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Help creating a light loaf

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varasano's picture
varasano

Help creating a light loaf

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post. I have a lot of experience making dough for pizza, but have only made a few loaves of bread. If anyone is interested in making pizza, I have probably the most popular pizza recipe on the net. Just google "NY pizza recipe" and you'll see my name, Jeff Varasano, as the first result. Just follow the link for my pizza tips.

Anyway, I need some help with my bread. I've made 9 batches and I'm making progress, but still not happy. Here are some photos:

 


http://www.think2020.com/jv/bread/DSC02690.JPG
http://www.think2020.com/jv/bread/DSC02693.JPG
Even though the bread has nice wholes, it's very dense. Maybe crusty is the better word. I had a bread in NY over Xmas that was super light and airy inside. What factors tend to make the dough lighter and a bit less crusty? My basic process is this: I'm using Gold Medal Harvest King flour, filtered water, kosher salt and a sourdough starter (no IDY or commercial yeast). I did a 20 minute autolyze, a short mix, 2 turns spread over an hour and then a 12 hour 50F rise, followed by 2 more turns and about 4 hours at 72F. It's baked on a stone in a preheated 450F oven (although the stone measuered only 400F with an IR thermometer). I sprayed it with water upon entry and again at 20 minutes.
It seems like the inside is kind of gummy and needed to lose more water. But in my pizza experience, using a wet dough is better for spring, so I didn't want to dry out the dough prior to bake. So I thought that baking it longer might help, but then the bottom was starting to get very crusty and hard. You can see how thick the bottom crust is. Anyway, does anyone have any general guidelines or rules of thumb for making the dough more airy and light?
Thanks,
Jeff
mrpeabody's picture
mrpeabody

Jeff,

Although I don't have much to offer in terms of a solution to your dense breads, my sense about most posters on this website is that the more information that you can offer, the better the suggestions.  So, if you can provide greater detail of your current recipe and methods, I am sure that the more experienced bakers who frequent this website would be better able to make suggestions.  This is especially true as hydration levels can greatly influence texture and taste.

Also, if you can be more specific as to what your target bread should be, it would result in even more concrete suggestions.  For example, for airy and light, does the bread that you are after continue to have big holes?  Thick or thin crust?  More chew or more tender crumb?  Any clues as to whether the NY bread is from a lean dough or from an enriched dough?

Although my bread making expertise is severely limited, in lurking around this website I have learned from many expert and very helpful home bakers who offer their two cents here.

Mr. Peabody

varasano's picture
varasano

I don't have an exact hydration percent, as I haven't measured in years, but I'm really looking for more rules of thumb and then I'll run some more experiments. Do drier doughs tend to make lighter bread? Does IDY tend to be lighter than sourdoughs? Short rise better than long slow rise? Hotter bake or longer cooler bake?, etc.

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Hi Jeff,

Welcome to TFL. 

Getting a light loaf with large, irregular holes throughout the crumb can be a real balancing act.  On the one hand, as you said, increasing the dough hydration tends to favor larger holes but it also makes it more difficult to develop the dough to sufficient strength to hold it's shape and thus produce a more voluminous, and therefore less dense, loaf.  That's the reason why ciabatta, with it's high hydration, tends to be a relatively flat loaf.  From the look of your loaf, I would say that your hydration is somewhere upwards of 70%.  I would try slowly bringing the hydration down while keeping the same dough development regime.  Higher hydration is not always better hydration.

Regarding the crust, in my experience I've found that spraying the loaf with water directly before baking can lead to a thicker than desired crust.  Keeping the surface of the dough moist for the first few minutes of baking is all that is necessary for a nice crust with maximum oven spring (spraying the loaf with water after being in the oven for 20 minutes is counterproductive; in fact, after 20 minutes, all the oven spring should have already occured and the crust is now starting to brown so all oven vents should be opened and moisture should be encouraged to escape from the oven).  Extended bake times can also tend to give a thicker crust.

To keep the loaf surface moist for the first few minutes of baking, I've found that creating steam by throwing water on a pan of preheated stones just as I load my loaves tends to do the trick.  I've managed to get some nice oven spring using this method:  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/566/pain-au-levain 

I hope the above helps.  I've used your pizza making techniques and spreadsheet to produce some great pizza and am sure that your bread will soon be on par with your pizzas.

- Steve 

varasano's picture
varasano

Thanks Steve. You are not Steve, the moderator from pizzamaking.com are you?

 The dough is pretty well hydrated and I would guess 70% is probably right. I'll try to bring it down. What oven temp do you recommend?

SteveB's picture
SteveB

No, I'm a different Steve, although I do lurk on pizzamaking.com and have posted a few times.

I typically bake my pain au levain at around 425F for about 40 minutes.  A quick note... I like a long, slow second fermentation to bring out the flavor so I typically keep my shaped loaves at around 72F for about 5 hrs. 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jeff. 

That's a sourdough bread I would be delighted with! I love the thick, crunchy crust. Doesn't it taste great? 

But, if you're unhappy with it, please describe the crust you want in more detail. Note: Thinner crusts on sourdoughs are generally described as "chewy." Is that what you want? If you want "tender," sourdough may not be best medium.

David

varasano's picture
varasano

Hey David,

The taste is excellent, so I have no complaints there.

The crust right now is just dense and it gives the jaw a workout. It's also fairly thick, especially on the bottom which you can see better if look at the blow up here:

http://www.think2020.com/jv/bread/DSC02693.JPG

Aside from the crust, the whole bread just feels heavy for it's size, like it either has too high a hydration to start with or it didn't puff up enough or like it should have evaporated more water during the process. I'm not experienced enough to figure which of those is the culprit.

Even though the bread has some very large bubbles, the remaining portion feels a tiny bit gummy and dense. Like if I squeezed it, it would press together.

I'm not sure what you mean by tender. 

varasano's picture
varasano

One thing I left out of my recipe. In addition to the sprayer, I also had a flat baking sheet with water in it to keep the steam level high. I'm guessing from the responses, that I should take this out. Correct?

 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

I would.  You really only want moisture in the oven for the first few minutes of baking, until the oven spring is over and the crust begins to brown.

suave's picture
suave

General recommendation for getting thin and crispy crust is to remove steam source once the crust shows color.

richawatt's picture
richawatt

I did a loaf with a 80 percent hydration and it was really light, like a pillow.  I think it was too light for my liking so I think I am going to bring it down to 75%  I just mixed my dough and folded it about 4 times over the length of the fermentation, probably about three hours. if you go to google video and do a search for meread making or what not, there are a lot of videos

 

varasano's picture
varasano

how do I find the video?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jeff. 

I concur with the advice to limit the time you use steam. I take out my cast iron skillet with water after 5-10 minutes. In fact, I may finish the bake with convection on in my oven to dry it out better. 

By "tender" I mean it does not take much tooth pressure to chew it. 

From your description, I wonder if the interior of the loaf is under-done while the crust is over-done to just right. The center of the loaf should be at least 205F when it's done, and, when you tap the bottom of the loaf, you should hear a "hollow" sound, not a dull thud. If you are baking a really large boule, say over 2.5 lbs, you may want to reduce the oven temp. 25 degrees after the first 10 minutes and bake longer to get  a lighter crust but completely baked crumb. 

I think you have the makings of a great loaf there. Your technique and timing of the bake just need a little tweaking. 

