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Bread Chemistry Question - My pav is flat!

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SarahZE's picture
SarahZE

Bread Chemistry Question - My pav is flat!

Hi there,


I'm new to the forum, but I've been an avid fan of The Fresh Loaf for quite a while.  My father was a professional baker for quite some time, and I've picked up the "baking bug" from him.


I have a question about a recipe that I just formulated.  I am trying to make reasonable "ladi pav" (also known as "pao").  They're basically soft buns with a relatively soft but golden crust.  The closest comparison would be decent hamburger buns.  I used the following ingredients:


3 cups maida, 2 tsp instant yeast, 1.5 tsp sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1 cup milk, 1.5 tbsp butter, 1.25 tsp salt


I proofed the yeast in the water, into which I'd dissolved the sugar.  I mixed the flour (maida) and salt in a separate bowl, and once the yeast had done its thing, I poured that, the milk, and the melted (but not hot) butter into the flour mixture and mixed well.  I kneaded it with quite a lot more maida (I would say that I added at least another cup, most likely a cup to a cup and a half) - it was exceedingly wet and sticky, and I couldn't have kneaded for a full ten minutes without that much of an addition.


It was still quite soft and a bit sticky by the end of ten minutes' kneading.  I greased a bowl and proofed the dough for two hours.  It rose very well. 


I punched it, kneaded it a few times without any additional flour, and formed it into eight small balls. The dough was still quite soft, but not very sticky. I let this rise for just under an hour - again, it rose very well.  I baked the buns at 365 F (approximate) for 35 minutes.  They baked through properly, and tasted quite nice, but I'd like to improve the recipe in the following ways:


-make them softer and moister


-make them hold their shape better (they spread out quite a lot), and rise a bit higher


 


Any suggestions at all would be fantastic! 
Thanks in advance,


Sarah


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I believe you're dealing with a fine low gluten high starch flour that is not very absorbent.  


You could try a water roux method, gelling part of the flour into some of the water (type into the search box: What is water roux?) and adding to the initial mixing of the dough to get more body and lightness.  Tip: don't over cook it, when it starts to thicken remove from heat and let cool.


Or try adding an egg white taking the place of water or milk.  Just put the egg white into the bottom of the measuring cup and fill to the desired amount.


Can you weigh a cup of the maida flour?  That might also tell us info as to the hydration of the dough.  If it is very light (under 125g) then the hydration should be lower, possibly around 50%.   Also more info on the flour would be interesting, as many of us are not familiar with maida.  It can range from fine wheat to tapioca (a starchy root) in composition.  Any info on the bag?


Building in a 20 minute rest period after blending the wet with the dry ingredients might also help with the handling before kneading giving the flour a chance to soak up moisture before the workout.


Mini 

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

In addition to Mini's "always spot on" suggestions, look at this recent post by another TFL'er.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23438/new-england-style-hot-dog-buns


This is a modified formula from a recipe on King Arthur's web site for soft rolls.  A link to the KA recipe (round soft dinner rolls) is inlcuded in the above post so you will see two variations on a very soft roll that may give you ideas with respect to your formula.  Good luck!

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Sarah,


I like Mini's suggestion.  Water roux also goes by the name tangzhong and there are many recipes on the web for the soft rolls you want based on tangzhong methods. This may give you another community to tap into.


You can go as high as 10% of the total flour in the water roux, but I find that 5% is enough to make a big difference. The dough also behaves as if it has a lower hydration than you would calculate from the liquid to flour ratio when you include both the water and the flour that are in the roux. When making the roux you want to avoid heating it above 65°C (149°F) and be sure to cool it before you incorporate it into your recipe.


I believe that maida is just the Indian name for all purpose flour but you may be able to provide a more descriptive characterization.


Doc

SarahZE's picture
SarahZE

Hi Everyone!


Thank you so much for the information!  I'm going to have a look at it all this afternoon and see what I can produce by one of the methods for dinner.  I'll post some of the results.


In terms of what "maida" is, as far as I know and have read, it's simply all-purpose flour.  There's actually quite a bit of info available on some of the threads on this website, but some of it seems to be contradictory.  There was a PDF somewhere in the archives about "starch damage" in traditional flours, and I believe that it may apply to maida.  There was very little information on the bag of maida itself, but I'm going to do a little bit of digging online and see what I can find.


Thanks again!  I'll keep you posted....


Sarah

SarahZE's picture
SarahZE

Hi again,

I read all about water roux and looked at some of the recipes for "soft" doughs.  There was a comment in one of the threads about how the contributer "adjusted" for water content in her recipe when she added a roux.  There wasn't much info on what this adjustment involved.

