The Fresh Loaf

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Dough getting much stiffer after first fermentation

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nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Dough getting much stiffer after first fermentation

Hi,

in this period I'm preparing a lot of panettones with a lot of sugar and fats in the dough:-)

What I noticed is that after several hours the first dough (very slack at the end of the kneading) gets much stiffer, it can even be handled by hands. I wonder if this effect is due to the acidification that comes with fermentation, or to the nature of the flour (W 410, 14.5% proteins) or -possibly- to vitamin C (not listed in the in bag, but almost surely present in the flour).

Does vitamin C act in the long term? What would happen if I added some more dissolved in the water of the dough? Would it help to increase the absorbence?

Nico

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Nico,

Plant bakers use ascorbic acid with the improver in order to provide increased dough strength during mixing and the early stages of fermentation.   They rely also either on intensely mixing the dough with a high speed mixer, or, through the use of chemical [L-Cysteine], or enzyme [Protease, not declared!] in order to reduce the dough.   So elasticity and extensibility are both achieved within 10 - 15 minutes of dough formation.   You are doing the same thing, only much better of course, over a long period of time using something natural, called fermentation.   Improvers are designed to speed up the process, so the longer term benefit is reduced.   It might, however, give you better dough structure in the early stages of mixing.

I managed to completely over-mix my Panettone dough a couple of days ago.   I ended up with cake!

Very best wishes to you

Andy

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Overmixing panettone. It's not just me that does this then! I cannot tell you how many times I've done this! It's so dis-heartening isn't it?! I've overmixed the dough more times than I haven't. I too have panettone cake in the oven right now!

mwilson's picture
mwilson

I'm guesing your using natural yeast - from my experience this is a completely normal observation. The acidity build up will strengthen the dough somewhat. This was especialy notiable in the Francesco Elmi panettone I made recently. The first dough was very slack after mixing but after fermentaion it was much more firm.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Yes, Mwilson, you guessed correctly. Elmi's first dough was exactly the dough that exhibited that particular behaviour more clearly.

Andy, thanks for your remarks. It's sad having a dough like that overmixed. Retry and you'll surely pull out of your hat a panettone as wonderful as your breads!

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I'm guessing it's the excessive amount of gluten (for panettone) in the flour you're using that's responsible. 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

In order to achieve a more open crumb I use flour for pizza in the second dough (9.5% proteins). 80% of the flour is in the first dough, 20% in the second dough.

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Hi Nico,

Just a few random observations . . .

Your flour, if truly at 14.5% protein (which is extraordinarily high) is much stronger than any used in viennoiserie with which I am familar.  In any case, it's quite possible that there was at least a bit of delayed absorption of water by the proteins in your flour.  It happens sometimes.

Also, though, the apparent "stiffening" of the dough as it ferments can be largely attributed to the process of dough maturation itself.  Any dough exhibits some proportion of both liquid and solid characteristics, and as the dough rests during fermentation the gluten network develops passively and the solid attributes become more apparent.  If this particular dough showed more of that stiffening than normal, it may be that your very strong flour is the culprit.

BTW, a high sugar level in your dough, as is typical with pannetone or brioche, can make the dough seem wet, when it is really just very slack from the sugar interrupting the formation of gluten strands.  As the dough sat during fermentation, it may have developed considerable gluten strength passively, and then been much stronger (stiffer) when fermentation was complete.

-- Dan DiMuzio

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Hi Dan,

following what you wrote I guess that if I had used a weaker flour I would have noticed a lesser degree of stiffening because of the lower amount of gluten-forming proteins. Am I correct?

The strength of the flour shows in the crumb: when used in purity the crumb has only tiny and very regular holes, although the bread blows as much as 5 times (the form fills only up to 1/4 of the volume, but after baking it domes 1/4 above the rim if not more).

This flour is on its way:)

http://www.flour.it/00-Manitoba-Rosa-Flour.htm

 

Thanks very much for your explanation.