The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

a folded dough: how to check whether it's doubled?

Salome's picture
Salome

a folded dough: how to check whether it's doubled?

I'm on my quest for the perfect bread with nice holes, as many are here... =)


Therefore I've got a question. I just baked the Vermont Sourdough again yesterday. I wrote here about it, pictures are there as well. I loved the bread, but I would have hoped for bigger holes because I tried so hard. . .However, David reccomended me to make sure that the dough rises 100 % during the first fermentation. I was somehow puzzled because I knew that there was something making this checking difficult, but in this second I didn't remember. Well, now, having another dough rising in the kitchen, I do. Folding the dough makes it very hard for me to judge wheter it's doubled or not. 


Any ideas how to make that easier? Just check by poking it? Is a folded dough supposed to double at all?


Thanks for your time.


Salome

flournwater's picture
flournwater

"Dough doublers" are available from a variety of sources; King Arthur's web site for one.  They're typically a straight sided container with markings on the side that allow the user to compare the markings from the beginning level of the container's contents to its position at any time during the fermentation process.  You could pick up a straight sided plastic container at your local dollar store and accompish the same purpose for a lot less money by using a felt marker to indicate your starting point and comparing the relative development of your dough over time.


I can't tell you if a "folded dough" is supposed to double in size during fermentation; but mine do.


I suppose you could also use a ruler to measure the LxWxH and wait for the recommended period of time to measure it once again and compare the mathematical result.  But most of the bakers I know simply look at the dough and make a judgement as to when it's doubled in mass.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Just another vote for graduated containers.  I typically rise my loaves (in the 700-800g range) in a large pyrex measuring bowl that's relatively straight-sided and graduated.  No more guessing if the dough has doubled... I just have to heck the level!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Salome.


Folding the dough makes no difference. You still want the dough to double from its original volume. The most precise way is to ferment your dough in a container with volume markings on it.


Here's a link to the container flournwater is refering to:


http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/dough-rising-bucket


I use a 2-quart batter pitcher because I prefer glass to plastic.


You can also make your own graduated container. Take a large bowl - preferably glass, because you can see through it. Measure one liter of water into it. Mark the level with a wax marker or masking tape. Add another liter of water, and mark that level. And so on.


David

LindyD's picture
LindyD

The total bulk fermentation is 2.5 hours (based on a dough temperature of 76F).  The dough is folded either once or twice - depending on how strong the dough is - at 50 minute intervals.  There's nothing stated by Mr. Hamelman about the dough rising 100% during the bulk fermentation and given the folds, I don't think that 's going to happen since the dough is deflated somewhat during the folding process.


At the end of the bulk fermentation, the dough is divided, shaped, and refrigerated overnight where it will continue to ferment and rise.  I would be more concerned that the dough has risen about 85-90% during the final fermentation.  Oven spring will take care of the rest of the rise.


The link you provided didn't work so I couldn't see your photos.  Keep in mind that this bread is 65% hydration, so you're not going to get a crumb with the same large open structure that you would with a high hydration bread.


What counts is that it tasted good!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Lindy.


You're right. Hamelman prescribes bulk fermentation entirely in terms of time and temperature. I couldn't find any place he describes volume increase. Yet, volume increase certainly reflects gas production, which is one of the purposes of bulk fermentation.


My experience is that, if you handle the folding gently to preserve the gas bubbles (except for any huge ones), sourdough doughs do double in volume in about the time Hamelman prescribes, assuming your temperature is also as he prescribes.


The way I fold, I don't find very much dough deflation after folding, actually. Maybe I'm doing it incorrectly.


I would love to hear what Hamelman has to say about this question.


David

proth5's picture
proth5

well, as I was taught, you want to do a little more thorough degassing during a fold than you described - so you should see a volume decrease- although not back down to quite the original size (of course, I really can't fault your results, but that's what I was taught.) In theory you are redistributing the yeast "waste products" so that the yeast has better access to food and is cleared of waste products that would inhibit fermentation during the fold.  It can be very gentle, but you would want to see more redistribution than no reduction in volume would allow.


