The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Jason’s Ciabatta Please Help!

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Jason’s Ciabatta Please Help!

When I knew nothing about bread baking and just did the no-knead bread it worked beautifully every time.  Now I am developing more serious interest in making bread and nothing is working whatsoever.   


I am trying to make Jason’s Ciabatta http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2984/jasons-quick-coccodrillo-ciabatta-bread.  I don’t have a bread mixer but I wanted to make Jason’s recipe anyway, by hand, as some people say it can be done.


I quote campcook  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/12994/best-ciabatta-recipe:


I have been making Jason's recipe with variations for some time.  It is very forgiving and produces excellent results every time.  I have flattened it into pizza, folded in extra ingredients, used fresh ground whole wheat flour and cooked it over a campfire -- all to the raves of my tasters.


 Recently, I started doing it almost no knead with no mechanical mixer.  I stir the dry ingredients thoroughly, then stir in ice cold water and let it rise over night.  (We are camping in the mountains so it is very cold at night but I still put it in a cooler to slow the rise.)  In the morning, I (wet) stretch and fold it a couple of times before dividing it for the final 40 minute rise.  Each loaf is wet stretched again before baking one at a time in my camper oven.  I have a pizza stone in the oven to help hold temperature constant.  Each loaf gets 25 to 30 minutes at roughly 500 degrees ( we are at 7000 feet here.)  The results are just fantastic -- big open holes, chewy crust and wonderful flavor.


I have flattened this dough into pizza or near pizza shapes and just shortened the bake time.  I have added slivers of garlic at times, nuts, whole grains and raisins at other times - it all worked.


 


He says (in the boldface above) that he is getting the same result from stretching the very wet dough about a couple of times when  the recipe directs to beat the hell out of dough….upto 30 mins at high speed(??) 


Here is what is happening to me:


I mix the ingredients together lightly and after a few mins rest I turn the wet dough with a spatula a few times, sort of like stretch and fold in a bowl.  It seems to firm up and become smooth and shiny but still floppy.  But I am (was) assuming at this stage I am far, far away from what the dough is supposed to be as per recipe because people are beating it in a mixer for a long while before they say it ‘comes together’.  I now throw the dough on a board and do the French fold which is touted to be great for very wet doughs.  But, within a few turns, instead of progressing towards coming together,the dough gets GOOPIER  and WETTER and breaks down completely.  As I try to lift it the dough drips for my fingers.  What wasn’t pancake batter a few moments ago suddenly turned into stretchy batter.  It is still shiny but instead of smooth it looks rough, like cellulite. I scrape it off the board into a bowl and let it go.   The yeast works because I see a lot of bubble eventually but NO rising in the dough.


I have tried this six times now and sometimes with different flours.  It is happening every time.


Is it possible that the very wet dough develops gluten very quickly and then breaks down?   Then I really need only a few folds?  How can dough be this sensitive?!  Then how is it that all those happy people beat it for so long?  Is it that the gluten does break down while mixing but they don’t notice it because things are moving in the mixer but strangely the gluten comes back together after prolonged mixing?  The yeast not raising the dough is kind of telling isn’t it?


Or, if not the above, then what? 


Some people have stretched and folded several times but I am not getting there.  The dough seems to disintegrate right at the beginning. 


I want to almost buy a mixer to do this kind of dough.  God, I am restraining myself not to do that.  I want to be able to do this by hand producing the same bread at the end.  It has got to be possible.  No?    


Can anyone help me with what I am doing wrong and what I should try? Any insight from fellow, but, experienced bread bakers will be so appreciated.


 Meanwhile I am still working on it to test the variables.  And I will post what happens. Maybe I will just go ahead and bake whatever happens and see.


 


Many thanks for taking the time to read this long post!


 


K.


 

alabubba's picture
alabubba

I make Jasons quick ciabatta without a mixer. The thing to remember is that this will probably be the wettest dough that you will ever handle. After mixing everything as best you can in a bowl dump out on your counter and use a bench scraper in one hand and and just dig in with your other hand, Keep working the dough for about 10 minutes. Scrape, pull-glop. Repeat.


After working the dough for about 10 minutes, let it rest and start doing your stretch and folds. I do three at 20 min intervals.