David

richawatt's picture
richawatt

go to google video, you can find a lot of videos there about bread.  There are a lot of no kneed bread videos too.  It will show you how to work with a very slack dough.  When I make my ciabatta there is no way I can need it., it is just too wet, so I let it ferment and just keep folding it

richawatt's picture
richawatt
varasano's picture
varasano

Thanks guys. Batch 10 goes in the oven in a few hours

holds99's picture
holds99

Varasano,

Your loaf looks very good with nice interior.  It just looks like it just didn't get quite enough oven spring.  You can compensate for some problems and get good oven spring by baking your boule in a pre-heated cast iron Dutch oven, lined with parchment paper.  I posted a blog on TFL for Rustic Country Bread (a few weeks ago) baked in a Dutch oven.  You might look at it and see if you think it might help your situation.  Also, you need a HOT oven during the first 8-10 minutes to get max. oven spring, then you can cut the temp. back.  I don't see any flour markings on the tops of the loaf, did you use a banneton or just let it rise on a peel or pan?   

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

varasano's picture
varasano

Here's today's result

varasano's picture
varasano

So this batch I did a couple of things different.

The dough was quite a bit drier.

I took out the pan of water and instead put the pan in dry so that I could dump a small amount of water to create burst of steam only at the beginning. I also only sprayed once at the very beginning and this time did not spray the bread directly.

I raised the initial temp to 500F the brought it down to 450 after 10 minutes.

Overall I would say that this bread is not an improvement over Batch 9. The cuts never fully exploded. The bubbles near the exterior were large but as you look towards the interior they get smaller and smaller. I'm assuming that this is on account of the high heat. It almost makes me want to change the shape to more of a batard, since I have no attachment to this boule shape..

How long do you guys bake for? I tried to do the 'thump' test, but I'm not really sure what it means to 'sound hollow'. After about 45 minutes it was brown, but not really dark and I wasn't sure if I should take it out or not. Since it didn't sound hollow I wanted to leave it in to dry, but then this just seems to have made the outside tougher. After 45 minutes I reduce the temp to 300, left the door open to bring the temp down, and then left the bread in there another 20 minutes. One thing I did just out of curiosity is that quickly removed the dough to weigh it. I did this several times. at 45 minutes it was 812g, after another 20 minutes at low temp it was down to 790. Then after cooling 30 minutes it was 787.

But in any case, any error was prior to all this fiddling. There was not enough spring in the first 20 minutes as the center never really opened up.

 

Comments?

Jeff

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

maybe add a little yeast to the final dough to give it just a small boost  it looks fine though.

varasano's picture
varasano

I have an alternate sourdough culture that is every bit as bubbly as IDY, maybe moreso. I'm refreshing it now. It's not as flavorful as my regular one, but it's pretty good. I'm going to try the next batch with that one.

Jeff 

mcs's picture
mcs

If you mentioned this above, I didn't see it; what are you doing for the proofing during your fermentations, and especially the final fermentation? Is it covered, humid, dry? Is it possible your dough has sufficient bubbles on the inside from the folding, but has too thick of a skin by the time it goes in the oven, preventing expansion and keeping too much of the moisture on the inside?

-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

varasano's picture
varasano

Hi Mark,

The final fermentation is covered. The dough itself is pretty wet. I do the final proof on a cloth that sits on a wire rack. I had a problem early on where my dough was so wet that it stuck to the stone, so moving it to the cloth on a rack helps to dry out the bottom a little bit. What I do then is scoop the cloth up with a peel and then use the cloth to deposit the dough on the stone. It's effectively exactly like the superpeel, just a homemade version.

The cloth is covered with an inverted metal bowl so it stays moist. The only difference between this dough and the previous one which opened up more, was the amount of water I sprayed. In the previous version I sprayed quite a bit of water directly onto the bread after I scored it. I was told this would make it more crusty though, which I didn't want. so in this version, I only created some steam around it.  

mcs's picture
mcs

Thanks for the proofing answers.  Here's another question, excuse me if I'm insulting your dough handling skills.  Is the skin on the final boule 'tight'?  Sometimes if it's not formed tightly, the outside surface is not thin enough, creating a loaf that takes very long to brown up.  To me, it sounds like it's taking too long to get color at the temperature you're baking at. 
Another strategy I might try, is moving your pizza stone up .  I don't know where it is in your oven, but I've found if I have two levels of things baking in my oven at the same time, the stuff towards the top gains color faster and has way more ovenspring than the stuff 6 inches below.  I rotate them from top to bottom after 10 minutes of putting them in the oven, or the bread in the lower rack gets 'stunted', never gains color, and doesn't ever spring up.  If you haven't already done it, I'd try moving the stone high up maybe 10" - 12"from the top.

- Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

varasano's picture
varasano

My dough is pretty tight, so I don't think that is it.

 

I did move the stone to the bottom because my bottom was not browning hardly at all when the stone was up even on level. come to think of it, it may have been rising more in earlier batches where the stone was higher.  There might be some heat distribution issue. I'm sure I can address that somehow.

mcs's picture
mcs

Sounds like you have your bases covered as far as all of the essentials go. I guess from here I would go with nbi's recommendation from a few posts up and add some commercial yeast to the final dough. If that works, then you can always scale it back gradually until you see the minimum amount you need to achieve your desired result.
Don't know if you want to go there, but if you did, using your current recipe, I would make up half of a batch like you're doing now, then after your 12 hour rise, add the remaining flour/water and 1.25 tsp of instant yeast per 3-4# of dough. Mix/knead it all up for 3 minutes on 'speed 1' and 3 more on 'speed 2'. Then proof around 3 hours more with folds at 1 hour intervals. If you can, I'd bump up the temperature of everything after the final mix from 72 to about 85. That may give it more of a head start before it goes in the oven. Take that for what it's worth.

-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

varasano's picture
varasano

My experience with rising at 85 is that it certainly does add more bubbles, but also makes the dough so soft that it spreads out and the final dough can't hold it's shape that well. It ends up more or less shaped like a ciabatta if the final rise is 85. Is that fair to say or am I missing something?

mcs's picture
mcs

I'd say that's pretty accurate. However, usually with a dough that has high hydration, if someone is going for the boule shape, they'll use a round banneton for holding the shape. Then, when it's transferred to the oven, before it has a chance to blob out too much, the oven temperature/stone/yeast causes it to rise up, and the high heat 'sets its shape' before it has a chance to collapse. With a lower hydration dough, a banneton isn't necessary because it can hold its shape on its own for the entire final fermentation.
-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

varasano's picture
varasano

This was interesting. I changed the shape of the loaf and I also switched to a faster rising sourdough culture. Also. I took out the water pan entirely. In Batch 10 I had it in there dry, just to splash water on it. However it blocked the upper heating element. So I took it out entirely.

The bread was baked at 500F then reduced to 450 after 25 minutes. I only did one spray at the very beginning. I did spray directly onto the dough and also into the oven in general.

The outer crust was excellent. Not hard or crusty at all. If anything, I could have left it in longer. This is the first time I could say that. So this should be easy to correct.

The spring was huge, but it still seems like I could have made more cuts because it seemed like it wanted to burst out even more. It seemed to blow up like a balloon then it got trapped.

The interior was still too moist. Very nice and soft and good bubbles, but not airy and still too wet. I inserted a thermometer and took the bread out when it hit 208. But it could have gone longer for sure. 

 Any comments?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

It seems like you are closing in on the bread you want. It sure looks good! 

It sounds like the crumb is still not cooked enough, assuming you did let it cool completely before slicing. 500F for 25 minutes is a lot of hot oven. I guess it's your pizza habits.  ;-) 

I would try baking this in a well-pre-heated oven at 475F until you are finished opening the oven (to spray), then turn it down to 450F for the rest of the bake. When it is done, turn off the oven but leave the loaf in there for another 5-10 minutes with the oven door cracked to dry out a bit more.

