The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough not smooth in banneton

mk740's picture
mk740

Dough not smooth in banneton

Hello all,

I am having issues with the dough getting holes and a rough surface after a couple of hours in the banneton. I am trying Ken Forkish Overnight Country Brown recipe and I do struggle a bit with shaping to create good surface tension. I don't have great countertop so I use a pizza peel to shape the dough. There is quite a bit of hydration as the dough is pretty sticky when I try to shape. I tried both seam side up and down. When I am ready to put transfer from basket to oven, the dough quickly loses shape and it ends up getting flat.  Pic attached. This is about 3 hours into the banneton. Any thoughts on the cause of my problem would be appreciated. Thank you.

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Over fermentation. I also see you're following a Forkish recipe which does explain a lot. Great baker and book but timings are overly generous. Easily fixed by watching the dough and not the clock. Get to know the look and feel of the dough when the bulk ferment is done. Should be aerated, billowy with visible signs of bubbles just beneath the surface or around the edges. Leaving it till doubled or tripled is sometimes too much. Persevere and it'll come with practice. 

Where do you live? How warm is it where you are? What flour are you using? Perhaps we can tweak it a bit here and there to take all this into account. 

mk740's picture
mk740

Thank you very much Lechem! Its been a bit frustrating but I'm not giving up so easily.  I live in San Diego so the room temp is around 76. I use KA whole wheat and Bobs Red Mill unbleached artisan bread flour. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Learning to go by feel will just take time and practice. Till then you can try altering the timing till you find what works for you. You might not get perfect loaves all the time but they'll all be tasty. I've eaten my way through many imperfect loaves and loved them all because I baked them. So they didn't have the best shape or height but they sure were good. 

You can either invest in a proofer so you can ferment/proof the dough in the exact temperature or look for the signs. Get to know how the dough responds at each stage. Be aware and don't just go through the motions of stretch and fold etc. 

I find when the dough is done bulk fermenting it goes through a subtle change to the way it feels. Once you notice bubbles just beneath the surface and/or around the edges and it's puffed up then go onto the shaping and final proofing. For now you can also drop the hydration by 5% just to make it easier to handle. You can always go back up when you're used to it. Final proofing in the fridge is also a bit of a fail safe. 8-12 hours and it will be fine to bake straight from the fridge. After all that it's just practice.

mk740's picture
mk740

Thanks again. I know the dough is always over proofed based on the finger dent test. I will do as you suggest on my next batch and watch the bulk fermentation. I appreciate your quick reply!

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Check out Trevor J Wilson's (a fellow TFL'er) website http://www.breadwerx.com

Great videos to watch, learn and try. In depth explanations of each stage which you can apply to all your bakes. You'll learn how to handle the dough and get a feel for when the dough is done etc.