The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is this overproofing? Or maybe underdeveloped gluten?

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

Is this overproofing? Or maybe underdeveloped gluten?

Hello everyone. I am new on this forum, i hope i do this post the right way. 

So, i started to bake sourdough bread 5 months ago, lately i did some very great breads, good structure, very good oven spring, and excelente taste. But my last 3 breads endid up like the one on the photo. Flat, minimal rise( you can see the whole bread in the backgruond), and somewhat diffluent crumb stucture( i dont know if this kind has a specific name to it, it is airy, not dense, but it seems that it was too fliud throughout the bake, so it is not that good looking open crumb, more like an "every hole is the same shape, round like". I made some breads that looked like a professional, almost like this, but with smaller holes https://2cv80798eul3adeda3i2a22v-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/theperfectloaf-mybestsourdoughrecipe-title-1-1000x800.jpg   

I think you can see the difference in the crumb structure. I think i overproofed my breads, but i dont know how. My recipe is:

450 g wheat bread flour(11 g protein)

50 g whole wheat flour

375 g water

100 g levain

10 g salt 

I mixed the dough, folded it 4 times during bulk, the bulk was 3.5 hours, shaped, and final rise was only 1.5 hours, but at this point the finger poke test almost failed. 

Is it possible that my starter became so active lately that it is too fast for this much levain? I did it like this the whole time, and the final rise took about 5 hours in room temperature. I tried to put it in the fridge to retard, but after 7 hours, it turned out the same, a flat "bread". My shaping is not the best yet, but i think i can shape it pretty good to get a proper oven spring. 

 

What do you think? 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

:)  

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

I mix the water with the levain, and than i add the premixed flour-salt combo. Then i mix it, and do the folds during bulk. 

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

I’ve been having same problem as well I use 20% levain on my dough generally 3.5-4 hour bulk and 1.5-1.75 proof however since temperature has dropped and I’m working through the night I’ve had problems.,,,I’ve tried lengthening bulk and proof but the gluten has collapsed and Bread has been dense, I’ve increased water temperature and now  I m thinking off adding more levain or try finding a way of adding heat howver I’m making 10kg dough at a go so heat takes longer to warm dough up and down.,,,so any answers suggestions would be welcome but in answer to your question I think it might be a temperature issue 

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

I never monitored the temperature, so maybe i try that also. Thanks :) But at first, i will try with less levain, and see if that helps or not. But it would be great to know, that is this overproofing or not, but i see that by only a picture, it could be hard to tell. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

degassing before shaping to make sure any large bubbles aren't getting too big by the time the final proof is done? 

Then there is "docking" with a wet toothpick to make sure any large bubbles collapse.

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

I never did that, i will try. But why are there these two different methods, someone says degassing tightens the crumb, and the other says it is improving it. Anyway, i tried an other bread, everything is the same, except i made it with bakers yeast, 1% of the flour weight. It took longer to proof, but it endid up excellent, only the taste wasnt good, of course. The dough feeled stronger, holded its shape in every step, and gave an amazing oven spring. I know that bakers yeast gives a different result, but i guess my shaping and my other steps are okay, so something with my starter is not right. I read that it can become too acidic, and it weakens the gluten, and makes the bread flatter, less opened crumb, now i started to refresh my starter, leaving only 20 g of it, and i try to feed it properly, see if that helps or not. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

the crumb.  Both are right, it tightens the crumb when the proof is shorter.  The idea is to even out the size of the gas bubbles so you get more of a variety instead of small and super large.  There are various degrees of degassing anywhere from just a fold over to rolling it out thin and flat.  The more vigorous, and more often, the finer the crumb.   Depends on what you want.  You decide.   You adjust the size of the bubbles with the amount and strength behind degassing, dough temp. and the amount of time in the final proof.    

All things being equal, a yeasted dough will always feel stronger than a sourdough, because of the lower levels of bacteria thriving in the dough.  If I took one simple recipe and made half sourdough and the other yeasted, I would have to add more water to the yeasted one to have the same dough feel when doing the final shaping.  Sourdoughs loosen up or deteriorate differently, so true.  

One compensates by folding the sourdough more as it loses its shape or start out with a slightly dryer dough or one uses a flour with a higher ash content and/or one that contains more gluten to withstand the longer fermenting time.