David

holds99's picture
holds99

Reduce your initial baking temp. to 475.  500 may be fine for pizza but is too hot for a loaf that is being baked in the open oven particularly on a stone (if thats what you're using).  You'll end up with a done crust and the interiour of the loaf still needing baking.  As a data point, 500 deg is fine when using the protection of a preheated Dutch oven, La Cloche or Romertopf but it still requires turning the oven down to 475 after placing the loaf into the vessel, putting on the lid and closing the oven door.  You don't need steam with these vessels they create their own steam as a result of preheating and keeping the lid on until the final 10-15 minutes of the baking cycle at which time you remove the lid to allow for browning  Baking bread at that high a temp. (500 deg.) in an open oven is most likely going to create a problem not to mention the possibility of the hot stone scorching the bottom.  As Dave S. suggested , turn the oven off at the termination of the baking cycle (after reducing the heat to 450 for the 25 min. and leave the loaf in for 10 minutes, it'll keep slowing cooking the interior.  Check it midway through the 10 min. and if it's getting too brown take it out and rack it.  Also, if the center isn't completely done the moisture inside the loaf (hot steam) could bleed into the crust during the cooling cycle causing the crust to lose its crunchy texture.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

The secret to very light bread with incredible oven spring is energetic mixing.
I see on your pizza page that you took Artisan I and II at the San Francisco Baking Institute.
I also too took Artisan I.  Prior to Artisan I, I had been baking for several years.  All of my loaves turned
out like bricks and non of them had oven spring.  I had read about oven spring but had never
actually seen it. It was in Artisan I that I first witnessed oven spring.  I was amazed at how 100% of the baguettes that the students loaded into the oven puffed up.  It was incredible.  I, with my own hands, formed loave which inflated like balloons.
What had I been doing wrong all these years?  Loaf after loaf had oven spring.
When I got home from Artisan I, I hit a brick wall.  I followed the instructions to the letter.
Here was the basic recipe that I was using:

500 grams of Harvest King Artisan flour
335 grams of water (67% hydration)
10g salt
3.5 g yeast

mix 2.5 minutes on first speed
mix 5 minutes on second speed
let ferment in covered container 1 hour
divide and preshape and let rest 20 minutes
shape loaves and proof for 1 hour
bake at 485F for 18 minutes

I loaded this into my KitchenAid Artisan mixer and mixed it the same amount of time as in
school.  I followed the procedures EXACTLY as I had done them in class.   To my amazement,
there was no oven spring.  My bread was dense and heavy.  For several months I tried loaf after loaf. 

At first I thought it was the lack of a steam oven, but that wasn't the problem.
Then it occurred to me....GLUTEN WINDOW!!!  The instructor would pick up a piece of dough
right after mixing and he would streatch it and it would form a gluten window.
I tried to do the same thing using my KitchenAid but the dough would fall apart.....no gluten window.
My dough was grainy with no gluten window.  The dough that I had seen in baking school
was silky smooth and showed a gluten window right off the mixer.  So I decided to let
my poor KitchenAid mix and mix.  After about 45 minutes I got to the silky smooth dough.
I pulled off a piece of dough and got a decent gluten window.
So then I realized.......the problem is mixing time.....the mixers at baking school are very
effecient spiral mixers.....mixing time on my KitchenAid took much longer.
I baked some loaves and got some oven spring but it wasn't like in baking school.
But that's when I realized that making light bread is ALL ABOUT THE MIXING!
I decided that I needed a better mixer but I didn't want to spend $1,300 on the
school's mini spiral mixer.  So I decided on the Bosch Universal Mixer.  Then my bread
started turning out great.  Light and fluffy with great oven spring.
The Bosch has a strong motor and twirls and streatches the dough over and over.
The Bosch mixes the above recipe to perfect gluten development in 22 minutes.
I load all the ingredients into the bowl and mix  for about 5 seconds.
I let the flour absorb the water (about 5 minutes) then crank up the Bosch to speed 3.
I don't use any other speed.....just the fastest speed.
After 22 minutes I get a perfect dough.
This is the secret to making light, fluffy bread!  Nobody here seems to get it (except SevenB).

Sure, this doesn't guarangee great bread.....but without understanding of gluten development,
you will never have light bread with good oven spring.

Gluten development is tricky.  On my Bosch I have noticed the following:

less than 19 minutes will give a very weak or no gluten window.....the dough will just pull apart with no gluten window.
at 21 minutes and 30 seconds, there is nice oven spring and the cuts open up nicely
at 25 minutes there is even more oven spring and the bread is even lighter....but the cuts don't open explode like they do at 21 or 22 minutes
past 30 minutes the dough starts to turn to chewing gum with no gluten window....it feels like melted wrigley's chewing gum on hot asphalt (this is overdeveloped dough)
at 21 minutes and 30 seconds, the crumb is more open with bigger holes, at 25 minutes the structure is finer with fewer big holes.

Any hydration between 65% and 80% will have the same mixing time.
These mixing times are for my Bosch mixer loaded with the 500grams of flour recipe.
If you change the amount of dough, you will probably have to adjust the mixing time.
If you use a different mixer, you need to find the point at which you get a gluten window
right off the mixer and work from there to determine your own mixing times.
As we have seen, a KitchenAid will not work...it's just not energetic enough.
Preferments and autolyse will shorten mixing time and mess with gluten development.....but to start out I urge you
to work with just straight dough.....no autolyse, no preferment.....this will lead you
to understanding of gluten development.  Worry about flavor after you undestand  gluten development.

The french went through all this in the 1950's.  There was a revolution when they discovered that
energetic mixing makes light fluffy bread.  Then in the 70's there was another revolution back to the old ways.
Although energetic mixing does give light bread, it oxidizes the dough and makes it whiter and less flavorful.
You have to find the balance between flavor and lightness.

All other factors aside, mixing time is the most important.  Without it you will have dense bread.  It might be full of flavor but it will be dense.

If you just mix flour and water by hand and let it sit a while, you will get a gluten window.  Don't be fooled.....your must form a gluten window right off the mixer....if you can't get a gluten window off the mixer, change mixers!

The reason that you need to develop the dough to the right point is so the gluten will perform like a bunch of tiny balloons.  The elastic balloons retain gas and puff up.  Baking bread without developed gluten is like trying to blow up a balloon with a bunch of holes in it.

Tips1:  adding 17grams of butter to the above recipe will give a softer crust and a less chewy crust.

Tip 2: I always ferment this recipe for 1 hour.  Normal proofing time for a baguette is 1 hour.  BUT....you can proof this dough for up to 6 hours and it will not deflate.  After 6 hours of proofing your bread will be as light as a cloud.  To do this, ferment bread 1 hour then divide dough and place dough on a baking sheet and put the sheet inside a garbage bag.  Let it be for 4 to 6 hours and carefully remove the baking sheet with bread from the bag.  Put baking sheet in oven without disturbing the loaves and you will have cloud bread. 

oven spring is the result of energetic mixing

oven spring is the resutl of energetic mixing

oven spring is the result of energetic mixing 

 

Should I say it once more???   OK!

 

OVEN SPRING IS THE RESULT OF ENERGETIC MIXING!!!!!!! 

 

BeekeeperJ's picture
BeekeeperJ

Hey I have a K A mixer and with it produce some decent bread and pizza dough, however after reading about the dense heavy texture to this artisinal bread I wondered how to get that real light fluffy taste. I took your advice and mixed the bejeezus out of it for a good 15 ish minutes . Tested with the window pane test and it passed for the first time in my bread baking . 1 1/2 hour rise punch down reshaped 1 hour rise, shape into a loaf ish type shape , im not very good at this part. Baked it on the back side of a sheet pan at 475 , no steam 20 mins. . Let me tell you ... the crust was great color, the loaf swelled up like a balloon and after cooling for 10 mins it tasted great with a nice chew and softness with a bit of crisp to it . Im impressed.

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

You will also notice a big difference in how the dough feels at different mixing times.

At 21 minutes the dough is easily shaped rolled into a baguette.

At 25 minutes the dough is much more springy.  It is harder to form  but retains it's shape much better.

 

Just a couple of minutes of mixing in either direction makes a HUGE difference in how the dough feels and performs. 