After your final stretch and fold, divide, and rough shape.  I put onto cling film dusted with cornmeal and let them proof in a couch.


 After they are nice and puffy I flip them onto parchment and adjust the shape as needed. This flip will help evenly distribute your nice big bubbles.


I bake on the parchment.


 


I have some links to a couple of videos that I found helpful.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/13519/mission-ciabatta

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Video of actual recipe. Flip and all.


Mixer is used, but that is how the dough should look when properly developed, however:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v24OBsYsR-A


Good luck with that. Let us know how it turns out.

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

I just made this and I'm no expert.  I pretty much used the same technique as alabubba (above).  I think that I would have been very frustrated if I had tried to do all of the mixing at once.  I didn't get a window pane until the last stretch and fold.  After that I left it alone to rise.  You can see my results here:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/14374/jason039s-quick-coccodrillo-ciabatta-thanks-lildice


I don't know if my initial autolyse helped it come together better or not, but it can't hurt to try it if you're not having good results.  Good luck!


Summer

campcook's picture
campcook

I make this bread frequently but have recently modified my approach to go "no-knead".


 


I mix all dry ingredients very thoroughly.  Then add water and mix again.  Into the fridge for at least 12 hours.  Let the dough warm back up to room temp.  then stretch and fold a couple of times with ten minutes rest between.  Then divide and stretch and fold again a couple of times.  Let rise for 30 to 40 minutes before baking in a moist hot oven.


I don't get too concerned about the exacts.  Just roll with it and it comes out every time. This is the most forgiving recipe I have ever encountered.


Dave

katyajini's picture
katyajini

I had to be away from my computer all day, and now so many responses!  Thank you everyone for hearing my sad, squeeky call.


This morning I made a batch of dough as per CAMPCOOK i.e. a la autolyse/no-knead:  Mixed dry ingredients then ice cold water, only until everything is moistened and a shaggy wet dough is formed and left in fridge for about 10 hrs.  When i came home I took out the dough there was only the slightest yeast activity started.  But even though wet, there was bouce and stretch in the dough that I could feel with my fingers.  I felt heartened and transferred the dough on to a wetted surface.  I wet my hands and started to french fold, I guess which is a more vigorous stretch and fold, as per ALABUBBA and summer baker.  The dough I thought was coming together but  within 2-3 mins I felt it become goopier and then it became LIQUID, just what happens to me every time?!?!?!......I have scraped it back into the bowl and let it rise at cool RT ON as per no-knead.  But I know this dough won't give me that ciabatta tomorrow.


 


I just don't get what I can be doing wrong.


 


This time i made from a new bag of flour (GM unbleached, never had issues) and brand new yeast (F's active dry) to iron out any unpredictable variables.


 


I did bake the previous mishappen dough like a focaccia by pouring into a 17 x 12 pan with some olive oil and letting it rise again (which it didn't). The flavor was actually very good probably because I was using slow cool fermentation but it turned out to be an interesting CRACKER with a thin layer chewiness in the middle.  No oven spring and no heigh at all.


As campcook suggests i have to keep rolling with it till I get it.  It works for all of you, so eventually I will figure it out.


I will keep you posted.


 


Thaks again for your time.


 


K.

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Ok, I am looking at the dough from last night.


Now it’s not a wet dough but a very liquid batter.  The yeast has proofed A LOT.  The batter if foamy through and through but with no rise.  It looks kind of like a very wet, very active, sourdough starter but with NO GLUTEN STRANDS.  I am telling you, the gluten is disappearing from the flour.  Something is digesting the gluten. It does not smell that yeasty but has over-fermented smells.  But I added only about ¼ tsp yeast (active dry, just thrown into the flour, not dissolved in warm water) to the 500 gms flour to do slow fermentation.  How can the yeast have gone so far?  And the temperature in my kitchen ON was only 63F.  In the no-knead recipes I used to make…there is ¼ tsp yeast in about 3 cups of flour and it goes for 18 hours or more to develop (not over develop) at higher temps, 68-70F.


So, I think I have two problems.  Gluten may be breaking down and the dough is fermenting in an undesired way.