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

But if i understand it right, if my starter is too acidic, or the bacteria overgrow the yeast, it will weaken the dough before it can proof fully, right? So maybe if i improve my starter, the bread will improve as well. The isnteresting thing is that i made bread with higher hydration also, with the same flour, and it was nice, it was about one month ago. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The acid shouldn't affect the yeast but if the yeast numbers are low, the long fermentation will bring out the bacterial flavours.  Improving the starter almost always improves the bread.  Seasonal swings in temperature affect starters greatly.  Refrigerator starters less but be sure there is activity before chilling or the starter is headed in a steady decline in yeast population.   

A more hydrated starter (or dough) means more mobility for the yeast in it.  Fermentation will be speeded up slightly.  So with a less hydrated starter or dough, all things considered equal, the fermentation will take longer.  Maybe that translates into another S&F before shaping. (watching the dough not the clock)     I would baby the starter and see what happens before changing anything else.

If you are dealing with temp changes or seasonal ones, a slight increase in the amount of starter can set up starter build for more yeast.  The reverse is true when weather takes a turn warmer.  Be aware of ambient temperatures and those of the water and flour.  Don't forget your bowl temps.  Amazing what a few degrees up or down can do!

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

I am now feeding it two times a day, in the evening, and in the morning, but i have to take it to three times, but i did not have the right schedule for it, so it went further than the peak. This morning i wake up earlier, and it was just at the peak, it was about 9 hours. Maybe i add more flour to is, so it will peak later. Or should i find time for the 3/day? 

The smell of the starter is interesting, i dont know how it should smell like, it was sweet till this time, but i fed it with white flour, now i feed it with white/whole wheat 50-50 %. when fed, it has a smell almost exactly like a yoghurt pie dough, when peaks it is definetaly vinegar, but with a gassy like funk to it. It that right to have that gassy like smell? 

So you say that try just to improve the starter, and not change the recipe. I wanted to try out a less hydrated dough, but i can see your point, it wont give me the right information. 

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

let me know how it goes cause im having the same problems - however my problems coincided with a severe drop in temperature due to winter

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

I will ;)

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

Dang...I was hoping Mini would provide another one of her insightful readings of the crumb structure (something that has helped me a number of times).  Seeing that she hasn't (yet), I'm assuming there aren't visible signs of significant under/over-proofing.

Looking past the few big holes, the rest of the crumb looks great top to bottom to me, but the fact that you have those big holes, and the lack of oven spring, why not try a shorter proof? Also, degassing is a continuous variable, and can be done more or less gently or aggressively.  If you are trying to keep all the bubbles regardless with no degassing, this can be a consequence (so you might want to watch and respond to what your bread is doing each time, and adjust, observe, and refine your understanding and practice).

I would also wonder about the state of your starter/levain, and also review whether you have made any other changes with ingredients or process.

You might also consider an additional fold to help with redistribution/degassing of extra big bubbles late in the bulk.

 

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

I will try a shorter proof, but i did not expect it to proof in 1.5 hour this time, and the finger poke test almost failed, i was like "what the hell". Before this one, it almost took 4 hours to proof, so this was a new one. 

What do you mena by the state of my starter/levain? I did not change any ingridient, one thing wich is not the best is tap water, but it worked all the time till last month. 

One other thing, i took out the starter from the fridge, and dumped almost all of it, and kept only 20 g, and i fed it with 40 g water 40 g flour last night, today morning it collapsed a little bit, but it has the leftover on the wall of the glass, it clearly doubled, and this was the first feed direkt from fridge, i guess it is not too weak, but i continue to feed it like this for a couple days, then make an other bread with the same recipe, see if it helps or not. 

An other interesting thing, i thought that the gluten in the bread was weakened by the too acidic starter, but the starter itself, i put out from fridge, and scooped out a little from it, and it tottaly peeled off the spoon, like a really really well developed dough, its gluten structure was holding it together amazingly, a had to cut it, didnt wanted to tear at all. And this starter was in the fridge for 4 days by that time. i am starting to confuse myself :D i dont know why is that.   

Is that possible that the bulk wasnt enough, and the gluten wasnt even strong enough from the start? 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

this one until after I had posted above.  Must be my connection or I forgot to refresh the page.  

I couldn't agree more with Bikeprof's comments.  

