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Tartine bread failures

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lilosa's picture
lilosa

Tartine bread failures

Hi Everyone,

I recently got so enthused with my new Tartine bread book and eagerly started baking. My first attempt gave me 2 delicious tasting, but flat pancake loaves. The second attempt rose a little more but still flat. Then for the third attempt, since I had to bake at a friends place that day, I baked in loaf tins instead of the dutch oven. These rose beautifully, though the crumb wasn't full of huge air bubbles like I wanted. And to get through the steam problem, I simply had a tray on the bottom rack of the oven and poured some water into it a couple times. This seemed to work well.

My first attempts with the dutch oven proved that the steaming wasn't sufficient as when I lifted the lid after the first 2o minutes of baking the crust was already forming, preventing the loaf from rising to its ful potential. So I decided I wanted to do what I did when I baked in the loaf tins and pour water into a tray at the bottom of the oven to create steam.

I really like the rustic free-formed loaves so instead of baking in the tins I wanted to bake on my oven stone. However, my fourth and fifth attempt didn't turn out so well. The whole process seems to go very very well and pretty much look exactly as the book displays, that is, right up until I have to turn the loaf out to bake. I have been trying to turn the loaf out gently onto a sheet of parchment on a cutting board and then taking the board to the oven stone and sliding the loaf onto it followed quickly by a cup of water under it to create steam.

The problem is, and always has been when I've done this, is that when I turn the loaf out it totally has no tension and basically blobs out like a flat pancake. In the book, it looks as though it should hold its shape a bit more. And it is so soft and fragile that I can not really score it, even with brand new sharp razor blades. 

I have tried the final rise at warmish room temp (25-27 celcius) for everywhere between 2 and 4 hours and the results have been the same - a blob.

I'm not sure where the problem is. Am I overproofing? Underproofing? Not building enough tension in preshape or final shaping?

Any help is much appreciated!

Lisa

Sjadad's picture
Sjadad

Lisa,

Based on your description, and assuming you're using the proper weights of flour, water and starter, it sounds like your dough lacks proper gluten development.  No amount of time, nor precision of temperature will help if you haven't first developed enough gluten in the raw dough for a formed loaf to hold its shape.  Are you performing the stretch and folds properly during the bulk fermentation?  If so, are you shaping the loaves properly to create a good gluten sheath?

 

Sjadad

lilosa's picture
lilosa

Hi Sjadad,

Thanks for a reply.

As far as I know, I'm doing things right by the book. And I also check during the whole process to see if the gluten is strong enough. I can see by how much I can stretch the dough during the 'turns' in the bulk fermentation that the development of gluten is quite gradual because the first few turns I can only pull the dough up so far before it will start to break but the last few turns the gluten is much stronger and I can pull the dough up quite far without it breaking. By the end of bulk fermentation I usually see some big gas bubbles close to the surface which hold in place - which, to my understanding, tells me that the gluten developed is strong enough.

I really thought that it might have been that I didn't build enough tension, so for one loaf I decided to really give it a lot of tension and the surface tore. The book says this is fine - just an indication that there is enough tension and you should stop and let it rest - which is what I did.

Any other ideas?

 

:)

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

I can see by how much I can stretch the dough during the 'turns' in the bulk fermentation that the development of gluten is quite gradual because the first few turns I can only pull the dough up so far before it will start to break but the last few turns the gluten is much stronger and I can pull the dough up quite far without it breaking. 

I could be mistaken, but I always thought that gluten strength was measured in exactly the opposite way: the more gluten development, the harder it becomes to make the folds.   


Chuck's picture
Chuck

Hopefully well-developed gluten will provide both extensibility and elasticity. Extensibility means you can stretch it without it breaking (that's what the "windowpane" test is all about). And elasticity means it wants to snap back to the shape it had before (that's what makes a "finger poke" test pop back out). Hopefully you'll get a good balance of both characteristics (problems of one without the other often suggest the flour isn't right:-). Provided the balance is reasonable, you should be able to test either way (stretching or folding) and get the same answer about the degree of gluten development.

(I think the new-agey terminology for this situation is "'both and' rather than 'either or'")

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Your explanation helped a lot.  Much appreciated.

Barbara

Cachi's picture
Cachi

 

Lisa,

Please don't lose your enthusiasm, Tartine bread is extraordinary bread and it seems like, for the most part, you're doing things right. This is a relatively high hydration dough, 75% if you've followed Chad Robertson's recipe. Don't worry too much how flat the formed loaf looks when turning it out onto your peel, even his loaves look somewhat flat at times (0:51) on his video. http://www.tartinebakery.com/bread_video.html You will be amazed how much the oven-spring can be. However, you do want to make sure you are properly shaping your loaves and this for me at least, is the hardest thing to master. I am still not consistent enough even though I think I do the same motions over and over. Tension comes from stretching the dough while shaping and you can do this several times depending on how soft the dough feels in your hands. Make sure you do a bench rest after pre-shaping, before you do your final shaping. If you are using a banneton, don't use one that is too big for the amount of dough you have. Also, you will notice on his video, he places the loaf perpendicular wrto the banneton's length forcing the loaf to hold its shape better. This is not intuitive since you would think of placing it length-wise (assuming an oblong shaped basket).

