The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Looking for suggestions...

  • Pin It
UnConundrum's picture
UnConundrum

Looking for suggestions...

Every Christmas Eve, I bake about 50 loaves of bread and deliver to friends and family.  I've been doing this for about 25 years.  I have a bad back, and I cant seem to take the long day of mixing and baking anymore, so I've moved to naturally fermented breads over the last few years.  Generally that's been a help as I easily have my dough ready for shaping and baking in the morning, pushing half the work into the day before.  Now, I'd really like to push the shaping to the night before as well, dealing only with baking the day before Christmas.


 


I'm currently working on this year's recipe, and plan on going with an onion pumpernickel.  I have the flavor profile under control, and my first test run went pretty well.  The 2nd not as good as I believe the dough overproofed and was too slack as it went into the oven; didn't get the height I was looking for.  Crumb was fine, just not an appealing final shape.


 


For purposes of discussion, I'm using KA flours, about 23% pump, 23% dark rye, 54% all purpose. 70% hydration. Starter was about 5% of flour weight.  This last batch I even raised the salt a bit to about 2.5%. (you can find the full recipe HERE )


 


I'm looking for suggestions to help the loaves survive a long (maybe up to 12 hours until the final loave gets baked) final proof and still look shapely coming out of the oven.  I also had a problem with the dough sticking to a well floured couche after such a long proof.  I'd rather not reduce the hydration much as I liked the crumb, but realize that may have to be the final solution.  I'm thinking of moving the all purpose flour to high gluten, or even clear, to survive that long proof.


 


While I'm no stranger to using a starter, there are obviously members here far better versed than I am.  I believe I might be able to add some strength by increasing the percentage of starter as well.  I'd really appreciate any/all suggestions.


 


--Warren

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

I don't know if you have Jeffrey Hamelman's book (probably available at the library, and always available at Amazon.com), but he's one of the country's authorities on using rye and its variants (like pumpernickel).  Rye makes great bread, but long fermentation really challenges rye-based flours.  There's more sugar already present in rye, and more destructive amylase that converts starch into even more sugar.


Yeast cells -- whether wild or manufactured -- will metabolize rye more quickly than would be normal as compared to wheat.  So feeding rye to yeast cells and then trying to slow the dough is maybe comparable to letting kids load up on coca-cola and candy before putting them to bed.


I'm not telling you it can't be done -- who knows? -- but you'll have to experiment a few times before the big night to be sure that this works.  Reducing the final dough temperature, reducing the amount of leavening, and (as you guessed) reducing the hydration can help slow things a bit -- too bad you can't fit them all in the refrigerator.


And vitamin C -- in the form of ascorbic acid -- can reinforce the gluten strength a bit as well.  You could use maybe 20-30 ppm to hedge your bet against collapse.


Rice flour mixed with your usual dusting flour inside the banneton will help prevent sticking.  Try experimenting with that too -- I've seen Bob's Red Mill rice flour at the supermarket.


Good luck!


--Dan DiMuzio

UnConundrum's picture
UnConundrum

As I slap myself upside the head, today I realized I just wasn't paying enough attention.  Knowing there is less gluten in the rye flours, I figured the existing gluten would need at least as much time in the mixer to develop, so I turned it on and walked away for 10 minutes.  When I'd return, the dough was like a very, very, thick batter.  I'd wrestle with this, and make a decent tasting and texture bread, but appearance was poor.


 


I worked on another iteration, but other thinks kept me near the mixer.  I noticed that the dough went to what I call the "double ball" stage around 5 minutes and thereafter decayed into the "batter" stage.  So, yesterday, I started a new batch, this time stopping the mixer after about 5 minutes, when the dough in the mixer seemed smooth (remember, I'm using a 20qt Hobart).  I let it ferment overnight, and shaped the loaves a few minutes ago.  What a difference!  Dough was much easier to work with, and required virtually no bench flour.  They shaped beautifully.  So, I'll bake somewhere around 6:00 pm this evening and will try to keep you posted.


