The Fresh Loaf

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Oven spring difference between open crumb bread and others?

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MBaadsgaard's picture
MBaadsgaard

Oven spring difference between open crumb bread and others?

Hello people, long time reader here who has been pursuing nice big crumb breads for some time now.

After experimenting with flour type (both origin, and protein content from 9,5 to 12), baking temperature, baking setup, proof times, leavening methods, hydration amounts etc. I still do not really feel I am getting closer.

So my current focus is the oven spring, where I'd say I get about 15-20% right now.

I have a nagging feeling though, that these big bubbled breads do not really rise more than, say, lean sandwich breads, even though the crumb structure is that different. I could imagine it is way more about how the gluten is formed in the bread, really.

Can anyone tell me their experience with this?

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

I am having trouble getting the oven spring that I want, but not much trouble with open crumb. If you think about ciabatta, one of the holiest breads, it does not spring massively up, so my gut feeling is that the holes come more from hydration, gentle handling and correct proofing than from the final spring in the oven, though that must surely help a bit. 

MBaadsgaard's picture
MBaadsgaard

Really? So anything in particular you do differently when it is other kinds of bread? Or is it just hydration?

I usually go by this recipe: http://www.breadcetera.com/?p=101

I tried varying things with it, only thing I haven't tried is actually using a peel and couche, as I only have plastic boxes. Still, I consistently get small holes, and no real variety in size.

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

I do try to be very, very gentle with the dough, all the time. I turn it from the bowl as gently as I can, I shape as gently as I can and even stretching and folding, I stretch as gently as I can. Having said that, other than ciabatta, I rarely do a white bread, so I am not expecting huge holes, but I do like to see every hole opened up, with no dense areas. I am not saying oven spring doesn't play a part, just that I think the holes that you will get are mostly decided before the loaf goes into the oven and if you haven't got the dough right before, however much spring you get you won't get the airiness you want.

MBaadsgaard's picture
MBaadsgaard

Thankyou, that gives me a new focus area to go by with my baking, so that is really nice.

isand66's picture
isand66

The whole size in your bread has nothing to do with the oven spring.  It has to do with the hydration level of the dough, types of flour used and how you handle the dough as well as gluten development.  Leaner dough tends to have a more open hole structure, but as I said it's a combination of several factors.

MBaadsgaard's picture
MBaadsgaard

Thankyou for the answers, hope you guys don't mind me expanding on my original question, now that I have your attention ;)

So I got a hint about method now, but what about flour type? Anything I should go for, or is it the usual "higher protein gives better crumb"?

For hydration, I have only been trying with 75% which should be plenty, I hope :)

Should gluten just be fully developed? And does method matter? I Have a kitchen machine with dough hook that is of course easier (but not as meditative) as doing it by hand. I kind of held back on kneading the dough alot, because I got the impression that MAYBE you could overdevelop the gluten. Not in the foodprocessor-kind-of-way where the gluten tightens and breaks and you get nothing, but as you create too many gluten connections inside the bread... Again, just a thought I had...

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Very high protein flours can give a tighter crumb. I am not sure where you are based, but I know many US bakers use AP flour rather than bread flour, for the slightly lower protein content. In the UK you can get extra strong bread flour with a protein level of over 13%, I once used some by accident and got a very dense crumb.

Yes, you can develop the gluten too much for large holes.

75% hydration should give you a nice open crumb on a white loaf, though many bakers go higher. I think most of the Ken Forkish recipes are around 78%.

MBaadsgaard's picture
MBaadsgaard

Really??... People are usually going crazy for as high protein content as possible. I also thought it should be as high as possible, really. But then what is the purpose of anything above 10%??

I am from Denmark, we have 2 old timer flour brands dominating the market, both are 10%, then we have some organic varieties going at 11-12%, some cheap German stuff going 12% and some even cheaper at 9,5%. Plus all the smaller varieties around. No distinction between wheat species, or AP, bread or cake flour.

Are there any indicators for when I have developed the gluten just enough, or should i just keep doing until I find just the right amount of time?

Xenophon's picture
Xenophon

at least in my experience is function of

 

-how you treat treat the fermenting dough (gently, don't try to squeeze all the gas out of it, you need those micro-bubbles),

-proofing time (longer and slower is better), my slow fermentation sourdough breads give a really good, airy crumb.

-hydration (higher-->more spring but also harder to work with the dough,

- protein content,

- protein quality (I'm in India but bring all my flour from Europe, they have some very high protein flour here but the milling heats up the grain excessively and prevents a good gluten structure from forming, hence hyper dense breads, it's not a coincidence that (unleavened) flatbreads are the staple here.

- Scoring (really makes a BIG difference).

- Steam during the initial baking phase, very hard to get this right imo in a noun-professional setup.