The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread waits for no one - is this underproofed?

wannabbaker's picture
wannabbaker

Bread waits for no one - is this underproofed?

I wasn't happy with this loaf, but I only have myself to blame. I was in a hurry to get out the door so cut the proofing time on this loaf hoping that it would spring in the oven. It ended up smaller and denser than it should have.

I noticed the darker lines just under the crust (both top and bottom) and wondered if this was a result of underproofing. Or is it something else?

Thanks
Wannabbaker 

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Is it doughy (underbaked) there?

wannabbaker's picture
wannabbaker

Hi Dragonbones
Yes it is, but I'm not sure if that is purely a matter of cooking it longer or if it had something to do with not proofing long enough before putting it in the oven to bake.
thanks
Wannabbaker 

rcbaughn's picture
rcbaughn

The bread doesn't looked baked long enough that is for sure. It looks like there is a raw edge all the way around the inner edge of the crust. I would bet that it didn't proof enough and it wasn't baked long enough. Did you have it in a REALLY hot oven? Was it a low hydration recipe? Whenever I work with a lower hydration bread it is always denser, and it is only multiplied if the oven isn't screaming hot and I don't steam it a bit to keep the crust from setting too fast. 

 

wannabbaker's picture
wannabbaker

Hi rebaughn

Yes I wondered if it was uncooked dough around the edge. The dough did seem to have a lower hydration than I normally make (I think more flour was added during kneading!). I put it in the oven at 250C for 15 mins then turned down to 200C for the remaining 25-30 mins (I'm not sure when it came out as I asked one of my children to pull it out of the oven at time while I left for work). 
Thanks
Wannabbaker 

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

We called that a "Wasserring" (water ring). Definitely a sign of underproofing.

wannabbaker's picture
wannabbaker

Hi MNBacker

Thanks for you reply. I've never heard of 'wasserring' but I have noticed a similar line on some of my loaves before but usually along the bottom of the loaf. Now if proofing is to inflate the dough again and prove that it is alive and well, then does that mean that the dough in the water ring hasn't had time to reinflate after rising? I'm still trying to learn :)
Thanks
Wannabbaker 

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

If I remember this correctly from my years in school (and it's been a few years), the "water ring" (or sometimes just a "line" along the bottom) has to do with the fact that the dough did not have enough time to "loosen up". The darker area is actually a strip of crumb compressed by the inner part of the loaf. It's probably baked, but because it is so much more dense in that area, it appears darker (or still raw).

Not enough proofing time (as well as a dough that might be a little too "stiff") can cause this.

If you'd really like to figure out the cause, it would be best if you posted the recipe and the exact steps (proofing times) if you remember. You mentioned that this loaf didn't proof as long, so that's most likely the problem. But, you also mentioned that you have had this problem before, just on the bottom of the loaf. So, if you post more details, we might be able to help you to tweak your recipe and keep this from happening.

 

Stephan

wannabbaker's picture
wannabbaker

Hi Stephan

I use a recipe from river cottage (UK) here. Except now that I read over it again I notice that I don't put my loaf on a hot baking tray but a cool one. I wonder if that impacts how the loaf cooks - maybe the bottom takes longer to get to heat and cook resulting in that raw like dough line???
Thanks
Peter 

 

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Peter,

IMHO, the darker edges are NOT raw dough. They appear that way, because the dough has been compressed so much during the bake.

 

Stephan

wannabbaker's picture
wannabbaker

Hi Stephan

Thanks for that. I makes sense to me then that the wasserring is, as you say, underproofed. Maybe the dough hasn't loosened up that enough. I can see that my hurry to get the loaf in the oven hasn't worked. As dragonbones said below, watch the volume of the dough - not the clock. Fantastic!
Thanks again
Peter 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

the bread is under proofed and possibly underbaked.  What was the inside temp?

wannabbaker's picture
wannabbaker

Hi dabrownman

I'm quite new to baking and don't know what the inside temp of the bread was and I'm not sure how I'd know. Do you use a thermometer - what and when?

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

The dough did seem to have a lower hydration than I normally make (I think more flour was added during kneading!). I put it in the oven at 250C for 15 mins then turned down to 200C for the remaining 25-30 mins (I'm not sure when it came out as I asked one of my children to pull it out of the oven at time while I left for work). 

Lower-hydration doughs take longer to rise, so you need to give it more time to proof. Make sure you're letting it proof until a certain volume, and not just going by the clock. Also, you need to make sure the bread is done before pulling it out, e.g. by using an instant-read digital thermometer (they're not oven safe, so don't stick it in the loaf and leave it in the oven -- use it on the counter, after pulling the loaf out). Don't just bake by the clock.

Except now that I read over it again I notice that I don't put my loaf on a hot baking tray but a cool one. I wonder if that impacts how the loaf cooks - maybe the bottom takes longer to get to heat and cook resulting in that raw like dough line???

Sure it does. Get yourself a pizza stone, or a cast iron pan like the Lodge Double-play Grill Griddle, smooth side up, and put that on the floor of your oven, then preheat for a good LOOONG time, somewhere between 20 minutes and an hour, with an all-metal oven thermometer in there too. Watch it, so you can check to see whether your oven is really hot enough, and you can also learn how long it takes your oven to reach 250 C. Then when you load your loaf into the oven, load it straight onto the stone or iron pan. (You can use a baker's peel covered in cornmeal, and proof your bread on that, and slide it from that onto the stone or iron. If it's a sticky dough like pizza, you can put oven paper on the peel and then cornmeal on that, and the dough atop that, and slide the loaf or crust into the oven, including the paper.)

I'm quite new to baking and don't know what the inside temp of the bread was and I'm not sure how I'd know. Do you use a thermometer - what and when?

To use my instant-read digital thermometer (which is shaped like a round lollipop, the head having the display and buttons, and the stick being the probe), I remove the loaf from the oven, turn the IRDT on, switch it to Celsius or Fahrenheit as desired, remove the plastic sleeve that covers the metal probe, and insert the probe until the tip is in the 3D center of the loaf. I then wait about 45 seconds (it's not really instant) to see what temp it stops at.  Also, flip the loaf on its side and thump the bottom and listen to the sound (and feel the vibrations). You'll learn the difference between an underdone and well done loaf this way. I aim for 190F for soft sandwich loaves and 205 for crusty artisan boules, personally. Oh, and then move the loaf to a cooling rack, and DON'T CUT IT before at least an hour has passed.

wannabbaker's picture
wannabbaker

Hi Dragonbones
Thanks for you fantastic advice. I particularly like your notes about proofing to a certain volume, and flipping the loaf over after baking to hear and feel if it is ready. I can see as a beginner I am tempted to stick to the times stated and follow the clock. But I love the art of watching and having a feel for when a loaf is right. I find this forum, and responses from folk like you, gives me confidence to look for more than just the hands on the clock. 
Thanks again
Peter