The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gluten gone bad

Rick D's picture
Rick D

Gluten gone bad

I have a gluten question:


What could have possibly happened to the gluten structure during the first rise of my bread today?


This was a cinnamon/raisin bread which I've done many, many times with dry commercial yeast (recipe from RL Beranbaum's "The Bread Bible"), but this time, tried with a starter. My first attempt at this was more successful, but something strange happened today.


After the first rise, I noticed on the (one and only) stretch and fold that the consistency was a bit off, the stretchy, elasticity of the dough was not the same. Subsequently after an hour in the fridge (recipe calls for this prior to shaping), it seemed there was very little gluten support, as the dough just seemed to have no elasticity and easily broke apart when stretching and shaping. Something happened, and I'm not sure what??


I've done a lot of reading so far on this site. Possible culprits that I can come up with are perhaps, some lactobacilli species in my starter that may have enzyme activity against the gluten, or perhaps the dry milk powder (use Bob's Red Mill) having the same enzyme activity? The initial mix seemed adequate. I don't think I overmixed.


Temp of first rise was mid 70's, this took about 7 hours (consistent with my first successful attempt at this recipe).


Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


(I'm allowing it to rise as much as possible, and I'll bake it anyways, but the surface of the proofing loaf is split in several locations, and I doubt it has the ability to rise much more)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Rick.


it sounds like an attack of protease, all right.


I think your dough was over-fermented. Seven hours is a long time at a temperature in the mid-70's, unless you used a tiny amount of starter. My seat-of-the-pants estimate is that a 2 1/2 to 3 hour fermentation is probably adequate, with folds every hour or less. (This would be with 20-25% baker's percentage of an active starter, which is pretty standard.)


Sometimes, the dough doesn't seem to expand, even though plenty of CO2 is being generated. Using the "poke test" and looking at the gas bubbles in the dough (through the sides of a glass bowl) is a more reliable indicator of fermentation than increase in dough volume. 


Now, I don't know the recipe you were using and how the dough usually behaves, but these are my thoughts on your problem.


Hope this helps.


David

Rick D's picture
Rick D

Thanks David. I thought 7 hours a bit long as well, but was waiting for it to double. I used a percentage of 30% of liquid starter (100% hydrated). I think I'll modify my technique with this one next time, with an hourly stretch and fold, and modify as per Andy's suggestion below.


Cheers,


--Rick

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Rick D,


David's pretty much spot on.   Your dough is basically spent, but it's on account of insufficient yeast activity.... I would emphasize the following:


High levels of spice and sugar will kill the yeast activity.   I don't know the recipe either; however when I make enriched doughs, I use a ferment, with fresh yeast as high as 7% on flour.


I'm going out on a limb, but I'd suggest this is not the type of bread to make, solely relying on natural leaven power.   By all means use it for flavour, but I would use it in conjunction with your regular yeast leavener.


BW


Andy

Rick D's picture
Rick D

Thanks Andy,


I'll give that a try and augment with fresh yeast, while reducing the percentage of my liquid starter. The bread does already come out pretty good with dry yeast alone, but I'd certainly like to see what flavours I can coax from use of my starter.


Cheers,


--Rick

Joanne Burek's picture
Joanne Burek

In my bread-baking course, we were told to add the spices towards the end of the kneading, as it sometimes interferes with gluten development, and I recall our instructor said it was a problem "especially with cinnamon". Something to try.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Very recently Debra posted a possible explanation of the gluten's loss of elasticity:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18144/sourdough-loosing-elasticity-please-help#comment-121566


 


Someone else suggested that (unscalded?) milk powder may be a possible cause of the symptom:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/12076/why-milk-powder-milk-bread-and-not-just-milk#comment-69121


 


Maybe it's not your case, but in any case it's a very interesting reading.

Rick D's picture
Rick D

Yes, I read that thread as well, very interesting. The packaging on the Bob's Red Mill milk powder makes no mention of any scalding or heat treatment, so I'll have a look at their website. I suspect it's been heat-treated, however.

Ford's picture
Ford

I, NOW, always use scalded milk instead of raw or pasteurized milk.  Even the common powdered milk has not reached the scalding temperature -- 190°F (88°C).  King Arthur sells a milk powder that has reached that temperature.


Ford

Rick D's picture
Rick D

Ford,


I'm less suspicious of the powdered milk I'm using, since I've not had a problem with denatured gluten in the past. Only this one time. However, I will certainly check with the manufacturer. Do you notice any change in the texture or flavour using scalded milk, as opposed to powdered?


--Rick

Ford's picture
Ford

I find the flavor of the bread is not affected by scalding the milk.  Maybe, someone with more sensitive taste buds will notice a difference, but I do not.  Scald some milk, refrigerate it, and compare the flavor with the milk directly from the bottle.  That will give you an idea of the greatest possible change in flavor.


As for texture, yes.  I have had failures that I now attribute to the protease overload and faster breakdown of the gluten.


