The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Temperature Affecting My Dough

oceanicthai's picture
oceanicthai

Temperature Affecting My Dough

         


Another 7-grain seeded sourdough boule.  I am amazed how much the temperature affects the dough.  The raise on this loaf was slow, but not as disasterous as the boule I tried to make 2 days earlier.  We had a freak cold weather front come in, dropping from high 90's to high 50's.  For Thailand, that is a freak weather drop...I realize for many both are pretty balmy.  Anyway, I had one loaf that refused to rise...I eventually baked it anyway and it was awful.  Even though I had added salt I was concerned that it would turn to grey mush with too much enzymatic activity.  Outside was flat, inside was raw.  I gave it to the dogs.  This loaf is better, because the temperature is up to the 80's now.  Tomorrow is supposed to be normal weather, in the 90's again, so tomorrow's loaf will probably be big and fluffy as usual.  Next month, April, is hot season...past the temps where the yeast & lactobacillus is supposed to die...should be interesting. 

Comments

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Not to worry.. its how sourdough is..


I wish i had pets who would eat my failed sourdough..

MadAboutB8's picture
MadAboutB8

That's what I heard too, that the temp dropped down to 17C during last week. It is very unusual and I have never seen anything like that in Thailand during my time there. 17C is cold for anytime in Thailand to start with and 17C in summer is odds. My friend described it well that she was eating mango (a symbol of a peak summer season) while she is wearing a sweater in 17C.


I remembered when I baked in Bangkok during my trip late last year. The dough were fermenting at the speed of light. By the time, I finished shaping all rolls, they were all fully-proof and ready for the bake. It's the other way around for me to try adjusting to baking at a very warm weather.


Sue


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com

oceanicthai's picture
oceanicthai

Thanks for your comments  ;)  It makes me wonder how folks do their sourdough in cooler temperatures, must be frustrating.  I am used to hot temps & fast rising on all my breads. 


Where you live is it usually hot or just hot right now, Sue & MeBake?  Sue, the cold weather front was so odd!  I enjoyed wearing sweaters & socks for a few days.  :)  The weather is going back to usual, though.  We are eating delicious ripe mangos right now too.  :) 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

I live in Dubai.. and its spring now.. But it is still a desert  climate... Very Hot and Humid (i live at the coast) in the summer, and mild cool dry winters.. My house however is airconditioned for 8 months in a year.. you cannot live in a house at 40C in the shade.. In short, my sourdough lives in the fridge, and then ferments at 25C outside for most of the year..


 

Syd's picture
Syd

It's hot and humid here, too. All my strategies are aimed at trying to slow the process down.: chilling everything, adding salt to the starter, minimum amount of starter to get the job done, refrigerating, etc, etc.  (Sigh) I long for cold fronts and cooler weather.


Syd

oceanicthai's picture
oceanicthai

Hi Syd, I was wondering, have you already posted somewhere else how you do your sourdough San Francisco type breads step by step in the hot/humid weather?  Also, where do you keep your starter and how doyou feed it?  I think you have been making breads there in Singapore for quite a while, I just started not too long ago.  Things have been going well, then we had the cold front and my starter became very sluggish.  With the heat it is very active again, but I think I am having problems overfermenting my dough.  How long do you ferment your dough?  When I did it about 3 hours it was just about right, but I went over the other night, just to 4 or so, and my bread flopped again. 


Interestingly, from a chart I received from Wally, I think, posted on the sourdough101, the perfect temperature for the lactobacillus sanfrancis-cus (can't remember the ending) and the yeasts is about 79 F.  But this morning trying to find out what to do about my dough, I read this from one of Debra Wink's older posts 


 "Contrary to popular belief, all three groups of sourdough lactobacilli prefer wetter doughs a bit on the warm side, many growing fastest at about 90ºF or a little higher. For the homofermentive species producing only lactic acid, increasing activity by raising the hydration and/or temperature will increase acid production. Decreasing activity by reducing hydration or by retarding will slow production."


So now I am a bit confused, I will write Debra about this, but what I found interesting is that at about 79 F I have less activity than the 90's.  So what exactly I am growing here, I am not sure.  According to Wally's chart yeasts die at about 96F and the lactobacilli are about to die too, which is what we are approaching again soon here, and you probably already are there in Singapore. 


Anyway, I hope to get your thoughts!


 

Syd's picture
Syd

I am in Taiwan, actually, but the weather is similar to Singapore.  I have always maintained that we have two seasons here (certainly in the south, anyway):  one is hot and the other is very hot. 


Wally's chart and Debra's post don't necessarily contradict one another.  Without having seen Wally's chart, I can only guess that the 79 F was referring to the ideal temp for the yeast, whereas Debra is quite clearly talking about the lactobacilli.  According to this chart by Jack Lang of the eGullet Society the optimum temperature for the yeast is 80F/26C whereas the lactobacilli peak at 93F/34C.  This explains why in summer, when our average temp is 31/32C I get sourer loaves with not such a good rise.  Right now our average temp is about 25 and my sourdoughs are rising beautifully but have a mild flavour. 


