The Fresh Loaf

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Bread tastes great but came out rather flat

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eusebius's picture
eusebius

Bread tastes great but came out rather flat

Hey all,


So I baked my first two loaves of sourdough bread today and they taste great.  They even have nice holes.  One problem:  they ended up spreading out quite a bit.  They were more disk and less loaf.  Any ideas what I can do?  More kneading?  Less wet?


E

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Maybe more folding?  Or shaping them tighter and giving them some support while rising?  Did they spread out while rising or in the oven (or both)?


Eusebius of Caesarea?   The Ecclesiastical History is awesome. I relied on it heavily when doing my thesis, which was on Origen.

eusebius's picture
eusebius

I read Eusebius during my theology program and really liked him.  :)   Few people seem to have heard of him...


 


Thanks for the advice.  I will definitely try folding more.  I was relying on Peter Reinhart's recipe.  The dough was rather droopy before I placed it in a proofing basket.  I retarded it over night in the refrigerator.  When I placed it in the cloche, it was very much a blob.  There was a small oven spring.  I was prepared for a disaster, but it came out with nice holes and a moderate sour taste.  :)


 


I'll try again before x-mas so I'll post what happens.  


 


E

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I just recently posted about my batards spreading.Sounds like you have a similar issue with rounds.


What I now do:


1.Make sure I have good gluten development-I use the stretch and fold method-works beautifully. This is when I really roughly handle-slap-stretch-fold the dough.


2.After the initial rise to double-handle the dough gently! Don't punch it down!Dump it out of the bowl gently.No kneading the gas out of it.Gently stretch it into a rectangle and fold like a letter. Then,gently form it into a nice round-pulling the "skin" taut. Keep it moist-mist a little water on it when done shaping it.


3. Proof for only 30-45 min at most. Don't worry about rising til double-oven spring should take care of that. The trick is to start baking when the gluten has relaxed somewhat so that it can stretch in the oven but not too stretched out so it won't hold a tall shape.


4.Spray with a little water and either put it in an absolutely cold oven (it works great-just takes a little longer in the oven) or if your oven is warmed up, use either a little steam or cover with an aluminum roasting pan for the first 10 min of baking then remove.


I hope you have the same success I had.


 

eusebius's picture
eusebius

Clazar,


Thank you for the advice!  You are right, I need to fold more.  Can you give me a sense the timing for your folds?  How long in between and how many times?  I proofed mine in a basket and let it retard in the refrigerator over night.  Reinhardt's recipe says to remove it 4 hours before placing it in the oven.  


Again, thank you for the advice!


E

eusebius's picture
eusebius

Clazar123,


Well, I watched the video you recommended and took your advice.  The bread was fantastic!  It looked beautiful, tasted better, and impressed everyone at Christmas dinner.  I think the big trick was to refrigerate overnight after mixing the dough and letting it rise a bit first.


Thanks for your help!


 


E

clazar123's picture
clazar123

My batards still seem somewhat slack but the lesser proofing time is where I believe the true improvement came. They now seem to consistently spring up in the oven.


Take a look at the videos offered on this site and at this link:


http://northwestsourdough.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/shaping-and-slashing-dough-videos/


Notice how her loaf spreads out almost immediately after shaping-she shapes her loaf twice to try and achieve the tightness needed.


As for how often to fold.I am finding it may depend on how fast the dough works itself.My kitchen is very cold today and I'm finding it is taking a LONG time for my dough to warm up/wake up.


I am quite rough when I first mix the dough,basing my technique on Richard Bertinet's style found here:


http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough


After parking it in the frig overnight,I take it out and let it sit for about 1 hour at room temp of about 65-68F then do my first gentle stretch and fold. I put it back in a plastic container in a warm place for about 1 hour. I usually do2- 3 folds. Then I shape,proof and bake.


 


 


 

Hamilton's picture
Hamilton

On the weekend I baked my first sourdough loaf in many years. I used Sourdolady's De Luxe recipe and followed her method closely. After its night in the fridge the panned dough was left to warm up and prove for 3 hours. It rose well, producing a good dome. Into the oven at 475F, and the whole thing slowly shrank!?! It didn't slump. No collapsed areas appeared. It just got...smaller. Taste was good, but too heavy and dense for my taste. What causes the reverse of oven-spring?

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Hamilton,


Having (ahem) some experience with over-proofing dough, your description sounds like a textbook example.  Your dough should probably have gone into the oven sooner.  How much sooner?  Hard to say, without being there to see how much the dough had expanded from its original volume, how warm your kitchen was, etc.


For most panned doughs, I try to aim for something that is just a little bit short of doubling the dough's original volume.  That (usually) gives the dough enough of a rise that it isn't heavy, plus some room for further oven spring (although that tends not to be so dramatic with panned breads), plus avoids the collapse that follows over-proofing. 


You can also check by gently poking a fingertip about a quarter of an inch into the dough.  If the dough springs back immediately, it isn't fully proofed yet.  If the dough pushes the indentation back slowly, it is fully proofed.  If the indentation remains in the dough, it is over-proofed. 


Paul

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

I agree with Paul that your issue is over-proofing.  I've been following Reinhart's Basic Sourdough recipe from BBA, and I have found that his recommendation to proof the dough out of the refrigerator for 4 hours is way too long for my sourdough and leads to what you've aptly described as "oven shrink".  I would begin poking your dough as Paul describes after about 1 1/2 to 2 hours out of the fridge and bake it when it's properly proofed.

Hamilton's picture
Hamilton

Thanks Paul and Gaarp for your insights and advice. I guess I am regularly guilty of over-proofing. Just another 1/4 inch higher; a little plumper, and it will look like the stunning pics posted on TFL. Yeah, right! Yet, strangely, I've had success with my over-proved loaves just often enough to keep me in pursuit of that extra 1/4 inch. Inconsistent. My home town is 6000 feet above sea level. Dough probably rises more rapidly with lower atmospheric pressure, and water turns to steam at a lower temp. Much to think about.