The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pullman splitting during proof

dmflahive's picture
dmflahive

Pullman splitting during proof

I'm posting this because I can't for the life of me figure out why I'm having this problem. I've tried punching-down, folding, not folding, long proof, short proof, rolling the loaf tight, rolling the loaf loose, bench resting, not bench resting, spray oil, pretty much everything I can think of and yet these pullman loaves always split on one side about an hour into the final proof. Any insight anyone can provide would be much appreciated. 

BTW, these pictures were taken just before the loaves went into the oven.

From yesterday, with one turn at 45 minutes into the bulk fermentation.

Today, no turn.

Thanks in advance.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

From the photo it appears that the inside wants to be bigger than the outside. Perhaps proofing at a higher humidity (maybe even with a water spray though I have no experience with that) might allow some more extension of the outer surface.  A lower temperature/longer proof might address the problem from a different  perspective, but the exterior of the loaf needs to be allowed to expand as the interior expands or it will blow out exactly as you have shown.

Syd's picture
Syd

It shouldn't be doing that and it definitely can be avoided. I suspect it has something to do with the way you are shaping the loaf and how you are putting it into the tin. Could you describe what method you are using to shape the loaf and how you put the shaped loaf into the tin?

It will also be helpful if you included your recipe. I would be interested to know how much yeast you were using and at what temperature you were proofing your dough. Also, how big is that pullman pan and how much dough did you put into it. How long had it proofed before it started to tear? Can't promise to come up with a definitive answer but with some more information we could, perhaps, come up with some suggestions of what to try next.

Best,
Syd

dmflahive's picture
dmflahive

I also feel like it has something to do with shaping, but I couldn't say what. I've try rolling it out thin like in "Artisan Baking" by Glezer, I've tried just hand patting it down like in BBA, and I've tried several different methods I've seen on youtube. I've shaped it tightly by "snugging" up the dough while shaping the roll, I've left it slack. I've rolled it up like fruit roll-up and I've just barely doubled it over. I've made sure to maintain the gluten "skin" unblemished and on the upside, seam sealed-up and on the bottom. It makes no difference, it always splits. 

The recipe is the Pullman varitation 3 from BBA, to the letter.  The proofing temp is around 70F. Each loaf weights 600 grams before baking, ~550 after. I'm using ~8 grams of instant yeast for ~650 grams of flour, 1.2% is what the recipe says. The exact recipe is below.

I've tried putting less dough (500 grams) in the pan, but I doesn't change anything and I like the size of the loaf at this weight. 

The only thing that does seems to help is the turn and fold @45 minutes, but it doesn't fix it completely and if I turn it again I can't shape it. To be honest, I feel like I'm missing something fundamental and yet very simple in this whole process. It just can't be this complicated.

I'm using Argentinean 000 flour @ 13% protein, although I'm not sure that it's really 13%. The dough usually has a smooth plasticy like consistency when it goes in for the bulk ferment.

One last note, it just splits on the one side, the rest of the loaf is always perfect. Maybe I just need to only look at it from the good side. Haha

Thanks

 

Sponge

  • Bread Flour 385 g
  • Milk417 g
  • Yeast7.7 g
Dough
  • Bread Flour257 g
  • Salt13 g
  • Sugar51 g
  • Egg Yolk22 g
  • Butter69 g

 

 

 

jcking's picture
jcking

To me it would appear, from the photo, that's how the dough should look after baking. Have you tried using less dough in the pan?

Jim

ds99302's picture
ds99302

It looks to me like it's sticking to the side of the pan and the loaf is tearing as it rises. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

because there is too much rise in the middle as compared to the ends.   Have you tried two bulk proofs (knocking it down after each) and then shaping?

:)

dmflahive's picture
dmflahive

I'm going to try it again today. I've been just spraying the pans with olive oil, maybe I'll try butter, that should eliminate the possiblity of sticking to the sides. I'll also try a longer bulk ferment, two knock downs as it would be. I'll also go back to the 500 g loaves. 