Doubling is not the goal - it is an indication of the goal.  If you follow Mr Hamelman's times and temperatures closely you will get the dough to about double, but more accurately you want to see an open structure in the dough with maybe some big fermentation bubbles.  I tend also to work by time and temperature (I wonder why?) but I can eyball the side of the dough (love those clear tubs) and know - that one's ready - or that one's gone too far.


Back in the olden days we tested doubling by poking two fingers into the dough about a half an inch.  If the impression remained, the dough was doubled. This was a bit of an art, but I'll do it from time to time if I'm not sure because I spent more years doing that than any other method. (I spent today doing jams and have highly accurate thermometers and even a refractometer, but how do I really know the jam is done? It forms a "flake" when a metal spoon is dipped in it.  Just can't let go of Grandma's methods...)


Hope this helps...


Pat

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

Hi, Pat,


Please describe the flake more. I use the cold plate-drip method, but would love to hear about another way to do it. Making jam tomorrow!


Thanks,


Patricia

abracapocus's picture
abracapocus

i've been working with the vermont sourdough recipe lately and had wonderful results. i do pay attention to dough temperature, but not at all to doubling. i can tell it grows but not how much. different from my past experiments, i've been using the retard overnight in the fridge option. it has turned out to be much more convenient for me. here's a pic and a post i made about it.


vermont sourdough


Reviving dormant sourdough starter

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Fascinating discussion.  

Mr. Hamelman's description of folding includes lifting up one-third of the dough then: "turn it vigorously onto the body of the dough."  His method also gets rid of the major portion of the gas on the theory that fermentation can be impaired if excess cabon dioxide is not expelled (pp 15-16).

Admittedly, I've not paid close attention to how much the dough rises during the bulk fermentation, but, like Pat, I pay close attention to temperature and time and have never been disappointed by doing so.

You get such great results, David, that I think I'll experiment and replace the vigor level on my next folding with "gentle."  

Abracapocus, that's a vigorous looking boule!  How much does it weigh?


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I use the "poke test" a lot, too. This works well for doughs like the Vermont SD. The problem with slacker doughs is that it sticks to my finger so badly when I poke it in, that I'm not sure the test is valid.


I'll be very interested in hearing how your gentler folding works. I do think my results are generally acceptable, but I've never really approached this experimentally. Maybe I'm over-fermenting some doughs by waiting for them to double.


Hmmm ... I have a kind of "N equals 1" experiment cooling right now. It's a loaf of my San Joaquin Sourdough that tripled in volume during cold retardation in bulk. I made half into a bâtard which didn't rise as much as usual during proofing and had modest oven spring. I'm wondering if the yeast pooped out. We'll see what the crumb looks like. (The other half is for pizzas for dinner.)


David

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

Wet your fingers first when doing the poke test, and the dough won't stick...I know this is a no-brainer, but thought I'd throw it in...


Your breads are great. Thanks for posting the ideal.


Patricia

proth5's picture
proth5

is in the eye of the beholder.  We aren't to punch the dough (what did it ever do to you?) as we did in years past, but a vigorous fold might be more of a quick movement to pull the dough rather than something heavy handed. You can be both gentle and quick.  Perhaps that is the key...

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

David, I had the same problem with poking slacker doughs, but if you just dip that finger in flour, water or oil first it works fine! I read that tip in others' posts here.


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Why didn't I think of that?


David

Salome's picture
Salome

I had this problem as well, with slacker doughs. Great idea to use a little bit of oil. So far i've just floured the dough on a spot a little.


Thank you for all the answers. That made some things more clear. I baked the Whole Grain Levain this morning, but I haven't cut it yet. I'll post pictures later . . . And of course I know that a 50 % whole grain dough isn't supposed to produce big holes, especially when it gets mistreated as I did today. . . haha. . . had a little accident. but more about that, later.


The rising was beautiful though in the first and second fermentation.


