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Proofing basket volume vs. dough weight

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chyatt's picture
chyatt

Proofing basket volume vs. dough weight

 I hope I'm not repeating another thread, but I haven't found anything on TFL that quite answers my question.

I recently purchased some proofing baskets from brotform (one round, one oval). Having no other information to go by on dough weight vs. proofing basket volume, I went by their recommendations, a 10.5" oval basket for 2 lbs of dough. The dough weight after bench rest is consistently between 2-2.5 lbs, but it seems that my boules in particular have spread out too much in the basket during proofing, and so are relatively flat in the bake. The batard is coming out better, though it still feels a bit on the larg side.

I'm happy to admit this is due to troubles of my own making with regards to over proofing or poor scoring, but is there any rule of thumb on the optimal volume of the proofing container for a dough weight?

Thanks,

 

chyatt

 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

"but is there any rule of thumb on the optimal volume of the proofing container for a dough weight?"

 

Not that I know of.  As a general rule the proofing container should fit the formed loaf such that it allows the dough to expand freely upward with a small amount of lateral expansion (pancaking). It should have enough volume to allow the dough to double in bulk plus a small margin. A bread pan is one type of proofing container - reed baskets another.

Volumetric marking of a particular basket or container (if not marked) can be accomplished by using a large polyethylene bag. Line the basket with the poly bag and pour measured amonts of water into the basket.  Make a mark on the basket with an indelible marking pen at the waterline of each volume unit (this is a relative scale).  Now double the amount of water and place another mark. Repeat until you have a series of volumetric measuring marks for the basket. You'll now be better able to judge when the dough has doubled in bulk (Le Pointage).

Wild-Yeast 

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Thanks for sharing this basket-measuring technique, I like this idea. 

longhorn's picture
longhorn

I find your description confusing for 2 pounds of dough should fill your basket to a point when proofed that it is essentially full. Your use of the phrase "spread out too much in the basket"...and therefore..."are thin" doesn't make sense to me. I can't envision it being able to spread in the basket!

Such loaves routinely spread when removed from the basket and placed on the hearth...but excessive spreading is likely to reflect excess hydration, excess dough degradation during prolonged proofing (retarding), inadequate dough development, or inadequate tension in the skin during forming. All of these can contribute to spreading. However...I routinely make wet doughs in the 70 percent hydration range that don't spread so it tends to boil down to dough development and tension IMO.

Good luck!

Jay

cranbo's picture
cranbo
chyatt's picture
chyatt

Thanks for the responses, they are helpful. The list provided confirms I've got roughly the right container size, if perhaps a bit big for my loaves.

The basket measuring technique is helpful, thank you!

Jay, I apologize for being confusing, part of my goal was to figure out if some of the trouble I was having was attributable to the size of the baskets, or if they were unrelated. What I meant by "spreading" was the pancaking effect once the dough is out of the basket, but I was trying to ascertain if that is partly due to proofing container creating an overly large base for the dough. Perhaps not, or perhaps it is a proofing volume issue, not a container issue at all.

 

 

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Hi Chyatt!

No need for apologies.  I was just trying to relate what you described to my expeirence.

One can make amazingly tall loaves from rather pancaked loaves. The reasons I listed are some of those that contribute to pancaking when removed from the basket. IF the dough you want pancakes, you can compensate by baking it earlier - underproofing a bit. (I realize you won't know if it is going to pancake until you remove it, but as you refine your dough making you will find a pattern and can shorten the proof if it is consistently flatter than you want.)

If your loaves stay flat (don't have much oven spring) you are likely to be overproofing. 

If you tell us more about your flour, dough, hydration, proofing, we might be able to make more specific suggestions.

Hang in there!

Jay