The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

800 slaps on the bench!!!

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jthiessen's picture
jthiessen

800 slaps on the bench!!!

Here is the result of watching the video clip of Danielle Forestier on Julia Childs show where she slaps the dough some 800+ times.  And I attempted to do just that.....800 times!!!

And what difference did it make?  Mine came out kind of flat, not much oven spring, mis shaped due to their incredible second rise right into one another, and complete lack of large holes.  Where are those darned holes!!!?!?!?!

Taste good, though (despite the Carpel Tunnel Syndrome I'm now expriencing).

Any suggestions?

800 slaps on the bench!!!800 slaps on the bench!!! 

Comments

edh's picture
edh

That is truly impressive; 800 slaps. My elbows hurt just thinking of it.

I wish I had some advice, but I just had the same experience (minus the physical effort). Nice enough taste, but the crumb looked just like yours. The kitchen is presently being taken over by Easter preparations, but as soon as that's all over, I'm going to try again, but with a much slacker dough. Probably result in a horrid mess, but that's ok...

Good luck!

edh

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I made this formula but I didn't do the 800 slaps. As soon as I had a well developed dough and it windowpaned, I called it a day. I think it's important to have the dough hydrated enough that it stretches with each slap. You need a soft silky mass. Also the folding is important. I got a nice final proof and fairly holey crumb. Delicious!

Eric

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

I will wager a guess that your bread came out so dense because of overhandling. I saw the 800 slaps video and love Julia, but I've never had good results with excessive handling, or with stiff doughs like that. I ascribe more to the school of kneading as little as possible (even with a stand mixer I never go more than 4-5 minutes for about 4 lbs of dough), and let time do the work instead, letting it ferment longer to develop the gluten while preserving big gas holes, and use a very wet dough. A lot like the "no-knead" bread recipe, except I fold a lot to get the surface tension and strength needed to keep a wet dough from spreading out. I use those methods whether making a yeasted bread or a sourdough bread. In my humble opinion, I think the BBA's recipe for Pain a L'Ancienne is the best one around for a baguette-type bread where the dough is fermented a long time and is very wet. If you follow that recipe, you will get a bread with a light, hole-ly crumb, crisp crust, and great flavor from the long fermentation. Just my 2 cents though, everyone has their particular style they like better.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

I thought that woman saying 850 slaps was silly, to put it nicely. Do love Julia though.                                                                                      weavershouse

jthiessen's picture
jthiessen

Yes, it resulted in a dense dough.  But tell me this, how did she end up with large holes in her bread?

I agree with you after that experience.  Less handling and more folding is my preferred approach.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Mountaindog,

I'm with you. I've been working dough less and less lately, due to catching on to the folding and hydration factors. It's one of the reasons I no longer make much use of a mixer. Somewhere along the line, I started using autolyse, frisage if you add preferments and salt later, some not too taxing early kneading in a style that amounts to a few stretches and folds, and then some more stretches and folds later during bulk fermentation, and then maybe a final fold before shaping if the dough is very slack after bulk fermentation. I think the secret is in getting the dough to a stretchy, elastic, but not too stiff or too slack consistency before shaping. Not enough water, too much kneading, or too many stretches and folds seem to give a denser result, as far as I can tell. It seems to me it's a combination of highly hydrated, elastic dough, which may be helped by flour that isn't too strong, and stopping the fermentation at the right point (poke test has helped me there) that results in good holes. Roughly speaking, if the dough "fights back" to much when you try to stretch and fold it, you may have gone one fold too many or over-kneaded.

Jthiessen, you may want to read the ciabatta recipe in Artisan Bread, by Glezer, (if you have access somewhere to this book), as it's a very good base recipe to learn about getting big holes.

One thing that may have something to do with getting holes is using preferments or a long cool rise or retard at some point in the fermentation, which should raise the acid levels in your dough. I think it may help, but maybe someone else knows better about this detail. All the breads I've done that have irregular hole structures have used either a large percentage of sourdough starter or a large amount of preferment such as a poolish or a biga, i.e. like more than 30% of flour coming from the sourdough starter, poolish, or biga.

Bill

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

 800 slaps, I thin that's what she deserves. lol I love the videos though for pure comedy value alone. : -) 

Sourdough-guy

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Except for the 800 slaps it is a great video that shows how to get dough to a workable state. I do believe there is a need to knead, just not 800 times.

Eric

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say there is a need to work the dough. How much and when is down to being smart with your effort for the finish you want. I know some people enjoy slapping the dough around but I think that's between them and their therapist. lol.  

Sourdough-guy

jthiessen's picture
jthiessen

Sourdough-guy,

Can you help me understand the difference between the times when one should work the dough, and other times when one should not knead the dough (i.e. just stretching and folding)?

I see references to both.  Are they simply two different methods?

sourLou's picture
sourLou

I like this thread because it has helped answer a few nagging questions I've had the past week.  I have been using a starter to bake with and have only done four bread bakes in my short bread making career. 

The first one I did was the wettest and least kneaded.  I kneaded it the shortest basically because I had no idea what to do and those two loaves of bread tasted great and looked like they could have come from any good bakery.  The last two times I used the 800/850 slap method and found the dough really tough to handle and form.  Both times the loaves ripped while baking.  The bread did taste good.

When using the fold method is there any kneading involved at all?

So i'm glad to learn one can over knead so i can stop second guessing myself.  Also everytime I check the forum I get so hungry . 

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

I can tell you this, I get holes in my bread by doing what is said here. Keep the dough high hydration, lean....no oils, fats or daily. Make a biga or some sort of preferment. Autolyse the stuff to be added to the preferment. knead little, fold a few times, long slow fermentaions, and a slow last proof. high heat (although I dont preheat now) temp. Slashing helps me also.

I have to also say I add gluten flour to my dough as I buy sad bread as it is cheaper in the long run :( still tastes good :) and the gluten flour addes extra structure. :)

 

Hope this helps.