The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Emmanuel Hjiandreou's basic sourdough - still spreading!

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Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Emmanuel Hjiandreou's basic sourdough - still spreading!

As you can see from the pics, I still have spreading issues, different recipe this time. It is not a high hydration recipe at all, 500g flour, 300g water and 150g starter at 100% hydration, not sure what that makes the overall hydration, but surely not high enough to cause the spreading pictured. I must admit I didn't reduce the hydration at all to compensate for my humid environment, and did throw in a good amount of white spelt, which may not have helped. Do you think it might be my shaping at fault?

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

about 65-66% hydration, which shouldn't be sloppy at all.  The loaf looks lovely TBH.  As you say this is a basic recipe and one which Emmanuel uses on his courses at the School Of Artisan Food.   So there are no fancy stretch and fold, no retarding etc. In order to understand your issue I need to know whether the loaf spread out when you turned it out of the banetton or whether it was ok at that stage and just didn't rise that high in the oven.  If it's the former it could be your shaping technique (e.g. you may not have had a tight enough boule from the outset).  If it's just not rising in the oven (lack of spring) it could be the oven temperature and you could be losing a lot of initial heat when you throw in the cup of water (assuming you are doing).  How are you shaping?  How are you loading the loaf?

 

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Hi, yes, I bake my retarded dough cold, straight after an overnight proof. It does most of its spreading as I turn it from the banneton, it does spring in the oven, but because it has already spread the finished loaf is much flatter than it should be. It doesn't feel over proofed and doesn't deflate as I slash, it just spreads!

I baked this one in LaCloche, putting the dough into the room temperature LaCloche, into an oven preheated to between 230-250c, and leave it baking covered for 30mins, before uncovering and turning down the temperature to 200c to finish off.

I really want a nice high round boule, these loaves are a nightmare to slice, the bread knife is too short and I have to turn them on their sides to slice. And no way do the slices fit my toaster!

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

You don't seem to be aware of the properties of spelt...it spreads :)  It has distinct tendencies that require special handling. Many here have written about how to deal with it. It has no gluten and is a very very fast acting flour. You would do well to make this bread and use only whole wheat and white AP flour until you are fully used to the formula. When you are ready to use spelt one thing to do is put all of the flour including and especially the spelt to soak the night before in the water you will use for the formula. Nothing else...just the water/flour as a 24 hr  room temp. soaker. You will get a much better response from all the flour but especially the spelt. Also make sure you don't give the spelt any time at room temp. It doesn't need it. Shape the loaves and immediately retard and bake direct from the fridge. You should see a big improvement. Bake in a covered cast iron pot preheated to 500 for 30 min. This is another problem I noted...you are using a cold pot. Nope...spelt needs that heat immediately or it spreads.  Bake loaves covered for 20 min and uncovered for 15 min if they are 750 gram loaves. You should have an internal temp of 212 easily at that heat. I have been doing this for several years and every loaf always bakes in 35 min. Good Luck !  c

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Thank you Trailrunner, you have given me lots to think about. To be honest, I am very familiar with that recipe, I used it repeatedly for my first loaves, but I do find it a little bland, hence I decided on a whim to throw in some spelt that needed using. I felt the dough was behaving more like the tartine or Forkish recipes I have been making recently. I have been having such trouble with spreading dough recently, I just assumed I was still having the same issues. I think that El Panedero is right, I do need to work on my shaping, but I have obviously made things far worse for myself by using spelt and not doing any research on using it! The information you have provided is really useful and next time I work with spelt I will be sure to apply it!

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

Just by way of clarification, see the loaf below.  When this loaf was turned out of its banetton it immediately spread out to what looked lke a thick pizza about 2cm high.  So at that stage it appeared as if all was hopeless.  However, once in the oven it sprung up to the loaf you see.  This is higher hydration than your loaf though.

To bake this it just went onto a preheated baking stone.   As already mentioned, you want to be preheating your pot so the dough gets lots of heat straight away.   With situations like this I would be trying to simplify your process to eliminate things so that you can identify where the problem is.  Currently you have dough temperature, use of spelt, temperature of the LaCloche, Shaping technique etc all suspects for this crime.  Ditch the LaCloche for a bake and use a pizza stone instead which might be easier than loading the LaCloche.  Your post suggests that spreading has been an issue for different recipes so I'm not sure spelt is the culprit, but to find out, eliminate it and just use white flour.  Simplify until you find the problem then start adding things back in. 

GL

 

 

 

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

No, it is not getting the oven spring your has. I don't have a bake stone, but could easily preheat LaCloche, so I will try that next. You are quite right, I do have too many variables to play with and need to simplify so I can resolve the issue. Thank you for your help.

Capn Dub's picture
Capn Dub

Trailrunner, you offer some good tips for dealing with spelt, but I am concerned that one statement could result in serious health problems for some people, particularly those who suffer from celiac disease.  You said " It has no gluten . . . ."  Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon whether one is a baker or a celiac victim, that statement simply is not correct.  Yes, I know, there are all kinds of claims on the Web to that effect, but there are also claims that the pyramids were built by aliens from another solar system.  It's a shame, but one cannot believe everything one reads, especially on the Web.

Here is just a sampling of a multitude of fairly authoritative sources that contradict the claim that spelt is gluten-free:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2009/June/Getting-out-the-gluten
http://www2.ca.uky.edu/HES/FCS/SSCBaking/Essential_Ingredients/12SSC_TypesFlourPub.pdf
http://lifework.arizona.edu/lwcfiles/wholegrains.pdf

So, if spelt is not gluten-free, then why is it so difficult for a baker to work with?  It seems that not all gluten is the same: gluten is not a single compound, but rather a "family" of proteins.  It also seems that spelt gluten is much more water soluble than wheat gluten, which is scarcely soluble at all.  As a consequence it does not form those long, interconnected strands which are the baker's delight.

I don't mean to call you out on this, Trailrunner, but rather to alert this community to the potential danger of spelt gluten to celiac sufferers.  Apparently spelt is just as dangerous to them as other Triticum species.  On the other hand, it is reported to be more easily handled by some of those who simply experience "gluten intolerance", which is a whole different thing.