 


Bottom line seems like I over kneaded the dough.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If you have a rye starter, a traditional Jewish Pumpernickel is another option. It has very little rising and proofing time and can be made in 4 hours (small batches), once you have the rye sour built up to the volume you need.


Here's a formula: Pumpernickel Bread from George Greenstein's "Secrets of a Jewish Baker"


You can certainly add onions to this to make an onion pumpernickel.


Happy baking!


David

UnConundrum's picture
UnConundrum

Dan, thanks.  Sometimes you just need a smack across the head. 


Quote:
too bad you can't fit them all in the refrigerator

No, I don't have a refrigerator to put them in, but I DO have a heated proofing rack, a present from my wife a few years back.  I could put it outside and add enough heat to avoid freezing.  Duh!  Not only that, but double DUH!  I'm scheduled for a class with Jeffrey in three weeks.  Of course I could ask him over lunch, I'm sure he'll have some ideas.


 


That said, I know he's not a fan of clear flour.  Do you have any thoughts on the white flour to use?


 


David, thanks for pointing me to the recipe, but I'm looking to extend the final proof, not shorten it.  I used to do it all in one day, but my body can't handle it anymore.


--Warren

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

In small batches I assume?  Or do you have a mixer large enough to make 50-100# of dough all at once?


Whenever you're making a lot of product, you should ask yourself what the limiting factors are in efficiency of production.  Common ones would be:



  1. the speed at which you can divide dough and shape loaves

  2. the capacity of your oven

  3. the time it takes to bake one batch, including the time needed to score, load, steam, and unload each batch


In your case, I think the bottleneck would be oven capacity and load/bake time.  You don't want to have more than the 2-4 loaves ready for the oven at any one time, and you want the interval between each oven-ready set of four to equal bake time for each batch added to the loading/unloading criteria described above.


If you mix the dough all at once, you'd have to retard the bulk of it in graduated stages to allow each sub-set to be ready for division and shaping at the necessary time.  This is a big deal, and you should plan carefully -- welcome to the world of highly-controlled fermentation and batch scheduling!


As far as the flour goes, KA's AP is actually what Jeffrey uses as his standard bread flour (AKA Sir Galahad), but I think he uses the KA Sir Lancelot high-gluten for use in making high-percentage rye breads that feature white flour.  If buying that is difficult or prohibitive, then their "Bread" flour (AKA "Special") is still stronger than their AP and might work better in high-rye doughs that need to hold up a while.


But I'm really just speculating.  I think you'll notice that Jeffrey's rye formulas usually call for a fairly short final proof, because he knows that rye flour = rocket fuel for yeast cells.  If I needed finished loaves to rise slowly and hold up to extended fermentation, I probably wouldn't choose rye to begin with.


But you can try it.  Just be sure you experiment with formula, technique, and timing well ahead of your big baking day.  You're lucky to be headed to a class with Jeffrey -- which one will it be?


--Dan DiMuzio

UnConundrum's picture
UnConundrum

Remember, I've been doing this for about 25 years.  The volume has grown a little, but not much.  I usually bake 8 loaf batches.  Mixing is not a problem as I have a 20qt Hobart.  Baking will be something a little different this year.  I have 3 ovens (one of which can handle a full sheet pan), and this summer we built a WFO.  Right now, I want to get my formula down, and closer to Christmas I'll do some volume testing.  While it's conceivable that the WFO could handle up to 12 loaves, I'm not comfortable with it yet and have a lot of work to do there.  Mostly it's heat/fire maintenance.  Need to figure out how hot to get the oven the night before, and for how long, to saturate the brick with heat so little or no fire is needed the next day.  I've had problems with baking with a live fire and avoiding burnt sections.  When i have time to stand and watch it, I've done pretty well.


 


I've taken several classes with him (previous gifts from my son) and I'm scheduled for a class on baking in the WFO... as mentioned above, I could use some hints ;)

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Have fun in Vermont, don't forget your down jacket, and good luck with the Christmas bake!