The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough is too soft

ibakebread's picture
ibakebread

Dough is too soft

I make this bread with white and whole wheat flour at 65% hydration. It normally comes out very nicely.

Last time Dough was too soft to shape and resulted in a more flat bread loaf. 

I do the steps in this order Autolyse for 45 min, mix Salt and Starter, Rest for 30 min, 4 Turns (each at 20 min), rest 20 min, Shape and put in Banneton. in the fridge for 12 hours. Out of the fridge for 2 hours. Bake in 450F dutch oven for 30 min closed lid, 15 min open lid. 

Now the only difference this time was that after mixing salt and starter, the rest period was 4 hours. When I started folding the dough it was not risen at all so I am not sure if it was over-fermented. 

Would that be the cause of why the dough was so soft?

I am just looking for ideas that people might have. 

 

PS: this is my first post in this community. 

Cheers

 

 

IceDemeter's picture
IceDemeter

I would suspect that your issue with this bake was entirely due to the extra 4 hours of fermentation time.  As soon as the starter hits the flour, fermentation starts, and since there is only so much food (flour) for the yeast to eat, fermenting longer than the recipe is designed for (ratio of starter to flour at room temperature) will mean that the yeast will run out of starch to eat and will start to devour the gluten.  If you weren't there observing the dough, then I would suspect that it did rise, but then fell again.

If you were watching it, and it just never rose, then the issue would more likely be that your starter is getting weak.  If you haven't been maintaining / building the yeast amounts in your starter (feeding large enough amounts at the right times), then it could just be that your starter needs some TLC to get back in shape.

Please let us know whether the dough may have risen then fallen, or whether it didn't rise at all, and then folks here can come up with more helpful advice.

ibakebread's picture
ibakebread

I was not there to observe the dough so it is possible that it has risen and fallen. Finished bread had good amount of rise and lots of good holes. My starter was not fed on time. Usually I keep it in fridge and feed once week. I had missed feeding it by 3 days due to travel. I fed it and left it to double in size (8 hours). When I was using the starter it did float on the water and smelled normal. thanks. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

did your starter some good and improved upon the yeast numbers.  Feeding a refrigerated starter every week is in my opinion too often.  Anyway....

More fermentation means that as the dough sits and ferments, it needs more folding during the entire rise to maintain strength before baking.  A 12 hr wait in the banneton  is then too long without a folding.   As opposed to all folding in the very beginning, space out the folds spreading out and continuing the effect for the entire fermenting process.  As sourdough ferments, it stretches and softens more.  This would mean that more folding is required for the later half of fermentation.  

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Mini Oven, you confused me.  You wrote "As opposed to all folding in the very beginning, space out the folds spreading out and continuing the effect for the entire fermenting process." It seems that nashmarkt did space out the folds during the bulk fermentation.  Beginning thirty minutes after the final mixing, there are four sets of stretch-and-folds at twenty minute intervals.  Then after another twenty minutes there is a shaping and commencement of the proofing.  I agree that twelve hours in the fridge and another two hours at room temp are too much, but how do you suggest that the folding schedule be altered?  How can any folds be inserted during the "later half of fermentation", which in this case is during the proofing?  Please clarify for this newbie.  Thanks.

ibakebread's picture
ibakebread

I'll give that a try next time. More spaced out folds and look for strength in the dough before putting it in fridge .  Thanks. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

More spaced out folds and look for strength in the dough before putting it  while in fridge.

ibakebread's picture
ibakebread

You mean look for signs of strength via Poke method? 

ibakebread's picture
ibakebread

I am in the process of bulk fermentation right now. My dough was mixed 3.5 hours ago. I have done 4 turns so far but the dough still is very sticky and not smooth at all. Dough has risen 30%. I am going to keep folding it until it is smoother. Other ideas? Am I going the right direction?

phaz's picture
phaz

You can do some hand kneading if the issue is little gluten formation. Testing strength - search window pane test - which is basically stretching out a little dough and see how thin it gets before it starts to tear. I'm sure you can find lots of info on that test, with lots of videos showing how it's done and what to look for. 

ibakebread's picture
ibakebread

Thanks. I'll try.