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The loaf I baked yesterday was an improvement over the first one, but like Emily_R I'm hoping for a loaf that rises well over the lip of the pan.

This time I replaced about 1/4 of the whole wheat flour with bread flour and also cut the rising times by about half. This dough kneeded much better (it easily passed the windowpane test) - probably because of the bread flour. I restricted the first rise to an hour (instead of two). Instead of fully doubling, this time it probably increased in volume about about 70%.

Then I split the dough into two pieces, shaped them, and put them into loaf pans. Instead of rising for 90 minutes as I did the first time, I let them rise for about 45 minutes. Then baked them.

These loafs rose in the oven a little bit more than my earlier batch. The interior was noticeably lighter. But the overall height still shorter than what I hoped for.

Luckily, this bread tastes good. I'll report back on the next trial.

Only after baking many years did I realize the power of understanding TIME and TEMPERATURE. I ignored these basic intertwined principles. Rising times are highly dependent on temperature - of final dough and the ambient temp. In my experience, I was always an underfermenter and with a probe thermometer and some attention to detail I was fast tracked to great loaves time and time again.

FWIW, Jeffrey Hamelman's book "Bread" is utterly fantastic and pays strict attention to these basic principles in his recipes. I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone interested in bread baking.

Good luck.

Dough can sense fear.

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jackal10 - when you say that "Doubling in size is very misleading", do you mean that it is incorrect as a principle? Or that the average bakers' judgement of doubling is inaccurate?

Both.

Its wrong in principle. The amount a dough rises depends on many factors. The optimum point to shape is when the dough is saturated with carbon dioxide and micro-bubbles have begun to form, but the sponge is not yet so delicate that it will lose gas and collapse as its handled. That is much earlier than when the dough has doubled. Many commercial bread processes such as "no-time doughs" omit the bulk fermentation stage entirely.

Its also wrong to let the proof stage double. Bear in mind that properly conditioned the dough will more than double in the oven from the outgassing and the steam before setting. If it has already doubled the most dough stuctures will not take that expansion, and heavy bread will result.

Its wrong in practice, since its very hard to estimate a doubling in volume, especially for boule.

For my sourdough I shape 2 hours after mixing (at room temperature - say 75F), and then eithr immediateky retard overnight and bake for cold, or bake after a further 2 hours. a toatl of 4 hours form mixing the dough. The dough includes 33% by weight of flour an overnight pre-ferment.

Typically

Preferment:

200g flour

100g water

10g culture

Mix and leave 24 hours at 75F

Dough

All the preferment

400g flour

12g salt

320g water (70% hydration)

Mix roughly, then stretch and fold every 1/2 hour for 2 hours

Shape, prove for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Bake 40 mins 450F, bottom heat, steam in first minute

This is very similar to what I do, except with 350 ml for the dough which is 75% hydration. I still don't get big holes, though my crumb is cool and light. Do you get an open crumb with 70% hydration?

I usually do about 12-16 hours for the pre-ferment, then about 2-3 for the bulk ferment depending on how fast it's going. Then I like to retard overnight and bake straight from the refrigerator in a dutch oven. I'm pretty happy with the crust and crumb, but I'd like the crumb to be a bit more open. I use a flour with an average of 12% gluten--should I switch to something with a bit less?

nunc est bibendum...

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The crumb also depends on the flour. Particles of bran will puncture the gas cells, so whole wheat is denser then white flour.

The texture depends on the gluten matrix. For large cells you want weaker gluten so more cells coalesce. I tend to use soft white flour around 10% protein, but flour has many variables.

More yeast activity, so more yeast and longer bulk fermention times relative to proof times will give larger, weaker bubbles that coalesce in the moulding process and hence a more open and uneven crumb.

gallery_7620_135_11355.jpg

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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Wow Jack that is very extremely impressive. Was that baked in you Aga or your wood oven?

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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That was direct on the floor of the top oven of the Aga - lots of bottom heat. I think that was made about February 2007 according to the date on the file. Note the thinness of the web.

You can get big holes by having a very wet dough, but then web is thick and the bread a bit pudding like.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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I guess I'll have to play around with my bread procedure a bit. I've been doing the same thing weekly for about a year now. I'll try a weaker flour or an extended bulk fermentation.

That's incredible bread--like others around here, I started baking seriously because of your egci course. Thanks for the help.

nunc est bibendum...

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Hey Jack, when you say you want a weaker gluten structure, does that mean you kneed it less?

You also mentioned doing a longer proof stage relative to bulk fermentation. Are you still doing a 4 hour bulk fermentation (I presume those were sourdough baguettes)? About how long is the proof stage?

One more thing - do you have any pictures of the interior of whole wheat bread that you like?