I calculated that for a lot of the soft loaves made with a water roux, the amount of total liquid (roux and separate milk/water) is close to 75%.  This seems a lot higher than what I was told is a standard 55%-60%.  Is this a necessity when using a roux?  I also calculated out that between the roux and separate milk/water, the respective percentages are very similar (say, 30-35% for the roux, 40-45% for the separate liquid).  

My main question is this: when using a roux, can you still follow a standard bread-making procedure?  I.e. proofing the yeast, adding it in with all of the liquid components to the flour mixture, then kneading, proofing, and shaping?

 

Thanks again everyone for the fantastic info!

Sarah

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

was probably the result of cooking the roux too long which would evaporate a tablespoon or two of water needed in the recipe.  Me?  I would make the roux, add the rest of the water/milk whatever to it so it blends better with the flour.   Yeast can be added to it or the instant yeast can be stirred evenly into the flour.   The key is not to use too much of the flour into the roux, closer to 5% of the total amount and not over 10% or the whole effect is lost resulting in gummy crumb. (the % would be based on the gluten in the flour, high gluten would be better served with a lower %, low gluten with a higher one.)  (someone is going to call me on the specks so I better go find them... help)

Still waiting to find out how much a cup of your flour weighs.  Could be you already have a high hydration.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Sarah,

Your water roux should be five parts water to one part flour, cooked to 65°C,  then cooled. When you adjust a formula include the roux flour in the total flour column and the roux water in the total liquids column. Try it on a product that you make often taking 5% of the total flour for the roux and the appropriate amount of water (5X). Then the hydration will be what you normally work with and you will see the difference. Then you can go on to apply the method in other applications.

I have noticed that at least some of the formulations that are found on-line calculate out to high hydration doughs and I attribute that to people who are using bread machines where they don't have to handle the dough.  I also notice that a dough made with a roux substitution for part of the flour and water handles like it is slightly less hydrated than the same formula without the roux.  Perhaps that is the result of some water evaporating during the cooking of the roux as Mini suggests, but I always weigh the roux as it goes into the mixer to avoid issues like that and I still see the change in handling properties.

When I use a roux I add it to the mix right after the water or other liquid, but everything goes into the mixer at once, after which the process is the same. So yes combine ingredients, autolyse, mix, bulk ferment, stretch and fold, divide, shape, proof, bake.

75% hydration is in the range of a ciabatta dough and thus probably not something you can shape in the normal way even with high gluten flour. You might want to try something down in the  66-70% range depending on your flour.

Doc

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

I had wanted to ask the same question a little while back  but was afraid to ask in case I'd be asking all the wrong questions.  I'm terrible at maths so please bear with me here and see if I have my numbers right.    Let's assume that I'm working with a recipe that calls for 400 grm of flour with a 70% (280 grm)  hydration level (incl. milk,  if using, as part of the hydration level), would I  then be correct to use 20  grms (5%) of the flour and 100 grm of water for the roux (5X)  and add all of this to  380 grm of flour (less 20grms used for the roux)  plus  180 grm of  water (minus 100 already used for making the roux).   20grm +100grm does not make exactly 120 grm roux but slightly less when done so  may need to add an extra 10 - 15 grms of water since some is lost during the cooking process.  Is this how I should be calculating the formula?  Many thanks.  Judy 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

:)

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

until I came to the next post by Doc. Dough...and I'm now back again as the idiot on TFL :)

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Judy,

Sorry, bad typing followed by bad math compounded by bad proofreading.

The original recipe was for 400 grm of flour and 280 g of liquid.

I said "Then you can use your 480g of flour and 80g of liquid (water or milk or whatever is called for) and be right on the mark for the proportions called for by the recipe."

I should have said: Then you can use your 380g of flour and 180g of liquid (water or milk or whatever is called for) and be right on the mark for the proportions called for by the recipe.

The 20 g of flour in the roux adds to the 380 g of flour to make 400 and the 100 g of water adds to the 180 g of liquid to make 280.

Thanks for the catch.  Don't believe anything you read on line until you prove it to yourself!  This is why (among other reasons).

Doc

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

so just relax.  Your calculations are correct.  The nice thing about using a microwave with small batches is that it is time saving and only one dish to wash.  The simplicity is that when weighing all the ingredients together before heating (and writing it down) if any moisture has escaped in the cooking process, the dish can be weighed again and water can be added to come up the the original weight.   

I think Doc's point was if you're the type that likes to dirty dishes and loose roux in every change of dish (my grandmother was the type) and don't have a decent scraper (that can get every last drop) then make more than you need and discard the rest.  This presents it's own problems that's why I suggest the microwave..  