Is the yeast becoming over-activated for some reason or is some other organism growing in the dough?  Mind you this was fresh yeast taken out from a new packet, and a new bag of flour and the dough was started with ice cold water and sat in the fridge for some hours.  Then when I started to stretch and fold the cold dough it broke down pretty quickly.  If I assume that it is actually gluten breaking down then it probably isn’t from enzymes leaching out of a strange bug.  There simply wasn’t enough time for enough numbers of bugs to grow to make enough enzyme at such cold temps to break down the gluten so rapidly.  Then it is something chemical that is already present in the material, water, flour salt or yeast.


 


I checked the pH of my tap water which I use.  pH 5.0 or a little less.  I checked the ph of Poland Spring water which we drink. Also pH 5.0 or a little less.  I checked the pH of low fat milk, pH 7.0.  So is pH 5.0 too low for proper fermentation of regular yeast? 


I used Himalayan pink sea salt, which I now use for all my cooking.  I can’t imagine that being a problem but I will check out that variable. Maybe there is one mineral in there that is good for health but disastrous for yeast/gluten/bread-baking.


An important point maybe:  The dough turning liquid starts and/or is accelerated by mixing or stretching.


I have no ideas about the over-fermentation.  What could be happening to the yeast?  What else could be contaminating the dough so quickly? Why would an ON proof with a small amount of yeast at 63F be completely over-fermented? Even sourdough does not develop so fast, right?


 Anyone have any ideas what is happening to my dough?


I am off to try some experiments. At this point I am going to concentrate on the gluten because I think some other organism is probably very unlikely. 


K.  


 

 

alabubba's picture
alabubba

I have never done this recipe using overnight fermentation. Normally, it only takes a couple of hours to do the first proof.


There is a HUGE difference between Strech and Fold and a French Fold. When making this recipe I use the stretch and fold not a french fold, My dough is  much to wet to french fold.


You might try re-reading the original recipe and try again staying as close to that as possible (except the mixer part).


Also, Check out this article, This is what I meant by Scrape and Glop.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4365/kneading-slack-dough-hand


Good luck.


 


 

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Life is distracting me right now but I have a lot to report, all of it good. I did a slew of mini experiments all Sunday long as well as watched all the videos and picture-tutorials with skinned eyes.  I made a quantum leap of progress and learning.  My ciabatta worked!  Not perfect this first time but easily improved hereafter.  


Thank you guys for all the kind pointers and encouragement.  I could not have done it without you and my dogged persistence.  I can give myself a little pat on the back for not giving up and making it.  I even cleaned up the kitchen after 12:30AM. 


I will report back and hope someone can comment on what I observed/learned.


 


K.   

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Most of you probably know what I am going to say here, already having done all of it before.   But this is my little tempest in a teapot that taught me a LOT: certainly several  specifics of making this bread dough and bread in general,  but also how certain observations can lead you to wrong conclusions, especially with little knowledge at hand.


Ok,  I was autolysing my dough for Jason’s ciabatta for about 20 mins at which point it turned firm and had some bounce but then when I did repeated stretch and folds in the bowl or turned it out to do some French folds  on the counter the dough quickly turned in to a drippy liquid like eggs that have been beaten with sugar or a stretchy batter.  Then when I left it to rise, it never rose, just became a foamy liquid.  I wanted to figure out what was turning my dough liquid as I was handling it, what was happening to the gluten?  The recipe said to beat the H--- out of the dough so it would seem you would have to really stir/beat/fold till it hurt to get adequate gluten development.   However within mins, just a few folds, the gluten appeared to be destroyed and never came.  Could it be something chemical I am introducing because it was all happening so quickly?  But I couldn’t understand why it was happening just as I started to handle it (that was an important clue).  Or could be something enzymatic from some organism that was introduced but then how would it happen so quickly?


I first wanted to check out ingredients one by one, specifically the water and salt keeping flour constant.


I mixed the following and set aside to autolyse for about 20 mins:


1)      125 gms of Gold Medal UBAP flour  + 118 gms of TAP water (ph ~5.0) (~95% hydration)


2)      125 gms of Gold Medal UBAP flour  + 118 gms of Poland spring water (ph ~5.0) (~95% hydration)


3)      125 gms of Gold Medal UBAP flour  + 118 gms of Poland spring water (ph ~5.0 + 3 gms of Himalayan salt) (~95% hydration)


4)      125 gms of Gold Medal UBAP flour  + 125 gms of low fat milk (ph ~5.0) (~95% hydration)


5)      125 gms of Gold Medal UBAP flour  + 94 gms of Poland spring water (ph ~5.0) (~75% hydration)


6)      125 gms of Gold Medal UBAP flour  + 118 gms of TAP water (ph ~8.0)  + a little crushed calcium/magnesium supplement(~95% hydration)


 


(a)    (1) and (2) was to see if there was anything in my tap water that was noxious or if such low pH was a problem.