Edited by Darren72 (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok. Thanks to the information in this thread I have enormous oven spring (the volume of the dough would at least double in the oven). Now I have two problems, and I'm keen to get your advice on them!

i. with all of that oven spring, the dough bursts out of the crust in a ragged line along the side of the bread. If I slash the dough deep enough, the expansion will come out of the cut instead, but there is still some tearing in other areas. So question: how do I control the tearing of the bread?

ii. I've found that in the 2 hours after baking, the bread will collapse considerably (maybe by 20%), making it far more dense. How do I stop this?

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Hey Jack, when you say you want a weaker gluten structure, does that mean you kneed it less?

You also mentioned doing a longer proof stage relative to bulk fermentation. Are you still doing a 4 hour bulk fermentation (I presume those were sourdough baguettes)? About how long is the proof stage?

One more thing - do you have any pictures of the interior of whole wheat bread that you like?

Yes, either minimal kneading (use the stretch and fold technique), or very intensive mixing as in the CBP process (11kwh/kg energy inout to the dough).

For sourdough I do 2 hour bulk fermentation and 1 hour proof.

This is not quite whole wheat - the preferement (33%) was white. Very hard to get as open a crumb with pure wholewheat. Finely ground spelt flour + mixed seeds

gallery_7620_135_26696.jpg

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Hey all --

Just wanted to say that I think I'm getting converted to the "don't overproof" approach! I baked a half-white half-whole wheat sandwich loaf today, put it in the oven when it was just cresting the top of the loaf pan (I would have waited for it to rise much more previously), slashed it, and got big beautiful glorious oven spring!

Thanks to the many knowledgable bakers on this thread!

Emily

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Ok. Thanks to the information in this thread I have enormous oven spring (the volume of the dough would at least double in the oven). Now I have two problems, and I'm keen to get your advice on them!

i. with all of that oven spring, the dough bursts out of the crust in a ragged line along the side of the bread. If I slash the dough deep enough, the expansion will come out of the cut instead, but there is still some tearing in other areas. So question: how do I control the tearing of the bread?

ii. I've found that in the 2 hours after baking, the bread will collapse considerably (maybe by 20%), making it far more dense. How do I stop this?

If the bread is collapsing you have not baked it fully.

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i. with all of that oven spring, the dough bursts out of the crust in a ragged line along the side of the bread. If I slash the dough deep enough, the expansion will come out of the cut instead, but there is still some tearing in other areas. So question: how do I control the tearing of the bread?

You've got half the solution by slashing deeper. Slashing isn't just about a pretty design on the loaf, but also about you choosing where that expansion occurs.

If you are still getting tearing, then perhaps you are not sealing a seam during the shaping process. Seams are typically a weak spot on the loaf, which is why they are placed face down in the loaf pan or on the baking stone. Try not to get additional bench flour in the seam when you are trying to seal it.

Edited by tino27 (log)

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Hi, could we go back to this statement please --

Another traditional trick is to put a small lump of dough in a glass of water. When it floats its ready.

I'm not sure I understand... The lump of dough is put aside when the bread is shaped, yes? Is it placed immediately into the water, or not until the large loaf appears to be proofed? If the lump does not float, is it left in the water, or put back on the counter to rise longer?

This sounds like such an easy method. Thanks for any info you can add.

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Hi, could we go back to this statement please --
Another traditional trick is to put a small lump of dough in a glass of water. When it floats its ready.

I'm not sure I understand... The lump of dough is put aside when the bread is shaped, yes? Is it placed immediately into the water, or not until the large loaf appears to be proofed? If the lump does not float, is it left in the water, or put back on the counter to rise longer?

This sounds like such an easy method. Thanks for any info you can add.

At the stage of (scaling and) shaping (just before proofing), a small scrap of dough (maybe the size of a walnut) is kept aside. Its kept at the same temperature as the loaf or loaves. When you think the dough is nearly proofed, pop the little piece into a glass or jug of water. When it floats, its an indication some people use that the dough is 'proofed'. As long as the water isn't very different to the proofing temperature, I think the dough piece would normally be left in the water. If yours falls apart, try something different next time!

The test piece should be discarded after it has bobbed up to the surface!

Some bakers would say that this density/sg, 1.0, was somewhat underproofed. But its erring (if it is) on the right side! :smile:

Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Some bakers would say that this density/sg, 1.0, was somewhat underproofed.

Just wondering, what does sg stand for there?

Specific gravity. (Strictly speaking, density ought to have units, like grams per cc {where water is 1.0 g/cc}, whereas the s.g. is the ratio of the material's density to the density of water and hence independent of units.) Bit sloppy of me, sorry! Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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