The Fresh Loaf

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Window pain :) test

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goer's picture
goer

Window pain :) test

I fail at this simple test every time, but get good bread. Got up decided to do the Milk Bread from The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. I used King Arthur whole wheat. Kneaded forever. ;) Still get rips and tears. Let it rest 10 minutes. Kneaded again. Started out smooth and silky looking, but then move to rips and tears. Didn't feel like another 15 + unknown minutes of kneading. Shaped to ball and letting rise. So what is it with my window pane failure? Do I need more water? Do I need to join a gym.? Any and all comedic answers appreciated.

 

Ford's picture
Ford

When the bread dough starts to tear, you kneed to stop kneading and let it rest and recover.  I seldom use the window pane test, it is sometimes just a pain to do.  The dough tells me when enough is enough, already;  yours told you.  By the way, I too like King Arthur flours.

Ford

goer's picture
goer

As usual things are moving well, even though I failed the pain test. After an hour and a half it rose nicely in the warmer. Punched it down reformed and waiting for the split and panning. I used the King Arthur cause they are great. In the past when I was cooking in a brick oven and more than two loaves at a time, I bought from Lindley Mills in Graham, NC. Love buying 20lb bags. Thanks Ford.

 

suave's picture
suave

I find the whole concept for the most part useless, and hardly ever do it, the only exception being heavily enriched breads.  To me windowpane comes from commercial baking where the dough is often baked within an hour or two of kneading.  With regular fermentation and proffing time will take care of gluten development - after all it should be complete by the time it goes into the oven, not straight out of the mixer.

mariana's picture
mariana

You can get to window pane and to good bread without kneading indeed, or almost without kneading. 

To obtain good gluten development (window paning) while kneading by hand, it helps to distinguish three distinct stages

1) mixing flour and water until homogeneous (fraissage), so that proteins are well hydrated. 5-10min by hand. 1 min in food processor

2) giving dough a sizable rest, covered: 20-60 min, for the gluten to form. Some types of flour (KAF is proably not among them) require more than that, up to 3 hrs of resting for the gluten to form. 

3) kneading, for gluten development. The dough MUST eventually reach ripping and tearing stage, sticky and messy, and MOVE PAST it. Knead, until it reaches the stage of thin-skinned bubbles all over the glossy surface of the kneaded ball of dough. About 10 min (600-650 turns minimum).

 

The same rule (3) is for degassing dough in the middle of the fermentation process (punch downs). If you want fine even porosity and feathery crumb in a bread without any fat and milk whatsoever, knead until the ball of smooth puffy dough desintegrates and rips and tears and keep kneading PAST that ugly stage, until it is again bubbly all over the surface. 

So, kneading per se is not a long or arduous process, at least not when you handle small amounts of dough: from 1 lb of flour or so. 5-10 min until homogeneous. And later, after bench rest, another 10-15 min until stretchy and bubbly all over the surface.

 

The dough consistency doesn't matter, although with stiff dough it is easier (and quicker) to knead in food processor (with steel knife blades). And with ultra soft dough it is easier to first develop gluten by kneading a medium consistency dough and later admix the remaining liquid to achieve very soft dough. Also, the process and the outcome is the same for whole grain flour and for white flour, all-purpose flour and bread flour. 

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Specifically for the milk breads you have to know the secret: high temperature treatment. I.e. either use FF dry milk form KAF, which is high heat treated, or else prepare your own. Bring milk to boil three consecutive times, pour it into thermos, close the lid and keep it there for 30 min. Then let that milk cool down and use in recipe. This will help condition milk, so that it doesn't interfere with gluten formation and your bread will be phenomenally fluffy and tall. 

===============================

So yeah, no pain no gain. : ) The dough has to go through that ripped and torn awfully painfully looking and sticky feeling stage, before it becomes supple and silky and bubbly, stretching into phenomenal films, giant strong window panes through which one literally can read a fine text. 

 

best wishes, 

mariana

goer's picture
goer

Never knew a blade machine could do that.

mariana's picture
mariana

Me neither : ) 

Obviously, it is not a matter of machine, blade or hook. One can develop gluten just like that with hand kneading as well. 