 

Sorry if I seem to ramble on....but I wrote most of this at 3AM...

If you have any luck please post more fotos... 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I just bought a DLX and I'm on my second month of loving how much better it develops the gluten. I'm trying to understand what a cloud like baguette with big holes looks like. When you mix for 22 minutes how does the bread taste?

 I have been a Varasano convert for a while concerning pizza. I like his formula and approach to the process better than anything else I have seen. His sauce is simple and incredible. My Little Black Egg (customized Weber pizza cooker) turns out a NY style pizza in 3 minutes flat.

Eric

holds99's picture
holds99

I got an old K.A. and am seriously considering the DLX.  Thanks for sharing.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

varasano's picture
varasano

Hey Eric,

Thanks, I'm  glad you like my pizza page :-)

Jeff 

varasano's picture
varasano

Hey,

Ok, thanks for all of that. I do know how to create strong windowpaning. I used to mix all of my dough to this point, but when baking pizza I found that it did not produce the best result, so I've switched over to a shorter mix and now I do more folds. However, I do know how to get the windowpaning. If it's as tempermental as you say, with a small time window where it's right, I'll have to do a lot of testing though.

I use a DLX, so I can get better mixing than with the KA.

FYI, I did not take the course at the SF Baking institute. I went over there with my friend Kieth Giusto and just spent some time talking about sourdough cultures and flours. 

Jeff 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Malkuth9623373, your experience with mixing is quite similar to mine.  Many professional bakers and bread baking books warn about the evils of overmixing and overoxidation.  In a professional environment, where spiral or oblique mixers mix doughs very efficiently, this can be a very real problem.  However, in a home baking environment, countertop planetary mixers are just not very efficient in developing doughs and I find myself more concerned with ways to increase oxygen incorporation and dough development rather than ways to limit oxidation.  As you stated, the SP5 countertop spiral mixer or the Santos countertop oblique mixer can be more efficient mixing alternatives for the 'price-is-no-object' home baker.

varasano's picture
varasano

Ok, I mixed the dough to the windowpane stage. On my site I posted this picture from some of my dough trials years ago:

http://slice.seriouseats.com/jvpizza/Dough/DSC00698.JPG

This was taken right off the hook. I used to mix my dough like that a lot but discovered that it really didn't make the pizza I was going for and I switched to a lighter mix. Then more recently I've been playing with almost no mix, but a lot of folds. I've really like the pizzas that way. But, as you guys said, the bread is just not coming out light enough that way. So we'll see what happens now.

I found that with the DLX mixing with 66% hydration and almost no autolyse, the dough was not really mixing well. It was just stuck on the spinner.  I had to add some water, bringing it to about 69%. Then the machine was able to work the dough better.  I could have brought the hydration down a bit by adding flour near the end. I do this a lot with my pizza dough, but I decided not to do this here because I didn't want to alter the gluten development in any way for this test.  The dough heated to 84F and is now rising in a 72F room.

The one change I did make is that I used a sourdough culture. But I picked one that has strong lifting power, instead of my regular one which tastes better. I prefer to chill my dough to alter the flavor, but I've got a limited time window today so I'll just proof at room temp and hopefully it will be risen in about 6 hours. 

I'll post photos when it's done.

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

To SteveB in reference to:   "Many professional bakers and bread baking books warn about the evils of over mixing and over oxidation."

You hit the nail on the head. It almost seems like a conspiracy.

Everyone recommends these short mix times that guarantee dense bread.

In no book have I every seen a mix time of 20 minutes or more recommended for a home mixer.

In no book have I every seen explained the narrow window of opportunity available

for proper gluten development.  Without this information you would have to be

very lucky to stumble upon a method of making light, airy bread.  And yes, I agree

that air incorporation is also very important.  As I understand, when dough is mixed, air is incorporated

into the dough and the little air bubbles formed are the seeds for gas expansion in the dough.

Incorporated air from vigorous mixing in conjunction with balloon-like gluten development gives light

bread that springs.

 

 

To  ehanner:  I did not explain very well my "cloud bread." 

Read on, if you wish, for an explanation.  As far as taste,

this recipe is flavorless.    But my whole point here is to learn

about gluten development.......flavor can come later.

 

 

To Mr. Varasano:  I read your Windowpaned Batch 13 post.  I do not know if it will spring

because of the long proof time and starter used.

  It will be interesting to see what happens.  If you

don't have success, try the following procedure:

 

 

This is the procedure that I recommend you use

to experiment with gluten development and oven spring:

 

Add 500 grams of Harvest King flour to your mixer (any AP flour should work too)

Add 335 grams of water to the mixer.

Add 10 grams of salt to the mixer.

 

Turn on the mixer for 5 seconds so that most of the flower gets wet.

Let the dough sit for 5 minutes (autolyse if you like)....

this is supposedly to prevent damage to the starch....but

I don't know if it's really necessary.

 

After 5 minutes of just sitting there, add 3.5 grams of SAF Instant Yeast.

There is no need here for sourdough starter.....were are only interested

in observing how gluten development and oven spring are affected by mixing.

We want to get this over with as quickly as possible and this recipe takes

only 3 hours from start to finish.  This is a slightly modified version of the recipe we were given on

day 1 at SF Baking School but scaled down.  Do it first this way until you understand

oven spring.  Later you can experiment with starters, folding, autolyse, and other

techniques.  Incorporating other techniques now will just muddle the

situation by introducing more variables.  When experimenting, you need

as few variables as possible.  The yeast has to be instant but doesn't

have to be SAF (but SAF is what we used at SF Baking.)

 

Turn on the mixer to the fastest speed that your judgment allows.

If dough is just sticking to spinner and spinning around, the gluten

is not developing.  This is not what you want.

You can add more water.  I have done this recipe at hydrations up to 80%.

It will still spring.  The only difference is that your dough will be more slack...

no big deal.  As an additional experiment I suggest you mix a batch of dough

and intentionally over mix it.  You will know when it is over mixed because

it will be very, very, very sticky and it will stretch like melted chewing gum

and it will have no pull (it will not tug back).  This is your upper time limit.   You can even stop the mixer

at five minutes intervals and try and stretch a gluten window.  Write down your

observations for future reference.   If you can't get

the dough to this overworked stage, you might need a different mixer.

 

Anyway.....back to the recipe....

 

Keep mixing until you get a gluten window.  The dough should strongly resist pulling.

It should really tug back when you pull on it.  If it stretches too easily with no pull,

you may have over mixed.  If the gluten window tears too easily it may either be

over mixed or undermined.  You should get a nice strong rubbery window pane

that doesn't tear too easily.

 

Once the dough has been mixed, place it in an oiled plastic bag or other container.

Let sit (ferment) at room temperature for 1 hour.

 

After one hour, put a little flour on your work surface and just dump out the dough.  No need to

punch down.  Divide the dough into four 200 gram rectangles (a little dough will be left over).

A pizza cutter works well for dividing dough.  Pat the rectangles flat with the palm of your hand.

Roll up each rectangle of dough into a cylinder shape.  Leave on lightly floured work surface

and cover with a large kitchen trash bag.  Let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

 

After 20 minutes pat dough back down into rectangles and roll up again trying to

keep a tensioned skin on the outer surface of the cylinder.

These cylinders can be rolled out into baguettes but for experimental sake, just leave

them like that.

 

If you can, get a piece of cloth about the size of two kitchen towels and spread a little flour on the cloth.

Place the cylinders of dough on the floured piece of cloth.  Pull up a piece of the cloth between each loaf

so that when the loaves expand a little they don't touch.  Preheat your oven to 450F to 485F.

 

Cover them again and let them sit (proof) for 1 hour.

 

If you have mixed properly, the dough will be quite strong.  You can pick up a cylinder and place it

on the baking stone by hand and it will not deflate; or you can use the following procedure:

 

Get a box and cut out a rectangular piece of cardboard about 6 inches wide and 16 inches long.

