The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Overproofed?

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Overproofed?

Hi All.  I suspect the answer to my problem is overproofing but please provide your input so I know for sure.

The bread I made this weekend turned out a bit deflated.  I used dry active yeast and proofed for 2 hours and 15 mins.  After the proofing stage, the dough was extremely unstable.  This meaning, it was very soft to the touch.  When poked, it almost felt like there was nothing inside, kind of like a half air-filled balloon.  Then when I transfered the proofed doughs onto the baking surface, both boules totally lost their height and deflated to almost half, and kind of spread out.  I was afraid to even score the bread, but I did anyway.  The scoring was almost impossible as the blade made the dough stretch and pull - and yes I do use a very sharp blade.  For lack of better description, the surface kind of felt like grandma's skin.  Sure enough, the results were a less heighty bread, with a more condensed holey crumb.  Tasted fine, just wasn't at all nice and full shaped. 

Sounds like a pretty cut and dry case of overproofing?

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Song of a Baker,

Are you using any period of bulk fermentation?

From what you have written, I believe that if you had knocked out the gas from the dough and carefully re-shaped it and proved once more, it would have been fine.

Your description shows your dough had becomed "skinned"; you need to avoid this and look after the dough more carefully.   Find a way to keep the dough covered using a material which is not going to stick to the dough.   I use couche to rest the dough on, and plastic sheeting to cover it.

Best wishes

Andy

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thanks Andy.

I let it bulk ferment for 2.5 hours with 2 degassing/stretch and folds at 50 mins each.  I then placed the dough to proof seam side up in a cloth lined bowl, dusted with rice flour and the seam side up was covered with oiled plastic wrap.  The 'skin' on top was not dried out at all.  Just very unstable and with little strength.

The original recipe calls for a 45 min to an hour proof.  I knew I made the mistake when I came home from grocery shopping and saw that it had proofed for 2.5 hours.  The dough had definitely doubled, if not more.  I suspect the 2.5 hours proof is just too long for active dry yeast?

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Song of the Baker,

If you have employed longer bulk than planned then that will reduce your final fermentation time.   You were too late coming to bake your bread.   Yes, using less yeast will allow a slower rate of fermentation.   For all that your real lesson to take away from this is to learn that it can sometimes be possible to re-shape your dough pieces and prove once again.   Everything will happen a lot quicker if it is going to work, so you have to be on the lookout to get your bread into the oven as soon as it needs to go!

Best wishes

Andy

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Andy.  I will surely try re-proofing next time if this happens again, rather than just try baking it in that condition.

Thanks for your help!

John