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Swisskaese

Bread Dough Spreading Out

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I used to pride myself in my bread baking until I moved to Israel. I cannot get the dough to keep its shape during the rising process. It spreads out on the baking sheet.

I have tried the following:

1. Tried different brands of flour

2. More kneading, less kneading

3. Dry yeast, yeast cake

4. Added less yeast, added more yeast than called for

5. Proofed in a warm oven, put on a warm balcony where the sun shines in

HELP!!!!!

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My guess is that your flour has less protein than the flour you used to use, and so it doesn't develop as strong a gluten network. This in turn leads the dough to slacken.

There are "improvers" that bakers in Europe add to flours to deal with this issue, but you might try solving it with technique first. When you form loaves, you might try being a little more aggresive in shaping the dough into a tight package. Surface tension helps a loaf spread up instead of out.

Also, you might try "turning" the dough during its first rise, if you don't already. This technique, also known as the "stretch and fold," involves removing the dough from its container and gently folding it up like a business letter, left to center, right to center, and then top to center and bottom to center. You can do this three or four times at half-hour or one-hour increments as the dough rises, and it really helps to strengthen a slack dough.

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Try with a slightly less wet dough. Even changing the amount of flour by a few percent has a significant effect.

Also most doughs need support from either a banneton (linen lined basket) or a couche (folded linen cloth) during proof.

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I never confined the dough and I never had any problems. This was for a basic round loaf and Challah.

I have never seen Challah put in a couche or a banneton.

I will try Seth's suggestion and see what happens.

Thanks,

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I used to face a similar problem...breads turning to fluffy foccacias .

What worked for me was a combination of turning(at least two times) and creating a "gluten cloak" on the bread. This is explained in detail in the "Laurels kitchen " book.Basically,form the dough into a ball and holding the ball in both hands, keep tucking the surface of the ball into the bottom using the sides of your hands.The ball should look very taut at the end of it.It takes some practice but its fun and I do think it helps to restrain the dough from spreading.

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You could try pre-fermenting a portion of the flour to strengthen the dough. A good starting point would be 25% of the total flour in the recipe. Hydrate it at 60% (remember to subtract this flour and water from the final dough) and use up to 1% yeast based on flour, depending on the length of fermentation. 1% yeast will hold at 50 to 60 degrees for 15 to 18 hours (variable depending on conditions). This should strenghten your dough without altering the flavor (which in Challah is provided more by sugars, fats, eggs, etc. than fermentation).

If you maintain a natural starter, you could incorporate up to 10% of the flour weight in your final dough. Make the appropriate adjustments to maintain the same level of salt.

And don't forget to sacrifice a piece of dough to the oven. You never know..........

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Thanks Boulak for the advice. I haven't had time to make bread. I will try this weekend. I will try Seth's advice on one loaf and I will make another loaf with a starter and see how that works.

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You could try pre-fermenting a portion of the flour to strengthen the dough.  A good starting point would be 25% of the total flour in the recipe.  Hydrate it at 60% (remember to subtract this flour and water from the final dough) and use up to 1% yeast based on flour, depending on the length of fermentation.  1% yeast will hold at 50 to 60 degrees for 15 to 18 hours (variable depending on conditions).  This should strenghten your dough without altering the flavor (which in Challah is provided more by sugars, fats, eggs, etc. than fermentation).

If you maintain a natural starter, you could incorporate up to 10% of the flour weight in your final dough.  Make the appropriate adjustments to maintain the same level of salt. 

And don't forget to sacrifice a piece of dough to the oven.  You never know..........

Boulak, Where have you been I haven't seen your name on this site for some time.

Polack

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This is an easy one, add a hand full of sugar or so to fuel the dough. If its low on protein the yeast have less to feed on, give them a little more energy.

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This is an easy one, add a hand full of sugar or so to fuel the dough.  If its low on protein the yeast have less to feed on, give them a little more energy.

The challah recipe that I use has a fair amount of sugar in it, so I don't think that is the problem.

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Your dough is too wet. Keep reducing the water by 10% until it doesn't spread.

Traditionally water is only about 32%, with additional liquid from about 25% egg, making quite a stiff dough. These are bakers pecentages, by weight, of the flour, that is the weight of flour is 100%.

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Your dough is too wet. Keep reducing the water by 10% until it doesn't spread.

Traditionally water is only about 32%, with additional liquid from about 25% egg, making quite a stiff dough. These are bakers pecentages, by weight, of the flour, that is the weight of flour is 100%.

Why would my dough be too wet, if I am using the amount that the recipe calls for? Does it have to do with the makeup of lower protein in the flour I am using?

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Recipies are a guide rather than accurate.

Different flours adsorb different amounts of water, even with the same protein content. Its governed by mnay factors. They may have different ash contents, or be ground coarser or finer. Wholemeal adsorbs more than white flour, so a higher extraction flour will adsorb more.

You need to go by the feel of the dough. The stiffness of the dough changes a lot with only a few percent difference in water, so experiment until its right. WHen you experiment it is much better to change the water amount, rather then add more flour, since you then don't have to alter the other components (eggs, salt etc). Start too stiff and add a little water until its workable.

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I bake challah alot and tend to agree with Jackal as far as I can follow. I sort of understand the percentage thing but as I've not done that kind of baking very much, it makes my head hurt a little.