(b)   (3) was to see if there was some strange mineral in Himalayan salt that was causing a problem


(c)    (4) was to see how milk, with a neutral pH and a high mineral content, affected the dough in place of water.


(d)   (5) was to check if it simply is a quirk of high hydration that I couldn’t handle and lower hydration would work for me.


(e)   (6) was to check if I could solve the problem by increasing the hardness of the water.


 


This is what I found:


 (A) In each and every case after 20 mins of autolysis the dough had firmed up and had some stretch and bounce in it and was not so sticky.  The order of firmness and bounce was 


5)  75% hydration with PS water  >


4) milk >


2) PS water >


1) tap water >


2) tap water with salt > and


6) tap water with added minerals


 


So the autolysis part was working for each ingredient as expected.  PS water was probably better than tap water because it was harder.  Presence of salt is known to inhibit autolysis, nothing dramatic there.  The added minerals made the water alkaline so it had diminished gluten forming ability. 


The surprise to me was milk.  Is milk known to make good dough like this? Even though it was such a high hydration it felt good. 


 


       (B)  In each every case after I took the piece of firm dough and started to do French Folds on it on the counter, the dough started to get soft and then sticky and goopy and then turn liquid and drippy in less than 2-3 mins.  The ease with which the dough fell apart was the same order as above.  No matter what ingredient I was using the dough was falling apart every time.  So it probably had to be my handling. 


        (C) I scraped the drippy dough back into the bowls and let it rest 15-20 mins.  Then I gently did 3 or 4 (wet) stretch and folds on it.  To my surprise the dough became smooth and came together.  It was slack but not drippy and held together.   I continued and did 3 more stretch and fold cycles at 15-20 min intervals.  There may be was some further improvement it the ‘tightness’ of the gluten development but not much.  The most happened in the first or by the second cycle of S & F.  The final ‘tightness’ of the dough and gluten development still reflected the order in (A) and at I could not improve it by any kind of manipulation I was doing. 


So the dough can become drippy but at least in the above cases it will come together after resting and some S & Fs.


I did not think of it then but at this point I should have done another experiment.  I should have made a dough of flour + PS water (95% hydration), autolyse and then NOT done the French Folding that turns it in to a drippy mess but go to gentle S & Fs and see what happened.  I suspect that might not have worked.  Both alubabba and ejm’s tutorial worked the dough for a while in some manner before resting and then doing the S & Fs. But you never know.


         (D)  After the S & Fs I stirred the doughs in the bowl vigorously or did a few more S & Fs in the bowl and soon enough the dough became very goopy again.  And I could not bring it back together again.


 


        At this point I took all your tips and what I just learned and  made a full recipe by mixing the four and water, autolyse for 20 mins, then French fold it till it became absolutely drippy, incorporated the yeast and salt during turning the drippy stuff and put it back in the bowl to proof.   At about 20 min intervals I did very gentle S & Fs and returned the dough back to the bowl best I could for three cycles.   Finally let it proof till triple and shaped, proofed and baked according to the recipe/videos above.  Needless to say I mangled the shape some but it came out like a great ciabatta!  


 


These are my CONCLUSIONS:


1)      The autolysis firms up the dough in a major way, and the quality of the liquid used affects this step  significantly.  Salt and alkaline conditions inhibit it.  Milk and lower pH are good.


2)      French folding (in my hands) right after the autolysis seems to break down the gluten formation and made the firm dough drippy.


3)      The ‘broken down’ dough can be made to come back together to a cohesive smooth dough with adequate gluten ‘function’ if allowed to rest and a few S & Fs.  I did not do this previously.


4)       After a smooth dough has formed any vigorous kneading kind of action can breakdown the gluten again and it may not be possible to reform the gluten.


