The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole wheat in starter causing tearing.

goose13's picture
goose13

Whole wheat in starter causing tearing.

Lately I have been experiencing some tearing issues with my sourdough. I've tried adjusting things from what I have read, like adding more water, different proofing times, among other things, but it's still tearing during the final proof. The bread tastes fine, but come out looking terrible. 

I understand that using whole wheat can tear the gluten, causing the issues I have, but I'm not using whole wheat in my recipe. There is, however, whole wheat in my starter. Could the starter be the issue? And if so is there a way to "weed out" the wheat in it, or would I be better off with an entirely new starter? 

 

Thanks,

Ryan

jcking's picture
jcking

Ryan,

Don't think the starter is the problem. Dough drying during proof? Humidity of proof?

Jim

goose13's picture
goose13

The dough doesn't seem at all dry. When you ask about humidity, do you mean the humidity of the area I'm proofing in? If that's the case, the weather has warmed up quite quickly here(northern NJ) but as to the exact humidity I can't say. But it has risen since I first started baking sourdough at the end of winter.

Ryan

jcking's picture
jcking

Ryan,

Is the dough covered during the proof to keep moisture in? Other than that; shaping a little tight? Kitchen warming up = dough proofing faster. Cut down on proof time? Throw enough stuff at the wall and somethin's gotta stick.

I still consider myself a Jersey boy; born, raised, married, kids, spent 50 years there. Miss a lot of family and friends, visit when possible.

Jim

goose13's picture
goose13

During the first proofing I cover it with plastic wrap in a bowl. After shaping I'll put it in a basket with a cloth around it and sopme corn meal on the bottom. In my opinion I'm not pulling it too tight. I read that could be one of the causes of the tearing so I went a little easy on the last batch and still no luck. With the rising temps and humidity I think I'll reduce the times a bit and see how that helps.

 

Thanks

Chuck's picture
Chuck

...whole wheat can tear the gluten...

Sorta yes, but mostly no.

The tiny bits of bran in wholemeal flour interfere with the gluten "coming together" in the first place. You may need more S&Fs, or longer kneading, or more time, or whatever to develop the gluten adequately. But once the gluten is finally developed, the bits of bran won't cause it to undevelop in a macroscopically visible way (or to say the same thing a different way, wholemeal flour probably isn't responsible for things like "bursting" during either proofing or baking:-).