As for scoring your loaves, one trick that works well is doing the proofing in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours as he suggests for a more complex flavor. This has the added benefit of scoring into a stiffer dough and avoiding the wavy lines that may result from a soft dough.

You might want to post some pictures so people can see in detail what may be occurring. I am no expert but I am getting a lot better as I bake.

lilosa's picture
lilosa

Hi Cachi,

Thanks for your reply.

I'm also no expert, and really trying to get a better loaf each time I bake.

Thanks for the scoring tip - I have saved one of the two loaves this time in the fridge and will try scoring that later. I can imagine it would be easier to score after being in the fridge.  The one I have in the fridge right now is set in a loaf tin since I haven't had much luck with the free form loaves.

Yes, I'm following the recipe in the book for the 75% hyrdration country loaf. And yes, my loaf turns out flat but my real concern is that it seems to instantly flatten out more as soon as it leaves the basket (or in my case, bowl with a kitchen towel). It pretty much dribbles out of shape, and in addition, is super flat. I imagine that it should hold the circular shape of the basket - right? Or perhaps I am using a bowl that is too big? It doesn't seem to be too big, but might be worth trying a smaller bowl. The bowl I currently have is slightly taller (about half and inch) than the dough when it's finished its final rise and to me looks like the approximate size that the bread should be onced baked and risen.

Thanks for the tips - I am trying and plan on trying a bunch of different things to see if I can get a better result and it did cross my mind to try a smaller bowl for the final rise so I will give it a shot and let you know how it goes!

I'll work on pictures too and hopefully put some up soon.

Thanks!

DaisyS's picture
DaisyS

Cachi, 

When you say "proofing," are you referring to Robertson's "bulk fermentation" or the "final rise"?  I am trying to figure out which portion of the process I can let happen overnight in the refrigerator now that it is summertime and hot.  Today I overproofed in the bulk fermentation (had to go to the dentist just when it would've been perfect timing to shape) and I've ended up with wet, sloppy pancakes of batter, not even dough.  This is by the way, my second attempt.  My first attempt turned out fine, with only a little room for improvement.

Cachi's picture
Cachi

Lisa,

Proofing refers to the final rise and this is where Robertson gives you the choice to either proof at a warm temperature (75-80F) for a few hours (3 -4h) at which point the bread will be mildly acidic or retard in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours for a more complex flavor. Whichever way you decide to go, make sure your starter is healthy and potent so start the process with a ripe starter to create the leaven, one which has risen (doubled) and just fallen (indication food for yeasts has exhausted). The leaven, however, should be "young", only risen by 20-30% and not acidic at all but should pass the float test. To tell whether things are developing correctly, your dough should double in volume at the end of the bulk fermentation and should have plenty of air bubbles and feel light relative to when you mixed the dough. Times and temperatures he gives should only be interpreted as a guide and starting point since ultimately you'll have to get the "feel" for the dough at each stage. The only way to get there is to bake a lot, always the same recipe and through experimentation.

I've been baking a different recipe for several months now (inspired from the baguette recipe in Tartine and from people on this website) and I'm getting satisfactory results after having tweaked the process. It is a white flour dough hydrated at +80%, very difficult to handle but results in a very moist open crumb much like Robertson's basic country bread.  This loaf enters the oven pretty much flat but springs to life once it heats up. I now can move on to a different recipe knowing that I can recognize the subtleties of dough development.

Best of luck

willwork4SD's picture
willwork4SD

Tartine is the book that got me started in sourdough. I have had good success after a few early failures. I first started out mixing the dough and baking in the same day, but I found it difficult to judge when the dough had proofed enough. I think I used to let it go too long, resulting in over-proofed bread that was kind of flat. When I adjusted the fermenting time to 3hr bulk, 3 hr final rise, the loaves turned out better. I tried to keep the temperature constant during proofing at 78 degrees. (I would keep it in the microwave with the light on and monitor with a thermometer) I also have learned to turn  the dough on the board using a bench scraper in one hand, creating  nice, tight surface tension during the final shaping.

These days, due to time constraints, I mix the dough and shape on Friday night, then refrigerate it overnight in bannetons and bake early on Sat. morning. As Cachi said above, they are easier to score and are firmer in feel. They seem to hold their shape for me.

Keep going, and experiment. Keep track of what worked and what didn't. You'll get there! The good news is that even the failures taste good:)

lilosa's picture
lilosa

Thanks willwork! It's true, the failures still taste great :)

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

In addition to the above comments try the following:

1)    Go back to the Dutch oven – after 20 minutes the crust will be formed – this is perfectly normal as steam usually helps the crust during the first 8-12 minutes and will be fully formed by 20.  If you have a combi cooker slashing is easier as the dough is placed in the inverted top, with the dome being placed over.  If not, use a short 3-4” serrated knife if you must put the dough in the dutch oven followed by lid (mine has a glass lid so I need to put the dough in the vessle rather than on the lid- on one oven, and my second is a combi which i really like)

2)    You can continue to steam the oven using a pan or oven floor/whatever method you prefer for the first 12 minutes.  I like ¼ cup of water thrown on the hot floor every 4 minutes (3 times)

3)    Make sure you preheat the dutch oven for about 20 minutes after the oven reaches the designated temperature –  vs. 45-60 minutes for a stone

4)    Make sure you build your starter sufficiently, try 3 feedings every 5 hours starting the day prior to baking – at 75-78°.  Keeping in your oven with just the light on is perfect – don’t forget to remove!  This may be overkill but will ensure lots of lovely cells.

