The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

More Trouble with ITJB Vienna Bread

  • Pin It
OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

More Trouble with ITJB Vienna Bread

After last night's poor results on the Vienna Bread recipe from Inside The Jewish Bakery, I received some excellent tips and advice.  I wasted no time putting them to work tonight in a fresh bake.  Unfortunately I am still not getting it right.  I have the same result, albeit less severly, in this next bake. 

The essential change in this bake over my first was to change to a lower protein flour.  This bake was done with 100% unbleached Pendleton Mills Morebread flour, which is right at 12% protein and 0.55 ash content according to the specs in their technical booklet.  The dough took slightly less time to form a window pane, and the house is warmer today so proof times were closer to those prescribed in the book.  I also baked these to a slightly higher internal temperature (208F) than the called for in trying to get them properly colored up on the crust.  When the crust color seemed right, the IT ended up being high. 

Here are the latest results:

These loaves started to contract almost immediately upon unpanning them.  I rotated them over onto their sides at the first indication of trouble, and the contractions predominated on the "top" sides after that.  Thus the "hourglass" is lopsided in the cross section on these.

It is interesting that the compressed, doughy patch is on the side of the loaf that is not sunken in.  The sunken in side does not have that doughy, compressed effect.  Also, the crumb seems to be pretty uniform across the cross section, with considerable openness, indicating vigorous activity.  That may be contributing to the problem.

The flavor in this bread is, again, very good.  The crumb is light and tender, but still with a good "bite", even with the reduced strength of the flour.

I will bake this yet again once I find some quality flour that is below 12% protein.  Also, based in part on the information provided in response to my blog post on the previous loaves, I will  consider reducing the yeast in the next batch if further reducing the strength of the flour does not solve this.  I always get explosive response from instant yeast, and I seem to have to reduce it in nearly every formula I bake with it.  This one seems headed in the same direction, but I will stick to varying only one thing at a time.  More baking for me that way!

Thanks for stopping by.
OldWoodenSpoon

Comments

yy's picture
yy

I thought somebody had also suggested that the pans you're using might be too small for the amount of dough. The dome of bread on top looks about as massive, if not more, as the square part of the bread contained inside the pan. Even a dough with good structural integrity would sag under that weight. Maybe reduce the amount to a 2/3 recipe, or even a 1/2 recipe and try again. Since you like the texture of the bread, I see no reason to change to another flour again.

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

Thank you for thinking about this!  I do like the texture of the bread, but then I liked it when I made it of strong flour too, but one of the authors of Inside the Jewish Bakery where this formula is found commented on that blog post that my flour was too strong.  I looked up the flour spec for the flour and confirmed that it was way over the top in protein for what the book defines as "bread" flour.  I'm going to try a still lower protein flour next because my Pendleton Mills Morebread flour is a 12% protein flour, and 12% is right at the top of the range the book classifies as "bread" flour.  That, and I did get quite an improvement with this lower protein flour.  I'm going to test the hypothesis that the batch of flour I currently have might still be above 12%, but within the manufacturer's permitted variance for the product and specification.  That test may not yield an improvement, but it will eliminate the variable.  Then I'll move on if necessary.

Since the pan size seems to be a common theme in the responses to this topic I will answer that below.  If you read my later comments you will see my response on that subject.

I  really do appreciate your thoughtful response.

Thank You
OldWoodenSpoon

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

placed in them?  

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

Pans are filled to just over 1/2 full, but less than 2/3 full.  I shape to about an inch or so less than the full length of the pan, and about 1/2" or so less than the width.   The proof called for is until "the top of the dough is level with the top of the pan" and in this case that took roughly 50 minutes.  That is the point where I put them in the oven.  Everything you see above the rim of the pan is oven spring.  That's what I meant when I said I get "explosive" results from instant yeast.  My instant yeast loaves always seem to do this on the amount of yeast called for in whatever recipe I am using.

Thanks
OldWoodenSpoon

yy's picture
yy

If your'e getting that much ovenspring, you might be underproofing. This is also evidenced by the "explosion" in the side of the domed part. I'm not sure why you're getting such different results when the book tells you the size of the loaf pan, but I would just reduce the dough amount next time. A bit over 1/2 full is pretty full. If the gluten is well developed, the dough is capable of tripling in size (at least) and still springing in the oven. Worth a try - sometimes the simplest explanations suffice. I agree with another of the commenters that protein level does not make a huge difference in results, so I also doubt it's responsible for the collapse. I routinely use KA AP (11.7%) in place of KA bread flour (12.5%?) if I run out of the latter, and the results are pretty much the same. 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

If not that, and you're confident that the kneading/gluten development are up to par, then how's this for an idea completely out of left field: don't score the loaves.

