The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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jd's picture
jd

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The good? I achieved the crust, crumb and flavor I was looking for in a basic loaf. Not much bad, other than not being able to keep my hands off of it. The ugly is the look of a loaf that was underproofed after forming! The round looks like a batard and the baguette has a nasty goiter. I form them right out of the referigerator and have been trying to find the right amount of proof time before popping them in the oven. After looking around this site, it appeared that I was letting the loaves overproof after forming(2-3 hours). I did a basic shaping, waited ten minutes, did the final shaping and waited 30 minutes before putting them in the oven. Next time around, I'll do a total of one hour and see how it goes.

ds99302's picture
ds99302

I think they look just fine.  As far as proofing goes, you can't go by time.  You have to go by the way the bread looks and feels.  The stuff I make always takes a lot longer to proof than what the recipe says.  But I proof in a fairly cool room though.  It doesn't matter if the recipe says, "Let rise one hour."   If the dough still looks and feels like a solid dense ball of dough then it's not proofed enough.  However, if the dough has large air bubbles in it and looks like it's going to collapse if you just look at it then it's overproofed.  All that being said, I think it's better to underproof the dough just slightly and then let the dough finish rising the rest of the way in the oven when it undergoes oven-spring.  Spraying the inside of your oven with water to create steam when you first put the bread in the oven will also help.  The steam keeps the bread from forming a crust so soon and it allows the bread to rise even more.  The steam also gelatinizes some of the starch in the flour in the dough and gives the crust a shiny appearance.

jd's picture
jd

I still haven't achieved the proper eye when appraising the proofing dough. I had been letting it go way too long. Even though this needed a little longer, the other results I achieved more than make up for it. I'm on to the next step in my process, which is to start introducing whole grains.