The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Unhappy with Final Product

TheTsar's picture
TheTsar

Unhappy with Final Product

This is my first post. I lurk around here quite a bit and have learned a lot. I have been making the Tartine basic country loaf and I am not happy with the final shape. The crust and crumb are good and I am happy with the flavor. I just feel the shape still isn't what it should be and without the dutch oven I think this boule would be a pancake. Please any feed back would be helpful.

MANNA's picture
MANNA

Your loaf actually looks really nice. Chad has the hydration up there so your bread looks normal for hydration in the 75% range. Cut back the hydration to about 65% and you'll probaly get what your looking for.

TheTsar's picture
TheTsar

What are the advantages and disadvantages of reducing hydration? Also aren't I "cheating" if I lower hydration instead of improving my shaping technique?

wally's picture
wally

Anytime you're working with a dough in excess of 70% hydration shaping becomes more difficult.  But to achieve a beautiful, open crumb you can do with hydration as low as 65%.  The more important element is dough handling and shaping.

Good luck in your baking,

Larry

 

TheTsar's picture
TheTsar

Larry,

I am going to try a 65% hydration in the morning. I'll see how it turns out. Thanks for the help.

Sean

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

It is my opinion that there is no cheating when it comes to baking breads YOU like.  After all you are the one making and eating them!

Breads with a higher hydration level will flatten out more than ones with lower HL.  Nature of the beast.  You can try using more S&F while it is fermenting to see if that will strengthen it up more.  I know in the videos I have seen of Chad working with his doughs that they are pretty flat.  Could be he is getting a higher profile simply due to the fact that he makes larger loaves and the DO do provide support.

HERE is a video showing his shaping technique.  It might be of some help to you.

Good luck,

Janet

TheTsar's picture
TheTsar

Janet,

Thanks for the video link. I love to watch what others do when they bake. I'll keep on trying. Really appreciate the feedback.

Sean

PeterS's picture
PeterS

You can try a banneton (or a basket with cloth--tea towel, flour sac, linen or any smooth cotton/linen like fabric) or a brotform at the higher hydration. The dough will dry slightly on the surface when it's proofing or retarding in the banneton/brotform helping it to hold its shape. Good shaping goes without saying & make sure your dough is sufficiently developed, i.e. do that extra fold or two like Janet suggests; working at the higher hydration will challenge you, but it can be done with the Tartine bread at 75%. If you go for more folds, don't lengthen your fermentation time, just do the folds at shorter intervals.  Then bake at the right time--avoid overproofing--and you should be pleasantly pleased with the result.

I've baked baguettes with a similar formula and prefer to use all bread flour or a higher proportion of bread flour (say 2/3 BF:1/3 AP. This is tantamount to dropping the hydration somewhat as a higher protein bread flour has a greater water  need (absorption) than the all-purpose flour. This also gives the slightly chewier crumb that I desire. They look like this; the crumb could be more open with a higher water content and especially less aggressive shaping--I was going for a sandwich compatible crumb.

 

TheTsar's picture
TheTsar

I made Hemelman's Vermont Sourdough w/some whole wheat since it is 65% hydration. It is much more what I expected for shape. I have some banneton and a lame on order but I have been improvising with a bowl and linen towel. I followed Chad's directions very closely with fold every half hour for 3 hours. My shape is close just not exactly what I want. I have been mixing about 1/3 AP with KA bread flour but I am wondering if I should be using all bread flour instead. I am waiting for this loaf to cool before trying it. I know my scoring needs work. Thanks for all the feed back!

Sean

Yeti's picture
Yeti

But have you tried a baking stone?  It doesn't look like your loaf has much in the way of bottom spring (for want of a better term) which can be achieved with a stone providing large amounts of heat directly to the base of a loaf.  The whole thing would end up much more rounded, rather than flat across the bottom and domed across the top.  This is a 72.5% hydration sourdough loaf I made yesterday, you can see a rim around the edge where the dough pooled a little on the stone, but because of all the heat it sprung up from the bottom and ended up more rounded than domed.  Edit: I did proof this in a basket before transferring to the stone

 

TheTsar's picture
TheTsar

I use a dutch oven and the bottom is extremely hot. I almost think it is too hot. I have a heavy pizza stone but I've never tried it because I didn't want to mess with steaming the oven. You loaf looks great! I am wondering if you stone is actually less hot and allows the bottom to have more spring. I might have to break down and try steaming the oven. What temp did you bake that loaf at?

Sean

Yeti's picture
Yeti

Aaaah I see, I wasn't sure if you preheated it or not :) that loaf was baked on the bottom shelf at 270C/520F with steam for 15 minutes, then I dropped the temp to 180C/350F for the remainder of the bake - about 30 minutes.  I know a lot of places say to spray water in the oven to steam it, but when I preheat the oven and stone I just leave an empty baking tray in the bottom of the oven, then right before I'm going to bake I pour some boiling water in it and just leave it in the bottom whilst the bread bakes.  It's easy enough and does seem to greatly improve the oven spring

TheTsar's picture
TheTsar

Now I'll have to try that. Do you need to reduce the temperature of the oven? I suppose in the dutch oven the temperature might not reach the actual oven temp. How many stretch and folds do you do?

Yeti's picture
Yeti

Yeah that's right, just preheat and bake at 270 then drop the temperature to 180 after 10 or 15 minutes. That was stretched 3 times over the course of 4 hours, then proofed in a linen lined basket for 3 before turning out and baking. Normally I wouldn't give it as long as 3 hours to proof but it's been pretty cold here so my culture's been working slowly