The Fresh Loaf

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Newb questions, links requested

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Muskie's picture
Muskie

Newb questions, links requested

It's easy to search for something you want to know, it's hard to search why what you've read isn't working. So, forgive me asking you to point me to discussions where my problems were solved.

  1. I use a convection oven. Seems fairly well sealed. I have baked some number of loaves of sourdough at 375F and the results have been amazing crusts....with no steam. Crumb has sucked, but crust has been perfect. Is my bad crumb a result of no steam? Or can I put that issue out of my mind and focus on the S&F or other issues, resulting in my bad crumb?
  2. Until yesterday, I have always kneaded my dough, and my crumb has turned out poorly; too tight, too doughy. I learned the no-knead separate and fold yesterday, and my crumb has enormously improved. Unfortunately, I have only found a 36 hour sourdough recipe, and another recipe that didn't use sourdough started. S&F seems to be related to leavening time, and temperatures. To use the no-knead recipes with sourdough, must they take so long, and must they spend some time in a refrigerator?
  3. If my scoring, just before closing the oven door, end up disappearing in 25 minutes of baking, what's the most likely cause? I start baking at ambient, no preheat. I don't use steam, and am baking on my silpat. Is this letting the dough reconstitute the scoring?

As I said, if this has been discussed before, please indicate a thread, and tell me which point it is referring to.

Bob S.'s picture
Bob S.

I also bake with a convection oven, and it has its peculiarities. When both racks are loaded with French bread, sufficient steam is given off by the baking loaves to gelatinize the crust. The loaves "crackle" when removed from the oven. If I run a half load, not enough steam is generated by the loaves to create a steamy environment in the oven chamber. The state of the crumb should not be affected in a negative way by this style of baking.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

So yesterday I made a baguette and batard. The baguette was made according to TxFarmer's Straight Method Baguette, although I used my sourdough starter and the proportions Txfarmer uses for the 36 hours+ sourdough baguette. It turned out amazing, with huge openings in the chewy, sweet crumb, and amazingly crispy crust. My socring didn't work, again, but alas I will keep working on that. The batard was amazing also, in its own way. The batard was made the same as the Baguette, but I replaced water with milk, and added 35g of butter. The flavor was interesting, but not nearly as different as I expected. I think I will stick to water and no butter.

The interesting thing was that the crumb on the batard was much denser than the baguette. It was light and airy, but even a narrow slice wouldn't allow anything to pass through (e.g. melted butter would not pass through it.) Other than milk and butter, the only different between the two was 4 S&F's @ 45mins for the baguette, while only 3 for the batard. I am amazed that 1 additional S&F can make so much of a difference.

So, seemingly overnight, TxFarmer has transformed my fairly useless bread making abilities into something I cannot even purchase at my local grocery store. I bow in awe and thanks.

 

Heath's picture
Heath

Well done on solving your crumb problem :)

My scores used to close up before I became more adept at shaping and getting good surface tension.  With the right surface tension, my scores open up as I cut them so are unable to close again.  Doing a very gentle stretch and fold before shaping is a good way to tighten up the dough, but be careful of knocking all the air out.  The scores closing up could also be due to no oven spring (which you don't mention in your post), though since my shaping skills improved, the scoring on my loaves don't close any more even with little oven spring.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

I'm getting great, I think, oven spring. I'd say yesterday's baguette nearly doubled in volume after it went into the oven, and the batard grew considerably in height.

My first real baguette

Heath's picture
Heath

That looks beautiful - and is that a score I can make out on top?  If it is, then I'd say it's open but possibly could be cut a little deeper or at more of an angle.  I'm no expert though :) .  Have you seen David Snyder's scoring tutorial in the lessons at the top of the page:-

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/31887/scoring-bread-updated-tutorial

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Thanks, I was absolutely amazed at the whole outcome.

I have watched David's tutorial, and watched several youtubes on scoring. I agree, I did not score on an angle, issue number 1. Depth is a bit of a problem, but I have an idea that I want to see the loaf keep the cut from closing. If I achieve that, it should mean its not too shallow...at least that's what I will be trying in the morning. I have a dough proofing now (about to do the 2nd S&F) based on TxFarmers Sourdough Ciabatta. I plan to divide that in two, and do another baguette with one part, and ciabatta rolls with the other. I'm thinking about how to score the ciabatta rolls (I know they aren't normally scored.)

Heath's picture
Heath

Well, the only thing that worked for me to keep the cuts from closing up again (which they did for a long time) was when I improved my shaping skills and managed to get the dough nice and tightly rolled with good surface tension.  Depth didn't affect it as much as shaping.

Good luck :-)

dosco's picture
dosco

+1

Shaping is a big deal, you need to get good tension on the gluten near the surface of the loaf.

-Dave

 

Muskie's picture
Muskie

So I did 4 S&F's and then formed a baguette and put it in the cane proofing basket, divided the remaining dough into 6 ciabatta rolls, and set them down for the final proof before baking...and then remembered the recipe called for another overnight in the fridge...lolz. Put all into the fridge, tomorrow should be interesting. Now I am wishing I had baked tonight instead of following the instructions...;-]