While Jackal recommends adjusting the liquid to the flour, I do the opposite. I get all my liquids and then start adding the flour. Once I get to about 75% or 80% of what the recipe calls for, I start checking closely adding additional flour in smaller increments. Often I will add more than the printed recipe calls for, and sometimes I never get to the full amount. I know what the dough should look and feel like. It just takes a little practice.

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Recipies are a guide rather than accurate.

Different flours adsorb different amounts of water, even with the same protein content. Its governed by mnay factors. They may have different ash contents, or be ground coarser or finer. Wholemeal adsorbs more than white flour, so a higher extraction flour will adsorb more.

You need to go by the feel of the dough. The stiffness of the dough changes a lot with only a few percent difference in water, so experiment until its right.  WHen you experiment it is much better to change the water amount, rather then add more flour, since you then don't have to alter the other components (eggs, salt etc). Start too stiff and add a little water until its workable.

Maybe I haven't made myself very clear. I am and was a very good bread baker. I am just having a hard time adjusting to the flour combined with the weather and the lack of central heating/air conditioning here in Israel.

I also go by feel and add more flour and/or liquid when necessary or add less of both. The dough is not too moist, it just spreads out during the final rise, after I braid the dough. I am going to make some bread (not Challah) tomorrow, trying Seth's advice. I am also going to make a honey starter and try Boulak's suggestion, but that will have to wait until next week.

I will post my results. The results will not be as scientific as Jackal's because I do not have a chemistry background nor do I have a scale, but I will do my best.


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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The dough will get wetter during the final rise, especially if it is acidic, such as sourdough, as the acid weakens the gluten.

I wonder if its the temperature.

You could try doing the final rise in a refrigerator, overnight, then bake from cold. I find this helps with some doughs

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it's the humidity, more than likely. Where i live is one of the most humid areas in the world and i've had to reduce the water by up to 30% to get the dough right in the summer time. You can watch it collect, if you agitate the dough slowly for longer periods of time the dough can gather quite a bit of moisture from the air. Unfortunately i have no idea about the climate where you currently are. Just a thought.

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Recipies are a guide rather than accurate.

Different flours adsorb different amounts of water, even with the same protein content. Its governed by mnay factors. They may have different ash contents, or be ground coarser or finer. Wholemeal adsorbs more than white flour, so a higher extraction flour will adsorb more.

You need to go by the feel of the dough. The stiffness of the dough changes a lot with only a few percent difference in water, so experiment until its right.  WHen you experiment it is much better to change the water amount, rather then add more flour, since you then don't have to alter the other components (eggs, salt etc). Start too stiff and add a little water until its workable.

Maybe I haven't made myself very clear. I am and was a very good bread baker. I am just having a hard time adjusting to the flour combined with the weather and the lack of central heating/air conditioning here in Israel.

I also go by feel and add more flour and/or liquid when necessary or add less of both. The dough is not too moist, it just spreads out during the final rise, after I braid the dough. I am going to make some bread (not Challah) tomorrow, trying Seth's advice. I am also going to make a honey starter and try Boulak's suggestion, but that will have to wait until next week.

I will post my results. The results will not be as scientific as Jackal's because I do not have a chemistry background nor do I have a scale, but I will do my best.

You're problem is quite perplexing, but I do have a few more thoughts. If you are using quite a bit of fat in the recipe, you could try developing the dough before the addition of the fat and then adding the fat gradually as in a brioche dough. This would supply sufficient strength to the dough without altering your recipe. After reading your latest post, I wonder if your dough temperature after mixing might be too high. Have you taken the temperatue of the dough after mixing? 75 to 78 degrees is a good range for fermenting and proofing Challah. This can be achieved by regulating your liquid temperature. If you are using dry active yeast and heating it in 110 water and mixing directly, it could be a factor. If you use dry active, heat only a portion of the water then add the remainder after the yeast is activated. Upthread you said you have used dry and fresh and had similar results, but I am trying to eliminate possibilities. If you use dry yeast BTW, instant active is the best as noted on another thread. Jackal refers to a final proof in the refrigerator -- I have used the refrigerator for overnight bulk fermentation for Challah and then shaped and proofed it in the proper environment and obtained satisfactory results, but for Challah, I prefer a more direct method. I can sense your determination and due to that if nothing else, I imagine that you will be able to resolve your problem with Challah. One other note, always maintain the same amount of flour and adjust the liquid components to that. When you tinker with the flour content, you throw the balance of the formula off -- all other ingredients work in relationship (ratio or percentage) to the flour. If you start with water and add flour, the dough may "feel right," but the leavening, and salt could end up out of balance and cause inconsistent results. Good luck and keep us posted.

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Okay, I have started very late today, but we are not going to a New Year's Eve party tonight.

I decided not to make Challah. I am going to make Walnut Bread on the King Arthur website. (For some strange reason I could not get the link to work because the URL has a "?" on the end of the string and it was removing the ? from the string and putting after the title of the link that appears on this message. Was that TMI? :blink: Sorry, I work in hitech.:rolleyes:)

I don't have the luxury of being able to purchase King Authur flour in Israel, so I am using Stybel's #2 Bread flour and a yeast cake.

I reduced the amount of liquid that I put in the dough. It is now on its first rise.


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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I would like to thank everyone for their advice. It worked!

I now have renewed faith that I can bake bread here.

Here is a picture from the 2nd rise:

gallery_8006_298_1104519314.jpg

And here is the final product:

gallery_8006_298_1104522950.jpg

Happy New Year!!


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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you know i bake bread everyday, and seems to get dull after a while, but to see you prevail with a beautiful makes me enjoy it again.

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