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Inconsistent holes in bread-please Help!!!!

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Breadhouse's picture
Breadhouse

Inconsistent holes in bread-please Help!!!!


I urgently need some advice on my sourdough bread! I have baked a white sourdough but the crumb's holes are very inconsistent. As you can see from the photo's, there are a few large holes and the majority are small, uniform holes. The crust is very chewy, which is fine but the crumb is fairly stiff. Here are the details of my recipe:


 


Starter: 100% hydration(fed and stood for more than 1 1/2 days.) Total starter: 70%


Total Dough hydration: 70%


Salt: 1.8%


 


I knead the dough for about 8 minutes in an electric mixer and then for about 1-2 minutes by hand. I retarded the dough overnight, let it proof at 30'C for 3 hours. I then baked it in a twin fanned convection oven with a ceramic tile. I started with 240'C for the first 10 minutes and then for about 25-30 minutes at 220. I sprayed water into the oven at 1 minute intervals about 5 times.


 


It is very cold here at the moment so I don't know if that is a problem but I do proof the bread in my gas oven at 30'C using an external thermometer. 


Thanx!


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

First a few questions:


Are you following a recipe or is this "winging" it?


Why is the starter standing 1.5 days?  What is the temperature of the starter?  When does it peak?


Are you using AP or bread flour?  What kind is it?


Now, if you reshape (stretch & fold) the dough after the retardation (your warm hands help it) and maybe again every hour (for the first 2 hours) or until you feel it's ready for a final proof of say 30 min to one hour.  You might have better results.


The bottom of the loaf is very light and the top dark, is there a way to get more heat under the loaf? 


One good steam is enough, opening and closing the oven door lets more steam and heat escape than what you can replace.  OR is there a way you can cover the loaf, like with a turned over pan or metal bowl for the first 20 minutes to trap in steam?  This works well in home ovens.


Mini

Breadhouse's picture
Breadhouse

Hi Mini.


I use a local stone ground bread flour. I let the starter stand for 1.5 days because I fed it and let it stand for about a day, then fed it again and let it stand for a good couple of hours until it was nice and active. The temperature of the starter I have not measured nut like I said, it is fairly cold here now. Room temp. about 8-10'C. It peaks about 4-6 hours after feeding, sometimes longer, depending on the amount I am making and the temp.


 


My question on reshaping is: Once I take it out of the fridge to proof, and I reshape it, will it rise sufficiently in just 30-60 minutes? That seems a bit short as my bread usually takes 3-4 hours to rise once taken from the fridge. And, what exactly is the purpose of reshaping?


 


Someone told me the dough is not knead enough or it is to wet for this particular bread. Could this be the problem? I have made this type of bread before using the exact same procedure except I used 65% hydration and without reshaping and it came out very good.


 


I'm quite baffled!


 


Thanx for the reply!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

over one and a half days... I get it now.



My question on reshaping is: Once I take it out of the fridge to proof, and I reshape it, will it rise sufficiently in just 30-60 minutes?



That 30-60 min. would be the final proof.  I think you should let it warm up (total of 3-4 hours before baking, like you stated) and fold it a few times while it is warming up to distribute the heat thru the dough and pop some of those big bubbles forming.



And, what exactly is the purpose of reshaping?



After every hourly stretch and fold, a simple shaping is done tucking in the corners and making it round. It simply gives you more options if you decide to bake it or give it another fold.


I'm not sure when you are shaping, a 3 hour final proof sounds too long for white bread.  So the idea is to make the final proof shorter but lengthen the bulk rise that was started in the fridge.  It just continues in the "proofing box."  Folding during the bulk rise is very common for 70% hydration sourdoughs.  There is more info for stretch & fold in the videos at the top or try the site search. 


Mini


 

Breadhouse's picture
Breadhouse

Mini, i tried some of your suggestions. I knead the dough a bit longer before retarding it and then stretched and folded it once before the final rise. I also reduced my hydration from 70% to 65%. The holes were much more uniform and the crumb was nice and moist, with a chewy crust. When I baked the bread I did it in my gas oven with a 2.5cm thick ceramic tile. I sprayed the oven with water pre-bake and once more once the bread was put in the oven. The bread ovenspring was a lot more than usual. I shaped the dough into a round but the ovenspring rose more in the middle resulting in an almost oblong shaped bread with a very high centre. The holes were still uniform though.


I used about 70% starter to dough. Is this too much and as result the bread rose to much or is it something else doing it?


 


Thanx!