The Fresh Loaf

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Flour choice for a more tender, open crumb

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hazimtug's picture
hazimtug

Flour choice for a more tender, open crumb

Hi fellow bakers,

I am in a regular baking schedule nowadays, baking almost every weekend and sometimes during the weekdays. I am focused on Chad Robertson's bread and its variations... I really enjoy the dark, cruncy crust with the tender open crumb... high hydration (>75%) with a young leaven. The keeping qualities of the bread is also great. I've been using the KA organic bread flour and the organic ww flour... and the bread turns out great with good oven spring. Flavor is complex but not overwhelmingly sour. I even tried 100% whole wheat with an overnight soak... still good but of course with a little less oven spring.

However, I am after a more tender and open crumb... based on what I have been reading, the european style flours (softer with protein content in the 10 - 11.7% range) are better suited for this kind of baking with long fermentation times. So, I tried incorporating organic KA AP flour, then the Central Milling AP flour... I tried 100% AP, then 50% AP with 50% bread flour. Everytime I use the AP flour, I end up with much stickier dough that is not holding its shape as well. Of course, my technique also suffers as it's harder to give the tension needed in the final shaping...

I'd welcome any thoughts on this... Is using AP flour a good idea to get a more tender and yet still an open crumb? It seems harder to develop the gluten with the AP flour.

 

Thanks much,

Hazim

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

AP flour will give you a more tender crumb than bread flour.    You could even mix in a bit of cake flour or pastry flour for an even softer crumb yet.  Don't over do it with the pastry or cake flour.

Jeff

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Hazim,

I've been using 55% Central Milling AP + 45% KA Organic Bread Flour (by weight) for the "white flour" in all my breads lately with very satisfactory results.  I came up with ratio based on labels' listed protein %-ages and the objective of ~11.7% protein in the 'white flour' portion of our basic breads.  It's been a welcome antidote to the all-too-familiar AP-only stickiness issue that Robertson's process seems to exacerbate.  Interesting that Jeff mentions doping in some cake flour.  I bought some pastry flour a while back to try just that -- softer crumb.  Haven't tried it yet, but I'll adjust flour ratios to hold to that ~11.7% -- it's been working very well for me.  Most recently w/Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough, for example.

Tom

 

isand66's picture
isand66

You should try the KAF French style flour as well.  You can also try some Italian style 00 flour but not too much.

  If you use these or other lower Protein flours I would suggest you let the dough ferment overnight in the refrigerator after doing several S &F s.   This will help develop the gluten and gibe you the tender open crumb you want.

hazimtug's picture
hazimtug

Thanks all for the comments... Sounds like I am on the right track. I do give the dough an autolyse period followed by incorporation of salt and then 4 hours of bulk fermentation with several folds. Then I scale, bench and then give the final shape followed by overnight refrigeration. I am wondering if I should reduce the hydration a bit (5%?) to improve the handling... or maybe use more flour. However, I do feel like I need a bit more gluten development during the bulk fermentation.

Hazim

isand66's picture
isand66

Take a look at some of my blog entries on TFL or on my other website www.mookielovesbread.wordpress.com.

I use many formulas with a large amount of preferment and a different type of schedule than you.  I manage to get pretty consistent open crumbs with very little handling.

I do 3-4 S&F's but only in a 2 hour period after a 2 minute mix and a 4 minute mix.

Good luck.

Ian