5)    The hydration in Chad’s recipes is closer to 71.5% (on recipes that state 70%) and 82.1% (vs. whole wheat stated as 80%) – as it appears he doesn’t count the starter flour and water in his formulas.  These numbers apply to a 100% hydration starter.

Suggest you experiment with a slightly drier hydration; say 65-68% until you have better lift.  While that sounds like a big difference, not really.  On a 998 gram total dough weight (flour and water only which is 2.2 lbs) – by way of example at his 70% hydration (71.5% per my calculation) there is 415gr of liquid and 583gr of flour.  Changing the hydration ratio to 68% results in 403gr of liquid and 595gr of flour for the same 998 total.  Given 28.35gr per ounce – changing to 68% from 71.5% is not nearly as onerous as it sounds – 12 grams on liquid and and 12 grams on water – a combined 24 gr, less than an ounce.

6)    As above gluten development my be lacking

7)    Make sure you oven correct on temperature – put an oven thermometer inside to see if the temp on display matches what the oven actually delivers

You'll get there, mine still are not as high as I would like but the flavors sure rocks!

Cheers...

lilosa's picture
lilosa

Thank you for all the tips Nick.

I think I will definitely try the dutch oven again, especially if my oven stone loaves are really not working. I had used the shallow 'lid' for the bottom and the deeper 'pot' as the lid - as the book says. Do you mean I can still pour water into the bottom of the oven when I'm using the dutch oven? I would have thought there would be not much point since the loaf is sealed inside the dutch oven anyways... or did I misread your comment?

And yes, I do worry about my oven temperature and thought about getting a thermometer in there but the light inside the oven is broken so I wouldn't even be able to see it!

:)

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

An "appliance bulb" will probably cost only about $2. A couple of years ago, they were 2 for less than $2 at Walmart.

Probably a very simple fix. Was for me.

CelesteU's picture
CelesteU

The Tartine dough is very slack--you won't get a nice rounded boule or "loafy" shape out of it if you bake it as a stand-alone hearth bread.  It needs the support & steaming of the closed vessel to achieve max oven spring.  Have you tried baking it in a loaf pan rather than freestanding?  Also, if you bake inside the combi cooker or in a dutch oven, you certainly don't need to steam--how in the heck would the steam reach the bread if it is sealed inside a pot?

See pics of my Tartine loaves here:  http://bouillie.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/tartine-bread/

I'm not super-enamored of the Tartine methodology.  While I like the liquid levain, pot baking, and resulting "holey" crumb, I prefer a sourdough spiked with a little commercial yeast so I can bake according to a more predictable schedule. 

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

re water on the bottom of your oven, not really needed, but though it may help your comfort zone.  you can also spritz the loaves with a mist of water before putting into the dutch oven, again not needed but some like to do this regardless of how baked.

And per MrFrost, a 40 watt appliance bulb (must say appliance) can be found at any dollar store too.  Easy to replace, go for it!

Polish Babka's picture
Polish Babka

Lisa, 

From the beginning - is you starter really active? Does it float when you put it in water? I got flat Tartine bread once because I didn't feed it the morning before baking.

I fold the dough 4 times every 30 min and after the last fold I let it ferment for 1 h. After that it really has a nice gluten and it's strong.

I divide it, preshape it and let rest for 30 min.

Then final shaping and proofing for 2 - 3 hrs.

Do you make notes how the dough feels, what's the temp of it? It helped me a lot at the beginning.

Good luck!

DaisyS's picture
DaisyS

Lisa, Your instructions are concise and well-written.  Tell me, do you make any concessions for summer, hotter kitchens?  I'm thinking I should shorten my times due to the seasonal heat.

lemonyradiomen's picture
lemonyradiomen

Hi - I just started with Tartine bread, and I am not able to get a rise during the bulk fermentation.  The first time I made the Basic Country Bread, I had it at room temperature but we're having a bit of June gloom here in the foothills of LA, so when I measured the temperature of the dough a few hours later it was only at 72 degrees.  I tried turning my oven on for a few minutes and placing the dough inside to warm up, and I tried to maintain around 80 degrees for the rest of the rising period and continue turning the dough every 30-60 minutes, but it still took from 9am-4pm to rise a measly 10-15%!  At this point I gave up, shaped the dough, gave it a long bench rest because they seemed to be running on the table from lack of proper aeration.  After this, it was a bit easier to handle so I began the final rise (overnight in the fridge because I had to get some sleep) and in the morning, again, little to no rise.  I baked one of the loaves anyway, and it turned out completely solid with a few tiny scattered air bubbles, though the crust was a beautiful color and the bread had a rich sourdough flavor.  The second loaf I let rise at room temp. from nearly 6am-7pm and it was much less dense but still not quite the lightness I would have wanted.  I made it into croutons.

My leaven passed the float test, and my starter seems very active, completing a normal rise/fall cycle and feeding daily.  If nothing else, the lovely sourdough flavor I got is a testament to *something* working with my leaven.  Any ideas what might have happened?  