Your loaves are beautiful and I love your cast-iron bread pans. They are the best for baking. 

best wishes, 

mariana

goer's picture
goer

Thanks Mariana. Results were tasty, but there was little to no gluten development. The finished loaf once cut showed it's weaknesses. I didn't have nice bubbles like your pictured loaf. I post a picture later. My loaf had "just" enough gluten to hold it together. Once cut the center flaked like sawdust. Plus the slice would unravel the way I rolled it into it's final shape. Tasty yes. Can I do a better job. I think so. About forgot. I also love the cast iron. I'm very use to cooking sour dough in a brick oven. However, life shifted and I'm cooking what I call sweet breads in my electric oven. Not the same, but it's fresh bread. I toasted some and put real butter on it. It was heaven.

 

mariana's picture
mariana

Hi goer,

The way this bread behaves - its crumb, etc. - might be function of the recipe, i.e. ingredients make it cake-like tender, crumbly.

I don't have that book, so I ordered it from the library. I will give that recipe a try as well. What kind of flour did you use for the loaves in the picture?

mariana

goer's picture
goer

I used King Arthur whole wheat from the local store. 

 

goer's picture
goer

Had a chance to try that recipe in your machine yet? :)

 

mariana's picture
mariana

Hello goer,

Oh, I am so glad you had been waiting. Thanks for your patience! : ) 

I got the book from the library and got engrossed in it, reading carefully, to understand their thinking and bread making methods. And then I got torn apart, not knowing where to begin... should I start with their loaf for learning, or could I go directly to the recipe from the middle of the volume, i.e. the one you inspired me to try - fresh milk bread, or to start doing DESEM asap, lol. 

So, I got TWO  desems going, right now and they are the most astonishing starters ever, EVER. Laurel and her coauthors are the greatest. Thank you so much, goer, for introducing her books to me, albeit indirectly. 

And I got US all-purpose and bread fours  for the Fresh Milk bread - from King Arthur and from Heckers/Ceresota mills. So, I guess I will march to the kitchen right now and mix some dough. 

goer, I thought you were kneading by hand and you wanted me to try to develop gluten by hand in this dough? I can use my mixer or food processor, any of them, for sure, they all will do the job. Just for the sake of clarity... do you mix and knead bread dough by hand or in a mixer of some sort? 

...see you later today, once I get bread out of the oven and will show you the pictures. 

mariana

goer's picture
goer

I just assumed you'd run the recipe through your machine. I'll do it again soon, but I'll knead more and rest it more. Might break the KitchenAid out with the dough hook, but hate the noise.  so you are gonna try the Desem??? :) That bread and that book, along with a friendship lead Alan Scott to perfect his brick oven designs. That kind of bread really does well in a wood fired oven. If you like books, once you are done with this one find The Bread Builders book. That's the one I used to learn bread making. 

mariana's picture
mariana

Hi goer, 

I also like The Bread Builders book, and more than like it. I got it seven years ago : ) When I was learning sourdough, it taught me nearly everything I know about it. And it led me to Chad Robertson's methods, etc. It's Laurel's bread book that I never took seriously because of its looks, portions of text with spirituality or advocacy for vegetarianism (we are vegans) and woodcut art. I was always seeking something more serious, with photographs and charts, more masculine writing, etc. Now as I read Laurel's Bread book, I realize how wonderful it is, but I am yet to be convinced by its breads. 

I baked FMB (fresh milk bread) yesterday and will repeat that bread today. 1/2 recipe this time. The first batch was ... well... instructional : ) I followed recipe to a t and it was too little water in the dough. So little that there was no way I would knead it by hand, and I am strong, I am a weightlifter. Way too stiff.

This is before the last portion of water and later - butter would be introduced. This mass is impossible to knead. IMPOSSIBLE. 

After introducing 100% water

finished mixing, butter is in as well. Way too low hydration, more like a bagel dough.

As a result gluten had hard time forming, let alone developing into thin window panes. 

I.e as is, the recipe would benefit from more water and I would introduce honey along with butter later on, after autolysis and having developed gluten by kneading. Otherwise, in dry whole grain dough too many THIRSTY and hygroscopic things inside it compete for water (bran, sugar, milk solids, salt, dry yeast, damaged by stone milling starch granules, coarsely ground flour particles which take long time to hydrate and swell, etc) and proteins don't get enough for hydration and gluten formation. 

This is how bad it was, when it was supposed to be divided and shaped into loaves. Short strands of weak gluten, desperate for more water and more dough development, 

So yeah, I managed to develop gluten a little, but it took a lot of time and a lot of kneading, even by the machine. I wouldn't dare to use Kitchen Aid mixer for that dough. Bread machine - yes, or food processor, cuisinart or magimix. Or some commercial strength spiral micromixer. 