So what do I do in the interminably long summers we have here?  Well there are a few things you can do to cool everything down. 



  • If possible keep your starter in a room that is air conditioned.  This is not economical, however, unless you are running a bakery, nor is it environmentally friendly, but if you do happen to have an aircon on in one room you could always move it there for the time that it is on.



  • chill your water you use to mix your starter and your dough

  • add salt to your starter, up to 2% (from Hammelman)

  • chill your flour in the freezer ( a tip from davidg618)

  • keep your starter/dough in a cooler with some ice in the bottom to lower its temp

  • dedicate a small fridge to keeping starters/retarding dough (keep it between 10 -14C)

  • feed at a higher ratio 1:3:3 (starter:flour:water)


My current routine is as follows: 



  1. remove starter from fridge and leave it for about 4 hours (this is usually after a week in the fridge)

  2. discard most of it and feed the remainder 1:2:2

  3. let it just about peak which will take anywhere from 6-8 hours in these more cooler temps and use it

  4. feed the remainder 1:2:2, allow it to show signs of fermentation, about 90mins to 2 hours, then put it  back in the fridge for storage

  5. if I want a sourer loaf I use it after its first four hours out of the fridge without refreshing it but will only do this if it still has gluten strands in it and hasn't been reduced to a pourable liquid. 


In summer the times will shorten.  In summer, if I left my starter out the whole time, I would have to feed it four to five times a day.  Clearly a very uneconomical situation, so you can see why it has to go in the fridge. I can't precisely remember my summer times now, because I don't write these things down (obviously I should) but our really hot weather is about two weeks away now so I will let you know as I get back into my hotter weather routine.  Hope this helps.


Syd

oceanicthai's picture
oceanicthai

Taiwan, not Singapore, opps, sorry.  Reminds me of all the people that ask me, "So, how is Taiwan?"  "Are you fluent in Taiwanese?"  It is a joke here, too, we have "hot" "hotter" and "hottest"- that's our 3 seasons.  Here in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, we do get some cooler weather sometimes.  In Southern there was no cool weather.  We go through Taiwan frequently on our flights home. 


thank you for taking the time to write all this information out for me, it is so helpful.  My dough is looking lovely today, perfect temps in the morning.  I got it in the fridge to retard before it got too hot.  May I trouble you again by asking how long you bulk ferment and how long you retard your dough?  If you are busy, just answer some other time, thanks. 


Thank you for the site, it has been very helpful.  I am using my bread therometer for my starter now.  The air temp says 90F but the starter temp says 78F, optimal for yeasts.  Now I am going to put it in the fridge b/c the temps will go up more this afternoon.  I have read about problems with putting the starter in the fridge but I think I would have more problems if I didn't. 

Syd's picture
Syd


May I trouble you again by asking how long you bulk ferment and how long you retard your dough?  If you are busy, just answer some other time, thanks.



No trouble at all.:)


It is going to depend on how much starter is in the recipe and what the ambient temperature is.  Ingredients will also make a difference, too.  However, using the amounts I most often use:  30% starter , 71% water, 100% flour and given a temp of, say, 26/27C, I usually bulk ferment for about 2 and a half hours.  Keep in mind that I usually always autolyse for 50 mins, then add the salt.  In this time the dough is already starting to show signs of fermentation.  The addition of rye or whole wheat or diastatic malt to the recipe always speeds things up.  Recently, I have been adding a level teaspoon of my own homemade diastatic malt to most of my sourdoughs and have noticed my bulk fermentation times have become far more predictable.  A straight white dough without diastatic malt at a temp of 23 could take up to four hours to bulk ferment and another four to six to prove.  Unfortunately, I don't write these things down so it is difficult for me to say with absolute certainty.  How do those times compare to yours?


I usually retard overnight, so anywhere from about 8 to 12 hours.  I don't always retard but find that the dough doesn't slump as much (particularly the higher hydration ones) when they are still slightly chilled from the fridge.  I usually three quarter prove before I retard.  I can do this because my fridge is pretty cold and sourdoughs become inactive soon after they are retarded.  I look at retarding more as a convenience thing than as a technique to produce more flavour.  It might be that it is just too late to bake or that I have leave the house, so I just pop it in the fridge and bake later, or the next morning.  That is what I love about sourdough: it is so forgiving.


Syd

oceanicthai's picture
oceanicthai

Thanks, Syd, for taking the time to explain that to me.  It is very helpful for me to understand what you, an experienced baker, are doing with your doughs in a similar high temp/high humidity environment.  I started putting my dough in the fridge for the same reasons; I wanted to go to bed, or I was busy.  When I take it out, it is not as slack, it seems to retain the boule shape I like rather than the pancake shape I don't.  I got lots of pancakes with my first loaves.  :) I think your fridge must be colder than mine b/c my dough still rises & rises in the fridge, today's loaf was a bit overproofed, but it was in the fridge a LONG time, about 18 hours.  :) 


Yesterday I autolysed for just over an hour, 200g ww/bf - I usually do it at night, add salt & make the final dough in the morning.  From what I read it is supposed to give a superior taste, but I wonder if my palate is really able to discern the subtle differences!  haha  Sometimes it's just convenient to do it one way or another.  I tried the frissage method after mixing the final dough, just to see if it would give me a better crumb, and then did S&F's-got the dough in the fridge at about 2 1/2 hours.  Like I mentioned above I kind of let it sit in the fridge too long & I think it got overproofed. 