CelesteU's picture
CelesteU

I don't get much of a rise during bulk fermentation with the Tartine recipe after 3-4 hours, but I don't extend the time b/c I don't want the bread to be overly sour.  I've divided it on schedule after 4 hours, shaped the loaves, then given it an overnight rise and experienced good results.  Are you performing a thorough stretch & fold every 30 mins?

lemonyradiomen's picture
lemonyradiomen

Do you get the 20-30% that he talks about?  The problem with dividing it when it's underrisen is that it seems like a fluffier dough would be a lot easier to work with than the dense and heavy dough I end up with after 4 hours.  It runs and doesn't hold its shape, and takes an incredibly long final rise to get something even remotely resembling the holey crumb structure it's supposed to have.  I do stretch and fold it (or "turn" as Robertson calls it) every 30 minutes and I do see that the structure improves a lot in that respect, but it just won't rise!

 

I'm starting to think it's an issue with my starter - I only feed it once a day, but long after it has puffed up and then deflated, sometimes it even forms a crust before I get to it.  Would this encourage a higher ratio of bacteria to yeast (and therefore souring the bread much faster than it rises)?  I attempted another loaf of bread, and after 3 hours of stretch & fold every 30 minutes, just left it out until it reached the appropriate increase in volume, but it was way too sour and runny at that point to be made into bread, so I used it as a leaven for baguettes along with commercial yeast and they turned out well.  I think I'll begin feeding my starter more often, and until then just make loaves along with commercial yeast, and hopefully it can work out.  Thanks for your help!

dvuong's picture
dvuong

It sounds like a starter issue to me.  I would keep the feeding schedule to 2x a day.  If it's forming a crust before you're getting to it, then it's definitely starving for food.  Try a 2x a day schedule and try to make the bread again and see how it comes out.  Remember that Robertson encourages the use of a "young" starter where the starter will only have risen about 20% in the cup before use but will still pass float test.

Sigala's picture
Sigala

Hello everyone,

Tartine Bread making is definantely one of the most difficult to master!

The first few weeks of trying to make it were hockey pucks!

I followed Chads book to the tee!

After much reading and going through 20 lbs of King Arthur flour, 

I finally figured it out, All this was done during the cooler month of December last year!

So I quit for until this year July, thou I was having no problems after I figured it out in December.

Im back to making Flat bread! no rise in the final.

I have made my starter that looked great, smelled great and sweet, made the levin, performed the float test.

all was fine, Bulk fermenation, I would turn and stretch the dough as Chad states, for 3 hrs, turning every 30 min.

room temp 82 deg. dough had a nice sheen and elasticity. took out dough onto counter, devided in half, formed the rounds, let bench rest 30-45 min.

then attempted to stretch and fold. Dough just seemed too sticky, (under deveploed ?) anyway I put them on the baskets to rise. 4 hrs

then baked in the Dutch oven, total pancake. center colapsed, a little and little rise.

I have tried lowering temp to 76 deg. and tried again, again failure. I was getting taken back since I had already made good loaves before.

Im finding that even if the levin floats, that it does not indicate the dough is ready to make.

I believe it is all up to atmospheric pressure, Humidity, and of course temps. and the strains of wild yeast that are present at different times of the year.

Please feel free to commect on this. I have now started a new batch of starter, and want to see the starter rise 20% at least before I make the levin..

I remember last year my levin was quite active. Also in reading Peter Reinharts book on Starter he advises using pinnaple juice to prevent the formation of undesirable bacteria 

see post! http://peterreinhart.typepad.com/peter_reinhart/2006/07/sourdough_start.html

This makes a lot of sense to me. I wanted to approach this on a more scientific approach to figure out why the failures. So I can control the process. King Arthur flour is all I am using now,

I wish Chad would be a moderator on this subject if he had the time.

anyway appeciate any comments, suggestions, I live on the Guilf Coast of Mexico in Destin Florida.

Sigala

 

CelesteU's picture
CelesteU

I'm a (nearly) coastal baker in the humid deep south, too.  But I don't think your warm-weather problems have anything to do with humidity or heat (assuming that your kitchen is air-conditioned, LOL).  It's most likely due to an under-developed starter.  You mention that you didn't bake this bread for quite some time:  did you cultivate a new starter, or was this a reviving of a long-dormant starter?  If you didn't already throw it out, then feed it once a day for a week or so.  You'll soon know if it is lively or slow, and then you can adjust your bread-making accordingly.

If it pancaked in the oven, it either was under-risen, or the loaf was already too areated and it flopped due to over-rising.  I find that virtually ALL of my sourdough bread problems are related to the activity in my leaven.  The Tartine young-liquid-levain method only works if your levain is strong/lively.

Sigala's picture
Sigala

Thanks for the reply!

Yes, I started a made a new starter, And I agree that its the starter and levin. but what are your thoughts on the float test?

I have made San Francisco sourgough from a purchased dehydrated starter, it turned out very good, using the othet methods

King Arthur sells a liquid starter also, this first starter was very liveley. ot was like the blob, I found it had actually grew out of the container and was everywhere.

So Im going to the store to buy pinneapple juice, Im just working on the starter for now, unitl I get a good viable starter going.

where in the south are you? 

