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need help proofing my no knead bread

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LT72884's picture
LT72884

need help proofing my no knead bread

Hello all. I need some tips and tricks. I am failing to get the results i would like. Let me explain my last process exactly.

 

Started out with:

3 cups luke warm water

1tbls packaged yeast

1tbls kosher salt

6.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour plus a small small amount extra in case i didnt measure the water exactly

 

I mixed it up and i left it to rise out on the counter over night. roughly 10 hours. Got home from school, put it in the fridge and left it for a few hours. Came home from work and school again, pulled out from fridge. let dough get to room temp. shaped it and let it rest/proof for 60-70 minutes maybe 90 minutes. not exactly sure. but longer than an hour.

 

baked with steam at 450 and the dough had hardly any oven spring and was super dense in the crumb... something is a miss.

 

How do i get nice big loafs of bread like i have seen some no knead recipes yeild? did the 10 rise cause the yeast to go inactive because most the sugars/starches been consumed by the yeast?

I just want to get large loafs like i see a tthe store and what others have made. Nice and fluffy and big

 

thanks

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

Okay, so, it's hard to say from the information presented. Overfermentation may well be one of the problems. That's a lot of yeast for a long rise. You probably also didn't have enough time for your final proof. Here are my questions:

  1. Can you provide a link to the original recipe?
  2. How long exactly did you rise the dough the first time around? It sounds like it was longer than 10 hours; you mention coming home twice before getting to the final rise.
  3. How did you shape it?
  4. Did you use a basket or bowl when doing the final proof?
  5. How did you steam your oven?
  6. What did you bake it in? For how long?

Some other thoughts:

  • Reduce your yeast or put your dough in the fridge after mixing. Possibly some of each. This will slow down the yeast activity so it doesn't eat all it's food and die before you're done with it.
  • It's more likely that your flour measurement is off than that your water measurement is off, if you're measuring by volume (cups and spoons). Flour can fit into a cup in many different ways. Water will always fill it the same way. Unless you're in space, I guess.
  • Try a longer final proof, possibly overnight or all day in the fridge.

Following up that last thought, a better schedule for the process might be this:

  1. Before bed, stir everything together. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge.
  2. Next morning, shape dough, put in a floured and cloth lined basket or bowl, put back in the fridge.
  3. Come home, check on dough. If it seems almost ready, leave it in the fridge and preheat the oven. Bake
  4. If it doesn't seem ready, pull out of fridge, let sit at room temp for a couple of hours, checking regularly. When it seems almost ready, preheat the oven, then bake.
LT72884's picture
LT72884

Awesome. thanks for the reply. To answer your questions in order:

The exact recipe is from artisan bread in five minutes a day.
3 cups luke warm water
1 tbls yeast
1 to 1.5 tbls kosher salt
6.5 cups all purpose flour.

Mix water, salt and yeast first. Then by using the scoop and sweep method, measure 6.5 cups all purpose unbleached flour.

mix it all up till it is a sticky mass. cover for 2 hours and then shape it. once shaped, let it rest for 60-90 minutes before baking.

I let it rise at least 8-10 hours outside of fridge haha. cant give exact but i know at least for sure it was longer than 8, which for the amount of yeast was probably to long. haha.

Ok so how i shape it is by taking the dough, pulling down the sides, turning it a quarter turn and pulling down edges. cant really explain it in words but it is for a free form loaf.

I bake it on a stone in a 450F oven with a metal water pan under it and i also spry some water onto the sides of the oven and loaf. Sometimes i use a aluminum structure to cover the dough for 15 minutes while baking.  Like a cloche but not out of clay.

 

thanks

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

Both David and Andy make good points (see below for reference).

Except for the excessive bulk fermentation and possible use of the wrong kind of yeast, sounds fine.

Have you made this bread before and also had problems?

If this is your first experience with making bread, you should probably take a little extra time a least the first couple of times around to pay attention to the dough. Bread making is a very sensory experience. Following the directions will probably get you a better loaf, but getting to know the process and the transformations occurring in the dough will allow you to eventually move beyond that and make it your own.

Try this recipe again, but on a day when you can be around for the whole process. Check on it regularly, maybe every half an hour. You don't need to do much. Look at it, see if it's risen since you last looked. Poke it, smell it. See how it changes over time. A common line on here is "Watch the dough, not the clock." Once you know what to look for in your dough, you'll know when it's really ready to be shaped and baked and ready to make an great loaf.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Follow them and then ask the question if you still have it. 

Letting it sit for 10 hours without adjusting the amount of yeast or temperature of the water is the problem.  Too much time is not a good thing. More is not better. Treat it like an ingredient (albeit a flexible one dependent on temperature). 

What you are doing is like If a recipe calla for 1 cup flour and 1 cup water,  using 6 cups flour and 1/2 cup water and wondering why it came out dry. :)

andychrist's picture
andychrist

Also, what kind of yeast does the recipe call for, Active Dry or Instant, and what type were you using? I was surprised the other day to read from a distributor's website that instant yeast is not recommended for use in refrigerated doughs. Also Instant works up to 50% faster than ADY so you might need either to cut down on the length of the proof or to use a smaller amount.

LT72884's picture
LT72884

I have made this many many many times and this is the first time it has been like this. haha.The yeast is standard red star packaged yeast. Not instant. Just active dry yeast.

as i have done more digging, it seems the over fermentation is the culprit.

being a chem student, i totally forgot about over fermentation. I am usually very aware of that mistake. haha. Most of the time, i will allow only two hours, then put in fridge to slow the process down. I mean, its just like brewing a drink.. The less yeast i use, the longer i need it to be outside of cold. Once doubled or even trippled, time to stop the lil guys from over eating.

 

ok, next question. when proofing larger free form loafs, what is best way?

 

thanks guys for the help

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

If a free-form loaf means one that is baked outside of tin, I think the best way to proof it is in a basket that is generally shaped like the shape of the bread you wish to bake.

You can certainly use a floured-towel-lined bowl to do this, but the baskets are easier, IMHO.

 

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

Easier, and less likely to break when you drop them.

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

Select a basket that gives your dough enough room to grow. Optimally, just enough space that it mostly fills the basket when ready to bake, but if you have to pick and choose, better to have too much space rather than not enough.

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

Are you a graduate chem student? Or undergrad?

LT72884's picture
LT72884

Undergrad. Only have chem 1 and 2. No organic yet since it is not required for mechanical engineering. just the two before o chem. right now im gettin ready for thermo chemistry. im in diff eq and calc 3 now and i teach math at a high school.

I should have remembered about the yeast but i forgot. I mean its the same way brewing soda and other small drinks work.. yeast gets hungry, eats food, pees alcohol and farts co2.. I guess i was just busy with finals and forgot to even think about the yeast.. oh well

in my case, it ate everything and then starved. sad.. i just killed a whole colony of living things. well, time to move on to the next batch of bread. haha