The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

dough strength

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varda's picture
varda

I have been thinking a lot about dough strength lately because of the difficulty I've had baking with durum flour.    I saw a great article on dough strength referenced in an old TFL post.   It is in the SFBI Fall 2004 newsletter - link can be found here:  http://www.sfbi.com/newsletter.html It was quite an eye opener since so many different factors impact dough strength.    In trying to wrap my brain around this, I put together a handy one-page table.   Maybe others will find it useful as well.   I tried to summarize a lot of material, and may not have it all right, so have at it, but even more important read the original article! 

Factors that affect dough strength – Sourced from SFBI Newsletter Fall 2004

Factor

Strength / Elasticity

Weakness / Extensibility

Comments/Examples

Protein Quantity

High Protein

Low Protein

 

Protein Quality

High Quality

Low Quality

Durum has high protein but poor quality

Ash Content

Low

High

Whole wheat flour is more extendable, less elastic than white flour

Additives

Ascorbic Acid, Potassium Bromate, Malt

 

 

Maturation

Matured flour

Fresh flour

 

Water Quality

Hard water

Soft water

 

Hydration

Low hydration

High hydration

 

Added Ingredients

 

Added ingredients

Butter, nuts, berries, etc.

Autolyse

Autolyse

Autolyse

Autolyse strengthens gluten bonds, but also increases enzymatic activity which makes dough weaker

Mix Time

More mixing

Less mixing

 

Dough Temperature

Higher

Lower

This is an indirect effect – higher temp gives faster fermentation leads to stronger dough

Fermentation Time

More

Less

Acids from fermentation strengthen gluten bonds

Dough Mass

Higher

Lower

The more dough mass, the faster fermentation

Starter

Starter

 

Starter strengthens dough due to fermentation acids

Hydration of Preferment

Less 

More

Wet environment of preferment increases enzyme activity which makes dough more extensible

Preferment Quantity

More

Less

More preferment means more acid which strengthens dough

Preferment Maturity

More

Less

Mature preferments have higher acid content

Shaping

Tight

Loose

Baker can adjust based on dough strength

staff of life's picture

Folding, windowpaning and dough strength

November 3, 2007 - 1:50pm -- staff of life

Are we supposed to assume that when a dough reaches the point that it windowpanes, the dough has enough strength?  I let my white sourdough reach just that point in the mixer the other day, and did not fold it.  It seemed a bit slack to me, but I was experimenting.  The result was a slack dough that spread quite a bit in the oven. (I did the final proof in a banneton.)  I have also taken that same formula and given it folds to the point that in the oven, it bursts because it's too strong.  How do we assess when I dough has hit that magic point of being strong enough but not too st

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