Thnaks for your input

 

Sigala

 

 

CelesteU's picture
CelesteU

I'm S/SW of NOLA by about 20 miles....how long did you cultivate your starter before you tried to use it?  The "float test" worked just fine for me, but I was beginning with a proven starter, which I built into the levain.  If you tried to use a nearly-new starter less than a week old, any bubbling/floating could have been due to something other than yeast.  Pineapple juice will help you get over a false start, but I don't use it repeatedly....just at the very beginning.  By the fifth or sixth day, your starter should be reliably rising & falling.  Another thing:  multiple small feedings is better than a whole bunch of fresh flour at once.

I feed my refrigerated starter every few weeks.  A couple of days before I want to bake, I'll feed it daily to get it going again.  But then I stick it back into the fridge and don't feed it at all, until just before I want to bake again.

I have a batch of levain rising on the counter right now.  I mixed it this AM before I left for work; it will sit out all day at room temp, and I'll assemble the dough this evening & do the stretch-n-folds.  Then I'll refrigerate it overnight and bake tomorrow.

tsaint's picture
tsaint

I might be having the same problem. The yeast I use is beer yeast from barm and it always bubbles and passes the float test. I've used it for about a year and I had wonderful Tartine bread (using a combo cooker) but once it started getting hot and humid, my dough started to feel more soupy - even adding more flour - and by the 4 hour mark it wasn't getting light and fluffy but just more wet. I pop them into the fridge for overnight and when I put them on parchment, they totally pancake and never ovenspring. But in May, I was doing the same thing and I had awesome oven spring. So let's say it's humidity.. does it need more kneading in heat? or just more flour? also my white flour is sitting in the closet, do you think white flour absorbs more water maybe from the humid summers? I really don't know what's wrong. I even made raisin bread from the Bread Baker's Apprentice book and that didn't even rise!! I'm getting slightly frustrated..

CelesteU's picture
CelesteU

How often are you refreshing your starter?  A too-sour starter could be the culprit.  A "soupy" dough can result from gluten breakdown...if your dough is too acid, this can happen.  No ovenspring would also indicate an over-proofed dough.  Since you've made a good Tartine loaf before, go by feel and forget the clock.  Is the temperature in your kitchen much higher than it was in May?  Try beginning the initial mixing with cold water (even ice water).  Take the dough's temp at various points during the process.

Issues like these are why I find the Tartine bread book inspirational, but in so many ways rather limited on the technical baking side of things.  Many things can go wrong with a high-hydration, young-leaven sourdough.  Get a copy of Hamelman's Bread and read the section on sourdough (or any of a long list of other good books with solid sourdough information).

On the other hand, the fact that you made a completely different bread and IT still didn't rise would point directly to a weak starter.  How often are you feeding it?  Try feeding it smaller amounts, but more often.

 

tsaint's picture
tsaint

Well I don't actually refresh my starter because it's a little different. I actually take a tsp of barm and mix it with flour/water until it bubbles. It's not like a sourdough starter.. it's like wet yeast. But I have been mixing it up and then putting in the fridge overnight so maybe I'll just try it fresh and bubbly. 

Also I'll try the cold water too! my kitchen is much much hotter now than in May so I'll definitely try the cold water.

thanks for the tips! I'll try it tomorrow and see if I can get improvements! :)

Sigala's picture
Sigala

CelesteU

How many times do you Stretch and fold the dough. during bulk fermantation?

and how long, are you fermenting. I know its suppose to be by the feel of the dough, 

I tried again yesterday after making the levin the evening before, found I had to let the levin develop more until it passed the float test.

I then bulk fermented 4 hrs. temp was about 78 deg, and Stretch and fold 3 x for the first 2 hrs, then each hr therafter. for total 4 hrs.

Then divided dough and complete the bench rest, again little rise,  when I went to bake, pancake again! 

Could the bulk fermentation be too long?

and final rise was overnight, started final rise at about 12 midnight, and baked at 6:30 am. but after the first 20 minutes in the dutch oven there was very little rise.

So I did not complete backing.

 

Thanks for your help. 

 

Another attempt tonight!

I now have my starter very healthy, rising and very active,

I am going to attempt again to make the levin, and Bread tommorow.

I fed my starter at about 5:00 pm, and now at 9:45 its again risen and show lots of activity.

temp in kitchen 76.6 deg.

I will make the Levin tonight at 10:00 and check in the morning, or the float test and proceed.

 

CelesteU's picture
CelesteU

During bulk fermentation, I stretch & fold every 30 minutes.  I don't think your bulk fermentation is too long, but it sounds like your final rise (~6 hours) might be too long.  I've had good success making this bread at 75-degree kitchen temps, so I don't think it's the ambient temp.  How did your bread turn out?

mivigliotti's picture
mivigliotti

I have been getting great results with this recipe. My only issue now is I have to be off to make this bread and I have been very busy on weekends as well now and I dont have time to do all the stretch and folds. Is there an alternate method for me to get the open crumb but not doing all the folds and having to turn every 30 minutes?

