The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Feeling deflated

Teegstar's picture
Teegstar

Feeling deflated

Hi everyone


I've embarked into the world of sourdough baking and am running into the same problem with every loaf: my bread isn't rising properly during its final proofing. Everything looks healthy and rises well during the first two proofings but once I shape it/put it in the tin, it barely rises. I'd love some advice from some seasoned (haha) bakers on what I could be doing wrong.


Teegstar

GabrielLeung1's picture
GabrielLeung1

Why don't you walk us through your procedures?


Straight off the bat, it sounds like its running out of fuel. But theres no way for us to know without knowing what you did. 

Teegstar's picture
Teegstar

I've been following the recipe here: http://sourdoughbaker.com.au/recipes/white-sourdough-recipe.html


In short, I mix the starter, flour and water together, leave for an hour, knead in salt and then let rise for 6-8 hours. Then divide into two, proof again for a few hours (the one I did last night I actually let go overnight -- maybe too long?). Then shape/place in tins, final proof for an hour -- this is when I'm having the problems.


The dough rises quite well the first two proofs but seems to go flat in the final one. I'm wondering if I'm knocking too much of the air out of it when I shape it or put it in the tins? The dough by this stage is often quite sticky so it's hard to do much with it without knocking almost all of the air out of it.


Could I be adding too much water in the beginning, which is making it too sticky in the end? Or am I leaving it to proof for too long and there's nothing left for the yeast to eat?

AOJ's picture
AOJ

I started baking sourdough last January, so I understand your frustrations. Can I sugggest a different formula? I experimented with several, and found the Norwich Sourdough to be straightforward, and consistent. I mix up this recipe after work, proof overnight in the bread/beer fridge, and bake in the morning. The original recipe makes two large (~ 2lb.) loaves. That's a big loaf, especially when I was learning. I converted it to make two ~ 1.5lb. loaves. Better yet, make one 1.5 lb. loaf, 'til you are getting consistent results.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You have just about answered your own questions.  Looks like your first rise went on too long and the second much too long as well. 


Sourdough takes longer to rise but it doesn't double like instant yeast.  Two long rises wore the dough out.  You mentioned sticky and in this case that is a true sign of overproofing or lack of structure.  As you discovered Sourdough gets wetter as time go on.   Learning to stretch and fold the dough as it is bulk rising (first rise) adds lots of structure to the dough as it seems to get wetter.  Then when you divide and shape your dough for pans or a banneton (free form) the dough will not be knocked down or allowed a second rise.  It will just be allowed to finally proof before baking.   Some of us like to delay or retard the final proof in the refrigerator or in a very cold room allowing us to sleep overnight in the process.  If needed, the loaf is allowed to warm up and finish rising before baking.  In the case of a banneton, the dough will be carefully rolled out of the banneton/basket onto the baking surface and possibly slashed before being baked.


The link/recipe is interesting.  I disagree with the definition of autolyse, it is not a leavening but a way to distribute water into the flour.  Anywhere from 20 to 60 min is fine.  The part about salt tightening up the dough is a bit overdone and leaves one the impression the dough has been turned to stone.  It tightens structure but the dough is still flexible and stretchy, plenty soft for a few stretches and folds.


Mini

sewcial's picture
sewcial

Mini, I had some bread rising as I read your response to Teegstar. I used the fold and rest method instead of Leader's long machine kneading and it was getting close to double in the fermenting stage. On seeing your advice, I took it and shaped it, lest it be in in danger of falling during proofing. Anway, they came out of the oven a bit ago and look really good. My slashing was a bit deep...Leader says to go 1/2", but I think 1/4" would have been better. They did get good oven spring, though and I can hardly wait to see the crumb.


Now a question on the fold and rest method. Can I let it proof longer when using that method? It does seem to strengthen the dough.


I had a bit of difficulty telling when it was about 1 1/2 times the size for proofing, but it seems to look big enough. 


Catherine

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


I had a bit of difficulty telling when it was about 1 1/2 times the size for proofing, but it seems to look big enough.  



Yes, that can be tricky but it is usually the dough that tells you when it wants to be shaped.  As you wait for the dough to rise and then fold every 45 min. letting it rest between,  it gradually gets tighter, the dough puffs and you feel how the dough is rising despite your folds.  When the dough resists being stretched and you feel by the next fold it just might rip.  Then you wait 10 minutes for the dough to relax and shape it.  I don't think it takes any longer than a single rise but it does seem more like you glide from bulk rise into final proof.   If you're dealing with a 'ol recipe, trying this folding method for the first time, the times will be about the same only you will notice a great improvement in the strength of the dough esp. those wet doughs.


You will know when it's ready for the oven by gently (with wet or floured hands) touching the dough, feeling the resistance of the dough.  I tend to sort of bump into it slowly, one finger is too little contact for me -- more nudging than poking.  I do poke large bubbles with a toothpick unless I'm making ciabata.  Depending on how much rise you want, with a sourdough a little resistance is good.   No resistance is overproofed and it better get in the oven, like 15 minutes ago and don't slash it.  (add pray hard and no slamming of the oven door)


Some doughs don't like to be folded.  I found several already that only one stretch and fold (or set of 4-like an envelope) was enough, those with low hydration, between 50 and 60%.


Mini

Teegstar's picture
Teegstar

Thanks guys for the great advice -- I think overproofing is definitely my problem, plus it's pretty warm where I live (Brisbane, Australia), so I think the yeast must have been going crazy! Can't wait to try it out again now, hopefully with better results.

sewcial's picture
sewcial

Here is my bread. It is the Pain au levain from D. Leader's Local Breads. He says to knead around 9 min by machine and ferment for 1 hour. Then he does one fold and ferments an additional 3 hours. 


I followed directions until all was mixed together. I mixed by machine only until all was blended. Then, during the 1 hour rest, I folded every 10 minutes, but I think every 15 would give the dough more time to soften between folds. It was fairly stiff and I needed to sort of hang it and gently shake it in order for it to fold nicely. It could make a windowpane by the end of this first hour.


For the remaining 3 hour ferment time, I folded at the end of each hour. It grew nice little bubbles and became stronger. I was planning to let it go another hour even though it looked nearly double in bulk till I read this thread. I decided to take it and shape it. Then it seemed to reach 1 1/2 x volume in almost an hour and a half. 


i think my slashes were too deep, but I followed Leader advice to slash 1/2" deep. I will go shallower next time. I still like the look of it even though it puffed open a bit fatter than the picture in his book. The crust is wonderful. The crumb has a nice openness (I think this is due to the fold/rest process) and is fairly light, but is still chewy. Is that how sourdough is supposed to be? It has no sour taste, though, and I am glad of that.


Crust:


 


pain au levain



Crumb:
crumb