Thanks for the input.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Are you covering your loaves to prevent the rising stretching dough surface from drying out?  

dmflahive's picture
dmflahive

Yes, I first spray them with olive oil, then I put them in my small microwave. The microwave seems to maintain humidity well, but I'm not putting anything on the loaves themselves.

ds99302's picture
ds99302

Maybe midway through the rising you could check the dough to see if it's sticking and then either spray those spots with cooking spray or dust them with a little bit of flour.  I also agree with others who are suggesting you might be putting too much dough in the pan.  When you put the loaf in the pan is there any room left around the sides of the loaf for expansion?  Once the bread rises above the rim of the pan it has room to expand.  But dough that's still below the edge of the pan may be all cramped inside the pan and have nowhere to go.  So the dough that's below the edge of the pan just sits there while the dough that's above the edge of the pan rises without any obstruction which causes it to split .

dmflahive's picture
dmflahive

I'll take pictures today when I shape and pan the loaves, but I'd say the dough only takes up about 1/3 of the pan when I put it in with plenty of room on the sides. During the final proof I'd say the dough quadruples in size in about 75 minutes, which doesn't follow anything I've ever read, but what do I know. I do know that if I don't let if proof fully it explodes during the bake from the oven spring. 

Thanks

jcking's picture
jcking

Is it possible your flour has other rising ingredients included?

Jim

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

There is a LOT of sugar in this dough. Flour contains something like 5% maltose and 2% other carbohydrates - and the yeast can consume some fraction of this total.  The recipe in use here adds another 8% sugar, at least doubling what is available (after the enzymes get done half that 8% is glucose and the other half is fructose). And the usual cut-off point for yeast activity is the exhaustion of the food supply. The end of your proof should be just as the yeast peaks and before the gluten gives out. You might do a shorter mix, a longer bench proof with a few more S&F cycles. And you probably should try a batch with no sugar and see how it behaves.  If that works well, you can begin to bring back the sugar using a binary sort: try half; if that is too much try a quarter; if that is too much try 1/8, etc. If half works; try 3/4, ...). Backing off on the yeast will have no effect on the total amount of CO2 created (except to delay it by a few yeast doubling times).

Mini asked if you are covering the loaves for which I inrerpret the answer to be no.  This is a candidate contributor to the volume growth outrunning the surface elasticity and maximum strain capacity. The layer just below the surface does not tear, and the tear occurs at the point where the loaf has the largest amount of expansion. The dough is behaving normally.

Doc

 

dmflahive's picture
dmflahive

Wow, lots of info there. Covering the loaves huh? Ok, just oil and cover them with plastic wrap I'm assuming. Never tried that before because I can't get non-stick spray where I live, so I've been just throwing 'em in the microwave. However, on my last trip back to the states I picked up an olive oil sprayer so I'll give it a go. If that doesn't work I'll try backing off of the sugar. 

Thanks

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

What I usually do is spread out some plastic wrap or cut open plastic bag, drop about 1/4 teaspoon of oil (or less) onto it and then spread out the oil by either using my fingers or folding the plastic up with the oil inside and rubbing it together to coat the surface.  Lay it on the loaf and then as with your dough, lay some additional weight onto the rising dough like a dish towel or hand towel.  

Another totally different approach would be to divide up the dough into smaller pieces (like 4 to a pan) and after shaping turn the dough and place into the pan across the width as in this loaf by txfarmer (link.)  I would still go with plastic wrap and weighing down the dough during the final rise.  

Anjali's picture
Anjali

Mini Oven:

Why is it necessary to lay additional weight of a dish towel on top of the plastic coverd loaf?

Thanks in advance,

Anjali

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Because it's lighter than a book?  :)  Just joking...

The idea would be to even out dough temperature and control the rise.   It only has to be one or if folded in half, two layers of cloth loosely covering the pans giving a blanket to control drafts and slow any uneven upward rise in the middle of the pans.    