CelesteU's picture
CelesteU

Here's the schedule I've worked out for making Tartine bread.  I mix up the leaven in the early morning, before I leave for work.  When I get home in the evening, I mix the dough right away, which allows me to get in three or four hours' rising (with attendant stretch n folds) before I shape the loaves and put them in the refrigerator for the second rise (overnight).  Then I get up a little earlier the next day, heat the oven and the pots, turn out and slash the dough, then it bakes while I'm getting dressed.  I can take it out of the oven just before I leave for the day, and the loaves can cool unattended on the counter.  A nice bonus of this schedule:  fresh bread is ready and waiting for supper....

ETA:  I have also successfully mixed the leaven in the evening, let it develop overnight, then put it into the fridge the next morning for use in the late afternoon/early evening.

tsaint's picture
tsaint

I love making the Tartine bread, but I agree, sometimes I don't have 3-4 hours of stretch and fold time. So I actually tried that no knead method and it worked pretty good! The holes aren't as big, but they are decently big and chewy like Tartine bread. So basically you just mix up your dough and let it rise until double, then pop it in the fridge ( I have good results if I leave it in there for at least 2 days) and then when you want to bake, take some dough, shape it and let it rise for about 45min. Then I just bake it like I would a Tartine bread, it works pretty good surprisingly! 

mivigliotti's picture
mivigliotti

Yes I hear you!! I will try a new schedule  havent been able to make bread in 3 weeks, but I have kept up with my starter. It is highly active and I sometimes feed in twice a day. It gets sour real quick if I dont.

Calantha's picture
Calantha

Whew, this thread was helpful.  Prior to today, I'd only made the Tartine Country loaf once before and in terms of shaping and oven spring, they turned out lovely in shape--nice, round boules--and had a gorgeous crust, however my loaves lacked the open crumb that I was aspiring toward.  I thought maybe under fermentation and too much handling during shaping with the first loaves was an issue (underfermentation seems to be a common issue because my apartment is around 68F), but then this time, using a bowl of boiling water stored in the oven I ended up with pancakes!  After the bulk fermentation stage, I found it near impossible to pre-shape the boules.  The dough was just too sticky and wet, and inevitably would end up tearing.  I even left them to rest 20 minutes before attempting a pre-shape again, but still with no luck.  Fearing that I was handling the dough too much and would end up degassing them (there goes my open crumb!), I flopped them into two linen lined bowls and hoped for the best.  At the end of the 4 hour final rise, they were super-sticky but bubbly.  When I turned them out into the dutch oven, they simply spread to fill all the available space. The dough was so wet and sticky that scoring was impossible - the razor just gunked up with dough.  I've got one loaf out of the oven (and one loaf in the oven), and it did experience some oven spring and it smells exceptionally fragrant and deliciously sour (I like my sourdough on the sour side).  When it flopped into the oven it flipped over on itself and it's created a nice wrinkled and rustic look to the crust.  I'm going to wait until tomorrow to cut into them (though I'm eager to see what the crumb looks like).  I suspect after reading this thread that gluten development is definitely the issue.  I was worried because I realized that I was actually giving the loaves 4 turns every 30 minutes instead of the 1 turn suggested by the book, so that for the third and fourth hour I simply gave the dough one, gentle turn.  Though the dough did show good extensibility and elasticity.  

Perhaps I should have also stuck it out with the shaping - using more flour to get tighter surface tension?  Can anyone comment on this?  I was trying not to incorporate much additional flour, but I just found shaping impossible otherwise.  The bench scraper was sticking to the underside of the loaf and then when I pulled it back would tear the dough with it.  When I tried using only my hands, I found I could develop better surface tension without tearing but once I stopped shaping the dough would simply pancake out.  But perhaps I gave up too early?  How much can I handle the dough without fear of totally degassing it?

Gotta say though, it's nice to know I'm not the only one with Tartine pancakes. :)

 

Edit:  After watching the Tartine video again, I see how fast he works when the dough is placed on the bench.  Also helps to have a good work surface (which I don't).  I was using an old wood cutting board which really allows the dough to stick.  But those loaves in the video ARE super flat.  The one made by tester/musician Marie Abe is flat and spreads the width of her cast iron combo.  The only difference is that she could score hers, whereas I couldn't score mine...

sgregory's picture
sgregory

Scoring a really wet dough was dificult for me as well.  I make my own lame using a double edge razor on a kabab scewer. (spelling).  I the run the lame under running water, and then lightly holding the loaf with my finger tips quickly score the surface.  Holding the loaf lightly keeps it from moving and pulling, just watch your fingers.  The key is moving fast with a wet, clean, and sharp lame. 

joancassell's picture
joancassell

I've done my best to follow the instructions in the Tartine Bread book (except for making only one loaf at a time).  But three times now, after the first shaping, waiting 30 minutes, and then trying the final shaping, the dough acts like silly putty, flopping every which way.  I then take the sticky stuff, place it in the banneton and leave it (twice for three hours, once in the frig overnight).  I then pour it iinto the combicooker (bought just for this purpose -- okay, so I'm a compulsive nut!), slashed and baked it.  The result is BEAUTIFUL, lovely shape, crunchy crust, cumb full of holes.  But I'm compusive enough to want to be able to shape it properly.  What, in heaven's name, am I doing wrong?  Or should I just quit when I'm ahead?

