How does one get the largest bubbles in bread - I want really big ones?
"I understand the big food companies are developing a tearless onion.I think they can do it--after all, they've already given us tasteless bread."
In short: high hydration, extensive gluten development, and gentle handling during shaping to prevent degassing.
Thanks so much - that would translate to more water in the recipe, long slow rise times, and minimal handling of the dough. Just want to be sure I understand. I had some success with 24 hour rise time, and little handling. The crust was lovely but the inside was too moist and spongy. I ordered the books suggested so I'm hoping they will help be become educated and get reliable results.
Which books did you order?
Crumb and Crust, Whole grain breads, and The Bakers Apprentice. I already had the Village Baker but found the techniques unclear.
Thanks so much for your help.
"long slow rise times"
That one isn't quite right. In fact, too long a rise and you risk overproofing. For most breads, rising to double during the bulk ferment, then rising to 1.5 times for the final proof is sufficient. Just do your best not to deflate the dough during shaping (which, as it happens, is a *lot* easier if you overproof your dough, as the gluten won't hold together, and the gas will leak out).
What it really translates to is making sure you're kneeding extensively (autolyzing is also a useful technique to try out), and window-paning your dough before putting it out to proof. For particularly wet doughs, you might want to try the various folding techniques that have been discussed to death here, as they make it easier to develop gluten in such doughs.
The dough that I had marginal success with larger holes wasn't kneeded at all. It was a no kneed recipe cooked in a heavy iron pan.
So I should extensively?
Now I am looking up autolyzing.
Thanks so much for your help!
I've never made a no-kneed recipe... what's the process? I wouldn't be at all surprised if it just used an autolyze and some light working of the dough (folds or somesuch) to develop the gluten.
Again, the key is to get that gluten developed. There's more than a few ways to do it, kneeding being the most typical, but as long as you can window-pane the dough in the end, it doesn't really matter what you choose.
Fancypantalons, for a really good demonstration of both no-knead and the newer almost no-knead bread check out Breadtopia where Eric shows both. Even if you never try it, it's worth a look. Minimum work, terrific bread, A.