Hi all My top crust breaks away from the rest of my loaf. I suspect it may be from using cold tins, or could it be from over proving? I am new at this and do take some shortcuts! Thanks
Hmm, I could imagine surface tension lacking - my dough was very 'wobbly' after 1st proof. I used white bread flour with a cup or 2 of wholewheat. How do I correct the surface tension problem? Thank you so much for your reply, appreciate the help!
I agree with FBC, I'v seen loaves baked in loaf pans separate like that when they are under proofed. Proper shaping is the best/only way to achieve surface tension. What type of bread was this?
that you are using, it's likely the shortcuts you are taking are cutting you short. The picture reminds me of when my mother first bought a bread machine and we didn't really know how to use it properly. Since it doesn't really shape the loaf, the top could get evened out (though) not that much and often there would be something like "blowing the top". You could possibly remedy the problem by scoring the bread down the middle before you put it in the oven, but really the thing to do is to proof longer.
seeing your formula and hearing the steps you are taking might make some more things apparent, while the top separating is one visually apparent problem I'm a little suspicious that there may be some other things in play that are keeping you from getting the results you want.
Like the others, I suspect there is more to it than just underproofing. The bread seem not to have risen properly and is rather flat. Cold tins have no effect on the rising, since they heat up in no time. But to make more accurate assumptions, we would need to know your whole formula and procedure. Short cuts are definitely a no-no, if you want to get good results.
Thanks for all the comments and apologies for my delayed response. The long version of this story goes something like this...i have 7 month old triplets and a 2 yr old and exactly no time to be making bread when I should really just be buying it at tge shops at this stage of my life, but I can hardly eat the shop stuff anymore now that im dabbling in breadmaking as my 1 teeny tiny hobby, and plus, I dont get out much to do groceries anyway ;). Ok, so now that you understand why I am exempt from judgement on takibg shortcuts, here is what I call triplet sourdough loaf (which incidently mskes 3 loaves)! Mix 4 cups water with 2c starter (rye/white 100%) Then add 12 cups flour, 4tsp salt and 2c water. Give it a good old stir. I do this in about 10mins in the evening once kids r all in bed before I crash, no kneading. I either leave out or put in fridge overnight, temp at night here is 25 celcius. In the am, I split it into 3 loaf tins (and I get the impression the dough doesnt like that too much, its wobbly and sticky, and I just dump it in because I dont know how to shape wet dough (prob if I stretch and fold it would shape better, but I just dont have the time unfortunately)? Then depending on when I get another gap (could be 2 hrs, could be 4, I bake it at 230 c with a cup water thrown in for steam, turn down when I get a gap and take out when it looks a good colour. I can actually see you all cringing at that technique, but there it is. My aim is to make decent bread (and it tastastes pretty good I must say!) While gaining an understanding of sourdough and when I make compromises to understand what reaction that is causing in the bread. Thanks for listening, I await your repremanding for hacking at breadmaking art!
at 25 C temperature, you're never going to get good bread, because the dough will be severely overproofed. There is a process called gluten hydrolysis, which more or less dissolves the gluten strands (not exactly sure on the details, someone will fill in more if they can). That is why your dough is sticky and holds no shape whatsoever in the morning -- it is way overfermented.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to fix this -- put the dough in the fridge overnight and let it have its bulk rise there. Take it out in the morning, shape it cold and give it a good proof. It shouldn't be too long, because if your room temperature at night is 25 C, I'm guessing during the day it is even higher (for comparison -- I have but 19 C during the day in my house and 18 C at night).
I also think you are using too much starter, though you should be OK if you refrigerate the dough right away. One thing you absolutely should do is get a cheap scale. Not only will you measure everything accurately, you will save a whole lot of time doing it (I imagine how long it has to take to fluff up 12 cups of flour and then scoop it -- oh my). So, in the end, my suggestion would be using something like this formula (I am assuming 125 grams of flour per cup and I have not the faintest idea how to convert starter into volume measurements):
In the evening, mix up:
1000 g (12 cups) bread flour
400 g starter at 100 % hydration (maybe 1+1/3 cup, Forkish seems to think along those lines)
640 g (2.75 cups) water at 35 C temperature
24 g (about 1.5 tbsp) salt
Try to give the dough at least one fold before you go to bed. If you get up to check on the kids at night, go to the fridge and give the dough a fold. You may not see much rise in the dough overnight, but for the first time, bake it anyway and see what happens, if the loaves are not risen enough you have two choices: use more starter (for every 100 g of more starter, reduce added water by 50 g) or spike the dough with 9 g (3 teaspoons) of dried yeast. The loaves will keep for a while anyways, though the sour taste might be reduced.
As you probably realize, this is not an ideal method for making bread, but I think it is as good as it is going to get in your current situation. I must say I really admire you baking your own bread under such circumstances -- and sourdough no less :)
MrTT, thank you so much for your lengthy reply and your practical thoughts are much appreciated. I was so excited to try this that I could hardly sleep! Just one question I think, so in the morning, I take the dough straight from fridge, split it, put in loaf tins (shaping is not a skill I am ready to learn, though look fwd to it in the future!) And then how long should I leave it to proof before baking? Thank you again
since the dough is cold, try two to three hours. It would probably need more under circumstances I'm more used to, but your room temperature is pretty high so that's just my estimation of it. If you are able to check on the dough periodically, do so and use your own judgment when it is right to bake -- I'd say that in such a case you may be better off with proofing slighty less than perfect than more.
Do try do at least a rudimentary shaping: flour the counter, divide dough into as many pieces as loaves you want to make, pat each into a rectangular shape and roll it up. Better yet, do this: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/30405/shaping-sandwich-loaf-illustration
Also, do not be discouraged if you don't get a good rise the first time! If that happens, try one of the suggestions I outlined above. The yeast spiking is guaranteed to work.
Thanks again MisterTT, I tried everything as you said - except for one thing, I think I let the dough warm up too much in the morning. I took it out the fridge, did another stretch and fold (it felt nice and firm) and then an hour or 2 later suddenly remembered that I had to shape etc still. I tried following the illustration but the dough seemed weak and sticky again by that stage. The result was almost exactly as before. And unfortunately I haven't had a chance to bake again. I will try again soon and let you know...
BTW, do you like using steam (adding a cup of water to oven as the bread goes in)?
if you want. For tinned loaves some people don't use it and some do, so it's your choice really. I think you are right about letting the dough warm too much, but still I am very surprised that it broke down so quick.