5)      Don’t underestimate the power of French Folds or S & Fs.  They can bring about gluten ‘movement’ with great ease, something that is done with great energy from a mixer or kneading.  


6)      Do not combine two methods without knowing what you are doing:  I did French Fold till when the dough got drippy then I let it go for a long slow proof a la no-knead instead of doing S & Fs and a quick proof.  The no-knead method of long slow proofing is supposed to knead the dough thoroughly and I guess in my case the dough got over-kneaded to the point it broke down the gluten structure completely.


7)      It is completely possible to make great bread from this incredibly wet dough without a mixer.  It may be possible to simplify it further (than the way I have done it here) as per CAMPCOOK.


 


This is what I am still confused about/have questions about


(a)    From 1) why does milk work so well to form the gluten during autolysis (and later)?


(b)   From 2) I have very little experience kneading dough right after adding water with or without yeast.  Why did the dough break down like that French Folding? Would classical kneading have done the same?  Actually it seemed to me that kneading (or any vigorous stretchy movement) would have done the same.  What was happening to the gluten at this time? it was in the process of rearranging?  If I continued to French Fold as I was and did not stop what might have happened?  Does everyone go through this kind of a phase when kneading, it is just exaggeratedly more obvious in a very wet dough?


(c)     From 1) and 2) what would happen if you  mixed the autolysed dough only enough to just incorporate the yeast and salt (assuming most of the firmness developed during autolysis remained)and let the dough proof as usual as usual with maybe a few S & Fs?  Would there have been adequate gluten without the initial messy working of the dough?


 


I felt this was good.  A few more Sundays of exhaustive experiments and I think I might actually be able to make bread.


 


I hope some enlightened person might stop by and shed some light on my questions.


 


Thank you so much for your encouragement!  And sorry this is unedited and so long!


 


K. 

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Now I am a thinking again.  I read Eric's thread "Eye Opening Techniques".  He says he mixes the dough and sets it aside for an hour which sounds essentially like a autolyse or will function to autolyse some.  Then he gives the dough a few SECONDS of French Fold and that is all that is needed.  On occasion he will do a few S & Fs but does not say how he figures when it is needed.  Just the experience of how the dough feels.  And he says that this method works for him for a very wide range of hydrations. If this is right then I was way over doing it during the French Folds and so creating a problem for myself.  (And two wrongs just might have created a right.) With only a few French folds the dough would not have turned so drippy.  Who knows what the results would look like then for me?


But the part I just don't get is if that is all that it takes to develop gluten why do you need to beat it with a mixer for 20-30 mins at high speed for this ciabatta??!!


Then Richard Bertnets video does the French Folds for quite a while before the dough is smooth.


Its all very confusing at the moment. 


 


I guess i will try a few small experiments and see what happens.


 


K.


 

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Without going into those mind-numbing, unreadable details as before (very sorry about that), I did a bunch more mini-experiments to prepare Jason’s ciabatta without a mixer.  Following up on the above experiments this is what I found.


1)      If I did only a few French Folds (10 or less quarter turns) after autolysing the dough (flour + water only, 20mins RT), enough to incorporate the yeast and salt, the dough remained bouncy.


But I did not see any real difference in the gluten development (?)….the dough became just a little softer and this step was necessary to introduce the yeast and salt.


2)      If I did 60 or more French Folds at this time the dough turned drippy.


3)      The dough with FEW French Folds took well to (i.e. developed gluten and became smooth and held together) to 4 cycles of S & Fs subsequently.  This dough made the best ciabatta with the best height and most crumb visible.


4)      The dough with many French Folds that had become drippy also took well to subsequent S &Fs but was always looser and did not rise as well.  Must be that some of the gluten was destroyed.  This dough also made a good ciabatta but there was a lot less height and crumb i.e. a flatter bread.


5)      If I did ONLY the French Folds (few or many) and did NOT do the S & Fs later the dough did not rise well.  Must be that the gluten was not adequately developed.  These doughs made bread that had almost no height, kind of like naan.  The finished bread was somewhere in between naan and ciabatta.  It had the thickness and slight flexibility of a naan but the crisp brown crust and flavor of ciabatta.  


