The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

dough does not hold shape

SergeyAU's picture
SergeyAU

dough does not hold shape

Hi guys

I have been baking bread for few years now, but still have novice mistakes.

Mixing my sourdough bread by hand using autolyse and stretch and fold technique, but when I get to more than 70% hydration, I find that my dough does not hold its shape when formed =( Watched so many videos that people make a tight  ball from their 85% hydration dough that just stands on the benchtop... Yes, it will eventually spread, but mind spreads pretty much straight away.

I feel that gluten is not organized, so it has no strength to hold its shape. This makes by bread not to have a good oven spring and I most of the time end up with a flatter loaf. 

I usually leave my flour/water mix to autolyse for 30 min followed by about 5-7 folds over 5 hour period. But I don't really see my dough becoming elastic, like I have seen in the videos.

What is my problem? Using mostly 80/20 or 90/10 bread flour/wholegrain mix

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Is that 5 hour period including your final proof?  Are you comparing sourdough to yeasted dough? 

There is no crime is using less water in the dough.  What's the recipe?  What season and roughly where's your location?

If you are mixing by hand, what's the kneading technique?  Maybe with more details we all can figure this out together.  

SergeyAU's picture
SergeyAU

5 hours is just for bulk fermentation. I have started doing final proof in the fridge, so that it does not spread as much when I scrore it.

I am comparing similar recipes of sourdough bread. We are in spring season now, at home is about 21-22C 
At autolyse time the dough temperature is around 32C.

I am mixing by hand using stretch and fold. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to flour?

SergeyAU's picture
SergeyAU

Sorry, should have posted the whole thing

Not in bakers %

400g wheat flour
100g whole wheat flour
380g water
10g salt
90g 100% levain

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

spread?   Are all the stretch and folds done early in the fermenting process? 

SergeyAU's picture
SergeyAU

yeah, most spread. Stretch/folds are done in uneven intervals throughout the 4 of 5 hours. Like in 15, 30 min intervals (when I remember to do them)

CraggyIsland's picture
CraggyIsland

I have the same issue. The breads I bake taste fantastic....they just end up going flat. I've had a couple look good but still not as risen as I'd like. I too thought I wasn't building strength enough, but the last loaf I made I really really worked it, it didn't collapse as much, but it was gummy and dense after baking - I clearly overworked it. 

Sorry this comment is not helpful, I just want to say it's not just you!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and I think it a bit high.   I also think there is too much folding going on before the dough has even started to rise and puff up.  The dough might benefit more if some folding was done while retarding.  Not too often just once and then placed into the banneton when dough is stiffer.  Worth a try anyway.

I don't rush my folding like clockwork...  When I see the dough rising more "out" than "up" I give it a folding.  Sourdoughs relax more than yeasted doughs as fermentation progresses.  It's the action of the bacteria so folds made later on have more impact in keeping a nice shape than the folds soon after mixing.  At least I find it so.  I don't start folds until I see some gas trapping going on and the volume increasing.  With 90g of starter that may be 3 -5 hours after mixing up the dough depending on dough temp.  

SergeyAU's picture
SergeyAU

I thought folding is not just for strength and organizing but also to fully mix in the starter and salt. Looking at the hand mixing techniques I do not see how you incorporate throughout without kneading or folding

SergeyAU's picture
SergeyAU

I may have to work on the final shaping technique more. Hard when you only make 1-2 loafs a week

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

using a kneading method.  The more bread flour in the dough, the more I knead.  Not long mind you, but enough to work in all ingredients evenly.  First I get all the flour wet using a stiff spoon or spatula, then let the dough sit covered to hydrate.  Then a short knead and shaping.  Cover and wait until some rise before flipping, stretching out the dough and folding it over itself from four directions.  flip the "top" back up right and tuck under the corners.  Repeat when needed.