The Fresh Loaf

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My Concha dough is spreading and not rising.

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pianodude4's picture
pianodude4

My Concha dough is spreading and not rising.

 

Hey all.   I haven't posted anything on this site before, so I'll introduce myself.   My name is Joshua, and I just started baking at the end of last year, so I'm still very new to it.   I'm 15 years old, so I have plenty of time to learn. 

I have been into making Conchas lately.   I've tried 4 different recipes, and I found two that I really like.   So one of the two keeper recipes rose really well and was like it was supposed to be and had no issues.   My issue is that I made it again and this time it didn't rise really at all, but spread. I don't know what went wrong.  It was good and even tasted the same, but it didn't rise like it should have. 

So this is what I did differently, so you can help me troubleshoot it.   I'm asking y'all because I know y'all know so much about bread baking.

  1.   I used parchment paper the first time, whereas I used foil and Pam this time.  
  2. When I got done kneading my dough with my stand mixer, it was stickier than last time.  It stuck quite a bit to the bottom of the mixer, but I thought maybe stickier dough would make a better bread. 
  3. When I divided the dough into rounds, instead of just kind of setting the dough on the pan, I flattened each piece a little bit and folded it into itself to make it smooth and round on top, then I placed it seam side done on the pan. 

So that is all I've done differently.   I don't really understand all the percentage and math stuff (though I should learn), I just try to go by feel, but I guess I don't really know how this dough should feel.   Here's the recipe I used. 

http://www.lacocinadeleslie.com/2011/08/she-madeella-hace-conchas.html?m=1

mini_maggie's picture
mini_maggie

 Did you skip this part?  "(If the dough gets too sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until it's no longer sticky.)" 

Flour can be more or less moist depending on age and storage conditions, so recipes may need a little adjusting from one day to the next. 

Good for you for learning how to bake!  At least they still tasted good, that's what really matters :-)

pianodude4's picture
pianodude4

I added several tbsp to it initially because it was super sticky.   Maybe I just left it too sticky even with the added tbsp because I thought it might turn out better.   The first time I didn't need to add any extra tbsp and it was less sticky, so my measuring must have been different since this recipe follows cups instead of weight. 

Next time I should probably make sure it isn't sticky at all and just a little tacky.   Baking can get confusing because different types of breads have different moisture levels, such as a French bread being quite sticky.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Be careful heating the milk, if too warm, it may have killed some or all of the yeast.  Make sure you can hold your finger in it for a minute.  If it's too hot for your finger, it's too hot for yeast.  Let it cool more.

What you can do right now is just let it sit there so the yeast can raise it.  It might take longer but it will get there.  If after several hours there is no change, no gas forming and dough getting puffier, you might try picking off the topping and work some dry yeast into the dough, knead it in well with slightly wet fingers.  Then put the topping back on to rise.

It is not unusual for cup recipes to be off by a teaspoon or two each time you make the dough.  Humidity, different flour, also the variation in filling the cup can make a difference.  What you want to pay attention to is the feel of the dough and try to add less water or more to get the right feel each time.  

pianodude4's picture
pianodude4

I used a thermometer and made sure all of my liquids were 105°F.  When I put it on for the first rise it puffed up super high after 2 hours.   The second rise is the challenged one.   So my folding the dough in wouldn't make any difference?   Oh, now I remember one more difference.   The recipe calls for instant yeast, so I used that this time, but last time I used active dry yeast which I proofed for 10 minutes with water and sugar.   

And lastly, I trust my mom, but after I divided the dough onto the pan and started putting on the topping, I got a bug or something because I started getting stomach cramps and nausea, so I let her out on the toppings and cut the designs and put them in the oven after they rose.  So I only saw them before the second rise and after they were cooked. 

I did read some things where people had issues with bread of their own doing that and people  kept talking about too much moisture being a problem, but I'm not sure how much of that I should believe. 

 

pianodude4's picture
pianodude4

I think you're right that the moisture might have been a problem, so what I said about people saying it was too wet in my last reply was referring to other people. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

thrown right into the sponge and then no proofing (so warm the milk first, then mix up the sponge) otherwise gas will be wasted on the proof.  

