The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough rye w/ caraway comes out FLAT....!

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jimhaas3's picture
jimhaas3

Sourdough rye w/ caraway comes out FLAT....!

I have been having the WORST LUCK lately making sourdough rye w/ caraway seeds in our commercial wood-fired oven lately!


We have been trying to adopt Dan Leader's formula to larger batches (20kg) in a commercial environment. The sourdough starter is made over three builds, the last being about 10hrs prior to loading the mixer. During bulk fermentation the dough seems to rise quite nicely in the tubs, and this is repeated when the loaves (batard shape) prove in our make-shift proofing chamber. For these two stages we tend to adhere to 2.5hrs bulk fermentation and 2-2.5hrs proving. All seems to go according to plan until they are loaded into the oven chamber (on a typical conveyor). But then...


We dare to take a peek after about 30min of baking only to find that the breads have lost all that vigor that the dough and loaves showed during bulk fermentation and proving. Basically they just go flat - so much that the overall volume is LESS than that which was loaded onto the conveyor prior before loading into the oven. UGH!!! (And we're actually supposed to sell the things?!)


Any ideas as to what we might be doing wrong? Maybe the proving time is too long? Something else? We could sure use some ideas from anyone out there.


Note: In a home environment and using the same rye sourdough culture, the breads rise very nicely. Go figure...


Cheers


Jim

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi Jim,


First, I'm terribly sorry to hear about the flat caraway rye loaves )-;


I've never baked Leader's caraway rye, so I cannot comment on the particular recipe, but perhaps you can offer some more details (time and temperature) about your sourdough build? To me, your final build sounds quite long. I thought a typical 3-step build would look something like:


1. step: 2-5 hrs, TA 190, 25 degrees C


2. step: 5-9 hrs, TA 160, 27 dC


3. step: 3 hrs, TA 200, 30 dC


The bulk and final fermentation times are also longer than what I would expect... what's the total rye content of the final dough? How do the final loaves look before you load them into the oven?


What's very puzzling, is that the loaves turn out well at home, using, I assume, the same recipe and proving times? Do you use the same flour at home? Mineral and ash content of the rye flour could affect proving times quite considerably...

jimhaas3's picture
jimhaas3

Hi Hans


Thanks so much for your note, interest in our problem, and for your suggestions. A couple of further comments.


1. Sour builds - Three builds about 6-7 hrs apart. I'm really not very skilled at building rye sours as opposed to a levain starter. Looking at your suggested schedule, which I assume is the Detmolder technique, I can sense that I may already be off the mark long before the mixer...!


2. Final build - Yes, it's a pretty long one, but this is mostly because of logistics between home and the bakery (80km). I do the final build at about 22:30 which gives me just about enough time to sleep till 04:00, and then speed off to the bakery and get the all the ingredients in the mixer by about 07:00. Leader's suggestion is to let the starter ferment for 8-10 hours; guess we'll try to get it closer to 8-9. Logistics prevents me from being able to do a good Detmolder; I need too much time after the final build.


3. Rye content - Total rye in the final dough is less than 40%.


4. My bulk and final fermentation times are based on what was called for in the original recipe (Leader's), which seemed to work quite well in a home environment. However, it has been suggested that these times may indeed be too long. I admit that in the commercial setting I have much less control over things such as temperature.


5. Loaves prior to oven insertion - Quite large and well raised as a matter of fact. But I may have missed that 90% risen mark that others refer to. It is as if they sink in resignation the moment they feel the oven heat...


6. FLours are same as at home.


7. What's "TA"...? (Excuse my ignorance.)


Any comments based on the above will be appreciated, Hans. Thanks again for your ideas. Cheers


Jim

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi Jim,


First, I'd like to stress that when I have made Detmolder builds, I've followed the guidelines and timings from textbooks. Thus, I really can't judge how sensitive the builds are to changes and manipulations; however, many sources say that to achieve successful sour builds, control over timing and temperature is essential. Most of the sources I know, point out that the final build should be brief, and at a slightly elevated temperature. One possibility is that when you hold the final build so long before mixing, it gets overly acidic. A very acidic sour, combined with long fermentation and proofing times, could drastically weaken the gluten in the dough. The finished loaves could simply collapse when they're put under stress by the heat in the oven. Maybe there is a three-step build where the final build is held longer, but at lower temperatures... I'll check the literature I have, and let you know if I find anything.