I will report later today how it feels and looks with a bit more water in the dough. As is, the recipe is not really suitable for bread or rolls, with poppy seeds or without. WWF bagels - yes.

It is very stiff

with fine tight porosity and glorious taste and aroma. 

mariana

goer's picture
goer

So you see what I was up against, and I'm no "weight lifter" unless it's a pint. :) I felt compelled to take the Laurel book seriously because of the Desem recipe. Very nice loaf. Much lighter in cooler than mine. Sometimes you have to overlook cover art. Sometimes. It's a major hangup for me. Spirituality? It can be a very spiritual journey with bread sometimes. My first attempts were Hell. ;) Pale bricks you could hammer nails with. 

One of the best books I've read. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24/6000-years-bread

Right up there with. http://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/tresors/barbeau/mbp0501e.shtml

mariana's picture
mariana

Yes. I see exactly what you were up against. And I read your first sentences in the posting with new understanding. i.e. this portion

...get rips and tears. Let it rest 10 minutes. Kneaded again. Started out smooth and silky looking, but then move to rips and tears. Didn't feel like another 15 + unknown minutes of kneading. 

It does rip and tear, because there is not enough water in the dough and because it takes hours for the proteins in that dough to fully hydrate and link into gluten formation. So it is kneading when you first mix the dough, then kneading after the first rise to max volume, then after the second rise to the max volume, each time developing gluten past 'rips and tears' into silky and elastic.

I.e. this dough has to be kneaded 3 times. Once (in the beginning) was not enough,  it gave me the dough that collapsed after proofing in pans! I couldn't even place it in the oven. I had to take them deflated balls of dough out of the pans, KNEAD again until silky and elastic, reshape into loaves, place in pans, and let them rise and only then bake. 

These would be my answers to your questions

what is it with my window pane failure? Do I need more water? Do I need to join a gym?

Yes. More water. And yes. A gym. Not for you, for that specific bread dough. It needs to be exercised and massaged more. Each 'punch down' must be treated as a full scale kneading session, not a gentle stretch'n'fold :) 

to knead in KA this dough has to have at least this consistency

Desem is awesome. I got two of them going. One I purchased from Cultures for Health and it is nothing like I ever smelled before. Pure heaven. Another I got going from wheat berries, using original Omer Gevaert desem recipe from here

https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1HSFn73tuYczshxw82z1cGb3g6zGgeiVRT-jN_HH2dkQ

In that method you presoak wheat berries, then flatten them in mortar with pestle or with marble rolling pin and gather into a ball of pap.

like so

or like so

 

Now that ball of 'pap' is sitting buried in a bag of flour at 55F

I will feed it today for the first time. 

I prepared my first desem using Laurel's recipe years ago and It was OK, but I got more interested in pure white breads and white French levain. So only now desem's time has come in my life : ) 

Thanks for the 6000 years recommendation, goer.  I will get it today, our city library has a copy. And merci mille fois for the book about pain quebecois. I always wanted to read it, because rural Quebec bread indeed tastes awesome, we traveled up north there and people still bake it old style and offer it to travelers cut in thick slices, accompanied with milk and homemade butter... it was amazing.  I wasn't aware of electronic version being available now. THANK YOU

mariana

goer's picture
goer

I.e. this dough has to be kneaded 3 times. Once (in the beginning) was not enough,  it gave me the dough that collapsed after proofing in pans! I couldn't even place it in the oven. I had to take them deflated balls of dough out of the pans, KNEAD again until silky and elastic, reshape into loaves, place in pans, and let them rise and only then bake. 

Now I don't know why yours collapsed, and I'd be interested to actually know why. You saw my first and only effort so far, and you are well away of what I went through. Mine never even thought of collapsing. Might not have been able too with no hydration. :) Your crumb was much better looking than mine. My next experiment will be increasing the size of the mix to make three slightly less tall loaves. They had to big of a crown to fit in the toaster. I'm going to definitely add more water. Then both me and the dough are going to have at it. I might try to find a way to hydrate the mix as much as I can before adding the last bit of water with the instant yeast.

goer's picture
goer

Deserved separate response. That's beautiful looking bread. Those whole wheat berries are amazing to look at. I used to buy a somewhat local cracked wheat. When soaked it looked similar. Gonna have to try that Desem some day.

ccsdg's picture
ccsdg

Thanks Mariana what a helpful post. I guess with a very heterogeneous bread, with lots of seeds or fruits etc you'd achieve windowpane before adding them? Or knead all together as if it were a very coarse wholemeal flour?

mariana's picture
mariana

Hi.