The shaping is rouler, right? Rectangle of dough rolled, pinched, and panned? If so, then a score down the middle (essentially at the point where your surface tension is greatest) could cause this deformation.

Note. If you don't score, be careful not to overproof and nip those surface gas bubbles that form, if any, before they become troublesome.  

-

I don't think it's a problem with the flour, as I make enriched white breads like this all the time with many different flours (10-13.5% protein) and have never seen this problem. The only difference I see with higher protein flour in a bread like this is in crumb density. 

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

I'm having a fundamental problem seeing the validity of all the comments about pan size and dough mass, but it is a common theme in several of the comments I've gotten here.  My fundamental problem is this:  This formula is a tested formula from a new but respected book.  The testing was done, in large part (if not almost entirely) by bakers right here on The Fresh Loaf.  I'm not the first to bake this bread, but I seem to be the first to have this problem.  Yet, flour selection aside, I'm baking it as I presume those other bakers did:  according to the published instructions:
1)  "knead until the dough is smooth and elastic and stretches when pinched and pulled" - I'm there.  If anyone suggested that I am over developing the dough I would be more inclined to consider the possibility.  This dough is well developed, so yes, I am confident that the gluten development is adequate.  If you look at the amount of gas being retained and the loft the loaf achieves I think you can see the evidence yourself.

2) "flaten into a square ... fold ... into thirds ... seal the bottom edge" - This is how I am shaping the loaves.  I've done it before, but I don't make a lot of pan loaves so I'm no expert, but not a total newby either.  My loaves are pulling apart a little in the seams. Clearly my shaping is not perfect but I don't think this is a shaping issue.

3)  "into a 4 1/2" by 8 1/2" pan" - Here is where I have my problem with the dough mass/pan size comments:   This is the pan size called for by the recipe, and the shaped loaves fit appropriately when placed into the pan.  This is the pan size the test bakers used.  If pan size were the problem here I would not be the only one running into it, and it would have been discovered during formula development, and/or it would have shown up in the test bakes.  I will, however, try the next larger pans I have, but I think that at 5 1/2" by 9 1/2 " they are much too large.  It will be an interesting test.

4) "brush with egg [which I do] and score once down the middle" (emphasis added)  - This is why I score the loaf.  Just as an aside, I don't get how this might cause the deformation I'm seeing.  I could see it if the loaf were not fully baked and the crust fully set when the loaf is unpanned.  That would seem to leave the score as a weak spot.  In the fully baked crust though, it just doesn't seem like it would be that weak.  That, and the loaf is not splitting in half down the score.  It appears that the side walls of the loaf where it was supoorted by the pan are structurally insufficient to support the weight of the loaf.  Do you have any reference on the point about scoring?  I'd love to read up and see if I can come to understand.

Thanks for your thoughts.  I appreciate the time and effort.
OldWoodenSpoon

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

That's why I said "out of left field" re: the scoring. I've had all sorts of problems with pan loaf bloom caused by scoring, so I don't score them anymore. They don't rise as much as I might like, but at least they don't deform or poof out (develop "love handles"), not unlike what yours are doing.

Loaves expand toward the point of least resistance. One can see how scoring this loaf means there will be less vertical resistance. That should lessen or comprise lateral expansion (against the sides). Again, conjecture; to disprove; don't score one of your loaves. ;D

-=-

The reason I'm saying too much mass is from visual inspection only: 70% of the loaf is above the rim. From the looks of it, that's too small of a loaf pan or too large an amount of dough. Scoring will contribute significantly to that bloom.

-=-

I'd think folding in thirds would be too loose, but one assumes the authors know best. 

I'd try a rouler with one loaf (roll it tightly instead of in folding thirds (and seal)) and see if that helps.

-=-

How many loaves are you baking at once?

(It almost looks like more heat is getting to the inner sides than the outer, which could be a contributing factor. This, though, also from visual inspection.)

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

Ah, I see.  The additional explanation helps, and I think I see your point now.   I typically do score the pan loaves that I bake, such as the Cracked Wheat loaf from RLB's TBB, unless they are braided (see my Swiss Egg Bread posting here).  I've not had it cause this problem before, but I do see how it could come about.  I'll keep it in mind for testing.  The same for the rouler shaping alternative.

