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Bubbles on the dough surface? Is this normal?

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bluesaturn's picture
bluesaturn

Bubbles on the dough surface? Is this normal?

Dear all,

I am fighting now in the 4th or 5th round with Hamelmann's Vermont Sourdough with increased whole grain. I used the metric column and broke it down into grams via Excel. During the final hours in the fridge bubbles appeared at the surface of the dough in the tins. Is this normal when they are as big as 2cm in diameter? I managed to do stretch and fold during the 2h15min periode, but shaping was impossible when I transferred the doughs into their tins. Dough was too sticky.

Bubbles looked like that:

I used the following amount:

Levain
Bread flour 250 
Water 312,5 
Culture 50 

Final Dough

Bread flour 812,5 
Whole-rye flour 187,5 
Water 500 
Levin 562,5 
Salt 23,75 


Total
Bread formular 1062,5 
Whole-rye flour 187,5 
Water 812,5 
Salt 23,75 

Units: Gram, numbers are round with my scale. The dough is always a bit too wet and too sticky to handle during the transfer process into the tins, but taste is nice so far. :-) 

Thanks for your feedback. 

 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

normal? in what context?!

Understand that every recipe out there is guide with an example result. This is especially true of recipes using sourdough.

What you've got here is a dough lacking strength and that's the technical reason for the big surface bubbles.

Using stronger flour, less water or more stretch and folds will help bring back some strength.

Surface tension is also important and is big factor in this case. A dough that can't be shaped is a poor dough. It take's some practise to shape wetter doughs but a light dusting of flour or an oiled work surface will help.

Michael

bluesaturn's picture
bluesaturn

Thank you for your feedback.  

I don't have access to any stronger flour. I used a mixture of Waitrose White Canadian strong flour, very strong flour from Allison, and organic very strong flour from Waitrose. Less water would be possible and I did stretch & fold every thirty minutes within 2hs. Even with oil it did not really work well.

Kind regards

Blue

ananda's picture
ananda

Hello Blue,

The large bubbles actually tell you that the dough has been over-proved in the tins.   Michael is right that the structure is weak, hence the dough is collapsing and the air gathers in large pockets.

I think your proving methods are wrong.   I suggest you prove/retard the dough in bulk.   Take the dough from the fridge the next day, allow a short period of recovery, then shape and tin for final proof.   You should have greater strength in your dough this way.   There is nothing wrong with your choice of flour, and the hydration is not unreasonable either.

Best wishes

Andy

bluesaturn's picture
bluesaturn

Dear Andy,

also thank you for your comment. The physics behind it makes sense. But I wonder how this could happened. The book says 18hs at 4°C and I think took them out after 16h. I have seen bubbles earlier than 16h, even there were already bigger bubbles during the 2h15min periode. 

Is it not good to leave the dough proving in metal tins? I will try our method next time and indeed a little less water. 

I thought I will stick to this recipe and try different things or get it to perfection.

Have a good evening.

Blue

wally's picture
wally

Stick to my erstwhile friend (I'm the one who's gone erstwhile) Andy's advice.  One other thing:  Hamelman's recipe has a hydration of 65%.  In no way, shape or form should that result in a dough that's,  in your words, "too sticky" resulting in "shaping was impossible."  I'd also check your dough temp when you finish mixing and throughout it's fermentation, and probably before that, double check the calculations in your formula.  A 65% hydration dough should not be sticky unless it's rye.

Larry

bluesaturn's picture
bluesaturn

Larry, I the temperature in the room was around 22°C or less. The sourdough looked happy and active. I copied the values from Hamelmann's book, the metric version. Okay, will watch the water content next time exactly. 

blue

wally's picture
wally

Blue,

You've given me the room temp, but not the dough temp once mixed.  It's the latter that I'm talking about - it should be between 23 - 26 C.  I'm still puzzled that a 65% hydration dough is "sticky."  It should not be.  I'd redo your conversions.

Larry

bluesaturn's picture
bluesaturn

Dear Larry, 

sorry, I don't even possess a thermometer. But I have one question: When the flour is at room temperature, the starter, and the water is luke warm, then it must be not close off from the room temperature as there will be always an equilibrium in temperature. Okay, will check out my sheet. Do you actually measure with a thermometer into the dough?

Best regards

Blue

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

The recipe in the book has errors, as do several others.  I love the book, but google Hammelman Erata sheet and you will see a list of errors, including a correction to your recipe on page 156. 

The comments above are spot on, even if following the right recipe.  As Wally said, 65% hydration would not be nearly that slack.  Apologies for not having the time to look at the correction and point you to the error, but you will see the correct one and other recipes as the corrections are 5 1/2 pages long.  Certainly more than just a few recipes...

Nick

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

I usually just divide the kg column by 10, and I cross-calculate the percentages.

This way measuring errors are easily spotted.

Blue,

How do you know your fridge is at 4C? I think the retardation with an uncertainty in temperature brings in a huge margin for problems.

I usually go down the easiest path first (this would be proof at room temperature) until I have consistent results. Then I start with the variations.

"Never turn more than one screw at a time" is very useful for bread baking experiments, too.

Juergen

PS. How about getting a thermometer?

bluesaturn's picture
bluesaturn

Hi Jürgen.

I checked my Excel sheet, I copied the metric version and divided by 1000 to convert from kg to g. Seems to be alright.

My fridge has a digital unit and allows the change of temperature by steps of 1°C between 0..11°C. Okay, I could double check. 

I had those bubbles as well at room temperature. 

Re: Thermometer: What would you recommend, please?

 

Have a good evening.

Blue 

bluesaturn's picture
bluesaturn

Dear all,

I checked again my kg-Excel sheet. It is correct. 
But I noticed something else. In the introduction of the Levain chapter Hamelman writes that when the autolyse technique is used, salt and levain culture are left out, when the dough is mixed. The quote goes "..and when a dough is mixed using the autolyse technique, the salt and the levain culture, in the case of the stiff-textatured levain, are left out."
Does it mean that only a stiff levain should be left out?
In the recipe of the Vermont Sourdough with increased wholegrain amount it is stated that the levain is mixed with the rest of the dough and only the salt is left out. Why is this so, please? Or is this maybe wrong?

My culture was this morning taken out of the fridge at 1am GMT. It was 21°C room temp. The temperature dropped down to 19°C and is now back on 20-21°C.  The culture exhibits some tiny bubbles in a cloud and some larger ones underneath the dough surface. Hamelman states 12-16h hours before the final mix. How do I know it is ready to go? 13 hours are gone now. 

Thank you for your feedback.
Kind regards

blue 

jcking's picture
jcking

The Vermont SD uses a liquid levain (high hydration); ergo if not added in the beginning, the dough would be too dry to hydrate sufficiently before the levain is added.

Jim