When switching from active to instant yeast, use less instant yeast   ... about one third less.   Too much instant yeast proofed too long (or too early) might have been the problem.  Try again using less instant yeast and speed through the sponge stage with cooler liquids.   :)   

pianodude4's picture
pianodude4

I'm sorry if my wording confused you, I know you're just trying to help.  What I meant was the first time I made this recipe I used active dry that I proofed, and this current time I used instant that I just threw in the sponge.   The recipe actually calls for instant yeast, so I don't think I need to change the amount. 

And you say cooler water may help?   I read somewhere that 120°F was the injury point for yeast and 140°F was the kill point, and 105°F was about the perfect temperature.   So I'm not pushing away your advice and trying to be rude, but how would cooler water?   I just like to know the reason behind things. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

what's going on...  

a question... are the photos pictures of the baked conchas?

pianodude4's picture
pianodude4

I don't have pictures of the first batch that rose really well, but these pictures are of the ones I'm troubleshooting. 

Maybe I should write down a list of everything that I did differently and slowly to troubleshoot one at a time until it comes out like it did before. 

I feel like the moisture thing might be the biggest or the shaping because I didn't seal the seams of the boule on the bottom. 

pianodude4's picture
pianodude4

My favorite book for baking, The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart has a page on shaping that I wasn't even factoring when I made this.   

I'm believe I have figured out the two things that may have caused issue.   

  1. The wetness.  It may have been a little too sticky, though not 100% sure, I'll just have to fix it how it should be next time. 
  2. The shaping.   I learned that folding under shaping technique from a video on Conchas, but now I realize it's basically just making boules.   I must not be putting enough tension on the surface causing it to spread instead of rise.

But I'm not really sure on my second point there because the first time I made these I didn't really shape them, I just cut small pieces off and them topped them.  The only things I do know that may have affected it is the moisture and maybe that shaping I did, since I didn't really pinch the seams together. 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Even with just a few comments and some mental reviewing on your part, you have a learned a lot about a simple bake-the effect and use of different yeasts, how humidity affects ingredients and outcomes, the effect of temp, dough hydration and shaping. I am impressed.

So next time, try making sure the dough feels right to you (in terms of wetness) and work on the shaping to develop a "gluten cloak". Keep notes and keep track of how you make the next batch and see how they come out. Refer back to your notes, think what was different and learn. Change just 1 thing each time and bake them many times-until you feel you have mastered them and understand how all the ingredients work together. This is how you learn any skill and just practicing and becoming proficient in that simple process will be a valuable tool to use in all parts of your life.

Delicious baking!

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I think it great that you start so early with bread baking.

Your recipe uses volume measures that leave quite a bit of room for variables. Breads flatten and spread when they are either too wet, not well shaped or overproofed. Your use of parchment paper shouldn't make any difference. And your shaping or flattening shouldn't matter if the bread rises properly and has a good oven spring.

I also think your dough was most likely too wet, with volume measures this can happen, even with the same recipe. If the recipe doesn't have a description of the desired dough consistency to guide you, you have to go by trial and error.
 Even you go into serious bread baking, I would advise you to invest in a scale, and make a list what your volume measured ingredients weigh, or use one of the internet volume-weight conversion tables, so that you have a base, and can better judge, what needs to be changed the next time.

If you would like to check out my Best Mexican Conchas, follow this link.

Happy baking,

Karin

 

pianodude4's picture
pianodude4

Yeah, the final verdict appears to be that it was too wet, and I totally agree.  I actually just ordered a digital kitchen scale yesterday and I can't wait to get it!  I have a kitchen scale already, but I never want to use it and never do because it uses a little orange needle, so it's hard to get very accurate readings.

And I sure will check out your recipe, and by that I mean I will bake it.  So far I have had two concha recipes go into my cookbook, one from Justapinch and the one I posted here.  They are both good, but eventually I want to settle on just one.  I tried one from a video I watched and they rose very good, but I didn't like the taste.  And there is one I have to fix my errors on from Pati's Mexican Table (came out way too sticky like a thick batter, but I baked it anyways.  Maybe I invented something new.  Concha flatbread anyone?).  After I bake Pati's again, I will for sure try yours.

I am so glad I finally created an account here.  Everybody is so friendly and helpful.  Thank you to everyone who was kind enough to help me.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

And if you try my conchas, please let me know how you like them. :)