The Fresh Loaf

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Peter Reinhart Lean Bread - What am I doing wrong?

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madruby's picture
madruby

Peter Reinhart Lean Bread - What am I doing wrong?

Hi folks,


Went about doing P.R. lean bread again from his new book Artisan Bread Everyday.  Used scale, thermometer, good quality ingredients, etc...I did the variation recipe so after I strectched and folded, rather than putting my dough into the fridge for the overnight cold fermentation immediately, I first let it rise on the counter for 90 min as instructed.  The dough ballooned up to 2.5 its size.  Youpi!  Divided the dough into smaller portions and then put everything into the fridge for the cold, slow rise.  Woke up this am and the doughs have all at least doubled.  Youpi again....so far so good!


Now comes my challenge and the problems I experienced with my two last loaves.  Took one of the dough out of the fridge, shaped into a boule, put a plastic on it and have let the dough on the "counter" for the hour proofing.  It has been almost an hour and it AIN"T rising much.  I am lucky that it rose 2% of its original shaped mass......discouraged!  Will let it proof for another 30 min (the room temperature is appx 23.5 C or 73-74F)...what am I doing wrong????  Why were the earlier rises so perfect but then when comes the proofing right before the baking, my dough seems to remain asleep?  Here are 2 things that I am doing that make me feel "weary".


1) When I take the dough out of fridge to shape it, I feel rather ackward manipulating the dough (I am very very novice).  It takes me a few minutes to pull the skin  underneath the dough.  Could I be over-manupulating the dough at this stage ?  (I am not kneading, not placing it on the counter..nothing; just shaping it).


2) After the boule is shaped, I place the dough on a parchment that I had sprayed with Pam.  I then put the parchment with the dough into a skillet to keep the boule shape (I saw this stage by watching Cook Illustrated Almost no knead bread).  I spray the dough with more Pam, and then covered the DOUGH with a plastic.  I do not cover the actual skillet but the boule.  One can say that it is rather covered lousely.  Could I be doing s.thing wrong at this stage?


Other than 1 and 2 above, I honestly do not know what else I could be doing wrong.


PS - my oven is indeed underheated.  I bought an oven thermometer and saw that although my oven showed 500 F, the inside thermometer I bought showed only 450 F.  So now I know to preheat the oven a bit longer and in accordance to the inside thermometer.  Good tip I got there.


 


 


 

jim_kk5rz's picture
jim_kk5rz

What is the temp. of the dough right now?


Your kitchen is cool.


It will take about 3.5 to 4 hours at that temp.


Is the loaf in a bowl or basket or just sitting unsuppoerted?


don't bake it until the "poke" test says it is proofed.


 

madruby's picture
madruby

Here is a follow up to my earlier posting (written while I was counter proofing my dough before baking).


Becuz I had to go to work, I couldn't do the "poking test" as mentioned by Jim since that would probably involve a much longer proofing time.  After appx 75 min of counter rise, the dough did expand a LITTLE but again, it was much more sideway as opposed to upward.


I sprayed the boule (which was sitting on parchment, supported by a round skillet) with a lot of mist (another one of Jim's great advice) to help with the crust's crispiness, steamed my oven and sprayed it with more mist before baking my bread (and this time, the oven was pre-heated using a "bought oven thermometer" - I will no longer rely on my stove thermometer cuz it is off by 25 to 50 F).


After 12 min, my bread got a FANNNNNTASTIC oven spring (baking this baby at the rigfht temperature really made a difference).  YOUPI!!!!  Once the instant thermometer showed that it was cooked, I left the bread in the oven for a few more minutes (with the heat off) to ensure (1) that the crust will retain its crispiness after the cooling period and (2) that the bread is fully cooked.  Then....


What came out of that oven was just MAGICAL.  Beautiful golden brown crust, singing and cracking bread songs (yep, mon pain a chante et craque!!!!) like so many of you wrote about....


While the bread was cooling on a rack, I drove to work and then shared my bread with my colleagues.  They all LOVED it.  Even our company's chef (yeah, we have an Italian chef who cooks for the employees everyday) thought it was a gorgeous and tasty bread.  We all couldn't believe I actually baked this bread a few hours before going into work...and I am the CLUELESS BAKER here.  The taste of the crumb was awesome, and the crust did retain more of its crispiness after the cooling period (tks to Jim and Chuck who guided me through that process)


What a great foolproof recipe; what a delicious book.  I am still not completely satisfied bcuz I believe there is still room for improvement ( today's result is not only encouraging but tells me that I am in the right direction) ie I"d like to get that great baguette look, flavor, chew, crisp...but that will probably take a few more trials and several months of practice.


Tks all for the amazing feedback.

jim_kk5rz's picture
jim_kk5rz

You must keep practicing! bake a couple of times per week for a while and read the beginning of the book All of Chapter one.

madruby's picture
madruby

Mais oui, mais oui, I will keep on practicing, c'est sur.  Can't buy store breads after this jolly bread.  Will continue to read the book and improve on the technique before moving on to the next recipe.  merci et Cheers