You mentioned earlier that you let the loaves rise in the microwave.  My first concern is to be careful where the light is and that the door is not open too long (light on, heat source) while placing them there.   This does trap humidity nicely without plastic.  But spaying with oil and no plastic is no guarantee that the surface will not dry or tighten.  I prefer to spray with water  when raising dough in the microwave.    

I don't know if anyone has done some comparing experiments... water vs oil... with or without plastic to see if there are large differences.   I'm thinking that in your situation, the oil alone is not working and the dough is tearing where the dough surface was protected from evaporating moisture by the pan, as this softer dough rises out of the pan, it gives way.   Plastic cover to the edge of the pan and hanging a little bit over is one solution.  

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

The method I like the best is putting my rising loaf into a plastic bag and then filling the bag with air so that the loaf is contained within a bubble.

 No sticking to the plastic and no added oil or water that can sometimes make the crust come out a weird color. Loaf can rise without restriction.

Janet

Syd's picture
Syd

You can always just drape a damp (clean) teacloth over it.  I think Mini might have nailed down your problem there.  As Doc points out the outer surface will dry out but the dough inside will continue to rise tearing the surface. 

The other thing to consider is different shaping techniques.  You could try what Mini suggested (dividing the dough into smaller pieces) or if you prefer a more conventional method check out this video.

Best,
Syd

dmflahive's picture
dmflahive

Tried it again, not perfect but they are getting there. I believe the secret is covering the loaves, haha shows how clueless I am. Thanks for the input guys.

dmflahive's picture
dmflahive

Hi,

I'm back. Still having problems. Could it be that I'm overproofing? These things will proof for over two hours and I still get a good oven-spring. Like I said earlier in the thread they will easily triple/quadruple in size.

I'm really getting frustrated.

Thanks

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

If you were over proofed the loaf would fall, or at least not expand much in the oven, and the crumb would have a different texture.  Have you tried a cooler (maybe 10°F lower) proof (still with a damp towel) for a longer period of time? I am having a hard time blaming this on strain rate, but a slower proof would directly address that potential. And is it still blowing out at the same place (about half way along the loaf at the point of maximum loaf circumfrence). If yes, you might try an experiment with a loaf that is a bit misshapen by making the ends slightly larger in diameter and making the middle slightly smaller. If it still rips in the middle we would have to look at the pan.

Syd's picture
Syd

So, you are covering it now and it is still tearing?  What are you covering it with?  Are you still proofing in the microwave?  If you are proofing in the microwave, do you have the light on?  Is the side that is tearing facing the light or facing some heat source?  Open to the wind perhaps?  All of these will cause drying out of the surface which could lead to tearing. 

On re-reading your recipe and mixing instructions, I came across this comment:

The only thing that does seems to help is the turn and fold @45 minutes, but it doesn't fix it completely and if I turn it again I can't shape it.

How long are you letting your dough rest before you shape it?  You should allow, at least, 20 mins after your final fold/degassing before shaping.  Otherwise, the dough won't have time to relax and you will tear it when shaping.  Is it not possible that you have torn it while shaping?

How long do you knead for?  How much do you develop the gluten in the dough?  Can you stretch a windowpane?  My other thought was that it was tearing because the gluten wasn't developed enough.  However, having noticed your comment about the shaping problem if you give it a second turn, I realise it is probably not the case.  It sounds like your gluten is well developed.  Also, you did mention that you are working with a 13% protein flour.  It might be the case that it is overdeveloped/too strong and not extendible enough.  Perhaps someone else can comment on this problem as I don't know enough about it.  I don't use anything more than 11.4% protein flour. 