I am baking two loaves at once.  I use two racks of unglazed quarry tiles in my oven.  The pans sit well separated from each other on the lower rack, at the bottom 1/3 point in the oven.  The other layer is above, near the top of the oven.  For these bakes the oven has been well saturated because my wife has been preparing oven-baked dishes for dinner for a couple of days.  Even so I preheat for about 35-40 minutes to raise everything up to full baking temperature.  I bake as many as four pan loaves at once in this oven with good results (see again the Swiss Egg Bread linked to above), so I know the oven is up to the challenge of these two small loaves.

Thanks.
OldWoodenSpoon

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

maybe your flour doesn't absorb all the water called for in the recipe, resulting in a dough too slack and in a crumb too soft to bear the weight of the loaf?

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

Thanks for your feedback nicodvb.  I don't think I could call this a slack dough.  The baker's percentage for water is only 50%, and then there is a small amount of oil and an egg as enrichments.  If anything it feels pretty stiff compared to some of the high hydration doughs I work with when baking sourdough bread (very different dough I grant).  The dough is soft and pliable, for certain, but it has resilience, and a suppleness and silky feel to it as do most enriched doughs.  When rounded for bulk fermentation it tends to hold it's shape pretty well.  The same is true of final shaping.

I suspect you may be right about the crumb being too soft to bear the weight of the loaf, but I don't think it is because of hydration, or because the hydration is uneven or incomplete.  These doughs have been uniform and consistent in feel when shaping.  What ever the cause turns out to be, I'm finding it an interesting, if somewhat frustrating, challenge.

Who would have thought that a simple loaf of enriched white bread could cause so much fuss?

Thanks again for your comments.
OldWoodenSpoon

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Looking at the pictures I noticed that the main bloom is at the rim of the tin and not at the slash, and that the bottom crust is almost stronger than the top crust.

Could that be caused by too much bottom heat?

I know, sounds like a wild guess. My thinking: The dough gets a mighty push from below when the top crust is just forming - the rim of the tin is probably cooler  than the top (sometimes there is a thick wire in the rim), the dough surface softer than on the top and the loaf expands on the sides while the slash just dries up. 

I had funny results sometimes when I baked tinned breads on a stone. I now take the stone out when baking tinned loaves. (This could be an oven specific effect)

My suggestion - try a bake without both stones!

Juergen

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

I do bake on stones.  Well, unglazed quarry tiles actually.  I use two shelves of tiles, one under and one above.  I bake directly on the lower tiles.  I bake several different pan loaves exactlty this way (see notes in my responses to earlier posts above), but this problem is entirely new in my experience. 

I will keep your theory in mind as I work through my efforts here.  I think, rather than not use tiles, I would add my third rack to the oven.  Lower the bottom tiles down to the bottom of the oven, raise the top ones all the way up, and put the third rack in the lower middle of the oven.  That would still give me the thermal mass in the oven, but not the direct blast of bottom heat. 

The thing is, though, that given the origins of this recipe, I have a hard time seeing things like this as being the real problem.  Those bakeries in Brooklyn, the Bronx and New Jersey, Chicago, Philly...  They probably all had solid stone/brick surfaces in them.  They did not use wire racks, and they made these loaves by the thousands.  Heck, probably by the 100's of thousands.  Then again, they baked much larger batches, and small inconsistencie of measurement and proportion, and possibly of baking environment too, had far less impact.  It's an interesting project with lot's of interesting facets to it.

Thanks for the thought!
OldWoodenSpoon

ackkkright's picture
ackkkright

Mr. Old Spoon,

That is some kind of oven spring. Your yeast have learned to hyperferment. It appears to me that great pressure has concentrated most of the mass of the dough web near the crust, constricted by the tin. There is not enough mass left in the interior of the web to provide the compressive strength needed to resist the weight of the crust made heavier.

If you continue with the current formula and ingredients, I think you require a larger tin. Or find a way to slow the yeast.

 

ackkkright

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

 for your contribution to my oddessy efforts to bake a good loaf of this seemingly simple bread.   You are in good company with all the other contributors that subscribe to the "too much dough/pan too small" diagnosis.  I was coming to agree with all of you until I saw the confirming parallel bake posted earlier today by Eric Hanner on his blog.  You can see that post here.  I feel, for now at least, that his results confirm the recipe in prescribing an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" baking pan size.  If I don't find other solutions, however, I will test the larger pan to see what effect it has on the outcome.

Thanks
OldWoodenSpoon

ackkkright's picture
ackkkright

I suggested the larger tin for your situation, which you claim is unique among bakers of this bread.