Spread flour over the surface of this cardboard and shake to remove excess flour.

 

Grab one end of the cloth on which the loaves sit.  Put the piece of cardboard between the

first two loaves.  Pull out and up on the cloth and flip the first loaf over so that it rests face down on the

piece of cardboard.

 

Take the cardboard and loaf over to your oven and dump out the loaf on your baking stone or sheet so that

it flips back over right side up .  If you don't have a baking stone, the bread will still spring and the cuts will still open.

What I mean to say is that the hearth (or baking stone) is not what causes oven spring.

 

Slash the loaf while in your oven.  One slash lengthwise would be best for this experiment.

Try to slash about 1/4" deep. 

 

If you have steam, start your steam now.  If not, it doesn't matter.

If your dough is properly developed it will spring and the slash will open with or without steam.

I have done this many, many times.  Steam will give a nice shiny and crackly golden crust.

Without steam the crust will be dull and harder....but it will spring and open the same.

 

For this experiment it is best to bake 1 loaf at a time.  You can rotate the loaf 90 degrees after

about 12 to 14 minutes so that it browns more evenly.

 

If your dough is mixed properly, your loaves will nearly double in size in the oven and the cut will rip open.

This oven spring will happen in about the first 5 to 7 minutes.  You can open the oven after 7 minutes.

You will either be thrilled or disappointed.

 

Now about the cloud baguette....this is the part that I wasn't clear about.

If you want oven spring and open cuts, you should proof no more than 1 to 1.5 hours.

You can proof for longer.....the loaf will grow and grow while proofing.

It will get very big because the gluten is very strong and will hold in all of the gas produced

by the yeast. BUT!!!!!!! you will get no oven spring......nor should you cut the bread at this stage

because it will deflate.

 

If you proof for 1 to 1.5 hours and slash and bake, you will get a French-style white bread

with good oven spring and open slashes.

 

If you proof for 4-6 hours, the dough will be too fragile to pick up...so has to be baked on the

the sheet on which it was proofed.  FOR THIS RECIPE, DOUGH PROOFED THIS LONG WILL BE VERY,

VERY LIGHT, BUT IT WILL NOT SPRING IN THE OVEN NOR WILL IT BE LIKE FRENCH

BREAD.  I have seen rolls like this in the supermarket......you pick them up and they feel

almost weightless (and tasteless).

 

If you don’t get good oven spring…..it’s not your steam, it’s not your oven temperature,

it’s not your yeast,  or flour……it’s your gluten development. 

 

If you can get some oven spring, make more batches with mixing times at two minute

intervals.  For example, when mixing this recipe on my Bosch Universal Mixer, I start

getting some oven spring at 17 minutes of mixing.   I could make batches at  15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, and 29 minutes.  I would, through experiment, find the best mixing time for my mixer for

optimum spring.  You can do the same with your mixer.

 

 

 

 

 

 




varasano's picture
varasano

Thanks for all of that. I will try it using your directions. I guess I kind of knew that if I pumped up the IDY and did a short fast rise, that it would be a softer bread with more spring. But i guess my real question then is how to do that with a fully flavored loaf. I know it's possible because the loaf I am trying to model has both qualities in spades.

Batch 13 is out of the oven and I'll cut it in an hour and post pictures. It is a little bit bigger than the last one, but not a huge huge difference. It certainly blew up like a balloon and the outside is very smooth. But it did not really 'rip' open as some of the others have. Overall this will be the lightest though - I have to wait to cut it to see how much.

Do you have any photos to show?

 BTW, I had a change in schedule so I ended up having to chill the dough for an hour. It  had a total rise time of just over 8 hours.

Jeff

 

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I tried the mixing and development trial tonight. I added all the ingredients at one time and mixed until incorporated, and waited 15 minutes for the water to absorb. In my DLX I had a very smooth dough with no graininess at 7 minutes of running at 2 and 3. The window pane was the smoothest I have ever seen to be honest. I could have stretched it thin enough to read through as in Jeff's image. I let it ferment for an hour in a plastic tub and it more than doubled in an hour.

Divided and shaped into two 1-1/2 inch baguettes and proofed for 45 minutes. A simple baguette slash and 10 minute steam in a 450 oven for 25 minutes.

The oven spring is impressive and it looks more like a batard. I'm not surprised that it jumped in the oven, almost everything I bake does. I am surprised that I was able to get such a nice window pane. I don't know what the dough would look like at 22 minutes. My mixer delivered a smooth perfectly developed gluten in just 7 minutes.

I did add 2 extra Tablespoons of water but otherwise I followed the formula exactly and used Harvest King flour. The girls liked the bread but it wasn't as tasty as usual due to the short ferment and lack of rye.

In summary I can see where I have been under-developing my doughs and that that could be a factor in getting repeatable results. I have been less concerned about window paining since I started folding but this is interesting.

Eric

SteveB's picture
SteveB

malkuth9623373,

Do you have an e-mail address where I can reach you?  I can be reached at steve_brandt2000(at)yahoo(dot)com.

varasano's picture
varasano

How long do you have to wait to cut the bread? Is it bad to cut the bread while it's still a bit hot?

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

I have no fotos but I will try and post some next week.  Do you have any fotos of the bread that you are trying to model? 

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

Internal temperature should be about 100F before cutting.  You can use a thermometer.  If you cut it too soon the dough will be gummy.

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

Can you describe the bread you are trying to model in more detail?

What color is the crust?  Is the crust thin and crispy or thick and chewy?

How is the crumb structure?  How big are the air holes in the crumb?

How does it taste?  Does it taste like sourdough?

How soft is the crumb?  Is it soft like wonder bread?  Is it stiffer?

How wet or dry is the bread?  Is it dry like a baguette?

Is the crumb chewy?  How hard would you have to tug to pull off

a chunk of bread? 

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373
varasano's picture
varasano

Batch 13 on the top, using the windowpaned dough

 

Batch 12 (minimal mix, lots of folds) is on the left, and the next 2 are Batch 13 (windowpane, no folds). I don't know if you can tell, but Batch 12 is more creamy colored and batch 13 is much whiter. In real life the difference was very noticable.

Batch 13 was also much smoother all around. I'm not sure I prefer that. Overall Batch 13 had an excellent texture. Texture wise it was the best so far. I was still not as light as my target bread though. The flavor was not as deep as some of the longer slower rises (Some of the early batches are 18 hours and also use my more flavorful culture). The early batches really does taste as good as my target. This one clearly did not. So I still have a ways to go.

 

varasano's picture
varasano

> Can you describe the bread you are trying to model in more detail?

 

> What color is the crust?  Is the crust thin and crispy or thick and chewy?

The crust is very dark, almost black. However it is not burnt and not too thick.

 

>How is the crumb structure?  How big are the air holes in the crumb?

The air holes are very big. The loaf itself was huge, about 30 inches long, yet about 7 inches wide and almost as high. Shaped like a huge batard. You could actually buy a parts of a loaf if you wanted. It felt very light for its size. When you cut it, you have to be careful not to crush it.

 

> How does it taste?  Does it taste like sourdough?

I would guess it’s a sourdough. My only hesitation is that the crumb is a little darker and may have some rye in it. So that may be the source of all the flavor. But if I had to guess, I’d say it’s got a small percentage of rye and uses a sourdough.

 

> How soft is the crumb?  Is it soft like wonder bread?  Is it stiffer?

> How wet or dry is the bread?  Is it dry like a baguette?

It’s stiffer than wonderbread. It’s not gummy like that. It feels like a lot of the moisture in it has evaporated out. It’s not dry but it’s airy and not gummy, which makes it feel drier. However you can eat a lot of this bread without any butter on it or anything. So it’s no dry.

> Is the crumb chewy?  How hard would you have to tug to pull off

a chunk of bread? 

