The Fresh Loaf

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The Mystery of the Twin Bannetons

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mickybean's picture
mickybean

The Mystery of the Twin Bannetons

I have two bannetons: one oblong, one round. For the past few weeks, I've been making one big batch of sourdough and putting half in each banneton for the final rise/overnight retard. Both loaves are treated exactly the same way for exactly the same time--and yet, when I bake them, the oblong is always perfectly proofed, and the boule is always severely underproofed! How is this possible? 

Does it have something to do with the way the loaf shapes are formed? For the oblong banneton, I shape my dough into a batard, and I do a boule shaping for the round one. Maybe the batard is providing better structure for the rise? It's a pretty lean dough (76% hydration), so maybe it needs all the structural help it can get. That's all I can think of. Any ideas?

UPDATE:

This is a photo from the heel of the batard:

This is from the underproofed boule:

(Sorry about the terrible phone photos, which are giving the impression of grey loaves with no browning on the crust--not the case!)

People have been asking for more details about the baking. I do a bulk ferment at room temp for 2.5 hours, with s&f every 30 min. Then I plop them in the bannetons at room temp for 2 hours or so, and then they go in the same spot in the fridge for 12-16 hours. I don't weigh them, but they look about the same weight. In the morning, I bake them straight out of the fridge, one after the other. The batard goes first, so it's not a question of extra proofing time.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Take two aspirin and In the morning, take the temperature of both doughs. Maybe the dough at the back of the fridge is a very different temperature. Or, maybe you take both out at the same time but bake one after the other so the latter one has more time to proof?

If it is truly the shape, that would be interesting to know. But it seems to me unlikely that it would make such a big difference.  

 

 

 

mickybean's picture
mickybean

The fridge is not the issue. And the underproofed one was baked last, so that isn't it, either.

andychrist's picture
andychrist

Well if both are refrigerated overnight then yeah, shape will definitely have an effect on how long each takes to warm back up to room temperature. Assuming here that the longer narrower battard has a higher ratio of surface to volume than the boule, so it proofs quicker from cold.

Had a related problem when bulk retarding bagel dough. After being taken from the fridge and left sitting on the kitchen counter, it would take ages to warm back up all the way through, even though my apartment was dreadfully overheated. Hand rekneading the dough for the better part of an hour there would still be cold pockets. So I gave up on that method and began shaping the dough into rings before refrigerating. Individual bagels would then proof within 45 minutes — the higher ratio of surface to volume had tremendous impact here.

Agree though there could also be structural differences between the boule and battardes that influence the proof, but that is beyond my [considerable lack of] expertise. 

mickybean's picture
mickybean

I'm not letting them warm back up to room temperature. They both proof for the same amount of time on the counter and then put in the same spot in the fridge overnight. Then I bake straight from the fridge.

daria_m's picture
daria_m

Hi, Mickybean, please can you provide a little more info about your baking. Are your loaves same weight? Do your loaves stay on the same shelf in your fridge? Are you baking them together or one after the other? You consider your boule under-proofed for what reason? How do you bake - on pizza stone, with steam, using dutch oven? do you bring loaves to room temperature before baking?

Only from my experience: we tend to shape batards more loose, so they proof faster, than boules. If you use industrial yeast, difference may not be so obvious, but for sourdough bread tightness of the loaf affect proofing time quite a lot.

mickybean's picture
mickybean

I'm updating my original post with photos and details. Please take a look.

mickybean's picture
mickybean

I think that might be the answer. I always manage to shape my boule into something with a fair amount of surface tension, and it's easily lifted into the banneton. The batard shape, however, cannot be easily "spun" around like a ball and is always difficult to move around. I didn't realize this would affect the rising. Thanks for the insight.

daria_m's picture
daria_m

Ok, thank you, now it's more clear. Other possible explanation is even more simple: the cut (d) of your boule is a lot larger. When you put cold boule into the oven it is not heated through inside and expanded enough fast before crust is formed. I wouldn't say your boule is under-proofed, i would say it doesn't have enough oven spring, as batard. Also you wrote that batard goes in the oven first - means the temperature of the oven goes dramatically down after you are loading cold batard and then boule doesn't have enough heat.

For ex: Today I've baked 4 batards of 500 g at room temperature all together, the difference between t before first and after last load was around 40C (260-220).

Hope it helps!

mickybean's picture
mickybean

Ah, sorry, I should have said that I baked them one at a time, the batard first, while the boule stays in the fridge.. I let the oven heat back up before I bake the second loaf.

daria_m's picture
daria_m

Still I think the problem is baking and maybe development of the dough. Looking at your batard we can see that it has oval holes that generally may say about gluten that was not enough developed (or relaxed too much when over-proofed), pattern of crumb need to be somehow vertical and prolonged. Batards that are shaped loosely tend in this case to give these oval holes, instead boules from the same dough show more dense crumb. But your boule is not "exploaded" at least from what is clear from photo, so doesn't seem overproofed, also color is more on pale side that rather indicates too long fermentation, than too short.

This is obviously only an opinion, let's wait what other more experienced bakers will say. Thank you for sharing!

PetraR's picture
PetraR

wow, I never knew that the holes in the bread also tell a story, something new learned.

I am must glad I have good open crumb.

 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Good way for you to learn how the dough should feel, comparing the feel of one to the other. Not so easy to know how cold dough should feel but this might help.  Then Bake the one when it feels like the other. 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I use both, round and oval bannetons. Sometimes I decide from the available space in the oven whether I do a boule or a bâtard (I bake larger batches on two tiers). I never saw any difference.

But I don't bake those straight from the fridge, I do the bulk ferment in the refrigerator, not the breads.

Karin

 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I just saw this tutorial, which explains how and when to use different methods of scoring. Boules and batards are scored differently.  I'm not sure where your oval banneton fits.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/31887/scoring-bread-updated-tutorial

PetraR's picture
PetraR

When I want a * fast * bread I do the mixing and the Autoyse and S&F every 30 Minutes for 3 hours , than I can put the dough in the fridge go Bulk ferment.

I never let the dough do their final rise in the fridge because I had not so good results that way round.

Not a good rise and with that, not a good crumb.

I always do a Boule though and not a batard but I found out, the way I slash the bread for a more oblong loaf works fine in my Round Dutch Oven.

I hope you can figure out the cause of what is going on.