After baking this is what I found:


a)      All the above doughs made quite good ‘ciabatta’ or flattish bread.  They had a thin, crispy crust and a delicious hole-y, shiny custardy crumb (in those cases where I could actually see and taste the crumb).  All the difference was in the height and amount of crumb that was actually present.  How on earth was it so easy to get such a tasty crumb?


b)       The dough works and is quite forgiving as CAMPCOOK mentioned.   A few French Folds followed by a few S & Fs produces great results.  I am not yet getting consistent results but whatever comes out is tasty.


c)        I have never gotten the thicker, harder crust that shatters a little to make crumbs that I see in some pictures.  I have no idea how that happens.


I am going to do a few more experiments and report back.


 


If it is this easy to develop and then breakdown gluten in a physical sense I still don't get how it necessary or it works by beating the dough in a mixer for 20-30 mins!


 


K.      


 

campcook's picture
campcook

Wow K.


You are really being ambitious.  I couldn't do 60 folds in a year of baking.  When I do this recipe, it gets done one of two ways.  


1)   If I am in a hurry, the ingredients go in the mixer for 12 to 20 minutes then allowed to bulk rise to triple in size in a warm place -- maybe an hour or two.  Then dump out on a wet surface, shape with wet hands -- stretch and fold each loaf once or twice with wet hands -- they are kind of gloopy at this point.  Another 40 minute rise while the oven comes to temperature.  then into the oven.  Sometimes in a cloch or dutch oven or just on parchment on an oven stone.


2)  For even better flavor, mix dry by hand, add cold water and mix. I use a plain old spatula for mixing.   Cover and into the fridge for eight to however many hours.  No folds to this point beyond what happens with the ingredient mixing.  When ready to bake the dough comes out of the fridge and is dumped or poured onto a wet counter.  I stretch and fold the dough once or twice and let it rest for 10 minutes or up to 30 or 40 minutes.  Using wet hands, I cut and shape the loaves.  I stretch and fold each loaf a time or two.  Then a 40 minute proofing rise. From here on the baking is the same as the other approach.


My camp oven and my kitchen oven have windows in the door.  It is fun to watch the spring happen. It makes you smile because you just know it is a success before you are even done.  I have also done this on the BIG Green Egg with wonderful results.


A note about crusty crust.  I have had varying results depending on how it is baked.  The cloch or Dutch oven gives a better crust than open baking.  I leave the cover on for 15 to 20 minutes and remove it in the last half of the bake.


With an open bake I sometimes put a small Iron pot in the oven, pre-warm it while the oven heats and then fill it half full of water when the bake starts.  I did some baguette shaped bread this past week using this approach and achieved nicely crusted bread.


 


Just some thoughts from a dedicated amatuer.


Dave


 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

K,


My thoughts are that this recipe is called "quick" because the use of a high speed mixer develops the gluten relatively fast. I don't think gluten "breakdown" is your problem. Without the mixer, or being highly proficient/experienced in the manual methods(folding,etc), I don't believe you are achieving the gluten deveopment required/specified as shown in the link to the video in my post above(2nd reply).


Lacking the means to properly develop the dough in this recipe, have you given thought to trying a no knead recipe, where the gluten is allowed to self develop over time? The link below show video of a recipe with a very similar end product but may be more achievable for us that don't have the means(at this time) to reproduce Jason's quick recipe.


Chef John's no knead ciabatta:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YX_6l2bmvQI


Also, you will get closer to the ideal result if you are using bread flour(or King Arthur AP) in your attempts, as opposed to all purpose flour. Bread flour will always rise higher, all things being equal.

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

I love that plastic wrap transfer method!  Thank you for posting the Chef John link!


Summer

ejm's picture
ejm

K, I'm glad to hear that you're getting closer with the bread. I wish I had the answers to your questions but I know very little about the science of bread making.


Question: What temperature is your kitchen and the batter/dough and the rising area?


If it is on the warm side, this might account for the breaking apart when doing Stretch and Fold.


I was GOING to try making this bread today but our ancient electric oven suddenly packed it in last night (AUGH!) We have an electrician coming today to tell us whether he can fix it or if we will have to replace it (I hope not! I love that oven).


But enough of my woes...


I had to look up "French Fold" to find out exactly what it means. I had thought it was the same as "Stretch and Fold". But no. Clearly I'm incorrect. I'm thinking that what I do with slack dough (as per my blog entry http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4365/kneading-slack-dough-hand) is "French Fold" and not "Stretch and Fold".