Very easy to break off a piece by hand.

 

 

This was simply one of the best breads I’ve ever eaten. I’m certainly moving in the right direction, but I’m also certainly not there yet.

 

Batch 13 had a good texture but was not substantially larger than 12. I weigh my bread after baking it to see how much water it looses. Does anyone else do that? All in all with the starter, it probably had about 565g flour and 400g of water  (70%) to start and ended up with 190g of water. So it produced a lot of steam and was not water logged or gummy inside. It just needed to puff up more. Batch 12 was more water logged inside.  I don’t have as tight a count on the numbers, but it lost less of it’s water.
malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

We baked a pan de mi in a baking pan....it went in at 750 grams and came

out at 646 grams...a loss of only 104 grams.....or 13.8 percent of starting weight.

 

I can't really tell by your numbers because I don't know the starting weight of

your dough......but I think around 20% weight loss would be fairly normal

for the kind of bread you are making.

 

Can you give the final weight of your bread and its dimensions (length, width, height?)

That way I can calculate its density for comparison.  Typical densities

for soft, white bread are  .17 to .28 grams per cubic centimeter (wonder bread

comes in at about .21g/cm3).  If you wanted to

be more accurate you could submerge the loaf in a bucket of water

and measure the amount of water displaced.

 

To be really accurate you would need to take into account the

moisture content of the bread by baking a piece at low temperature

until it stopped loosing weight.  But for a rough comparison that is not

necessary.

 

Since everyone at the Fresh Loaf seems to be using the DLX,

I have ordered one.  ehanner reached full gluten development

in 7 minutes.....much faster than my bosch....so it will be

interesting to compare the same dough mixed on different

mixers.  I will try and post photos of my trials.

 

by the way, does the model loaf have really big holes like

the very first picture in your post or are the holes smaller

like in loaf #13?

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

Sorry.....I here's the complete post:

 

 

 

I also occasionally weigh my bread before and after baking.

I still have some notes from Artisan I; for example:

 

my baguettes would go in at 350grams and come out consistently at 280-283grams.

That's a loss of 70 grams....or 20 percent of starting weight.

 

We baked a pan de mi in a baking pan....it went in at 750 grams and came

out at 646 grams...a loss of only 104 grams.....or 13.8 percent of starting weight.

 

I can't really tell by your numbers because I don't know the starting weight of

your dough......but I think around 20% weight loss would be fairly normal

for the kind of bread you are making.

 

Can you give the final weight of your bread and its dimensions (length, width, height?)

That way I can calculate its density for comparison.  Typical densities

for soft, white bread are  .17 to .28 grams per cubic centimeter (wonder bread

comes in at about .21g/cm3).  If you wanted to

be more accurate you could submerge the loaf in a bucket of water

and measure the amount of water displaced.

 

To be really accurate you would need to take into account the

moisture content of the bread by baking a piece at low temperature

until it stopped loosing weight.  But for a rough comparison that is not

necessary.

 

Since everyone at the Fresh Loaf seems to be using the DLX,

I have ordered one.  ehanner reached full gluten development

in 7 minutes.....much faster than my bosch....so it will be

interesting to compare the same dough mixed on different

mixers.  I will try and post photos of my trials.

 

by the way, does the model loaf have really big holes like

the very first picture in your post or are the holes smaller

like in loaf #13?

 

varasano's picture
varasano

I think the target had smaller holes like batch 13. It was very airy inside and the holes were not too small. I wish I remember it better. I was not thinking I was going to try and reproduce it a the time so I didn't examine it enough.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Jeff,
I just re-read this thread with the idea of trying to understand how to help you if possible. I so respect your skills in the development of your excellent pizza that I'm sure you will find a way to reproduce the subject bread.

It would be helpful to know the name of the bread you bought in NY.

From the pictures above it looks like your stone is still on the bottom shelf. As with your pizza experiments, the ratio of heat distribution is important to the outcome. If you did move the stone, maybe there isn't enough space around the edges to allow the heat to rise easily above it. Typically you should have at least 1 inch free space around the stone.

I know you know about well developed gluten, I learned from you Jeff. You also convinced me that using sugar in pizza dough may cause your pizza to burn before it's ready. I suspect your target bread has some form of sweetener and probably a fat component since it is soft and almost black.

The thin crust you describe is the result of allowing the bread to expand quickly in a lower temperature under high humidity. You can most easily do this by using a cover or enclosure for the first 10-12 minutes. No steam or spraying of the bread is necessary. After the covered period the bread is just starting to get color and will now finish baking at the full oven temperature. I have used a clay la cloche, turkey roasting pan, stainless steel serving pan, glass Pyrex 4 liter bowl and stainless bowls as covers. All give good results and produce bread that looks like it was baked in a $5000 commercial steam deck oven. You can not duplicate that effect by opening the door multiple times and spraying water/tossing in hot water/ice cubes. When I can't cover the dough with a cover, I use the hot water in the pan with a brick and cover the vent in my electric oven. The results are not as good as covered but it's acceptable.
Check out
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4744/first-epi-and-baguette#comment-24025 

The best flavor in a AP mix in my opinion comes from using a small amount of rye to the white flour. 1-2 Tablespoons of rye in a 2 Lb loaf will dramatically improve the flavor if allowed to ferment.

One last thing Jeff. In my experience there are just a few bread products that need a stone to be great. Pizza, Pita and other flat breads and maybe Bagels benefit from the instant heat transfer that a hot stone brings. All the other breads are easily baked on a sheet pan with parchment with very little noticeable effect in the bottom crust. It could be that if you want better spring, using a sheet pan will slow down the heating of the dough enough to give you what you want. Maybe it's a little to much of a good thing.

Eric

varasano's picture
varasano

Even with the stone on the very bottom shelf of my oven, my bottoms are browning slower than the top. There's a at least 3 or inches on the left and right sides of the stone to let heat flow around the stone. In the earlier batches I had a water pan on the top shelf to block some heat coming from the top element. I can do something like that again if need be. However, right now the balance seems more or less ok.

Does a Silpat work as well as Parchment?

The target is from Dante's Deli on Central Ave in White Plains NY. Unfortunately I won't be back in NY to see it again for many months. The target bread had a nice cream color and some darker flecks (I think).  I want to add some Rye and try again.

I have some questions about the heating method. I'll write more later.

Jeff 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Something really stands out... "my bottoms are browning slower than the top"

Maybe your oven needs to be checked by an electrician. It could be there is more "juice" to the top coils than to the bottom.   Worth investigating.   It can happen, maybe the broiler is running with the normal (top & bottom) setting. The fact that you've even shoved a sheet between the top coils and the loaf says something too.

If I had to choose between a SD starter with flavour and one with more lift, I would go with flavour and after it had developed add a yeast booster to control timing.

Mini O

dougal's picture
dougal

Jeff, I note that you have hot-rodded your oven for pizza purposes.

 

And I see that you know very well that Pizza wants more top heat than bottom heat.

 

However bread, "hearth bread" like this anyway, is the other way round. Bread wants most of its heat from the bottom.

That's one reason for the common advice to heat the oven (and thereby the stone) *above* the baking temperature, and then turn the oven thermostat down when the bread goes in.

 

As to the temperature (for the majority of the bake). That has to do with the geometry (shape/size) of the loaf. Its a matter of allowing enough time for the heat to penetrate to the centre, without the crust burning because its too hot, or drying excessively because the time is so long.

However, regardless of the 'cooking' temperature, its always good to kick it off rather high, to get the best possible inflation or 'oven spring'. And to maximise that spring, what you need to do is to maximise the initial rate of heat transfer. So hot stone, contact with the stone (baking parchment doesn't hurt) and a humid oven atmoshere (no need *visible* steam - its humidity that counts). The humidity has other effects too, but it massively increases the heat transfer from the oven air. Some folk would over-pre-heat the oven, turn down a bit on loading, and then turn some more after the spring has finished and set. Maybe for bigger loaves than mine.

