The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Exploding bread

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Breadmaker1951's picture
Breadmaker1951

Exploding bread

I need some help please. I wanted to try and retard the proofing of my bread last night, so I mixed it up and put it into 1 gallon plastic bags and popped it into the refrigerator. I made three batches so when I checked it this morning one of the bags was missing. I had no idea where it went to. Then I looked at the door and low and behold there was the bread stuck on the door and everything in the door.(LOL) the dough exploded out of the bag. What mistake did I do?

Did I add to much yeast?

Do I cut back on the amount of yeast when I plan on putting the dough in the refrigerator?

I punched the other bags of dough back down and put them back in. Will they rise again when I want to bake them this afternoon? How long does this rise usually take? 

Any help is appreciated. 

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

You should allow for some expansion when putting dough in any sealed container. How much did you fill up each bag with the dough? I find that dough doesn't expand as much when retarded, but it does expand, probably during the first 30 minutes to an hour until it gets down to fridge temperature. If it is a slow acting dough, it may not show much expansion at all, but if it is highly active, an hour is a long time. It does have somewhat to do with how much yeast you put in it, but also the other ingredients, whether they enhance or retard the yeast activity. Also, the initial temperature of the dough before it was put in the refrigerator will affect how long it has to cool while still expanding, plus how quickly it will expand before cooling. The Pain L'Ancienne in Peter Reinhardt's book calls for the dough to be mixed with ice cold water, then quickly put into the fridge to retard. That way, you would get practically no yeast activity until it is warmed up to room temperature before baking. A small amount of sugar, like the amounts usually called for in sandwich breads, will increase yeast activity a little. Salt retards yeast activity a little. Have I hit on anything that strikes a chord with you as to what you did with your dough?

Punching down the dough is a good thing to do, and won't hurt your outcome. You will have to let it rise at room temperature a little longer than you would if you had not retarded, because it will take a little while for the cold yeast to warm up and become active again. I usually let it sit at room temperature until it is nearly doubled, then shape the loaf and let it rise to double before baking. The time it takes will depend mostly on the temperature of the room they are in. If it is warm, it may not take long at all, if your air conditioning is doing an extra-good job, it could be a few hours. You could also put the dough in an oven with just the light on, or the pilot light, if it is gas. That will make it a little warmer than your kitchen is, and speed things up a little.

You probably could have cut back on the yeast amount, but it is a preference you can decide for yourself. If you make some other provisions to cut down on the amount of activity before and during the retard, or just get a bigger bag, you will be okay. Bread is actually very forgiving and flexible. Once you learn the principles of how things interact with each other, you will be able to forecast how your dough will act, and modify it to manipulate the outcome to your liking.

Breadmaker1951's picture
Breadmaker1951

I used gallon bags and they were pretty full. Maybe get the jumbo for next time. I did make the dough the same way as if I were going to bake them right away. I think I will try the cold water, larger bag and get them in the refriegator right away. I just want to cut down on some of the time it takes on baking day. Thanks for your great advice.

bisquette's picture
bisquette

I'm relatively new to bread baking, but I've been making pizza dough for a long time. I often put the dough in the fridge after mixing and kneading (I've done this with some bread dough also). I usually put the dough in a greased bowl, turn it over, cover it with plastic wrap touching the surface of the dough and then cover the bowl with another sheet of plastic wrap. As the dough rises, which it does a fair bit right after putting it in the refrigerator, the plastic wrap doesn't restrict the dough in the same way that a zip bag might. Also, the dough bubbles and gases are produced while it's rising. If you put the dough in a sealed container, those gases and the expanding dough have to go somewhere. If it builds up pressure in a zip bag or sealed container, it could conceivably pop open the bag or pop the top off the container. However you store the dough, I wouldn't seal it up completely. 

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

Were the bags that didn't explode inflated like balloons? This is sort of a shot in the dark, but maybe during fermentation the yeast just produced a lot of CO2 and the bag burst.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

which retains warmth longer and/or cools down slower.  Spreading out on a chilled shallow pans (filling only half full) and not stacking the bags or letting them touch one another will also help them cool faster.  Smaller bags also chill faster.  If you lay them in pans, you can also top them with ice to reduce the dough temperature quickly if needed.  Or lay tightly sealed bags of ice over the dough bags. 

Breadmaker1951's picture
Breadmaker1951

Update on my exploding bread.

I got home from work yesterday and pulled the dough out of the refrigator and shaped it and let it rise.It did rise in the bags again just not as much as the first rise that burst the bags, I did seal the bags which I think was a mistake too. Oh well I am still learning.

It baked up perfectly. I think if I do this again I will use bigger bags, cold water and Ice them down. I am sure it was just a build of of gases as it did rise in the bags. So thanks for all the help.

Does anyone know if I use cold water when I am mixing up the dough if it will rise after it comes to room temp?

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

Yes, it will. There's a few formulas that depend on it, like Reinhart's version of Pain a l'Ancienne.

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

If you mix the dough with cool water, and/or use bags with at least double the volume capacity of the amount of dough you're putting in them, you should not have a problem with explosions any more. Also, it should go without mention, but I will say it anyway: make sure the regular air is let out of the bag before sealing, so gasses from the dough can fill that void safely.

Freshly Baked's picture
Freshly Baked

I would recommend halving the amount of yeast you use, when aiming for a longer fermentation time.

Whenever I make my dough the night before, I use half the amount of yeast from the recipe and refrigerate the dough overnight, Sometimes, I even shape my loaves and leave them at the proving stage until morning. I then like to let the dough warm up to room temperature and complete its rise before I bake it.

This makes for a very leisurely bread-baking and, supposedly, tastier bread but the jury's still out on the question of improved flavour!