The Fresh Loaf

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Poor gluten development?

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pachecoj's picture
pachecoj

Poor gluten development?

I've been trying to make a Tartine loaf for about seven months now and am still struggling to get any consistency.  I'm not used to working with high hydration doughs (this is 85%) and so maybe I am overlooking something.

After the bulk fermentation it's usually pretty clear that my dough doesn't have the consistency I've seen in some of the videos of Chad Robertson.  See this video at 2:30 for what the dough is supposed to look like ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIIjV6s-0cA ).

Here is a picture of my dough after bulk fermentation.  It is not smooth like Chad's, it's lumpy and grainy, and has very poor gluten development:

This is actually the 10% Rye loaf, which is similar to the one in the video but substitutes 10% rye flour for some of the bread flour.  I've had similar issues with the country loaf in the video but this is a particularly bad example.

I think the lumpy texture is due to underdevelopment of the gluten?  Usually I knead with the dough hook for 5min or so and the dough has a much better consistency.  This time I followed the instructions in the book and only mixed until incorporated, leading to this lumpy mess.  The reason I did this is because I can never get a really open crumb structure and I thought maybe the kneeding was making things too tough prohibiting oven spring.

One thing I did do is that I put the dough in the refrigerator after bulk fermentation for 3 hours.  I don't think that should have this effect though?  Here's some details on my process for this loaf:

* Mix until incorporated (no kneeding), let dough rest @80-deg for 45min, add salt and hand kneed for a few minutes.
* Bulk fermentation ~3.5hrs @80-deg folding the dough every 20-30 minutes
* Put in refrigerator for 3hrs (it rose quite a bit in the fridge)
* Divided dough and took the picture above
* Shape, final rise for 3hrs, cook

I got no oven spring out of this one, it's a dud...

Frustrated,
Jason

 

golgi70's picture
golgi70

What type of flour are you using?  is this a picture after preshaping? How many folds are you doing?  What is your starter status?  

If you put the mass of dough in the fridge after 4:15 with the levain incorporated for 3 hours it may have over fermented hence some gluten breakdown.  It sure looks like some gluten break down I've seen with heavy whole grain breads.  

I'm sure with a few more answers you'll get great help to improve

 

Josh

amberartisan's picture
amberartisan

Lumpiness may also be caused by not autolysing, although I suspect that you did that. I suggest that it may be a problem with the starter. I used to have all kinds of problems with my starter. Once I switched to an often fed stiff starter; all my consistency problems dissapeared. The starter's condition is very important to the final dough. Also, listen to Josh, he's an excellent baker and always has good tips to share. I think he may be right on this one, too. When the dough's ready to divide, divide it. Don't think "My dough only went 3 hours, its too little bulk, I ought to retard to finish bulk." That's how we get overfermented dough. To quote another excellent member dmsnyder

 

"WATCH THE DOUGH, NOT THE CLOCK".

 

Sage Advice.

 

Walker

pachecoj's picture
pachecoj

Josh,
I'm using King Arthur AP and whole wheat to total 90% and then the remaining 10% is Hodgson Mills rye; this is my first time using rye.  Yes, the picture is after preshaping.  For the bulk rise I did 8-10 folds over the 3.5hrs.  Gluten breakdown may be likely, but how do I know if I've developed enough gluten in the first place?  I've found working with such high hydration dough very difficult because I don't have a feel for the consistency.  Usually I get a much better result, but even my best dough doesn't appear as smooth and structured as Chad's in the video.

Walker,
Yes, I did autolyze for 45min.  I think the starter is good, I've been working with this starter for 7 months and it's been pretty consistent in terms of getting the dough to rise and flavor-wise.  I normally don't put the dough in the fridge but had to step out of the house for a couple of hours so I had no choice.  I wasn't concerned with dividing the dough, it actually rose quite a bit in the fridge, not quite double but almost.

Jason

 

amberartisan's picture
amberartisan

In chad's book, he specefies a 20-30% rise during bulk. I divide my dough when it hits 30-35% rise. Double would indicate overbulking the dough.

Hope that helps,

Walker

suambumeri's picture
suambumeri

I agree with the over fermenting. I have had similar problems. 80 deg f is not really that warm but maybe you have a very active starter. How much starter are you using?

I have had this problem when it was really hot and the dough temp was very warm and I let it ferment too long (4h+). Once it was a few degrees cooler and I used a little less levain I didn't have the problem anymore. You could use cool water to keep things a bit cooler.

It may also help to use a very young levain. I have had good results using a levain that just passed the float test (fermented for about 5h) as opposed to let the levain ripe over night (approx.12h).

Hope you'll have more success soon.

Dina

pachecoj's picture
pachecoj

I was using a young starter ~5h, but it hadn't quite passed the float test yet so I upped it from 150g to 200g in the dough.

Jason

suambumeri's picture
suambumeri

Not sure what your total flour amount is but seeing you are making two loaves I am assuming it is around 1kg. Maybe use 150g levain again next time especially if it is warm in your kitchen and your starter is very active and raises the bread well.

Also, re your question below: I often read that whole wheat/grain flours ferment faster and this has also been my experience. As much as 100g whole wheat flour more or less seem to make a difference in how fast the dough ferments. 

Regards<
Dina

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

like the final rise was in the refrigerator, only you thought it was still bulking.  Agree with all the comments about over-proofing, in the photo the dough is falling apart, deteriorating, like an overripe starter.  The only way to save it would be to knead it with fresh dough (no leavening) and depending on the preferment amount (perhaps a folding) shape, rise and bake.

