The Fresh Loaf

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My dough had too much memory

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ron45's picture

My dough had too much memory

I've baked two versions of the blueberry cream cheese braid bread. The first was very slack and came out great. The second was about perfect as far as dough handling and consisency. It both were all white enriched bread flour, King Arthur or one of those varieties. 

The second batch. I wanted less dough to filling ratio but trying to roll out the dough thin was a joke. I'd roll it out and it would bunch up or shrink back about 25% of what I'd gained. I could not get the dough to roll out thin in the time I had to do it. 

Does any one have any ideas what might have been wrong. I used stretch and fold to make the ball for the over night in the fridge. And again when the dough warmed up. But no extra rests or anything. The dough rose well. But I'd like to make a batch with about half the finished thickness of both versions I could supply a picture if it would help. If I can figure out how it's done here. The dough was not cold from the fridge. Would that be the problem? Just thought of that.





mrfrost's picture

The gluten in the dough acts somewhat similar to rubber bands being stretched. The gluten will stretch only so far(at one time) until it begins to shrink back, or tear(rip).

When this happens, what you want to do is let the dough rest(or relax) in between the rolling out sessions. So if the dough rolls out and you notice it resisting, or shrinking back, stop at that point. Cover the dough and let it rest for about 15 minutes. This allows the gluten to relax and become accustomed to the now longer length. After fiftenn minutes, the dough is now ready for more rolling out(stretching) if necessary.

You repeat this process until the dough is rolled as thin as you desire. Be assured, it works.

There are dough relaxers that you can buy that will make the dough more extensible but usually not very necessary for a home baker.

ron45's picture

Hello and thank you Jacknitz and Mrfrost, thank you for the prompt answers. They make total sense and I'll make the flour change next time. 



Janknitz's picture

You said:  "white enriched bread flour, King Arthur or one of those varieties". 

Bread flour in general, and especially King Arthur bread flour has a lot of gluten.  Gluten gives the bread structure, but it's also responsible for that resistance you were experiencing when trying to roll the dough more thinly.  King Arthur's regular AP flour has higher gluten than most (about 12- 13 grams per cup as opposed to regular AP flour which has 10 to 12 grams per cup), and the KA Bread flour is higher still (about 14 grams per cup). 

You might have had success by giving the gluten time to relax.  Sometimes if you leave the dough for about 15 minutes and come back to it, the gluten will have relaxed and you can work with it until it tightens up again. 

But for best results, you might do better working with a flour that has less gluten to begin with like a national brand of unbleached AP flour (e.g. Gold Meadow), or by cutting the gluten in your bread flour by adding some pastry flour. AP flours commonly sold in the southern part of the US (e.g. White Lily brand) are  meant for soft biscuits will have an even lower amount of  gluten protien in them and don't work  quite as well for many breads.