The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Another Marginal Success ... A Pattern Developing?

dosco's picture

Another Marginal Success ... A Pattern Developing?

Another day, another loaf. Same concept here, use the "My Daily Bread" recipe as a basis for modification. In this case it is also a basis for education.

CONCLUSION(S): I think that I have been chronically underproofing my loaves and I think the "retarding" in the fridge is really exacerbating this problem ... so in the next loaf I'll wait longer for the final rise. I also have been very loosey-goosey with my measuring, I don't like this approach (mostly because I am not sure of the final hydration) and therefore I'll 1) formulate a recipe and 2) follow it.

The bread looks OK (well, OK, it looks bad), smells nice, and I lopped a slice off an the taste is good. Crumb is a bit on the dense side but once it cools off a bit more and dries a little it should be pretty good.


1 cup fed starter, at peak of rise

1 cup filtered water

1 cup unbleached AP flour

1 teaspoon of Greek yogurt (for the LAB bacteria)

Mix and let sit 8 hours (or overnight) in a warm room to ferment. (I left the sponge out overnight and then didn’t use it until after I got back from work … total fermentation time = 16 hours). (The sponge rose significantly … easily 2x in volume)


1 pound unbleached AP flour

12 ounces filtered water

Place ingredients in a mixer and mix at low speed until the flour and water are just combined. Leave in the mixing bowl, cover, and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours (or overnight) in a warm room to autolyse. (I left the dough out with the sponge, as noted previously I left the sponge out for 16 hours, so the autolyse was also 16 hours).

Final Dough:

Autolysed dough


Pour/scrape the sponge into the dough. Attach the dough hook to the mixing machine and knead until the dough and sponge are combined (the dough was like batter). At this point I add flour until a high hydration dough is achieved, then once the flour is incorporated I let the machine knead at lowest speed for 5 minutes. (I did this before going to bed)(this is where I made my first mistake … I had not planned on a recipe or a target hydration, so I did not measure the amount of flour used … I have no idea what the hydration was).

Leave the final dough out for bulk fermentation. (The final dough was left in a warm room overnight (about 7 hours)). (the next morning the dough had risen TREMENDOUSLY … it had easily doubled in volume).

Add salt and knead for 5 minutes at lowest mixer speed using dough hook. (I realized that morning that I had forgotten to add the salt, however I had planned on kneading anyways so no problem ... I think).

Leave the dough in the mixing bowl, and cover. Let rest for 3 hours in a warm room.

Knead using mixer for 5 minutes at lowest speed using dough hook.

Leave the dough in the mixing bowl and cover.

Place dough in a cold room for 8 hours (or overnight). Remove dough from bowl and shape. (this is where I made another mistake … the dough was very loose and I tried folding it … it stayed very loose. I was thinking of shaping it into batards but I decided against it because I was worried the loaves would over proof, so I decided to place the entire dough ball into a bundt pan (I’ve used the pan previously for Portuguese sweet bread with great success). I left the dough in the warm room for about an hour and it rose very slowly. I then warmed my oven to ~90 F and put the dough in there for about an hour. The dough rose a fair amount (not doubled, though) and after the final bake I’m convinced that it should have stayed out in the warm room all day for proofing).

Bake at 530F for 15 minutes, then 480F for 15 minutes; use a baking stone and a small metal bowl with water for steam. Cook until an internal temperature of 200F is achieved (I cooked until following this protocol but the internal temp wasn’t 200F at the end of the 480F bake so it stayed in the oven for another 15 minutes at 480F until 206F was attained).


dosco's picture

I'd like to apologize for the bad pic. Not sure why the iPhone did so poorly today.

I was running up a spreadsheet in order to establish a documented recipe and discovered the MDB overnight sponge is something like 150% hydration. Ugh. This may be contributing to some of the issues here.

To address this I'll ensure the starter is at a lower hydration (and I'll actually use my scale to measure the mass of flour and water) ... am shooting for something like 65% hydration as a starting point.

Sigh. Conceptually this is easy. Not sure why I'm being so procedurally lazy ... must ... become ... more ... disciplined ...

More later.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

for the 5 minutes of kneading after bulking for 3 hrs.  Gluten would have been good.  Maybe pinch off a little ball of dough to poke and prod at the same time you watch the dough.  

If I would have been your dough I would have gooed you for giving me the hook again.  What were you listening to?  Britney's "hit me, baby?"  SD abuse must stop!   Where are the SD police when you knead them?  :)

Interesting crust color to the pan side.

dosco's picture


Since these high-hydration doughs apparently need several sessions of "stretching and folding" to develop gluten, I figured that a few cycles under the Kitchen Aid would be a substitute.

To be honest the rise during the bulk fermentation surprised the heck out of me ... it seriously expanded. Big time. When I hit it with the kneading hook I noticed all of the gas bubbles being deflated/popped/torn/whatever and it occurred to me that it may have been better to simply bake it after the first fermentation. What do you think?

Yes, the pan side is nice and golden.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

After combining a fully fermented preferment with soaked flour (the 16 hr ones) ... here is where the salt should have gone in to tighten the structure after mixing while adding the extra flour and you were within (using the best of my deductive abilities) about 8 hours of baking.  Overnight rise, ok, still a little left to raise dough so it should have gently been folded. shaped and allowed a quick prove/rise for the bake.  

The beating and rising again was more than likely too much for another good rise.  Good for you the flour was high ash so all was not lost.  What did you think about the browning of the crust?  Did that go well or were you waiting forever for it to brown`

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and it did cross my mind...  was that after adding the preferment and the  dough (flour soaker) together, I would have added some yeast, salt and enough flour for a soft dough.  Then short prove it like an instant yeast loaf and have it baked within 3 hours.  That is, if I had instant yeast around.

Next time try it, but move some of the water from the sponge to the dough (soaker.)  

dosco's picture

Thanks for the pointers.

The browning was fine, so far with every loaf the brown-ness and internal temperature correlate well. 200F interior temp and the crust is nicely brown.

On the upside with this loaf is the flavor ... definitely sour and reminds me of Safeway sourdough.

This morning I fed my 2 starters ... turns out all along what I was thinking was 100% hydration was more like 150% hydration. In other words I used my scale this morning, fed my starters 1:1:1 by mass and got a very thick and stiff starter. Interesting.

In starter #2 I decided to add about 20g of greek yogurt in order to augment the lactic acid bacteria. Should be interesting to see what happens.

I'll probably not bake for a few days - have 3 loaves in the freezer for Thanksgiving ...

... more later.