Usually in the recipe it is indicated how to knead the dough for that particular bread. How to incorporate the 'inclusions'. 

Seeds and fruits yes, they are usually either incorporated later in dough development, not even during kneading, but during last punch down before dough dividing and shapine. Or else, the dough is not really kneaded at all, only mixed to homogeneity and gluten gets developled by other means. 

goer's picture
goer

goer's picture
goer

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I was going to add that attaining window pane with whole grain can be a bit more challenging but it looks like you already figured out how to get a lovely loaf! Also a little more hydration and the time to absorb all that into the bits of bran helps. 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Well done.  Next time I do a WW bread I'm getting out the food processor!!  Amazing how no knead and chopping the heck out of it in a food processor makes bread so distinctly different.  Like suave, I've never even thought about doing a window pane test on the breads that I make except for enriched dough ...which we almost never make.     It will be fun to chop some dough up instead if sausage meat  for a change:--)  Between you and mariana - that is some nice bread amd baking.

goer's picture
goer

 

dosco's picture
dosco

Could you post your recipe and process? That's some fine looking bread!!

 

Regards-
Dave

goer's picture
goer

Don't want to get in trouble. Recipe came from this book. The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. It was the milk bread recipe. Might find it at your local library. I however have issues and have to own books. :)

 

WoodenSpoon's picture
WoodenSpoon

Just don't sell the formula and yer fine. pop some quotes around that bad boy if ya worried.

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

I agree, goer.  The author and publisher have rights over the recipe as written.  Posting it verbatim could violate those rights.  

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

So the formula can be shared.  The process for baking, that is a different story. Have to put that in your own words and can't just copy what they've said, especially if their is anything creative/descriptive in how they said it.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

that formulas should just be shared willy nilly.  They can be, but you might instead encourage people to buy the book rather than expose the secret formula that can't be copyrighted.

mariana's picture
mariana

Good morning, goer!

Just to finish what I started...

This is what happened when I adjusted hydration and added a good autolysis. A perfect loaf. Just blew my mind away. Really good bread. 

I started with simpler dough: flour, milk, water and salt. In other words, I delayed adding yeast, honey and butter until later. I blended everything together (1 min in food processor) first thing in the morning and let it sit until noon in refrigerator, for the gluten to form. 5 hours total time.

Laurel's Bread Book recommends to "try about 15 min autolysis " (p.10, second tip) and Chad Robertson in Tartine Book #3, p 23 recommends for whole grain breads "a minimum 30 minute autolyse, but 2-4 hours or even overnight yields even sweeter tasting bread". "...slightly bitter grains such as red wheat take on a noticeably sweeter tone with a longer autolyse" p 37 "let the premix rest up to four hours or overnight (for doughs made with hard wheat flours), to hydrate during this rest period"

So, this is the ball of dough that autolysed for 5 hours (in refrigerator, at about 4C, to avoid spontaneous fermentation and spoilage, since it has no yeast or sourdough in it).

The photo shows that rehydrated yeast (method described on p.61 in Laurel's book) and honey with cold butter are still not added to it. 

 

after 5 hr rest it was stretching and windowpaning, without any kneading at all, i.e.even  before kneading,  just like so

after kneading with yeast brew, honey and butter added

The dough bubbles up when folded into a ball, but bubbles are thick, i.e. this is just the initial stage of gluten development.

After first rise to max vol, the bubbles all over, become more transparent, better gluten development

Ripe dough

Thoroughly deflated and kneaded in food processor, before pre-shaping and then panning dough

deflated and degassed

kneaded until silky smooth again

Pre-shaped and given bench rest until about doubled in vol

Panned

Proofed

baked, using Laurel's 450-315 method, p10, 'third tip'

Crumb: new and improved on top of the first 'trial one'. 

Side to side

For the pan(s) I used "the best release mix " by Manuel Friedman (p390) It is magical, true!

I prepared it with granules and deodorized olive oil. It is perfect. Odor free, super thin coating, gives crispy ultrathin crust, the best. 

Thank you, goer! That was a great experience, a new discovery for me (Laurel's book and Manuel Friedman's methods that it included) and your gift of recommending two new books is very much appreciated. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

best wishes, 

m. 

goer's picture
goer

Just as I begin to prepare and think of my future experiments, you've achieved perfection. Very, very nice what you've done all the way around. You're welcome for the book recommendations apart from that you've surpassed me. :)