With the total rye content below 40%, the shaped loaves should be pretty flexible and tolerant to stretching the proofing times - the huge percentage of wheat should ensure that. However, it could be that a simpler one-step Detmolder build could be preferable, given the logistics at the bakery? For that, you could take Hamelman's 40% caraway as your baseline - I would add some yeast to ensure a well risen loaf. Many German bakeries are moving towards one-step builds for rye breads, and, from my experience, it's hard to detect a flavour difference between one-step and three-step builds, especially so if you have a fair share of e.g. caraway seeds in the dough.


I am still really puzzled about the fact that you manage to pull terrific loaves from your home oven, but the large-scale operation produces flat loaves...


Oh, and "TA" is "Teigausbeute" - the same as "total baker's %": A TA of 180 is 100% flour + 80% water (by weight).

jimhaas3's picture
jimhaas3

Hi Hans


Thanks so much for your willingness to follow-up further on my sourdough rye w/ caraway dilemma. I'll note here right away that last Wednesday (Apr 01) we made another attempt at this formula with a 17,5kg batch which generally was an impovement over previous bakes. We decided to shorten both the bulk fermentation and proving times a bit, and this may have helped. There was a bit more volume  and the crumb somewhat more open, but still not what we manage to achieve in a home environment using an electric oven (vs. a wood-fired oven at the bakery). Now you mention that you are "really puzzled" by this. How do you think WE feel?!


I'd be interested to know more about the one-step build that the German bakeries are moving towards as you mention. Depending on the duration of that one-step, this might be an option for us.


As for Hamelman's version of this bread, I would gladly ad that small bit of yeast that he uses, but the fact that it is a 100% naturally leavened bread has made it one of specific interest to our customers, many of whom are very yeast-averse. Many people here (Kiev, Ukraine) make a specific point to avoid any yeasted breads.


Thanks again for your help. (You're not in Germany, by the way...?)


Cheers


Jim

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi Jim,


Very interesting to hear from a Kiev-based baker! I had my hopes up high for a trip to Ukraine this spring, but with the sudden economic meltdown and changes at work, alas, I'm forced to postpone...


I certainly understand that many customers value fully naturally leavened breads. Just out of curiosity, what other kinds of bread are popular at your bakery? Do you sell pastries as well?


I have some reading material in English regarding German sourdough (complete with details about different Sauer builds) that I'd be very happy to e-mail you. If you provide me with your address (either here or in a personal message), I'll send it right away!


Either way, I would also be very interested in learning more about your caraway disasters, and how you (hopefully!!) work it out in the end. Best of luck, and have a lovely Easter, Jim!


PS: I'm based in Norway (thus only equipped with the most basic of German phrases ;-)


Edit: I just realized that perhaps you don't celebrate Easter for another couple of weeks in Ukraine?

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

My best guess is over fermentation and over proofing.  Your description sounds as if you are exhausting the rising ability of the dough long before it hits the oven.  With as much rye as this recipe calls for you may also be over mixing but that is really a wild guess on my part.


I have found with rye doughs that it is best to go into the oven ever so slightly underproofed and your times and temperatures almost assuredly take your dough far beyond that.  This recipe has enough wheat flour to expect some oven rise, but not very much, so expect little oven rise even under ideal conditions.  As the percentage of rye increases in the dough I find that rather than looking for oven rise you are more interested in preservation of the shaped loaf, this is especially true with doughs that contain 75% or more rye.


Jeff


One last thought.  Depending on the temperature at which you are holding the starter, 10 hours could easily be too old.  I find that starter at its peak, or just before, is also important with rye flour.

jimhaas3's picture
jimhaas3

Dear Jeff


"...exhausting the rising ability of the dough long before it hits the oven." THAT's an interesting suggestion! Could be that between bulk and final fermentation that's could be exactly what's happening. As I mentioned in my note to Hans above, the proofing loaves rise very nicely, and I will add that the dough in bulk fermentation rises with real vigor as well.


As for the temperature, I admit that I really only have a chance to check it when I'm already out at the bakery just prior to mixing. (That's where the dough thermometer is. Gotta get another one...) 26-27 degrees C seems to be the temp prior to mixing. And based on your and Hans' comment on the final build, I'm going to try to reduce it a bit.


Thanks for the ideas and suggestions. Cheers


Jim