I regularly put 850g of dough into my small (but deep) Asian pullman and it rises 3-4 inches over the top without tearing.  My hydration is roughly the same as yours although I don't use sugar, egg or nearly as much butter (however, I don't think any of those ingredients are specifically contributing to this problem).  On occasion, I have had bursting while baking (usually due to under proving) but I can't remember it happening during the final fermentation.  Here is a pic of one of my finished loaves to give you some idea of the height.

best,

Syd

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

with AP flour, one with less protein (and therefore a good chance of less gluten) but if you only have one flour, try bulk fermenting twice or tree times before reducing the yeast (reads like a brioche dough - you might want to try free forming a loaf - braiding it even.)   You could easily replace 150g of the flour with gluten free flour.   I have another Q.  Is your recipe written for bread flour?  At 64% hydration, I'd be tempted to add some more milk.  Bread flour could make even a 66% hydration dough feel stiff.  If the dough is too stiff, then that could also cause tearing.  Just a thought.

Bread flour can take a lot of abuse like long fermenting times and lots of acid as in the case of sourdough which can require longer fermenting.  Have you thought about abusing your dough?  :)   Try this:  break up the recipe and mix up the flour and milk (scalded right?) the night before letting it stand out overnight (covered.)  The next day add the rest of the ingredients working them in by hand (no need to use a machine in any of this) kneading or folding it over and over (resting if the dough gets too tight) until everything is worked in.   Then go for a first bulk rise.

Mini

dmflahive's picture
dmflahive

Thanks for the comments.

First off to the question from Doc: It really doesn't seem overproofed, just at a loss. I've already tried with the loaf narrower in the middle, don't really have shaping down perfect :). It tore just the same. 

To Syd: As far as the microwave, yes I'm still proofing them there, covered with the light off. I use the microwave because two loaves just fit in there perfect, the loaves almost touch the top once fully proofed. It's tiny by US standards. 

I always let the dough rest for a minimum of 45 minutes before shaping, but if I do the second fold it's so tight I can't really do anything with it even after 45 minutes. 

As far as kneading, I've tried it both ways, really developed, almost overdeveloped (more like a putty than a dough), and hardly developed with a couple folds. But when it comes shaping time, it's always tight like a spring.

I know that some of my problem is coming from working with the flour I have here.  Last time I was in the states I made some bread with some KA flour and was literally blow away at how nicely it handles. It's not that the flour is bad here by any means, just different from US flour. However, all of my recipes and books are written based on North American flours, so I'm always tweeking the recipes a little to accomidate. It seems like a cope out to blame it on the flour and regardless it's what I have to work with.

To Mini: The recipe I'm following calls for bread flour, but I have some 11% AP that I'm going to try. As far as all the other stuff, I'll put that on the back burner until after today. Hopefully I won't need to do an overnight autolyse, but we'll see. 

So here's the plan for today's attempt:

11% AP flour

I'm going in slightly increase the recipe size, from 500g per loaf to 550g. This is where I started.

I think I'll stop there, the change in the flour is pretty big and I don't want to confuse things.

Thanks again,

I'll post pics this time.

 

dmflahive's picture
dmflahive

Ok, here we go.

1.) After shaping, ready to go into final proof

2.) Ready to into the oven. I would have liked to proof them a little longer, but after 2 hours they were just started to look a little slack around the sides. Probably from the lower protein flour. ??  Notice it's starting to tear there in the middle.

3.) After a quick 30 minute bake at some medium-ish temperature (no thermostat on the oven) , they look great on this side.

on this side not so much. Now I know that this was caused by the oven spring, but I'm not convinced that it wouldn't have happened anyways if I had let the proof go longer. Notice the dough kind of oozing out of the tear, that's a first, must be the flour.

Now here's something that I'm seeing on every single loaf, every time. Notice the pocketing? on the side where the pan mets the dough. It could be from oven spring, but I don't think so. That's the same kind of tearing I'm getting on the top side during the proof. Is it possible that the pans are the culprate? I'm wondering if they aren't somehow pinching the dough as it rises, then due to the shape of the pan, the pinched part become exposed. Notice the shape of the pan isn't straight, it's more of a wedge.

 

Well that's all I can come up with right now. I'm going to try the overnight autolyse like Mini had mentioned and we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Thanks Everyone