What advantages do you feel you are getting using the diastatic malt, may I ask?  I will look it up I think, I have seen it here & there, I thought it was for a more carmelized crust?  What kind of kneading/folding/slapping method do you use for your sourdoughs?  I have tried several now so feel ready to learn more about each of them. 


It is raining in Bangkok, my Thai friend told me, such weird weather this year.  We will be celebrating Songkran soon, the giant country-wide water fight. 

Syd's picture
Syd


What advantages do you feel you are getting using the diastatic malt, may I ask?  I will look it up I think, I have seen it here & there, I thought it was for a more carmelized crust?  What kind of kneading/folding/slapping method do you use for your sourdoughs?  I have tried several now so feel ready to learn more about each of them.



Well, diastatic malt has active enzymes in it which break down the starch in flour into simple sugars that can be digested by the yeast.  These sugars also provide flavour and caramelisation of the crust.  Flour naturally has some of these enzymes in it, but more is usually adding during the milling process and usually it is added in the form of diastatic barley malt.  Not each mill will add the same amount.  I have no idea how much is added to the flour I use on a regular basis because there is nothing on the packaging that says anything about it.  I suspect, if any, a small amount because the local breads here all use a lot of ordinary sugar and common bakers yeast.  They also do not undego long fermentation times, neither are they retarded.  Malt is generally needed in the last two situations to provide extra sugar for the yeast and also for crust colouration.  Ordinary sugar will do the same thing that diastatic malt does: provide food for the yeast and colour for the crust.  So if you are using a lot of sugar anyway perhaps there isn't a need to add malt to the flour.  So why not add sugar to your sourdough and be done with it.  Well for starters ordinary sugar has to be broken down, too before it can be used by the yeast.  It needs to be broken down into simple sugars such as fructose and glucose. While common bakers yeast has the enzymes to do this, sourdough yeast doesn't.  So sourdough yeast needs outside help.  And that outside help can come in the form of malt.  Having said that, I recently learned that the lactobacteria present in sourdough can digest ordinary sugar and break it down in fructose and glucose so now I am all confused myself.  Now if all that makes sense to you please explain it back to me! I will be forever indebted to you.  I need to do some more research on this or ask someone else to explain it to me.  However, for the time being, whether real or imagined, diastatic malt has made a difference to my sourdoughs in that it has shortened the bulk fermentation time.  The key is to use only a little as too much can produce a gummy crumb.  The first time I ever used it, I made Susan from Wild Yeast's baguettes with it.  I misread her recipe and added 10g of it to a 500g of flour, about 20 times the recommended amount!  It produced a baguette that was so dark it looked like chocolate.  The crumb was thin and translucent and brittle.  One of my tasters said she actually liked it.  She said the flavour and texture were quite unique!  Go figure!


I use Richard Bertinet's slap and fold technique for higher hydration doughs.  Do a search for it and you will find a video.


Syd

oceanicthai's picture
oceanicthai

I have watched a couple of vids on the slap n fold technique & have tried it a few times on my higher hydration doughs, very fun, kind of noisy.  :)  We are having another freak cold spell here in Thailand with a lot of flooding, the weather has never been this bizarre.  Is it the same in Taiwan, by chance? 


THanks so much for the explanation of why you use the malt-so interesting!  I am still having some problems with what I think is overfermentation b/c I either used too much starter or my fridge isn't cold enough to stop the fermentation process quickly.  Tonight I made more bruchetta from my half-failed bread.  :( 


Warmly, Oceanicthai

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I lucked out living in Maine - here it's never too hot. And in winter our wood stove keeps the kitchen warm (or I use the warmth of my oven light).


And I have a famous chow hound too - whether the bread is a failure (and goes to the dog), a great loaf (and stolen from the counter), or a stone hard sourdough butt (and handed out as a  treat) - every bit will be wolfed down with great enthusiasm.


Karin

oceanicthai's picture
oceanicthai

    


My dough & starter is back to normal now with the warm temperatures.  I was so happy to see a big loaf again with tasty crumb! 


This is a rosemary, sundried tomato, roasted garlic, & olive oil sourdough.  It got overproofed a bit, I think, so the ovenspring isn't as high as usual, but it has great taste & texture.  It looks like I was overfermenting & underproofing the loaves I made last week with the cooler weather, now I am trying to do my S&F's within 30-40 minutes, total of less than 3 hours out, and quickly get the dough in the fridge to retard.  This week I want to learn about frissage.  I have tried the French slap (?) and usually do the Shape & Fold, but really don't understand enough about what I am doing.  So much to learn!