image

Note the oven spring, and the grigne.

Not perfect. There is a slight molding fault, and the bread could have been mixed more to give an even finer web between gas cells.

#29 doronin

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 02:14 AM

Wow, this is awesome... Curious how did you get that reddish color without adding sugar or such?..

I'm going to try to cut hydration and overmix somewhat this weekend...

For big holes and an artisanal texture you must develop the gluten much more then normal, either by a long hydration (for example mix the flour and the water but not the yeast 24 hours beforehand, and keep in the fridge, or intensively mix past the normal point.

I feel I missed something... Yet recently the favorite method was extremelly short mix, where gluten was clearly underdeveloped... Or this is what food processor manages to achieve in 20-30 sec?

I'm really amazed by how your loaf looks in a banneton after 3.5 hours. It's so smooth...

How did you shape the loaf - just as white bread, i.e. trying to create tension on the outer surface, or simply folded the dough and put it into the banneton?

How did you avoid raw flour pickup during shaping, considering the dough was very sticky and you needed lots of flour?

#30 jackal10

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 02:31 AM

No added sugar, just sourdough and a long preferment, and a hot oven.
Maybe its the camera flash, but the colour is about right.

This method mixes in the food processor for 2-3 MINUTES, maybe something like 15-20 minutes in a conventional mixer.

Its a wild sourdough yeast, so will move slower than a commercial yeast. I'd only prove a commercial yeast something like 45 minutes.

The dough isn't that sticky, but quite soft.
I shaped in two stages

1. Stretch and fold, and fold 8 ways to centre to make a ball, (and to coat the outside so the dough handles OK
2. Make a baton shape: flatten to a rectangle, then fold in the corners
then the centre points,

/--\
\--/

then fold in half. Put in banneton seam side up.

One centre slash before it goes in the oven.





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