The Fresh Loaf

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retarded bread problem

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dig512's picture
dig512

retarded bread problem

I've recently been retarding my bread and rolls. They come out great except some customers are complaining that when they cut the bread to make a sandwich the "hinge" is not strong enough and rips causing the roll to become two separate pieces. Any thoughts?

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Sorry, kind of confusing...

What's a hinge? The slash?

You say when they cut it for a sandwich, so I'm thinking loaf, but then you say it causes the roll to seperate. Is it your loafs, rolls, both?

Do you have any pics? Can you duplicate the problem they are describing in your controlled setting?

- Keith

dig512's picture
dig512

Keith,
Sorry for the confusing description. The hinge I am referring to is the part of the roll that is left intact after it is cut open for a sandwich. The opposite end of the sliced roll. Hope that helps. I don't have a problem with the rolls when we cook them fresh but when we retard them, the hinge gets weak. I've tried spacing them out more on the boards to cook them more to get a better cook on the sides. No avail. Wetter doughs...nope. drier doughs don't work either.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Off the top of my head, I'm drawing blanks my good friend...

Any chance of getting a few pictures? The problem you are describing might become rather apparent when shown in a photo.

- Keith

Chuck's picture
Chuck

My silly wild-assed guess would be the hinge strength problem is a secondary result of your retarding procedure, and not really due to the retarding itself. What the heck do I mean by that? Well, some examples:

  • because of scheduling, the retarded loaves have to wait around a bit longer and so are a bit over-proofed
  • because of retarding in the refrigerator, the loaves are so cold when they go into the oven that they mess up steam generation and there's less steam for less time than usual
  • because of retarding in the refrigerator, the loaves are so cold when they go into the oven that it drops the oven temperature quite a bit (100F?) for several minutes
  • because of being uncovered for a very long time, the surface layer of the shaped loaves becomes significantly dehydrated

(One thing I wish I understood better is whether the "hinge" is mostly "crust" or not. If the crust were say a little thinner and a little crunchier, would that cause the "hinge" problem, or is something different going on?)

dig512's picture
dig512

The hinge isn't crispy at all. It just seems to be very weak on the sides of the bread. It tears apart rather easily after the roll is cut. The bread that is baked fresh is light and crispy and does not have the problem of the weak hinge. The problem I have is my customers love the taste of the retarded bread but are losing rolls throughout service. It's driving me crazy! They want the retarded bread.

dig512's picture
dig512

I will try to post some pics later after the first bake. Thanks for your help.

Danny

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Danny, 

Great to hear that your clientele loves the taste of retarded bread.  Nothing like having a taste advantage!

Retarding dough slows biological processes allowing enzymes in the wet dough to act on the carbohydrates breaking them down into sugars creating a bread with a more desirable taste. The sweetened dough will also brown more as the additional sugar content carmelizes. I am guessing that this may be weakening the structure of the crust and might be the cause of the "hinge" failures.

One solution is to use a steam atmosphere during baking which enhances the crusts thickness, strength and flexibility [though I sense that this is not an option for you]. I am also assuming that you're not baking the rolls in a pan.

Another avenue is to investigate whether the "hinge area" is undergoing oven spring stretch which also weakens the crust structure. A small slash incision in the dough above the hinge area would move the stretching to an area "away" from the hinge. 

One last item is that the retard also relaxes the protein sheath of formed loaves.  You might try forming a thicker more robust protein sheath to "toughen up and thicken" the crust.

Wild-Yeast 

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

You want more strength, so try an autolyse, essentially mix the flour and water until just incorporated and let it sit there for 20-60+ minutes, then proceed as normal. Your dough strength will increase dramatically, so be careful not to kill your mixer with too large batch. I might suggest trying a half batch.

I've found 45 minutes to be ideal for my rolls, but have experimented with an extreme of (half the flour and water) overnight.

I make these pecan/Medjool date loaves that use a 90 minute autolyse. They're strong and airy, without having to turn the crust into concrete with too much steam. If I try to make them without autolyse, they're dense and weak, but still taste OK.

A quote on Calvel's autolyse: The goal of autolyse is to make the dough stronger and more extensible, better able to stretch without tearing. The well hydrated protein forms stronger gluten chains, while the protease works to break down some of the gluten for better extensibility. All of this happens without mixing, so less oxygen is mixed into the dough, which causes the bleaching of color and flavor. Read more: http://www.slashfood.com/2008/08/21/baking-terms-defined-autolyse/#ixzz1Pl4hpHrw

dig512's picture
dig512

Thanks. I use the autolyse method with my French bread bit not my rolls. My recipe for rolls has less hydration. Also, I do not have a proof box so I proof the rolls then they go into the retarder. We take them out at night and let them sit in the floor for 15 minutes then they go into oven. When I first started experimenting we put them into the retarder right after shaping with no proof, then at night let them proof on the floor. It took around 4 hours and I didn't have the problem with the hinge. But I qm a small bakery and don't have the time or space for such a long proof.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Don't know if you can add some heat to the latter method that produced no problems? The logic is, after a long retardation, the flavor is already there. Now we just want the yeast to raise it to a proper proof. Taking 4 hours at ambient temperature (because the dough was cold to begin with) isn't needed for 'taste', so that process can get accelerated. The only way to do that is to raise the ambient temperature. I doubt you'll achieve 15 mins, but I'd say 30-45 mins could be done, assuming you can get the heat to the dough.

A lot of people get strange 'problems' when retarding after final.. I'm willing to wager that's either directly responsible, or at least majorly responsible for your phenomenon. Now to find a solution to fit your facility and production schedule!

- Keith

dig512's picture
dig512

Also, would autolyse help with the production of bagels?

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

You want bagels to be strong, but dense.

Autolyse results in strong, but airy, so autolyse wouldn't be a good choice for bagel production.

Real bagels require hi-gluten bread flour, not just bread flour.

You can make bagels with bread flour, but you'll end up with those rather awful bagels they sell in the supermarket: bready donuts.

I use King Arthur Sir Lancelot Hi-Gluten 14.2% Protein for bagels: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/Conventional-bakery-flours.html

dig512's picture
dig512

Keith,
I was thinking about doing a bulk ferment in the retarder. my question is do I let dough proof 2 hours after I mix or go into the retarder immediately?

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

I would think the actual answer would come with good ol' fashioned experimentation.

I will typically do my bulk on the counter, and I don't 'time' it... I watch the actual bulk structure. Then, into the refrigerator it goes. I don't have many choices there, because my refrigerator is very cold, and I get no rise in there at all. This is all very satisfactory for me, because I'm baking for family, not a production schedule that deliveries rely on. Do you actually have a 'retarder' that can get above 50 degrees or so? If so, then you can probably get results with a bulk inside that unit. Even more so if the temperature is adjustable by you..

- Keith