The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

is this (picture included) a sign of bad glutten development?

elcouisto's picture

is this (picture included) a sign of bad glutten development?

I'm having problems with my cinnamon buns lately and I'm not sure why. The recipe I'm using is "The Bread Baker Apprentice" one, almost identical to Floyd's one (it's the first result on this website's search results when typing "cinnamon rolls").

Here are the steps I'm following:

a) mix the ingredients together until it form a rough dough (I use active dry yeast instead of instant dry yeast and I activate it 10 minutes before, with 4 ounces of 100F milk)

b) knead (I knead by hand) until it passes the windowpane test (I have to knead for around 25-30 minutes. I can reduce the timing by adding less milk). It passes the windowpane test, but is not very strong.

c) let rise until it doubles (it takes around 1h30minutes to double in size at 72F - that's less than what it says in TBBA's recipe and more than what it says in Floyd's recipe)

d) Put on oiled counter and shape into a 12x14 rectangle. Add the cinnamon sugar and roll. Cut into 12 pieces and place into a baking pan, 1/2 inch apart

e) let rise until it nearly doubles and bake.

Now, the problems starts at the proofing stage. Once I cut into the rolled dough, this is what I see:

the little holes, similar to those on the edge of this dough, appear and let the gaz escape. After 45 mintues they get larger and the dough eventually starts to collapse. 45 minutes is not very long. Peter Reinhart calls for 75 to 90 minutes proofing time. And it's not very hot in here, around 72F these days. I tried using a little less yeast, but they still don't rise much. it also happens when I add less milk to the recipe (in which case I knead for 15 mintues, until windowpane passes)

Is this a problem with glutten development or could this be something else?

Thanks a lot!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I've read it twice but I don't quite know what the problem is.  Is it the rise? collapsing dough?

It could be that your hands are warming up the dough and thus speeding up the rise times.  If the baking tray is too large, the dough will expand sideways instead of up making it difficult to judge "double."  Bake when the dough is ready (still has a little spring or resist to it) and make notes on your recipe.  You can also try slowing down the recipe using cold liquid ingredients and cold flour. Don't let it rise until it collapses.

The dough looks good.  After cutting, the holes should close up but they will still leave a little  texture.  Too much texture and is a sign that the first rise went too long or that you need to degas the dough more when spreading out into a rectangle.


elcouisto's picture

Hi Mini,

The problem is that the dough starts to collapse before there is any significant rise (while proofing). The little holes don't close and get bigger. I should mention though that I do get a huge oven spring.

I'll try placing the buns closer to each other next time. It may help, but the problem is so bad I have a hard time believing it'll correct it.

Also, I did try to degass more when spreading into a rectangle, and that too didn't help.

Lately I've been using a round bowl instead of my squared transparent bowl, in which I could see exactly when it doubled. It sure is less precise to use the round bowl, but I thought I was getting better at estimating when a dough "doubled"... Maybe not! I'll use the squared transparent bowl again. Right now, it's the most plausible explanation.. Tomorrow, more tests


mrfrost's picture

You might try scalding the milk to see if that makes a difference to you. Before using in the recipe, let the scalded milk cool down to at least luke warm.

clazar123's picture

It passes the windowpane test, but is not very strong

That is an interesting statement. What type of flour are you using and what brand? I found one of the store brands AP flour was absolutely awful for bread and what you describe sounds similar. The gluten just never held onto the bubbles. I believe it had too much soft flour in the mix-more suited for cakes.

elcouisto's picture

I'm using Five Roses Unbleached all purpose flour (it's a canadian flour). I don't think I should be worried about the quality of this particular flour. I tried again today and I've got pictures, I'll post them later.

elcouisto's picture

Here are more pictures....

On this picture, the dough's not so bad. We can see the texture on the top...


When I roll it up, we can see how the dough's getting worst... Lots of texture and the dough starts to slack


When I put the buns, already they're not very strong.. When they proof, they'll grow sideways, and not rise much.


You can see the texture better here...


So... They don't rise much, and grow sideways, collapsing a bit. And the dough it rather slack and very textured.

I should say that the bulk fermentation was 2h and the dough exactly doubled (the same thing happens if I put a bit more yeast and the bulk fermentation is reduced to 1h15-1h30)

Ideas to improve the process would be much appreciated... At first I though the dough's glutten was not developped enough, now I'm not sure.