Spraying produces satisfyingly visible steam. But a hot flat pan given a little (a cupful?) boiling water gives more moisture over those critical first five minutes or so - and chills the oven less - than opening the door and spraying.

Get the humidity down for the last 2/3 of the bake time otherwise you'll get a tough 'horny' crust, like you had at the start of the thread.

You will get more crust colour (and crumb flavour) if you ferment longer and cooler. Like overnight in the fridge.

Regarding the *crumb* colour - the more you mix/knead the more the dough will oxidise, and one effect of that is the loss of the creamy colour of unbleached flour. Hamelman writes about oxygen affecting the carotinoids. Anyway, the more mixing, the whiter it gets (and yes, the smaller the likely holes in the final crumb for the same hydration).

I like the taste and colour effect of a little bit of Rye - maybe 5% of the flour. In connection with long fermentation, the enzymes in the Rye will give you lots of crust colour. But the dough gets much stickier!

The effect of slashing depends on the state of proof, the surface layer dough 'strength' (from the shaping technique), the dough dryness/wetness change through the surface layer, and yes the artistry of the slasher. And quite possibly the wind direction as well :)

 

Enjoy the experimentation! 

 

varasano's picture
varasano

I just mixed Batch 14. Ok, this is going to frustrate some of my coaches here, but I have a bit of a different process than a lot of people. Most people try to change just one thing at a time and try an run controlled experiments. I rarely do that. I don't want to get into a discertation about it, but there's a method to my madness. I occasionally teach a course on the topic of mastery and some of the most effective techniques are also the most counterintuitive... Anyway...

Batch 14 was mixed is as follows:

95% KA Bread Flour

5% Red Mills Dark Rye (first time I've ever used rye)

70% water

2.5% salt

I switched back to my less engergetic, but more flavorful culture. The levain is about 20% but I rolled the water and flour in the levain into the numbers above.  I intended to boost this with some IDY, which I usually do with this culture, but I forgot....  I did a 5 minute autolyse then a 23 minute high speed mix on the DLX. It came off the hook at 82F. I'm going to do 2 folds at 20 and 40 minutes, then a 1 hour rise at room temp. Then I'm going to refridgerate for about 8 hours then continue with a room temp rise, perhaps even an 85F rise. This culture does it's most flavoring at cool temps, but hardly rises at all without IDY unless it's warmed to 85ish. Then it will be fine.  It will probably need 4-6 hours to fully rise.

I didn't add any fat yet, but I might in Batch 15. 

I haven't decided on a baking method yet. Eric is a silpat as good as parchment? With the early batches I tried making boules with both a 450F oven and a cold start oven. They were good, but I've been getting a lot better results with the high initial heat and the batard shape. However  I might try your covered boule instead.

Thanks for all the suggestions guys.

Jeff 

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Jeff,
I tried a silpat for baking and while it seems to work for cookies it left a fabric pattern on the top of my sheet pan when I used it at 500F for bread. Parchment works for me. 

Mini might have a point about your oven coils. She probably doesn't know your oven glows in the dark most days lol. You could be having a failing heat coil from repeatedly running the cleaning cycle.

Eric

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

Are you Jeff Varasano the King of the Rubik's Cube???

varasano's picture
varasano

LOL, Yes, that's me :-) How do you know about it?

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

If you are then I will keep my opinions

to myself.....you should be teaching

us....not the other way around. 

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

I thought your name sounded familiar.  I remember the Rubik's Cube frenzy back in the early 80's (I was born in '67).  I even had a cube and a few books.....maybe even your book.  I could solve the cube in about 3 minutes (a bit shy of 45 seconds). I Googled your name and got the following:

US Rubik's cube champion at age 14.

Yale graduate, software engineer and co-founder of Thinki 2020....

pizza engineer extraordinaire....

 

You don't need any of our lame-ass help.  Let me know when you have

your final recipe so that I can copy it. 

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to solve my cube and every cube that temps me. It also takes some thinking and I enjoyed driving my computer wizard brother crazy. Thanks for the fun, Jeff.

So back to the problem of the loaf at hand... I think if you want fluffy, you better add some dairy product and lower the oven temps to nothing higher than 220°c. But get those coils checked. It might have to do with how the wires are connected at the back.

BING  a light just went on

Jeff, I loved your pizza oven rigging.  You actually got me started with developing my pizza dough and then idea jumps between you and jmonkey, I got into firm starters in China.  Fancy that!  I bet you didn't even know it?  Thanks Guy!  You got more positive ions rubbing off you than you know.  So you gonna unrigg your oven?

Mini O

varasano's picture
varasano

> then idea jumps between you and jmonkey, I got into firm starters in China.  Fancy that!  I bet you didn't even know it?  Thanks Guy!

i'm sorry, I didn't understand this. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Lets just shorten it by saying I applied your method of pizza dough retardation to my firm sd starter (inspired by jmonkey) while I was experimenting with flavour and starters and just happened to be living at the time in China. 

I'm back in Austria now.  And yes we have lots of snow.  Unfortunately I can't hot wire my oven but I can get lots of heat with convection and a casserole.  Have you tried a loaf baked in a casserole?  -no stone-   

Mini O

varasano's picture
varasano

LOL, this is so nice of you to say.  I'm laughing at how the cube has followed me around my whole life...

varasano's picture
varasano

I can't screw with my oven any more. I've got it balanced for the pizza and I can't really do anything else. You should see the nickel sized hole of melted metal that exists in the bottom of my double oven... Long story. But I'm not going to play with it. In any case the top is only browning a little more than the bottom and I have other fixes if I need them.

 

varasano's picture
varasano

This bread ended up similar to some of the very early batches I did. My whole timing on this bread was thrown off by my regular life schedule... It ended up cold proofing 16 hours then warm proofing 5 hours. I forgot the IDY with this culture and so it really didn't rise enough, but I couldn't wait anymore and had to bake it. It came out tasty but not light. I used the covered bowl method on parchment. The top/bottom browning was perfect that way because the bottom hits the hot stone and gets a head start whereas the top is cooler due to the cover. So it all evened out. My cuts are not really exloding. I did like the flavor and color I got with 5% rye. But overall I'd say this was  step back from batch 13.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

da mit! = with it!

I could use a couple of slices right now. If you don't like your bread, I'll take it. Earlier today I made a pork roast, well seasoned, and the drippings are just sitting there, set, waiting for bread. I got paper thin sliced onions and sea salt to top. (Don't tell me I gotta go thaw something out!)

Mini O

It does make sense to IDY your dough, it would be twice as high and twice as airy.

When your oven decides to go to that great pizza bakery in the sky, have the bottom removed and framed. 

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

This post is for anyone who wants to experiment with

dough development on the DLX.

 

OK....I just got my DLX.  I haven't made bread yet but I did

make several batches of just dough.  I'm not sure of the

accuracy of my statements but I would guess that they coincide

fairly well with reality.  Here are a few

thoughts and observations for what they are worth:

 

The DLX is very efficient with wet dough (75%+ hydration) but

needs a lot of babysitting for dry dough.  My Bosch

handles dry dough (67% hydration) much better.

 

Super light and airy are words I would associate

with dry dough and not with wet dough.  Bread made

with wet dough will retain a lot of water after the bake.

It WILL be denser and feel heavier.  The crumb will feel

moister.  I think that if you are after light and airy,

you should be working with dry dough.  Dry dough keeps

 it's shape much better than wet dough.

 

I have observed that the phases of gluten development on the DLX are

similar to those on the Bosch.

 

Development with dry dough is erratic on the DLX....sometimes the

dough works and sometimes the bowl just spins under the dough.