Ford

008cats's picture
008cats

On days when I feel REALLY WILD, I will add things to my dough that have natural sugars like fruit, juices, milks, etc.


I have found that these "fortified" doughs always get a kick-start in their fermentation, and that judging the rise by time (never a good idea in my fluctuating environment) is not accurate enough.


I now bulk ferment in a glass 2-litre measuring cup with a snap-on lid. By noting the actual starting volume and being aware of how fast the rise is progressing, I can consistently know when to fold, shape and retard. For me, volume increase to 133-150% for fortified doughs and 150-170% for regular lean doughs is the benchmark; I use the lower range for vigoros risers and the upper for normal risers.


This method has resulted in consistent oven spring as well.


 


 

Rick D's picture
Rick D

Part of the problem I may have had here was allowing the first rise to double in volume. That is what took 7 hours. I use a 4 quart glass jar to ferment and mark off the point at which the volume is doubled, using that as my guide. Perhaps doubling is too much? Maybe to 150% max sufficient?


In any case, the dough itself was fortified only with honey (and raisins) for the first rise. The cinnamon/sugar was rolled in for spiral during shaping, but the dough was already ruined at that point.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi 008cats,


how does this help the poster?


Great that your enriched doughs have plenty of fermentation about them, but, unfortunately Rick's got problems in this area.


My suggestion of using a ferment with ordinary yeast is based on traditional methods from days when supplies of bakers yeast were limited.   It is difficult to contest that large amounts of sugar, spice, fruit and fat have an adverse effect on yeast multiplication and therefore the rate of fermentation.   Rick is trying to deal with a problem of a dough taking 7 hours to ferment.


My suggestion addressed that head on; I'm just not sure how your post helps him at all


Interesting as the comments are on powdered milk, and yes, I would urge everybody on TFL to read the thread on powdered milk [Debra Wink at her most helpful and informative; not to be missed!], but I don't think the problem is to do with milk at all.


Best wishes


Andy

Rick D's picture
Rick D

You know, one other thing just came to mind. My liquid starter is now about 4 weeks old, easily doubling with 1:0.5:0.5 feeds after 6 hours, smells and looks great/healthy, and I'm nearing the point where I'll thicken it and refridgerate for less frequent feeding.


I use bottled water to feed the starter, but I did use tap water for this cinnamon/raisin bread. Generally, our tap water is quite drinkable, but does have a faint chlorine odor at times. However, I wonder if my relatively new starter is affected in some way by combining it with tap water in this recipe, leading to the slow fermentation?

Ford's picture
Ford

I always use water that has been filtered through a carbon filter or use bottled spring water for fear that the chlorine or the chloramines will be toxic to the little beasties in the sourdough.  Mike Avery, however, says he just uses water directly from the tap.  Your call.


Ford

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Rick,


Don't try to over complicate the situation.


You have a new starter, and the dough has taken over 7 hours to move to a volume you were expecting.   It is very unlikely that either water or milk are the source of the problem.   It is extremely likely that lack of fermentable activity from the yeast is the problem.


If your starter is new, and you are inexperienced at using this sort of method, that should be instructive to you.   Great you've been reading a lot, and, TFL is a fantastic resource.


My best advice is to persevere with your starter; keep feeding it and using it in your breads.   But, make lots of simple formulae with it first.   That way you are not challenging your culture too much.   The more you feed it and use it the stronger it gets.


Meantime, if you need a bit of yeast in the formula, use it.   If a simpler formula works without extra yeast, then that's even better.


Enjoy yourself; it will work out if you keep going!


Best wishes


Andy

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Rick,


Just following on from what Andy has said and also offering my perspective as someone trying to bake with a new starter.


Four weeks is young for a starter. If it doubles in 6 hours then this is also an indication of the time it might take to raise a loaf, so a 7 hour first proof is not unfeasible, giving more time for the emergence of enzyme problems or for the yeast to exhaust itself.


I find my starters are very much effected by temperature. Although when fully-charged the rye starter can double dough in 2 hours, both the wheat and the rye get much more sluggish when cold, either because the ambient temperature has dropped or because they have been refrigerated. On the water front I do use filtered water so as not to potentially knock them back further.


One route I have tried when the starters are slow and I wish to bake it that suggested by Andy, that is to mix leavening agents. This means the bread is not a 'pure' sourdough, but this technique is used by some bakers and in certain national traditions. Some French breads use this, for example, as do many breads in the current Jan Hedh bread book I am reading.


As a beginner with sourdough I've found it easier to bake with a recipe that calls for two leavens from the beginning, rather than adapt a recipe. This evening I baked from the recipe on the link below and got a lovely golden airy bread using a yeasted preferment with a natural leaven added on the second day. The recipe is for a batch but it can easily be scaled down 


http://www.farine-mc.com/2010/05/pain-de-labbaye-saint-wandrille-abbey.html


Kind regards,  Daisy_A