The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

seam side up or down?

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jembola's picture
jembola

seam side up or down?

Maybe everybody but me knows the answer to this question but here goes: Do I place the dough into a banneton/brotform to proof seam-side down or up? Since it will ultimately be flipped for baking it seems to me the skin should be down in the brotform. But I tried that yesterday, after pinching the seam as best I could. My pinching wasn't enough to really hold it all together. The bread turned out okay but I found it a bit tough, despite the fact that the bread rose just fine.  That may have nothing to do with brotform proofing method, but I'm looking for answers. 

So... Seam side down, or up, in the brotform?

And does anyone have ideas why a chocolate bread (organic white all purpose flour) may have turned out "tough"?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

side up in a basket where you plan to flip it over and dump the bread out ready for slashing, 

There are some breads that you don't slash and want the bread to naturally open at the seams, like many of Forkish's breads and then you do seam side down so the seam is up when baked and it can open naturally or rustically in teh oven.  David Snyder's Pugliesi Capriosso is like that too.  

Ford's picture
Ford

You are right, seam up in the banneton/brötform.  Fat and milk (instead of water) additions to the recipes will yield a softer crumb.

Ford

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

might have too much flour on the bench while shaping if the dough doesn't stick to itself, might also be contributing to the "tough" texture of the bread.  Try to work with as little flour as possible.  Might want to try shaping on a lightly oiled surface using barely moistened hands (water.)  (or even a damp board)  Letting the shaped loaf sit on the seam for a few minutes rest before flipping into the banneton may also help hold the seal.

Experiment to find out what works for you.  Naturally you don't want the skin surface to be too wet before placing into a banneton.  Then again...  if a wet loaf is floured or covered with raw seeds before placing into a floured or seeded banneton, some interesting crust effects can be achieved.

Cocoa powder added to a basic bread recipe should have additional fat and hydration. Cocoa powder draws a lot of moisture to itself.   

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

Cocoa doesn't have any sticking, binding properties at all. It doesn't have any gluten at all, either. It will not act like flour in any way. Are you using an established recipe for this chocolate bread? If so, the hydration and fat levels should have already been figured out, and it should work fine. Maybe there is something in your process that could use a tweak? If you'd like, tell us what you're doing and maybe someone will be able to help. Or, if you'd rather, start another thread with that question, so more people can see it and maybe help solve the mystery together.

jembola's picture
jembola

Thank you everyone...I'd forgotten how helpful everyone is, since I haven't been baking a lot of bread lately.  Nice to be back!

The recipe I adapted was something I found on the internet from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, just called Chocolate Bread.  It calls for 4.5 cups all purpose flour and 1/3 cup cocoa, and 1.25 + 1/3 cups water.  I used my breadmaker to do the initial mixing and adjusted the water to 1.75 cups water to get a nice dough.  From what some of you have said, I might add more right from the start to compensate for the cocoa.  I did not use any flour on the board—just water—so no flour was added.  I'm wondering if I might actually make quite a moist dough and then using the "French fold", which I understand is good for a wet sweet dough? I like doing it; it's at least as satisfying in the bread making process as kneading is for some people!  I see that the recipe has no fat at all so I'll add a couple of tablespoons of butter on the next round.  I didn't knead the dough last time but did 2 stretch-and-folds after plopping the dough in the bowl. The recipe also required preheating to 450F and baking for 10 minutes at that temp, and it got seriously scorched!  Any suggestions on temperature for this kind of sweet bread? I was thinking I'd preheat to 450F, add a cup of water to a tray in the oven for steam, and turn down the temperature to 350 right away.  Would that suit this bread do you think? Or should I be baking at a lower temperature throughout with the sugar?

In any case, I believe that the bread is entirely edible with increased quantities of chocolate chunks.  I added the chocolate during 2 stretch-and-folds, and then when I formed the dough for final proofing. That way the chunks don't tear holes in the dough (recipe calls for chocolate to be added as the last ingredient, before kneading).

Thanks for any suggestions...I'm having another go at this loaf (2 small loaves actually) today!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

should bake nicely.  Burning always means the oven is too hot and cocoa burns easily.  Brownies & chocolate cakes are a lower temp, close to 325°F.   Something to think about.

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

You might like to take a look at Shiao-Ping's Chocolate bread for some inspiration.