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Trying to make Cherry Choc. Espresso SD bread

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DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

Trying to make Cherry Choc. Espresso SD bread

I've been trying to make the Cherry Chocolate Espresso Sourdough Bread since I first saw it posted by abbygirl here:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/36001/crumb-shot-cherry-chocolate-espresso-sourdough

However, every time I make it, it's very dry throughout, and the crust is hard. I'm not doing it exactly like she posted. I'm leaving out the dark chocolate covered cranberries, adding in more cherries and chocolate chips in their place. I'm certain that can't be making a huge difference. Also, the dried cherries are obviously soaking up some of the water, because they become wet and soft, and remain that way for days after baking, even while the bread is getting dryer and going stale.

The first time I made it, I wasn't really prepared with all of my ingredients before I began, and ended up making several mistakes. That bread was eaten while still warm from the oven, so the inside was warm and moist, but the crust was dry. The second time, I made sure I had all the ingredients ready, but it turned out dry throughout. Both of those tries, I had left out the espresso powder and used strong brewed coffee in place of the water. So, on the third attempt, I got some espresso powder and tried it that way. I also autolysed the flour and water for two hours before adding the other ingredients. Also, on the second and third tries, I mixed everything except the cherries and choc chips, then folded those in during the S&F's. Still, it turned out dry, except for the cherries which were soggy wet.

Help me out here. What can I do differently? I found this link for a fruit and nut bread on the Wild Yeast Blog, in the recipe index. I noticed that the fruit and nuts were soaked before adding to the dough AND the dough is pretty wet, nearly 75% hydration! I was wondering if I need to raise the hydration and/or pre-soak the cherries, or if there is something else.

http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2009/12/06/fruit-and-nut/

isand66's picture
isand66

If your gut tells you that you need to add more liquid, more often than not you will be correct.  The obvious solution is to increase the hydration level until the dough appears moist.  The cherries will soak up some moisture and depending on the type of flour you use and the humidity in the air you need to adjust the liquid so your dough feels right.

The original recipe is only 68% hydration which is not that high and as I said if your type of flour absorbs more water than what she used originally that can make a big difference.

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

I'm just not sure I understand all of the aspects of bread from ingredients to dough to baking to finished product. I'm supposedly working from a known good recipe, and with the bread flour I'm using 68% hydration is already higher than my everyday bread, which flickers between 60% to 65%, for no better reason than how the math might be easier one way than the other sometimes. I used to always mix my dough around 75% hydration, and it always seemed weak at that point.

This dough, made according to the recipe, seems to be workable enough, until the chocolate and cherries are being mixed in. I don't know enough about mixing stuff like that in, to know what's supposed to happen. Whether I mix them in at the point the recipe says (with everything else) or I fold them in after the rest is well mixed, the dough doesn't seem to want to wrap around them. Perhaps if I mix the cocoa powder, espresso powder, chocolate and cherries all into my starter, then add it to the autolysed flour and water dough? Also, my logic would have me split between whether the cocoa powder and coffee powder should make the dough dryer, because they are dry, or looser, because they have no binding properties. Is it possible they do both?

Obviously, I have a tendency to think too much. But, I always like to know not just what to do, but why it will work when I do it, so I can do it again, on purpose.

isand66's picture
isand66

Try following this method that works for me: I would mix all dry ingredients in with the flour.  Next add the water and mix until incorporated for about 1 minute, but leave about 50 grams of the water for later. Let the dough autolyse for about 20 minutes to a few hours covered in your bowl at room temperature.  This will help the flour absorb the water and will give you a more manageable dough.  Next add your salt and the rest of the water or as much as you need to form a nice elastic dough. Mix again for 5 minutes.  Now you either add with the mixer or fold in by hand the nuts, fruit, etc. and mix for another minute until well incorporated.  Before you do this though, make sure your dough is nice and moist and pliable.  If it is dry, add additional water, a little at a time until it feels right, then continue to add the mix-in ingredients.

After you are done mixing, form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl or plastic container and cover.  After 15 minutes do a stretch and fold.  Let it sit in the bowl again for another 15 minutes and do another S & F.  Do this a total of 2-4 times until  you feel the dough has developed enough gluten.  I always then let the dough sit out at room temperature or in my proofer set at 80 degrees for a total of 1.5 to 2 hours and then put in my refrigerator overnight.  I then take it out the next day and let it sit out for 1.5 to 2 hours before shaping and resting another 1.5 hours or more/less depending on how it rises before baking.

If you don't want to do the overnight bulk retardation you can simply form the loaves after the bulk dough has rested long enough and risen about 50%-65%.  You don't need it to double in size for this type of recipe.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

The chocolate covered cranberries in the original recipe were shielded from the dough by the chocolate.  They could not absorb moisture from the dough.  

The dried cherries in your bread are exposed and able to draw moisture from the dough.  Since soaking will soften them, fold them in after the dough is kneaded.

Paul

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

then squeeze out the water and  use the soaker water for part of te liquid in the dough.  If it is white bread then 72-75% liquid would be about right . No dry crumb that way if baked to 205 F on the inside.    I ,mix stuff in a the first S&F and by the 3rd one they are well incorporated.  If you have a lot then split them up nto the first 2 and by the 4 th they are distributed.  With a bread like this, that has wet fruits inside and well hydrated, the crust will soften as it cools on the racks.  I think you are just too dry. with the mix and the fruits.

The soaker water means no flavor goes to waste and it will give your crust a lovely mahogany finish too.

Happy baking

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

Okay, so I will try increasing the hydration of the dough a little, and soaking the cherries before incorporating. I was also thinking that I may soak the cherries in yeast water, instead of plain water, and use the YW from the soaked cherries as part of my water for the dough. I'd get more rise from the extra yeast, and a little bit of sweetness in the bread from the residual sugars in the YW, since this recipe doesn't call for any sugar added to the dough.