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Are you sure you're giving the dough enough stretch and folds throughout the first fermentation? The dough should get progressively more cohesive as you do this, with three or four folds during the first 2 hours the minimum.  I would have no qualms in adding another stretch and fold if I felt the consistency of the dough wasn't where I wanted it to be.  Also be sure you're reaching down under the dough and gently stretching the dough as much as you can without tearing it.  I actually do four stretch and folds every half hour, turning the dough a quarter turn each time.  Try this; I think it might help to solve your problem.  I hope so.

Barbara

joancassell's picture
joancassell

Thanks Barbara.  When you say four stretch and folds, do you mean one fold quarter-turn four times, or four fold-quarter-turns four times? (I know I did the 30x4 for the San Jaoquin (sp?) sourdough with delicious results.)

 

Joan

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Hi Joan,

Sorry for the confusion.  I do four quarter turns every half hour, for a complete 360 degree turn.

Barbara

Moya Gray's picture
Moya Gray

Hi Joan -

I have been baking from Tartine book for the last 7 months and I have found that sometimes the weather makes a huge difference in the gluten development.  I normally do 4 quarter-turns every 30 minutes (one complete turn).  And to counter-act the slackness, my shaping has to make up for the wet dough.  So I really try to follow Tartine's instructions on shaping to ensure that I have good structure when it gets put into the hot dutch oven.   When I reduce the hydration to 62% dough is much easier to handle and will hold its shape without a dutch oven.  Tonight my dough is at 69% and it is almost as slack as at 75%.   Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

joancassell's picture
joancassell

Well, this time I had a brand new bread proofer, which may have helped make the difference.  The bread is beautiful, and tastes good.  But I still have difficulty shaping the final loaf, it sticks to the hard plastic sheet I use for shaping, and I can't seem to make a neat round ball before putting it into the banneton.  Any suggestions?

linder's picture
linder

Maybe lightly oil the plastic sheet? 

Linda

CelesteU's picture
CelesteU

Why are you using a hard plastic sheet when shaping?  Sounds like the surface isn't friendly.  I shape the loaf directly on a clean formica countertop or on a very lightly floured hardwood pastry board.  I can see how a slightly roughened or textured plastic surface (like a well used cutting board) might be a problem.

Also, are you using a dough scraper to help with the shaping?  It makes a big difference.  Here's a video, check it out starting around the 2:40 mark, and you can see the quick, light movements and use of dough scraper.  http://vimeo.com/14354661

 

MJ.O's picture
MJ.O

Hi everyone!

After over a year of great tasting but horrible looking bread, there is finally... FINALLY... a loaf in the oven, sitting on a shallow cast iron pan, that makes me want to jump up and dance!

I promise I'm not writing to brag, I truly want to commisserate with you all about how frustrating and challenging this high hydration dough thing has been. Tartine Bread is one of my favorite books because of its philosophy and beautiful photography (although I won't say that they're the easiest to decipher either), but try as I might, my shaped loaves simulataneously pour out and cling to the basket before flattening out into misshapen monster pancakes... a little too "rustic" to be given away proudly.

The two things I did differently were:

* FOLDING/TURNING THE DOUGH USING A DIFFERENT METHOD

* USING THE RICE FLOUR/BREAD FLOUR COMBO TO LINE BASKET, FOLLOWED BY OVERNIGHT RETARD (okay, he says to do this, but I finally listened!)

 

FOLDING: His procedure of turning the dough by simply grabbing from the bottom and bringing it up two or three times  DID NOT seem to work for me. Each loaf that I baked prior to this seemed to suffer from a lack of gluten development, but even when I incorporated extra turns in this fashion, I wouldn't get nearly the results I would with a lower hydration dough. In the bakery where I work, I instruct the staff to fold our doughs the "Hamelman" way (referring to it that way only because that's where I had read of the technique) which is to fold the dough into a package (flip dough over, fold left side to center, right side to center, top to center, bottom to center, then flip back onto seam). The folds I used are actually much more similar to what Robertson uses as his preshape and final shaping methods. It seems that both Robertson and Hamelman have the same goal, which is to stretch the gluten in a uniform & organized fashion with the eventual surface of the bread in mind, but my opinion is that Robertson's initial folding (as described by words & pics) was much less effective... for me!

RICE+FLOUR COMBO & OVERNIGHT RETARD: I know the revised folding was probably what did the trick for me, but I can't discount these either. And YES, Robertson DOES SAY to combine the RICE  + WHEAT flour together to line the baskets... it is completely my fault for making the assumption that putting rice flour, or rice flour then wheat flour, was enough to prevent the dough from adhering to the liner or the banneton. I've even used semolina, just as I had seen in some other youtube video about high hydration doughs, and it was always a disaster. This time, I combined 10 g rice flour + 7 g of bread flour in a little container & shook it, then used the mixture to line the linen. I final shaped my loaf into a fendu and placed it in the lined basket, sprinkled a little of the mixture on top, covered the basket with a shower cap, and left it to retard in the fridge overnight (whereas I used to do the final rise at room temp).

In the morning, while my cast iron dutch oven was preheating, I took my loaf out of the fridge. As soon as the oven hit 500F, I took the shallow skillet out and turned my loaf out onto it, and VOILA! for the first time, it didn't stick!!! (Perhaps the chill of the fridge helped prevent the stickiness problem, too?) Because I shaped it into a fendu, I didn't have to score it, so into the oven it went with the dutch oven as the cover for 20 minutes at 450F. I removed the cover and let it finish baking for another 25, and here is what I have...

