The Fresh Loaf

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Poor oven spring diagnosis?

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sirrith's picture
sirrith

Poor oven spring diagnosis?

Hi all, first post here, and I'm looking for help :(

I've been baking for a short while now, and my breads always have the same problem: not much oven spring and no open crumb. 

This is my usual recipe:

375g flour (100g rye, 150g whole wheat/strong whole wheat - 14% protein, 125g French white - 9% protein)

280ml water

1 tsp yeast (instant)

10-12g salt

I mix it in my stand mixer for around 10 minutes on lowest speed, then let it rest 30 mins before turning it out, shaping and proofing until it doubles-ish, then either bake it straightaway or knock it down by folding and re-shaping again. 

Last night I tried a cold-proof in the fridge for ~20 hours straight after kneading, the dough approximately doubled when I took it out, then I knocked it down and shaped it, and let it proof outside the fridge for another 1h30 mins or so.  It was not overproofed, and it didn't rise much during that hour (since I always hear underproofing is better for oven spring, I didn't let it rise any more). 

I always bake in my preheated dutch oven for 20-30 mins covered on maximum heat, then uncover and bake at 230C until done. 

This was the result:


Spiral Rye Boule by noobographer, on Flickr

Not much spring (I often see loaves with double the oven spring, seemingly), and inside the crumb is perfect for a sandwich loaf: no large holes.  But that is not what I want, I'd love to have open crumb, and I can't for the life of me figure out why it is doing this!

The only time I've managed to get proper open crumb in a loaf was when I did a very high hydration ciabatta which involved letting the dough quadruple in size before shaping.  Am I not letting it rise enough?  Is there something wrong with my recipe?  I see plenty of people with similar hydration doughs getting far better crumb than I, not to mention far better oven spring. 

Last night's loaf did have a bit of a problem in the mixer: the dough hook just pushed all the dough to the sides of the bowl and didn't really knead it.  But I figured that the 20-hour proofing would build up enough gluten to overcome that issue (and when I did the finger poke test it was perfect as far as I'm aware, the dent filled back in quickly, but not completely). 

Thanks for helping a novice baker!

ericreed's picture
ericreed

You have 66.67% whole grains in your recipe, and your white flour has very low protein, so my guess is that there just isn't enough gluten to make an open loaf with lots of rise and spring. You could try the Chad Robertson/Tartine method, people seem to have success getting open crumbs with high whole grain percentages using that.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20033/tartine-whole-wheat-loaf-quotholeyquot-grail

sirrith's picture
sirrith

I'm not too interested in just fixing it by using high hydration, but would you recommend I try with a stronger white flour then? 

Thanks

sirrith's picture
sirrith

can't figure out how to edit my reply!

I'll see if the S&F method makes any noticeable difference next time I have the time to do it though.  From what I gather on the link you posted, I should let the dough rise first before refrigerating for the overnight/long proof? 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in the final proof.  Also, the salt is 3% with 11g, does it strike you as salty?  It*s still within limits, just wondering...

try including some lemon juice in the liquids, might be the conditioner needed to get more from the rye.

sirrith's picture
sirrith

I'll try proofing longer, I'm just always worried about over-proofing! And I don't like leaving my oven running on maximum any longer than it needs to (waste of energy, noisy)...

 

 

sirrith's picture
sirrith

As for the salt, I don't find it particularly salty, but I could definitely try reducing it to 2% or thereabouts and see if it helps.  Thanks for bringing that up!

ericreed's picture
ericreed

I'm not an expert and I've barely begun trying the Tartine method, but I can tell you that retarding the dough in the fridge can happen at different points in the process, so you can kind of make it fit around your schedule. Some people retard the whole dough, some do the bulk fermentation and then retard the shaped loaves like in that method. I've heard long, cold fermentation can help with an open crumb, but I would be surprised if it mattered whether that happened in bulk or with the loaves shaped.

I would try a higher protein white flour, it certainly couldn't hurt. You might try an autolyse too before adding the salt and yeast. For my all white breads, I usually go with KA all purpose at 11.7% protein I think it is, and then with whole grain breads, I use KA Bread Flour with 12.7% protein. I've read that european hearth breads usually use flour in the 11-12% range, but don't quote me on that.


My default method is from Ken Forkish, I do a room temp poolish overnight, fermenting 50% of the flour in it. So my normal loaf would be:

250 g flour

250 g water

1/16 tsp instant yeast

Ferment 12-14 hrs at room temp (Because of the high percentage of flour and long fermentation, an autolyse is not usually needed when using this poolish. Also note if using a portion of whole grain flours it might develop quicker than the 12-14 hrs and keeping more around 65 F room temp or even a little less might be good.)

Final Dough:

All the poolish

250 g flour

125 g water

1.5 g instant yeast (3/8 tsp)

2-3 hrs bulk, stretch and fold 2-3 times at 30 minute intervals for the first 60-90 minutes.

1 hour final proof

Bake @ 475 F in a covered dutch oven for 30 min, then uncovered for 20-30 min.

 

You can play with the flour composition. I've had good success with up to 50% whole wheat flour. Rye though...I just associate rye breads with being fairly dense with a tight crumb so I've never tried to get an open crumb with more than about 10% rye flour. With 50% whole grain flour, you generally will need an extra fold or two, so 3-4 folds instead of the 2-3 with all white flour.

The other thing with whole grains is that you can push the hydration higher usually. I believe the whole grain tartine loaves, if you include all the water in the levain, go to around 85% hydration and then do somewhere in the realm of 6 folds to develop the gluten enough.

ericreed's picture
ericreed

It's 2.1%, or 10.5 grams in the amounts given above.

ericreed's picture
ericreed

But the water should be 80 F in the poolish and 105 F in the final dough, with a desired dough temp of 74-75 F. Assuming room temp of 65-70 F.

sirrith's picture
sirrith

Hmm, thanks, I'll also try playing around with the flour mix.  Although with that said, even when I made white bread without any whole flour it still didn't have the open crumb I want... And thanks for confirming about the timing of the refrigerating, that makes it easier :)

 

 

ericreed's picture
ericreed

I've never used that low a protein flour for breads, but that might be it. According to at least one study (http://cerealchemistry.aaccnet.org/doi/abs/10.1094/CC-82-0290) "Flours of strong protein quality produced hearth loaves with larger loaf volume, larger bread slice area, and higher form ratio (height/width) than flours of weak protein quality."

As I understand it, you have to get the balance right between extensibility and elasticity in your dough to get a good open crumb. Too much elasticity and the bread wants to stay small and tight and doesn't have as much oven spring. Too much extensibility and it doesn't have the structure to keep its shape and spring up. As I mentioned before, the 11-12% protein range seems to be a good balance for hearth breads. But technique influences it too, you can overdevelop the gluten working and shaping the dough giving too much strength as and a tight crumb as well. Sometimes I shape my boules too tightly and don't get as good a crumb and oven spring.

Hamelman mentions in his book 'Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes', that protease enzymes in a liquid environment like a poolish are quite active, breaking down the protein giving "high extensibility, which in turn helps give the bread a reduced elasticity, good volume, and a lightness it would otherwise lack". This is in the comments to his 50% whole wheat sourdough bread, which uses a poolish like above, but with sourdough culture instead of commercial yeast, same 12-14 hour ferment though.