The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wrong Texture, No Holes!

Islandlakebaker's picture
Islandlakebaker

Wrong Texture, No Holes!

Use to bake bread every weekend until my company moved me to San Francisco, (a town were the bread is as good as it gets!).  Retired and moved back to Northern Minnesota and started baking again after 27 years.  Have been trying to make pugliese and ciabatta with little success.  Have tried several variations of recipes with the same result.  Have used bread flour, all purpose, biga starters, etc.  I get a fine grained soft interior loaf that tastes okay but not the chewy bread with large holes that I am going for.  I get plenty of rise, get a nice crunchy crust but the interior is wrong.  Since it is Winter here I tend to put my dough in front of the fireplace on a bench to rise, (about 78 degrees).  The humity is low in the house but keep my first rise covered with plastic wrap, second rise under a damp towel.  Have tried no punch down handling the dough with care to keep as much of the rise as possible... still no success.  The birds love me as they have been eating more of my creations than I have!!!  What am I doing wrong???

LindyD's picture
LindyD

What is your water source?

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

Sounds like the hydration is too low.  My best ciabatta has been with a 95% hydration dough -- very hard to work with for me, so I have cut it back to 90%, but it does affect the texture.  The wetter the dough, the bigger the holes.

Islandlakebaker's picture
Islandlakebaker

I live very rural... well water that is hard, on the Southeast end of the Mesabi Range so there is lots of iron in it as well.

Islandlakebaker's picture
Islandlakebaker

Did a ciabatta yesterday that used a biga that started out very dry but softened nicely and fermented well in the 24 hours.    The dough was quite sticky to work with at first but turned into a soft mass, much softer than say my sourdough.  The recipe I used did ask for just 1/4 cup of whole wheat that I did use.  I do know that my flour is dry with the low humidity in the house though...

ZD's picture
ZD

Try this method it works so very well, and a great website too.


 


Greg

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Might I humbly suggest an even better method shown here?


 


SteveB


www.breadcetera.com


 

ZD's picture
ZD

Oops that was the link I was thinking of too.  I use that technic any time I want holes in any bread. Great website Steve!

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Thanks, ZD.  Glad you find it of some value. :-)


 


SteveB


www.breadcetera.com

Islandlakebaker's picture
Islandlakebaker

So many nice people making good suggestions.  I do know that my hydration is way to low now.  The moving company broke my stone, (yes a tear formed when I opened that box), so will use a huge cast iron pan that I take camping for now until I can replace.  I have been measuring by volume and not by weight so I took out the scale, (I have a good one), and will try the ciabatta recipe on the link to Bread Cetera, (I joined the email subscription there as well!).


I am appreciative to all,


Greg

Islandlakebaker's picture
Islandlakebaker

Tried making using the above recipe with bread flour and weighed all ingredients with just okay results.  I declared war!!!


I bought 2 cloches, a couple of proofing baskets, and some SG Artisan flour, (can not get KA in the stores here).  Using the same recipe,  made my poolish last night and knew I was on the right track immediately.  This morning it was higher and more airy than with the bread flour.  Started the final dough and knew again, it was different.


End result is the best bread I have ever made!  Neighbor kid is here and ate 3/4 of one loaf, exclaiming, "EXCELLENT!!!"  Asked if I was going to start selling bread!  LOL


The only issue I am having is removing the dough from the bowl after the 3 hour ferment.  I oiled the bowl in the first attempt and it stuck bad, deflating all.  Today I used shortening, (heavily greased), and though it still stuck, it was not as bad.  I do proof in front of the fire place as it is Winter and the house is cool.  Maybe I am getting to close to the fire!!


Thanks all for your help,


Greg

ZD's picture
ZD

Gratz on the EXCELLENT bread!


Do you use a plastic dough scraper to get the dough out of the bowl? It might have been a little over proofed if it deflated while being gentle with it.


Greg R

Islandlakebaker's picture
Islandlakebaker

Hi Greg R,


I was using a spatula.  After reading your messgae thought okay, have to go back to the store for the scraper but went through my stuff and there it was... my old plastic scraper!!!  I will use it next time now that I know where it is!


May be over proofing as it can get very warm on the bench in front of the fireplace.  It is raining instead of snowing... Spring is on it's way.  I can then proof anywhere in my warm house!


Thanks for the suggestions, I will use.


Greg W

Islandlakebaker's picture
Islandlakebaker

I have since used Steve B's recipe three more times... success each and every time!  Greg R's scraper seems to be the only way to go as well with high hydration doughs.  Yesterday made a pugliese that was the best.  No fats of any kind in the pugliese so does not keep long.  The neighborhood kids playing basketball in my driveway rang my doorbell and asked what smelled so good.  Needless to say, I did not have to worry about keeping the bread long.  Had to cut them off so I could have some with my dinner!!  LOL


Much thanks to everyone for your help and suggestions.  I am most grateful.


Greg

ZD's picture
ZD

Great bread never hangs around long, but if you ever make so much bread that some gets stale it is easy to reverse. One slice at a time I spray with water and toast or better yet put in a 350°F oven. It will come right back, some times better the fresh. A whole loaf can be done in the oven also.

Islandlakebaker's picture
Islandlakebaker

Have put in the microwave with a damp cotton kitchen towel for a few seconds, have never thought about putting back in the oven.  Would have thought it would make it a perfect brick!!  LOL  I will give it a try.  Nothing goes to waste here though.  Dried out bread does into stuffings, bread puddings, or ground in the food processor for crumbs.  If not that, the birds get what is not used...


Greg