If you are the cup type person (this is for those reading along) and have difficulty with math and want to convert a recipe.  Try this:  (I just did it) Measure out all your ingredients and have them standing in their respective containers in front of you.  Take a soup spoon and attack the flour pile.  Twenty grams (the amount Judy mentions) of flour is an extremely heaped tablespoon of flour (for those of you without scales) and roux can be made without a scales.  Just take about 1/2 cup of water from the already measured out water for the recipe.   Stir the flour and water together.  Still use the microwave (too bad my grandma didn't have one)  and cook full power for a short period, like 20 seconds and stop.  Stir well and do it again until the mixture thickens.  I had to do it 3 times, each for 20 seconds to get the right temperature of 65°C (tipped the goop sideways and stuck a meat thermometer into it.)  When I put the cup back on the scales (after scraping the thermometer and spoon on the side of the cup) I had lost 1/2 teaspoon of water in the process.  So I added it back in and stirred it up.  There you have it!  It is thickish, not clear and smells like wet flour.   Ready to use when cool. 

Mini

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

I'll certainly give it a try the next time.  Thanks heaps.  Judy

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Judy,

You will find it hard to work with those small quantities because of the tax levied by the pan and the scraper and the plate it cools on and other things that take their share, and trying to compensate by approximate add-backs is not accurate either, so I would probably make a roux with 40g of flour and 200g of water, then after it cools use a measured 120g of roux for your recipe. Then you can use your 480g of flour and 80g of liquid (water or milk or whatever is called for) and be right on the mark for the proportions called for by the recipe.

Doc

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Take a glass measure cup and set it on the scales, tare, add flour, tare, and water stir, re-weigh whole cup again...  nuke full power (750 watts) 20 sec, stop and stir, return to microwave and repeat three times.   The first 20 seconds heats it up half way,  second 20 seconds starts to thicken making a goo,  third 20 second zap brings it up to temperature.   Put back on scales and add water until whole cup weight is achieved.  Stir while cooling.    Use when cool. 

Flour doesn't evaporate, water does.  Stirring as it cools helps the cooling and so does adding any lost water back into the roux.  

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

for your advice on the roux proportions.  I failed miserably at maths as a child and I am a little confused how you arrived at 480  grms flour and 80g liquid.  I've only learnt how to find out the bakers % of  each ingredient in a given recipe and with that I use the percentages to scale my loaf.  If I used 40 grm as the 5% , the total amt of flour to be used would be equal to 520 grm.  If I have only used 120 grm of the total cooked roux from the 240 grm mixture, then I would not have used up 200 grm of water in the hypothetical 70% water hydration and therefore adding 80 grm liquid to the final dough mixture on top of the 120 roux would  be very low? I'm sure you must be right but could you pls elaborate on the 480 and 80 grm numbers  for thickheads such as I.  This is one reason why I was afraid to ask at first in case as I'd be wasting other peoples time with my silly questions.

 I have a recipe book using water roux recipes and it specifies how much roux to use ( i.e. 150, 180 etc.)  I just make something close to that amt using 30/150 or 40/200 grm and it should come quite close, if it's a few grams over, I dump it all  in and if it's under I add a tad more water in the final dough.  I know  a professional baker would not approve of my sloppiness.   Judy

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Judy, (re-posted as a reply here in addition to a reply to your reply to Mini's post - just to make things more murky)

Sorry, bad typing followed by bad math compounded by bad proofreading.

The original recipe was for 400 grm of flour and 280 g of liquid.

I said "Then you can use your 480g of flour and 80g of liquid (water or milk or whatever is called for) and be right on the mark for the proportions called for by the recipe."

I should have said: Then you can use your 380g of flour and 180g of liquid (water or milk or whatever is called for) and be right on the mark for the proportions called for by the recipe.

The 20 g of flour in the roux adds to the 380 g of flour to make 400 and the 100 g of water adds to the 180 g of liquid to make 280.

Thanks for the catch.  Don't believe anything you read on line until you prove it to yourself!  This is why (among other reasons).

Doc

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

for rectifying the error  Thank goodness, I still have hope yet. :)

SarahZE's picture
SarahZE

Hi Everyone,

I've finally had a chance to return to my experimenting.  I weighed a cup of maida flour and it came out at 144 g.

I've gone a bit cross-eyed with the calculations, so I simply had a look at a few existing recipes that use a water-roux/tangzhong method.  I compared the weight of the liquids to that of the flour, and found that (very roughly), the combined milk (or water) and roux equals approximately 70% of the flour weight.  Looking at it more closely, the milk comprises about 40 or so percent of the total flour weight, and the roux roughly 30-35 percent.  I'm going to experiment a bit with these calculations, on the basis of my original recipe, using the roux.  I'll let you know if my impatience pays off :D

Sarah