The Fresh Loaf

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Help a Newbie out, Sandwich Loaves

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allgoodbakers's picture
allgoodbakers

Help a Newbie out, Sandwich Loaves

My husband and I own a very small neighborhood bakery/cafe in Albany, NY. He usually handles all of the loaves (baked goods & desserts are my dept), but the overnight baker we hired didn't work out and 16 hour days since opening in March have left him burnt (and he has to cover lunches), so I've taken over 3 nights of the overnight shift per week. He makes up bags of dry mixes and gave me specific instructions, which I follow, but a few details he can't explain unless doing must be escaping me (we're working opposite schedules now and can't seem to get together to work out the kinks).  I'm making 2 batches of 5 sandwich loaves per morning (hearty multigrain and ww or rye, alternating), plus running the first mixes of his sourdoughs. We use NY wheat, which has protein variances we are learning to work with.  The sandwich loaves, in my opinion, have never come out quite high enough (they're 2lbs, and are about an inch too short above the tin pans after proofing..and the HMG sinks in the middle during baking - I spray the tops lightly/gently with water and then gently sprinkle oats on top), so we've been trying new techniques. Please bear w/ my untrained explanations, I'm new at this.

These are quick rise, active dry yeast loaves. We have a....less than ideal...oven (4 tray convection), but do have two gas ovens below our stove that Nick uses for the sourdoughs. Since he makes the dry mixes for me ahead of time, I don't have salt/lbs of flour/etc. measurements at hand. I have no probs w/ yeast or water temps or the mixing/kneading time of the doughs. Where I think I'm running into trouble is w/ rising times.  I mix, knead, then turn out and measure/portion out the dough, flour it and cover w/ plastic on my prep table.  The temp of the bakery differs.  

I am unsure of just how elastic/how airy/how much time should pass during the first proof (about 25-35 mins has been my normal, depending on how stiff the dough is - I'm afraid to let them overexpand, but perhaps I should?), before pin rolling or finger pressing (i've tried both) into a rectangle and then rolling and tucking, jellyroll style (we've tried the letter fold as well). Loaves are just not rising/blooming properly, not rounded enough (jellyroll has improved loaves somewhat). My Ryes today had an airy upper crust....not good (I over proofed in an effort to see if that worked to make them bigger..mistake).

I'm reading everything I can get my hands on and have tried to find the answer with a search of this forum (and elsewhere), but there are so many factors involved (I had no idea!), that I have been unable to pin down my solution...so far.  Your advice and questions (it's likely I've left out some pertinent detail) welcomed. My next overnight is Wed, hope to be able to apply improved techniques then!  

I have to say, I'm really enjoying learning about all this - it's threatening to consume me! We're using quality ingredients and would really like to be turning out consistently excellent loaves. If I can learn these basics, perhaps I can learn to be a backup for the sourdoughs, too (Nick has no troubles there, but as our main guy, I worry that if something happens to him, no one else will know what to do).

 

 

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

... but I do make good sandwich bread.

Any time I ever used a rolling pin on bread dough, I got a flattened result. 
Jellyroll is a good description of how I form my loaves. 
I have found mild underproofing to be preferable to mild overproofing, with regards to getting good oven spring. 
I protect my sandwich bread loaves from moving air in my convection oven, for the first 20 minutes of the baking, by covering the loaf pans with inverted identical loaf pans, and I add some water to the lower pan on top of the proofed dough before I put the pans in the oven.  Covering your tins may not be an option for you, but perhaps there is some other way to keep the oven steamier for the first 10 or 20 minutes?  Drying out the crust too quickly will result in less oven spring.
I would expect subsituting rye for whole wheat in a recipe to result in a dough that handles differently and bakes differently, but you may not be talking about very much compared to the multigrain flour.

KMIAA's picture
KMIAA

Where in Albnay do you live.  I was born & raised in Albany, but now live in GA.  What's the name of your bakery/cafe?  Am sure you will get a lot of help from the people here on this board.  Welcome to the site.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

HMG sinks in the middle during baking

This is generally a sign of Over-proofing.

The temp of the bakery differs.

I know these are important but in a production setting, I don't know what advice to offer. It would be nice to get one of our professionals to jump in here.

I hope you can get some constructive responses here.

allgoodbakers's picture
allgoodbakers

Thank you, people above who have answered! I like the idea of adding pans to the top of loaves during baking, we have enough, and a water sprayer. What's funny is I did fine the first couple of weeks, but the temp has changed since and we moved the table I work on near a door that gets some cold air...perhaps changing tables would help and provide a more even temp throughout first proof. I neglected to mention that second proof is in our proofer at about 75 degrees, water in the pan but no humidity (the guage is broken).  I'll take care not to lengthen my first proof.

All Good Bakers is our shop name, we're on Delaware Ave.

Thank you all for your warm welcome, your advice is helping me gain a deeper knowledge of what I'm doing!

KMIAA's picture
KMIAA

I know where Delaware Ave is.  Didn't live to far from it.  Wish you a lot of success!!

allgoodbakers's picture
allgoodbakers

I'm such a dummy...I've been adding more flour than needed during mixing/kneading in an effort to increase the loaf weight, so they would come out higher. Not enough gluten development and just too stiff. Whoops. I think I was pressing them too hard after first proof, before that. Our new baker starts Thursday, I have 3 more nights to get it right, then Nick takes over the training.  I'll keep you guys posted on how I do!  Thanks for the encouragement & advice. I'm actually really glad I got to do this nightshift for a while (altho it's been brutal), it has helped me get a much fuller grasp on overall production times and shop/employee organization.

allgoodbakers's picture
allgoodbakers

Today's yeasted wheat loaves came out higher, I thought I let them over proof the first pass, apparently not! Let second proof time expire a bit more quickly (80 degrees, some humidity, also tried covering them w/ plastic till they got higher than pan, that helped w/ skin I think). HMG, I must have under proofed, just a bit. It's quick work w/ 10 loaves at a time (still small professional wise, but these are amongst my first 100 loaves). Learning to pickup the speed when finger pressing (no rolling pin used today, per advice). Tried not to squelch all the air, but distribute evenly before rolling up. Did not make mistake today of adding too much flour when mixing. Mostly pleased w/ todays wheats, but again, still not coming out quite high enough for my liking. Nick is taking over training of new baker after tomorrow, wish I had more time to get this right, but other side of our shop (baked goods/desserts) is suffering from my lack of attention and I must get back to that.  I'll keep at it though! As a very small shop, we all need to know how to fill another's place in case someone takes ill. Thanks again for your help!