I'm not positive but it looks as if you are doing "French Folds" with your wet hands? I would use a dough scraper rather than hands. Definitely. And the finest dusting of flour.


But before doing any folding, I would mix the dough as best I could with a wooden spoon, let it rest for 20 minutes or so, then pour it out onto a board and with the help of a dough scraper, squoosh it (it's almost impossible to knead porridge...) and use the "frisage method" (http://www.pbs.org/juliachild/free/baguette.html) that I read about in EHanner's Eye opening techniques. This squooshing and smearing is done for 5-10 minutes before somehow muddling it all back (with the help of the dough scraper) into the bowl (clean) to rest for 20 minutes or so.


THEN I'd start the series of what I imagine are "French Folds", using the sparest dusting of flour with each of these folds (also called "Envelope Folds"??)


As soon as we have an oven, I will try making this bread (and hope that I don't fail miserably) to see if my idea will work.


-Elizabeth

will slick's picture
will slick

K From ny recent Failures & success with the dough I would say not enough gluten is your problem. I say this because>>>


1. It took me almost 30min to get this dough to clear the bowl on #8 In my K.A. Pro.


2. As you can see in my pictures of my first and second attempt I also was not getting any rise at all. also the ends where flatter that the center.


I think doing this dough by hand would take a lot of work. I would suggest using to wet dough knifes to really nead it good any way you can. since you said you already got to that shiny elastic look go well beyond that say another ten min. I don't think there is much chance you could over work this dough by hand. After that to the rest stretch & fold three times then form the loafs and a short rest before the oven. One you flour this dough after the three fold and stretch its really not that hard to work with just be gentle with it as to not deflate it. Hope this helps. After you make this dough a few times I for one would not want to arm Rasla you! Have fun


 


 Will


 

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Hi everybody, I am so excited by all your responses! 


Since last Thursday night, I and my children are being riddled by the flu.  All my bread experiments are on hold.  I am just getting up to take a peek with my half dead brain.


 


Campcook THANKS for writing your simplification so clearly.  Your method has the simplicity (time and energy) that I want to bring my way, specially the refrigerated ferment.  And if you say you can, I will be able to.  I am lacking firsthand experience with what gluten development and proofing feel/look like and hence all the stumbling. Thanks to all of you I have received so much feedback I think I will have another break thorough. 


Certainly the 60 folds is excessive.  I can’t place where, but I have read in several threads on TFL you don’t ‘need’ beyond just a few folds.  I just kept going because I thought the mixer does so much work that many and then even more folds are needed.  I am still confused as to why the dough becomes drippy.  If the dough progresses so easily to forming an adequate amount of gluten using French Folds then it might be just as easy to take it over the edge to disintegration.  Here is another person who seems to have overdone it http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/13508/kneading-trouble.  Anyway I am going to try to do exactly, as you as far as I can tell, using bread flour.  Let’s see.   


 


Dwightt, I know I have a gluten ISSUE!  AAAGH! I am just going by campcook’s ability to make this bread with or without mixer.  Since he can see breads made by either method side by side and be happy with it I think it is possible to do it without mixer.  Will (above) also thinks I am not developing enough gluten.  I want to give it a few more tries with bread flour as you have reminded me and as is recommended in the recipe. 


I am keenly eyeing Chef John’s ciabatta from the no-knead dough.  I am going to try it very soon.  It will be fantastic if it works out that easily.  Did you ever make a ciabatta this way?


Thank you for your help, here and in my other posts!  


 


Elizabeth, hi again!  In the end it was your method of doing the ‘French Fold’ (I guess you know now that it is the French Fold that you were doing) in the beginning followed by several S & Fs that actually worked.  I had also let the flour-water mixture autolyse for 20 mins before adding yeast and salt and proceeding.  I wait eagerly to know how you did once your oven is OK.  An oven pooping out is the pits.  By the way, I saw your recipe for TUCK STOP cinnamon rolls.  I am going to try those when I am better.


 


Will, I am amazed at how perfect  your bread looks (and tastes probably just as good) .  I am working on it.  I am going to figure this gluten thing out.

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BellesAZ

deleted.. sorry, didn't realize how old this post was!