 WW, rye, warmth, all speed up the fermenting. 

ghazi's picture
ghazi

Been happening to me a lot with 100% WW, its  a soft flour (regular wholemeal) really has good taste though and I try to get it as wet as possible for lightness. After few hours fermentation it just give sup on me. The more S & F the more active your starter becomes hence why it grew so much in the fridge. Obviously you can only do so many until the yeast gives up.

This is what I seem to be learning. Also with bulk ferment watch the dough carefully it does not necessarily have to double in size, but feel and look ready.

PetraR's picture
PetraR

I had the same problem when it was very warm in my kitchen  and my dough was overproofing, it was almost as if I looked at a starter rather than a dough.

Mine had wholeweat and rye and wheat flour where the main flour was the wheat flour.

It just grew to fast and to much while I was out shopping.

Not doing that in a hurry and YES to what Mini Oven said.

 

pachecoj's picture
pachecoj

Overproofing / gluten deterioration sounds consistent with problems I've been having.  The first several times I tried making the country loaf I had the same problem only in the final rise.  As a result I was getting no oven spring and a very flat dense loaf but with really good flavor.

I think the times/temps in the Tartine 3 book are misleading.  It seems that I have much more success by cutting the temperature/time down.  Maybe I just have a really active starter?

Btw, what is it about whole wheat dough that makes it more susceptible to overproofing?  I just started working with whole wheat doughs this year.  I had a lot of success in making whole wheat & whole grain loaves with storebough yeast, but it's been really difficult with the natural levain.

I'm going to give it another shot next weekend and post some pics of the results.

Jason

ghazi's picture
ghazi

Baking with 100% wholegrains can get very tricky especially with natural leavain. Since as people stated the quickness of rise due to abundance of nutirents and the fact that you have to be more careful with handling and not "overhandle"

I like to think of it as fragile and needs more care and attention, too much slap and folds or kneading too heavily results in undersired holes. Don't get me wrong Whole grains need lots of kneading but you can achieve most if this  by just leaving the flour to soak. The mix should be much wetter for WW and mix low and slow if by machine, I also cant overstate resting periods. In reality the wholegrain just needs time to soak in the moisture given, if this is done slowly  the taste is out of this world. People who have baked succefully with 100% wholegrains know that there is nothing to compare with "wheat"

pachecoj's picture
pachecoj

Thanks for all the feedback.  I attempted the recipe again this weekend and am convinced that what happened last time was indeed over proofing leading to gluten breakdown.  As I said I've been making this Tartine loaf most weekends since January, going on 7 months now.  I still haven't perfected it, but each time I learn something new.

This time I paid more attention to how the dough was responding to determine when to end bulk fermentation.  I was also a lot more careful when handling the dough.  By the bench rest things looked a lot better:

This is after shaping and scoring and placed in the cast iron (always a tense moment):

Cooked and looking good in the pan:

Despite my best attempts, and a healthy coating of rice flour, the loaf stuck in the pan so there were some battle wounds getting it out.  I think next time I'll try putting parchment in the pan, or maybe taking it out halfway through.  I cooked the second loaf directly on the stone and sprayed it to keep moist.

The one in the foreground (cut) is what I cooked directly on the stone.  I've found that directly spraying the loaf tends to not produce nice sharp edges at the score marks as when cooked in the stone (rear).  For fun I also made up a sourdough baguette recipe by tweaking a poolish baguette to the hydration I wanted.  This was my first sourdough baguette and was a pretty successful afterthought.

The flavor of the Tartine loaf is terrific, as always, but I'd really like to get a more open  crumb.  Any suggestions?

Jason

ghazi's picture
ghazi

The trick to very airy open crumbs seems to be 2 things: proper gluten development and thorough fermentation, a wetter dough will help you get the bigger holes though is not necessarily the answer, you can still get them with lower hydration just more kneading required (work). When i shape my loaves am so gentle degassing VERY little with assertive sudden jolts to get the skin toght. After slashing the dough if the lashes open up happily (wide) quickly this is a sign of a well shaped and risen loaf (low gluten not so much, but your seems to have adequeste amount of white bread flour to do this)

Your breads look great, more importantly they taste the way you want. You should be very happy with what you achieved. Baguettes look super and for a first time they are desirable. Now that's no easy feat

Strong flours need lots of kneading to get the bubbles trapped and if you hear pops during this time you know your on the right track (of course autolysing does half the work for you and depending on how long you go for adjust with kneading) In the case of such a high hydration maybe more S & F, when the dough is ready it should come out of the bowl together and hold tight. I'm sure you've noticed  this, how many folds in total are you doing?

personally am no into the airy crumbs, others on this site will give you better advice on how to cheive this but this is what i have learned so far. Good to hear your getting a feel for the dough its the most important aspect of SD baking. Enjoy

Ghazi

pachecoj's picture
pachecoj

What is S&F?  I've heard this term a few times here but can't figure out the acronym.

 

Jason

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

a common way to develop rustic doughs with high hydration

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It can also mean Slap and Fold, a much more aggressive and noisy version which includes throwing the dough onto the table to develop gluten.  

PetraR's picture
PetraR

I never go higher than 60-65 % hydration for my breads and I do not knead but turn the dough in the bowl every 30 minutes over a period 3 hours, than a long bulk fermantation , a very gentle degassing and a gentle shaping , a shorter finall proove for about 2-2 1/2 hours * depending on the warmth in the house, now in the Summer often 1 1/2 hour is fine for me.

I bake mine in a pre heated Dutsch Oven for 30 minutes with the lid on, then turn the heat down and take the lid off, bake for further 20 minutes.

I prefer the medium size holes, you can not eat holes;)

But often I have big holes, well, most of the time so I need to tweak to get smaller ones.