How do you know when a dough has doubled or tripled? Just eyeball it? And does "doubling" after shaping mean doubling in volume or visually?
I have found that if you put your dough in a bowl that is rather narrow it is easy to tell how high it has risen along the side. A big wide bowl doesn't give as much of a visual clue about rising; however I don't think this doubling thing is something that needs to be so precisely measured. All rising as about volume, but you have to judge it by sight.
Thanks... it may all be about volume, but it isn't about doubling. Doubling a sphere visually is way way more than doubling by volume. A sphere with a 6" radius has a volume of 900+ units. A sphere with a 12" radius has 7200+ ... that's some big boulles :)
The easiest way I have found to watch for a certain increase in size (e.g., doubling) is to use a large measuring cup. I have a tupperware cup/bowl with straight sides and measurements up to 8 cups. I put the dough in the bowl, push it down and note the volume. Then I watch for it to rise to the level I require.
I use an 8-cup glass measuring cup made by Anchor Hocking. It not only has the measurements on the cotainer, it also allows you do see the lovely bubbles through the glass walls.
It looks like this:
2-Quart Batter Bowl with lid
I have two of these and use them for dough fermentation, unless I'm dealing with a larger volume of dough than it will contain. It has a tight fitting lid, which means you don't need to use plasti-crap to cover your rising bowl.
You can find them on Amazon.
square, rectangular, or round. I bought my lidded, straight-sided rectangular proofing box (8-quart, clear acrylic plastic) at a local restauaunt supply, as well as two 1.6 quart rectangular boxes for building formula-ready starters or poolishes. the straight sides makes eyeballing dough doubling (or qaudrupling starters) a cinch.
That said, I recommend along with monitoring your dough's volume increase, poke it, touch it, squeeze it (gently). Get to know the feel of your dough; remember what you felt when you have a particular success (or a disaster). After a score of loaves, or so, you'll likely find you rely more on your touch than your sight.
Up until recently, I used bowls to raise my dough, and--while you can guesstimate in a bowl, you can't be precise about whether it's doubled or not. So I used the "poke test". When you poke the dough with your finger, the dent should spring back very slowly.
Now I have these cool cambro containers with volumetric markings on the side. It's easy to tell visually when your dough has dobuled, but I still use the poke test to be sure it's really ready.
Low tech is just fine.
cheap, clear, easy to clean.
The original post was about doubling after shaping. This is a question I have been having too. Following recipies for instant yeast were easier since a specified time is given for final rises but sourdough rises can be so much slower 3-6 hours. I have only been working with sourdough for a couple months. I look, I poke, will it grow a little larger, will a little more rise make a difference? Overall I have been happy with my breads but I am always wondering if I can do better.
The question of doubling after shaping is actually the wrong question to ask. The correct question is: How does one tell when a shaped loaf is properly proofed. The difference is that the proofed loaf may or may not have actually "doubled".
You have posted the right question. What is your answer? This past weekend I made Hamelman's 'Sourdough Seed Bread' I waited i poked, the indent came back slowly yet I waited a little longer, the indent kind of stayed so I baked. The result was a nice open crumb with a very light feel. Yet I was afraid I had overproofed. Sourdough seems to be more forgiving if you go a little sooner or wait a little longer yet there must be a optimum point.
You are quite clearly on the right track and now experience will become your best teacher. There is an optimum point and it would seem as though you are very close to it. Bake the same recipe over and over again paying close attention to every little detail and keep notes, if need be, so that you do not forget. In general, slightly underproofed is better than slightly overproofed so lean that way just a tiny bit.
Another question on the same bread. I have seen other posts on this recipe but not this problem. The recipe calls for 2.2 oz. of flax seed soaker, when developing the dough - I always mix by hand using French fold technique slap, stretch , fold - that was a lot of little seeds and it seemed as if the dough wouldn't form around all the seeds. It seemed to just keep tearing apart, so I quit. The instructions called for a 2 1/2 hr. bulk ferment, after 50 min. there wasn't much feel to the dough so I switched to 3 more stretch and folds at 30 min. intervals. The dough seemed dense and didn't want to stretch yet after I divided and shaped and waited for the final rise the bread turned out great. Any reason I was having more trouble developing the dough than others?
Steve, I am not familiar with the recipe so I do not know what to tell you on the flax seed issue.
I'm a huge Alton Brown fan (Good Eats). I love his tip of using a rubber band to mark your starting point. I use a tall, staight sided container (from The Container Store) for my proofing, and the rubber band I keep on the container all the time moves so easily from batch to batch to mark the starting point. It's so easy to tell when it has doubled.
There is a poppy seed trick where you put two poppy seeds on your dough an inch apart. When the distance between them increases to 1.25 inches, it's doubled. You can read about it at this post: Pizzamaking.com