The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A question about peels

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Yeti's picture
Yeti

A question about peels

Hi all, I've been using a stone for baking some of my brotform boules recently which tend to be fairly high hydration (usually around 67.5-70%) and I don't as of yet own a peel.  So instead I've been turning out the bread onto a pizza tray with a very slightly lip and then shuffling it onto the stone.  The problem is though, that the moment I've shuffled it on to the stone it begins to pool outwards.  Even with a good surface tension on a 65% hydration loaf I've had this problem.  I've got a feeling it's probably due to me having to be quite vigorous getting the dough off the pizza tray and on to the stone, has anyone had this problem with a peel?

Craig_the baker's picture
Craig_the baker

Either dust your pizza tray heavily with cornmeal or my prefered method, cornmeal on parchment paper and place all on your stone and after 20-30 min just slide paper from under the loaf with no issues. 

Best of luck,

Craig

gerhard's picture
gerhard

Agree on the parchment but I don't use any cornmeal or flour on the parchment.

Gerhard

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A little of that does happen but if it makes you concerned, it could also be that the dough is slightly over-proofed.  Try getting the loaf in sooner.  Baking parchment is wonderful and after the initial spring, it can be yanked out from under the loaf and used again.  

Another trick is to let the dough proof upside down in a floured cloth supported by a basket, colander, box or clay pot.  When proofed enough,  lightly dust the exposed dough (if sticky) and turn onto the pizza pan, it shouldn't stick if the dough doesn't spend much time on it.  

Another thought/option is to not use a round support as a peel, try a rectangle or square shape that supports the dough during the transfer.  I tend to use heavy duty cardboard.  When looking at a cross section of the dough rolling off the pizza pan's round edge, if wider than 4 inches, it actually hangs over the edge downward before being supported on the stone so it gets an extra stretch on the edges.  Maybe that is making the difference.

Yeti's picture
Yeti

It's just a bit irritating as I can see a lot of my oven spring vanishing as it spreads outwards, I'm pretty sure it's the lip on the edge of the tray that's killing the structure.  I'll give baking paper a try.  I'm already proofing in a round, linen lined brotform and dusting the underside of the dough with rye and cornmeal before turning it out onto the pan, so sticking isn't an issue

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I've notice myself that the more I bake the easier it is to let the dough proof too far until suddenly I'm over-proofing dough.  Try to shorten your bulk time after trying the cardboard.  :)

What are you doing for dough development?  

davidg618's picture
davidg618

"I'm pretty sure it's the lip on the edge of the tray that's killing the structure."

A "lip free" makeshift peel can be made simply by turning your pizza pan, or a half-sheet pan upside down, using the smooth bottom as a peel.

David G

Yeti's picture
Yeti

Ah it varies from loaf to loaf, this latest one was a basic 65% hydration white bread.  Canadian flour, knead for 7 minutes or so, fold after an hour, proof for an hour (at a fairly low temp) then turn out and bake.  I'll try a shorter proof next time, I usually shoot for a doubling in size of the dough but that may be a bit much

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Double check the type of yeast and % used (to flour weight) in the recipe, maybe cutting yeast back might help if too high.

jcking's picture
jcking

Does the loaf flatten when it is scored? The proof should be closer to 80% double rather than a full double.

Jim

Yeti's picture
Yeti

I've been using no more than 1% yeast (unless it was a sourdough) and have been avoiding slashing the loaf before transferring it to the stone as I didn't want any of the shaking of the tray to widen the cuts and cause it to pool out any more. I'm still fairly convinced that it's the shaking of the tray and the shuffling of the dough to the stone that's causing the surface tension to lower. I'll give parchment a shot and report back :)

linder's picture
linder

Yeti,

I use parchment paper on the BACK of a half sheet baking pan.  I place the loaf on the parchment then slide the piece of parchment from the half sheet pan to  the baking stone with the bread on it.  After steaming, I remove the parchment and continue the bake.  This has worked well for me with all types of breads, boules, batards and baguettes. 

Linda

isand66's picture
isand66

Where do you live?  I have several peels and will donate one if you want to pay for the shipping.

let me know.

ian

Yeti's picture
Yeti

Hi Ian, that's a very generous offer, but unfortunately I'm in the UK and shipping would be a killer!  Thank you anyway, it's appreciated :)

I'll give parchment a try on my next loaf, which will probably be tomorrow.  Have you noticed any difference in the crust when using paper even for part of the bake?

Dave

isand66's picture
isand66

I noticed after writing my comment that you are in the UK so sorry about that. Even with a peel I use parchment paper all the time and its perfect.

Craig_the baker's picture
Craig_the baker

I, for one, see no difference in the quality of the bottom crust. I use a single piece of paper only once to avoid burning the paper and giving the bread an off flavor. The paper has been a God send for me as I've ruined many a Tartine loaf because it sticking....live andf learn.

gerhard's picture
gerhard

I agree don't see any difference in the crust.  When I bake cheese bread I leave the parchment in during the entire bake to keep the stone clean for other bread I pull the parchment after about 5 minutes but  there is no real difference in bottom crust.

Gerhard

Yeti's picture
Yeti

Thanks for the feedback all, I had concerns that the parchment paper would result in a buildup of moisture underneath the loaf that would adversely affect the crust... I guess not!