The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Non-elastic bread all of a sudden

amb7's picture
amb7

Non-elastic bread all of a sudden

Hi, 

I've been making all of our bread for many years, most recently in Indiana. Recently I started have issues with lack of elasticity. I have usually use a K-tec grinder, hard, spring white wheat, and a DLX mixer. I consistently turn out perfect loaves. 

A couple of variables have changed. I am in Colorado where the weather is much drier, but I've adjusted the flour content to allow for the drier climate. And, I've been using my mom's mill. It's a All Grain Stone Ground Mill. Those are the only two variables. Does anyone have any idea what might be causing the difference in my bread?  Thanks!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That said, I have gathered that multiple passes are good to prevent too much starch damage.  Have you tried multiple passes?    :)

plevee's picture
plevee

Is the water very soft? This can greatly affect elasticity.

proth5's picture
proth5

would lead to loaves that start the mix process well, but then gradually liquify and collapse - so I'm not sure that's the issue.

That being said - I bake in Colorado and have recently been having troubles - with commercial flour.  I've baked in Colorado for many years, so the dryness doesn't matter to me anymore - but truely I have been noticing that my doughs are very inelastic lately.

Our water tends to be hard and alkaline, but we really haven't had a drought year in awhile (and we're having one now) and this could impact water quality.  I'm not at home and may not have time to do any testing when I am (I have the equipment to test water hardness because I keep koi), but I'm going to consider this.

The only thing I would suggest (other than the above) is evaluating the flour you are using - is it different in texture or bran size that what you are used to?

Hope others will weigh in...

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

How about a photo of a cut loaf so we can see the symptoms of a failure?

Is "elasticity" the same as gluten development?  Have you in the past been able to perform a window pane test with the mixed dough? Can you do so now?

You can't do the following tests all at one time, but make a batch with commercial flour and everything else the same; then make a batch with distilled water and everything else the same; then make a batch with distilled water and commercial flour and everything else the same. If it isn't the water or the flour it has to be in the "everything else" which is all process.

 

proth5's picture
proth5

dough development per se - for example - when I do a  stretch and fold - the dough is difficult to stretch - it doesn't feel very extensible.   (I may have confused extensibility with elasticity in my prior post.) I get good volume, but the crumb is tight.  And, this is a completely new development - my seams don't seal.  I've been sealing seams on baguettes in dry Denver for years - with absolutely no problem.  Recently, however, they won't stay sealed.  I don't have pictures and won't be home for some time, so that's the best I can do.

I have been writing it off to various other factors in my life and thinking that I just need a good rest - but I will be investigating the water angle...

At least that is my case....

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Lots of interesting ideas and potential problems but nothing clear cut.  Maybe the recipe and techniques would be helpful at this point.

Jeff