 

I did a small batch of 67% hydration dough and

mixed at maximum speed.  I watched the

dough stick to the roller while the bowl just

spun beneath. I added a lot of water and the

situation got much better.....the gluten developed

very quickly (less than 10 minutes).  I threw this dough

out and made a bigger batch:

 

1000 grams of Harvest King flour

670 grams water

20 grams of salt

 

I didn't bother adding yeast because all I was interested in

was giving the dough a workout and observing gluten development.

 

This is the procedure I used for dry dough: 

Loosen the roller arm and let it move freely.

Add the water, then flour and salt.

Mix on lowest speed for about 1 minute to incorporate the ingredients.

Crank the DLX up to maximum speed.

 

You have to play with the roller arm to get the dough to work.

Pressing the arm against the bowl will force the dough to

move.....so if you see the dough just sitting there while

the bowl spins, push the roller against the bowl so that the roller spins.

 

Resist the temptation to stop the mixer....just let it keep mixing.

A lot of heat is generated so the dough will heat up.....when

actually making bread it would be necessary to use chilled water.

 

The lightest bread will be found at maximum gluten development.

 

On the DLX, for this recipe, that sweet spot is somewhere between

14 and 19 minutes.  Observe how the dough changes from a grainy texture

to a smoother texture over this period.

 

Stop the machine at 14, 16, 17, 18 and 19 minutes and try to pull a gluten window.

You will need a timer and have to stop and start it with the DLX.

You will find the window more fragile than with wet dough.  At all stages the

gluten window will tear....but you want to find the point where it is strongest

and tears less easily.

 

At 19 minutes the dough looks a lot smoother but begins to show signs of

being overworked.....at 22 minutes it is obviously overworked.  Overworked

dough is more extensible and pulls easily without resisting.

 

 

As you continue mixing, the dough will get very sticky and glossy and will

start to stick to the side of the bowl.  You will no longer have to press the

roller arm to get the dough to work.  At the end of 30 minutes, feel the dough...

it will be very sticky with no gluten window.  This is overworked dough.

 

Keep in mind that since development on the DLX is rather erratic, that mix times

might be a little different from batch to batch.  Also, you need to be present

throughout the entire mix...to help the dough.

 

Light bread needs maximum gas retention which means maximum gluten development.

There is a peak development, before and after which gluten strength diminishes.

 

These are my opinions and observations.

 

 

 

 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

When using the DLX for dough mixing, I find that a 30 min. autolyse goes a long way towards reducing the mix times needed for full development of drier doughs.

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Having a DLX, I think you are missing the boat. I was playing with some of your suggestions yesterday. And they don't really make good use of the machine.

 

I have no trouble with doughs at 55% hydration or 100% hydration, or anywhere inbetween.

 

All mixers are, to some extent, dependent upon friction. If there's no friction, the dough just gets batted around. If you have a KitchenAid, try mixing some dough until it's nicely developed and then add a half cup of water. Suddenly the dough isn't being developed, it's being sloshed around.

 

A DLX may be somewhat more dependent upon friction than some other mixers.

 

I find I get maximum performance at the lowest speeds. The dough is worked. When I increased the speed, I found dough development actually slowed down.

 

Also, when you think the bowl and dough aren't doing anything, they are. The dough is being developed where they come in contact until the dough is ready to move.

 

One of the main benefits of the DLX is how gently it handles the dough. Going to a higher speed negates this.

 

Here's how I develop my dough. If the batch is less than a maximum load, I put all the liquids in the bowl. I add the solid ingredients. (I weigh on a scale with taring.)

 

If the batch is at the maximum load, I only put 1/2 the flour in to start with.

 

Then, I put the bowl on the mixer and put in the iron bar. I usually don't use the roller or the scraper, though sometimes I'll use the scraper with a wet dough.

 

I set the timer for 5 minutes and the speed to the lowest speed. I set my kitchen timer for 10 minutes and walk away. (If it's a full load, I'll hang around and add the rest of the flour. I do this so flour won't fly out on a full load.)

 

When the DLX's timer goes off, I keep doing whatever I'm doing. The next 5 minutes allow the flour to more fully absorb the water in the dough. Especially important for whole grain flours.

 

When the kitchen timer goes off, I go back and give the DLX timer another 5 minutes. If I'm making pizza, bagels or other extremely low hydration breads, I give it 10 minutes. And then I walk away.

 

The mixer won't be rocking, sliding or diving off my counter. If I'm there, I'll just obsess because the dough isn't moving the way I think it should. At the end of the 5 or 1 minutes, the dough is nicely developed. It hasn't been oxidised to death and the bread will have a nice color and flavor.

 

Mike

 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Mike, you mentioned that you only use the DLX dough hook for mixing doughs and rarely, if ever, use the roller and scraper.  Do you find the DLX's dough hook to be efficient in mixing small quantities of dough, i.e. a 67% hydration dough made with 500 g of flour? 

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

At that size a batch, why mess with a mixer at all?  It's just one more thing to clean up!

Whether you knead, dor a Bertinet dough work or a stretch and fold, for a single loaf doing it by hand is definitely easier.

I don't think I've made a batch that small in the DLX.  As to the roller and scraper, I have used them about 5 or 6 times.  And I felt that the dough hook did a better job.  However, this was for batches at least 1 1/2 times the size you are talking about.

 

Sorry,

Mike

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

that I'm trying to kill.  I mix 450g flour in it with 400g water and let it twist its little hooks and work away.  That's when I sit at my laptop and read.  When the dough gets itself together, it pushes up on the mixer stand and throws itself out of the gear mechanism used to rotate the mixer bowl.  It starts to buck and make noise.  (It does it faster if I add salt)  That's when I know it's well mixed and sure enough I have a little window pane.  Just a thought....

Mini O

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Mini O.

Those are the clearest instructions I've ever read for knowing when a dough has been sufficiently kneaded! This is a model of clarity, providing objective criteria that any baker should be able to follow, regardless of his or her level of expertise.

You have put Reinhart, Leader, Hamelman and all the rest of those best-selling bread book authors with their fuzzy instructions to shame!

David

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Mike,

I usually don't mix such small quantites of dough with a machine either.  I was just trying to determine whether to use the DLX dough hook or roller and scraper if I were going to perform some quick dough development experiments as described by malkuth9623373 above.  Guess I'll just have to use larger quantities.

Mini O,

Sounds like your 'cheap' mixer is built better than some of the newer models being sold today (one doesn't have to try to kill them... they die on their own). 

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

By the way.....when I say gluten window....I mean that the dough just holds together and forms a less than transparent window with webs (gluten strands).  You won't get the kind of window you get from wet dough.

 

When you reach full development the dough will be smoother, and when you pull on it you will feel it tug back.  The gluten window will be quite weak....it will fall apart fairly easily compared to wet dough or relaxed dough that has been sitting out for a while.  All you have to do is find where it is strongest....then ferment, proof and bake.

malkuth9623373's picture
malkuth9623373

Thank you SteveB and Mike Avery.  I will try your ideas.

lisah's picture
lisah

Hi Jeff,

 Thanks so much for your great web site.  I just took at look at it and I'm really amazed at all you've done.  I've been studying pizza for about 6 months and this will help me move way ahead.

As for helping you with bread, I have more experience there.  I've been baking bread for a long time and just went to Johnson & Wales University for a weekend course on Artisan Bread Baking.  I was really excited to be taught by a master baker.

See my post under Artisan Baking, Johnson & Wales University.  I posted a good deal about the steps needed to make a professional loaf at home based on what was taught in the class, and some of my own home grown wisdom. If these can help you, I'm delighted to share.

Lisa H.

varasano's picture
varasano

Thanks for your nice letter Lisa. I'll check out your thread.

And thanks everyone for all the suggestions. I've got 27 people coming for pizza on Fri night!!! So no bread for me this week. But I'll get back to testing next week I hope.

Jeff