One more question: DOUGH TEMPERATURE: Either my thermometer is always wrong or the friciton factor doesn't work out at all. So far I've used like reccomended in the book 26°F, but my dough have now twice turned out to cold. I did heavy kneading in both cases! What friction factor do you use? My machine is a kenwood chef classic and my hands are, well, my hands. ;)

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

26°F?! Is that a typo? 

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Replace "F" with "C".

Salome's picture
Salome

Well no . . . Isn't Hamelman calculating the water temperature like this:


4 x desired dough temperature


minus flour temperature


minus preferment temperature


minus room temperature


minus Friction factor (=26 F)?


= Water temperature?


Did I get it wrong?? Dough doesn't change it's temperature only because of kneading by 26 degrees Celsius, and I don't think that a dough is supposed to be that cold either. In case you understood it like this. ;)


Salome

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Sorry, I've got the book on order, so I don't understand the friction factor yet. I just couldn't imagine anything involved being that temperature (the water or the dough), so I piped up, figuring it for a typo.

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Oh, sorry! My mistake! You're absolutely right, Salome. I thought you were thinking about the desired dough temperature (which often is around 24 - 26 degrees Celsius).

proth5's picture
proth5

Friction factor is the change in temperature that is caused by mixing dough. It depends on the mixing method and the equipment used.


So, in a large spiral mixer, the friction factor may be 26F - as just the mechanical action of the mixer will, indeed heat the dough by that amount. (and that's why Mr Hamelman uses it as an example...)


If you hand knead, the friction factor is much smaller (zero, if you have cold hands) and from my experience, if you are hand kneading you don't need to include a friction factor in your desired dough temperature calculation.


To measure the friction factor for your mixer you just take the temperature of the dough before mixing it.  Then mix it to full development and take the temperature again.  The difference will be the friction factor for your machine (for that dough).   Some doughs heat more than others - but this formula is an approximation at best anyway - although it works from a practical standpoint.


Curiously enough I am told this formula works only with Farenheit temperatures and that there must be a modification for Celsius.  Since I am mired in my degrees Farenheit, ounces and pounds I've never tested this claim, but perhaps someone else has.


Hope this helps.

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Salome,


I just saw your thread, and the many interesting posts, and I thought I would chip in to the discussion. (Better late than never.)


I don't have a see-through bowl, but I can tell when my dough has fermented fully (and doubled) from 1) how high up the bowl it gets, 2) how "pillowy" it becomes, and 3) from how it smells! The pillowy quality in particular tells me that the yeast have done their work, the dough is full of gas and will give me nice holes. (Nothing beats sensory input, when baking bread.)


I don't find timing the fermentation and proofing works for me. The difference in the ambient temperature here in the Northeast has a huge effect on fermentation and proofing times, even if I get the dough to Hamelman's prescribed temperature. E.g., Friday's dough doubled and got pillowy in 4 hours. The same dough can take 5 to 6 hours in the winter. Last week, when the air temperature was quite warm and the humidity was high, the dough was finished bulk fermentation in 2.5 hours. The temperature of the dough after mixing, in each case, was within a narrow range. (BTW I don't like it when it bulk ferments quickly. The flavor seems better when it takes at least 4 hours.)


On the folding question, 2 seemingly contradictory things need to be balanced. Degassing (according to Hamelman) is necessary: he specifies that 90 minutes is as long as dough should go unfolded. Apparently too much gas is as uncomfortable for yeasts as for humans. ;-) The other factor is you still want to preserve some of the gas for a nice holey texture. I guess this is where Calvel's iron hand in a velvet glove comes into the picture?


HTH,


David

Salome's picture
Salome

Thanks for all your great responses. I think this thread has already helped me a lot and I hope that it will be noticeable in my baking.


I'm actually already pretty satisfied with today's baking result, the crumb is fairly open for a 50 % whole wheat bread and it made a delicious dinner:






If you're confused what this second picture is about, you can read the story on my brand new blog . . . http://oventv.wordpress.com .


Salome

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Excellent  -  looks terrific.

Salome's picture
Salome

Thank you, flournwater! The blog is of course under construction, just got  born . . . ;)