The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Torn Dough

benji's picture

Torn Dough

Recently I've been experimenting with hydration.  My normal sourdough recipe is 1part starter, 1water, 2flour by weight.  I always have only whole wheat flour in the starter part and the flour parts are plain old bread flour.  Usually I don't even need to get all the way to the 2parts flour for it to turn out nicely.

Normally, I use a whole wheat starter at 100% hydration.  During this experimentation I started going up to 128%.  Intially, I was excited by the milder and more yeasty starter.  However, when it comes to shaping the loaf part of baking I've had trouble.  I usually get it into the bread pan without issue but when I get up in the morning ready to bake it it has tears that look like little craters.  I'm not sure what's causing it. My guesses are: not enough flour or not enough kneading.  How can I fix this?

serenityhill's picture

Sounds to me like over-risen?? maybe the craters are popped air bubbles??  Do you refrigerate overnight??


I'm a rank newbie to the site, and ran into your post at random.  Don't take my comments as coming from expertise ;)


benji's picture

These tears happen within 10 minutes of putting them in the bread pans so I'm pretty sure it's not that. Thanks anyway!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Recipe and timing and temps.  Sounds like the fermenting is going too fast but give us some more details to work with, please.   Welcome to The Fresh Loaf!


benji's picture

I'm on a schedule where I make my baking starter from my mother starter around noon (I take 4oz from the mother starter and mix with 2.5oz water and 1.5 whole wheat). At 5pm I mix it all together(8oz starter, 8oz water, 16oz flour, and 2tsp. salt) slowly in my kitchen aid and then I let it rest.  I don't like to knead with the kitchen aid because it seems like it tears the dough more than anything so I knead by hand.  When that's done I form a boule and let it rise until 11pm.  Then I form loaves, cover, and let it rise until 9am when I bake it.

I think my kitchen is generally cooler than room temp. I don't think its fermenting too fast as it take the whole 6 hours from 5-11 to double.  There are no tears until after I form the loaves.

the wild river baker's picture
the wild river baker

i am very curious about this as well. 

i worked a bakery a while back and everyday my bread was fabulous, then my manager commented one day about how i over/under-kneaded my dough (she had no idea what she was talking about, it just a random comment) and i got overly cautious about everything. and for whatever reason, for a couple weeks after that my loaves would tear (during proofing). nothing in my proofing room changed, i was using the same recipe, same temperature....same everything as far as i could tell. but i can only amuse it had something to do with how i was kneading it, but i never really figured it out, it just sort of stopped happening. but i always have wondered about it. 

dlstanf2's picture

I was having the same problem. I had too much starter, not enough flour, and not enough kneading to develop my gluten strands. When are you using your starter, before feeding or after? And with the higher hydration of your starter, you may need to work in a bit more flour to delvelop you gluten strands. How sticky is your dough while shaping? Don't forget to allow some rest period after working your dough so it can relax and absorb the moisture.

I'm a noob at this, but these were some problems I experienced and how I corrected those. Advice from the more experience members really helped as well.

Yesterday I tried a new recipe I was developing and used my new KA for the first time. It really did a good job on kneading the dough for me. I found I did have to add a little extra flour to get the dough to pull away from the bottom of the bowl. It turned out wonderful, but I did have to adjust my baking temp & times.