(Sorry, this photo upload feature is driving me crazy!)

Anyway, what can I say other than "Yippee!!!"?

... Now, how do I repeat this miraculous feat?! :) 

Good luck to everyone with Tartine Bread! It's one of the biggest baking challenges I've faced so far, but a fulfilling one nevertheless!

 

MJ.O

 

 

 

 

 

joancassell's picture
joancassell

Well this time I did it.  Everything worked, even the shaping.  I'm not sure what I did right, but the bread is beautiful.  (Although it did take two days before my starter floated; I hung in there and finally it did float).  The bread is beautiful and tastes delicious. (If I could figure out how to attach a photo I'd do so.)  But I feel as though I've scaled a mini-Everest of bread baking.

Rdturtle's picture
Rdturtle

I've had the book Tartine Bread for a while and just tried to make my first Country Bread. My starter was five days old and rising and falling as described, and it passed the float test this morning and I made the dough as described but throughout five hours of bulk fermentation it just sat there, didn't rise at all. I finally gave up, made a little poolish, and folded it into the otherwise inert dough with a Kitchen Aid. I don't feel like wasting all that flour and effort--I'm going to get some bread out of it even if I have to cheat. Besides, he he writes in teh first chapter that the golden age of French bread was based on a combination of levain and commercial yeast. It's rising nicely now and in a few minutes I'll heat the covered ceramic batard pans I usually use. I'll keep trying but I really have no idea what went wrong. I was a baker (completely untrained though) in my 20s and have had nothing but success with No Knead Bread and even my own sourdough rye starter. But this is a challenge. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I would have waited an easy 8 hours before giving up.  Even then...  sourdoughs do take their time.  No problem adding yeast so that you can bake it to get to bed.  Give your new starter a few more days and try again.  Could be you rushed it.  :)

Rdturtle's picture
Rdturtle

Thansk, Mini, I thought of waiting, but I won't have a chance to bake again until Saturday and figured since I still have the starter I can do it again next week when I have a four day weekend. And I am looking forward to a snack later of warm bread and butter and a glass of milk before bed. 

jiminpublic's picture
jiminpublic

A question for @mj.o or anyone else who cares to comment -- How many times do you do the left-right-top-bottom fold?  My reading of the book was that only one was required or needed, but after turning out a few ok-but-not-great semi-pancakes, I'm beginning to think that more are needed.  Any advice?

MJ.O's picture
MJ.O

 Hi jiminpublic,

The left-right-top-bottom fold I described in my first post, I do no less than 8-9 times!

Fold at time 0:00 (this is right after I mix in the salt and place the dough in the container for bulk fermentation)

Fold a total of four times in half-hour intervals, 0:30, 1:00, 1:30, 2:00

Fold a total of two times in hour intervals, 3:00, 4:00

Divide the dough (if necessary) and fold and lightly round for the preshape

(Potential fold after the first preshape, in case the dough seems lacking strength -- spreading out rather than puffing up)

Fold again and round for the final shape.

This is the same timing sequence of the "turns" in the book, but this method seems a lot more aggressive. Ever since I adapted this folding technique, my doughs have become very consistent and the breads delicious and easy on the eye! (Whereas before the bread was delicious but aesthetically disappointing.) I still cannot fathom why I fail when following his instructions to the letter, or how anybody that does, succeeds! (I still love the book though.)

Also, as you are performing your folds, it is important to keep in mind what the eventual surface of the dough will be -- the smooth side you create when you make the first fold should be the side that ends up being the top of your baked bread. Flip and fold accordingly.

Good luck! I am sure success is only one loaf and 8-9 good folds away :)

 

MJ.O

 



 

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Hi Jim,

I have a lot of experience with this bread since I bake it almost unfailingly, once a week.  I usually do the full stretch and fold routine -- North, South, East, West -- once, then repeat that sequence 2 more times at 30-minute intervals.  But sometimes the dough is more liquidy than normal, as it was for me this past weekend. (It could be because I was adding spelt flour instead of my usual whole wheat for the last 100 grams.) So I ended up doing at least two full turns per stretch and fold, and even adding a fourth stretch and fold session before letting the dough finish its fermentation uninterupted.  I'd say to do whatever the dough seems to need. I don't think you can overdo the stretch and folds. 

jiminpublic's picture
jiminpublic

Excuse the long delay in responding, but I was in the lab, experimenting...

Test 1: I tried doing NSEW folds for each turn, allowing 4 hours for bulk and 3 hours for the rise.  I ended up with a big goopy puddle of dough which couldn't be slashed and sprang hardly at all.  In retrospect, I may have been a little overly brusque with the dough...

Test 2: I went back to the "pull it up and stretch it out" folding method for 4 hours, but let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.  This one still felt pretty soft when put in to rise, but, to my surprise/pleasure, opened up quite nicely.  The risen dough resisted being slashed very nicely (thus letting me get some good slashes in), and I ended up with a loaf about 4" at its peak.  How much of the firmness of the risen dough was due to general tension vs. still being somewhat chilled from the refrigerator isn't clear, but, in any case, the result was much better.

Test 2 was the obvious winner; I'll be experimenting more with this later.  Thanks to all for the advice!