I compared yours with the other posted vienna bread. Indeed they seem quite different. Your crumb seems from your photo to be much less dense, which I believe adds evidence to my theory. Something, either a unique ingredient or unique fermentation, is causing a big gas explosion inside a well-developed crust. You are making a balloon. Yours is a different bread than the other vienna.

Perhaps the dough is overdeveloped...or you are incorrect about the volume of your tin.

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

What if (and it's a big what-if) you were to allow the loaves to cool for 5-10 minutes while still in their pans, maybe while still in a propped-open, turned-off oven?  Ordinarily that's done for hearth-baked loaves to increase crustiness.  In this case, maybe the slower cooling would allow the sides of the loaves to firm up while still supported.

I've never tried this, so it isn't a recommendation; just a hare-brained idea.

Paul

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

Paul...  I almost tried that tonight in my latest bake, but decided I already had settled my changes for this cycle, and adding another variable at the end (when it finally occurred to me) would not be productive in determining cause.  It might well save the loaf though!  Check my blog later for more on that though.

I think you have the better idea with the open oven door.  It would provide some "setting up" time, and dry the crust a  little but not a lot, all without disturbing the loaf.  I may have to try it before I finish this little journey.

Hare-brained ideas are frequently serendipity personified!

Thanks Paul
OldWoodenSpoon

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Before I get into that, though, you should be more than a little afraid to find that you are thinking like I am.  By the way, what's your address?  When the nice men in the white coats stop by next, I'll tell them that I don't want any today and recommend you as a new customer.  Deal?

Anyway, the ideas.  From looking at the photos and reading the accounts of all three of your bakes (so far), it is evident that your bread is experiencing massive oven spring.  That's not as common in panned breads as it is in hearth loaves.  So, what's going on?

First thought: the book recommends that the baking position for this bread is mid-oven.  I know that you have been playing around with positioning the baking racks, along with the use of baking stones.  Maybe your earlier setup was providing too much heat to the bottom of the loaf.  Not so much as to burn it, but enough to drive a really big expansion which the side walls were then unable to support.  Dunno if changing the position in the oven will help but it may be something to look into.

Second thought: I didn't see a mention of the type of malt you are using.  The formula doesn't specify but I would hazard a guess that non-diastatic malt is intended.  If the malt you are using is a diastatic variety, maybe it is providing too much sugar for the yeasts and fuelling that over-the-top dome on the loaves.  I'd expect that you would see some other problems, like gummy crumb, but maybe the fermentation times are short enough for this bread that some of those symptoms don't manifest strongly.

Consider this another couple of hares to throw into the hutch.  User discretion is advised.

Paul

ackkkright's picture
ackkkright

I would add that not only does the expansion seem super-fueled, but it also seems remarkable to me that the dough is extensible enough to handle it. It seems the scoring means nothing, the whole of the skin is willing to stretch as much as the slash is willing to open. The loaves don't seem to tear anywhere.

 

 

 

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

The appearance of the scores is a distinctive difference between all of my bakes and the one posted by Eric Hanner.   His loaves show a moderate gringe, and mine look like they have scars on top.  Perplexing, to say the least.

Thanks
OldWoodenSpoon

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

Yes, in fact last night I changed the rack setup in the oven, adding a third rack in the middle above the rack of tiles that I lowered to the bottom of the oven.  The wire rack I baked on is the next level up with no tiles or stone, and the top rack with more tiles on it is all the way up as high as it will go.  With the oven spring I have been getting I'm afraid to raise the baking rack any higher for fear of running out of headspace for the loaves.   The spring has been that dramatic.  If I can control that somewhat I'll try to move up a level.

As for the malt, I learned (between  MiniOven's comments last night and Andy's [ananda] today) that I do not have the right malt.  I have been using a low-diastatic malt, not a non-diastatic malt.  I seem to recall a note in the front of the book that pointed out things like "Malt always means non-diastatic malt unless otherwise specified." and such.  In any case I am discontinuing use of malt till I can get the non-diastatic kind, and I'll figure out something to use up what I have.  Need a doorstop?

By the way, do those guys in the white coats stop at your place often?  They keep coming around here and annoying me.   "They" must be the ones that say "Great minds think alike", do you think?  Anyway, they already have my address.  My number too.  I'm a regular.

Thanks Paul, for the fun and the thoughtful ideas.  I'm writing up tonight's bake now (better results but still not right) and should get it posted by tomorrow some time.
OldWoodenSpoon