I do think you should feed the pampered starter when it has peaked out,  don't let it fall first but save a larger portion of starter to feed if you are heading for cooler weather.  let it rise to about 1/3 or half way before chilling after several feeds to increase the yeast population.  Watch the starter not the clock.  Adjust the flour in the feeding to get back to your preferred feeding times.

 

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

Here is my starter on 4th day after pull out from fridge, and dupmed almost all of it to refresh. I started with a 20:40:40 starter:water:flour ratio, yesterday i increased the whole, and the flour, the ratio is 40:40:60. It peaked in 10 hours, at 24 c°. 

I think this lookes okay and fine. The smell is still vinegar in this state, but now without(or at least minimal) the funky smell. 

Tomorrow i try out the bread, see what happens. 

 

 

Ooh, how do i add pictures from a mobile device?

I found an other way, here it is. 

https://i.imgur.com/YTWVl2r.jpg

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

rise time at 24°C with 1:2:2 or 1:1:1.5 feeding ratios. The starter looks good.  

If you want to boost yeast, try 1:5:5 or  1:4:5   (20:80:100) and see how long it takes to peak.   Repeat.

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

It is possible that it was shorter, when i checked it in the morning, it was in its peak, but may be possible, that it reached it before, and stayed there long. The 24 c is also a guess, but it is the most correct one. I was sleeping while it happened, so this was my guess. But today when i arrive home, i will feed it with that ratio, and see what happens. 

If i increase the yeast with this, next time the 1:2:2 ration will be faster to peak? 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It should be,  Often the first feeding takes a while and then the second repeat drops hours off the peak time.  A few consecutive times is good but if you are playing with your mother or maintenance starter,  and when the peak time is shorter, be sure to let it ferment after the peak to let the bacteria numbers bounce back before another refresh feed and chilling in the refrigerator.   

Other thoughts:   Not only could the morning starter have already peaked. The starter water and flour could have been much colder than the room temp of 24°C when starting off.  This can make a big difference in how fast the yeasts get going.  You would know more about that than I would.  If you find the dough taking a long long time to rise, and you have a very sour bread, then increasing the yeast and/or the amount of levain in the dough would be the way to go.  If the bread taste comes out well, then leave it the way it is, shift your tweaks to earlier degassing and shaping.  

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

Some update from the last bakes.

There was definately an overproof, the last try was better, higher, more airy, i watched the dough, and the outcome was better. But, there is still something not right. The dough feels weak. I tried 3 different methods, with the exact same recipe, one with no heavy mixing, just folding, one with mixing, then folding, and one with slap and fold, then 2 sets of fold. The first one had about 15 sets of folds, and it did not change at all, in the end of each set, it feelt strong, i couldnt stretch it more, then it flattened out almost immediately, and after half an hour, it was stretchable again, this is normal, but there was no change in the feel of the dough, only that it smoothed out. And the other methods endid with the same. I watch videos, and almost every dough looks strong in the end of bulk, like you can strech it, but it will give some resistance, and then hold that shape, or work against the stretch, and if i am right, this is the thing, wich will give the nice oven spring. 

I contacted the miller, they say that this flour i use called half-white, and is a soft flour. The flour itself is soft, but it has 11 g of protein in it, so i guess it is not the worst flour to use, but here in Hungary, there are not much places you can buy good quality flour, and i used before some no-name flour, from stores, they had a maximum of 10 g of protein, and they worked very good, holded their shape, gave a nice oven spring, but they had a horrible taste(well at least compared to a good sourdough bread, they were still better then the simple yeasted "breads" from the stores). This is why i searched for a quality miller, and i found the one i buy from now. I used this flour earlier, and it was better, but i realized, that i combined the flour with some other flours, to use them up. Is it possible, that the flour itself is too weak to hold its shape? 

One other thing, as it proofs, even in bulk, it seems like it is not getting stronger as time goes by, but it becomes more and more fluid like, from the beggining, it does not become fluid, but about to. It is a strange feeling, compared to the earlier bakes. Maybe the hydration is too high for this flour now? 

Now i am about to try the same recipe with an other kind of flour, and see what the result is. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"Maybe the hydration is too high for this flour now? "

Yes, could be.   Start out with less hydration.

You could also try getting more protein into the dough using dried milk powder.   Reinforcing protein bonds using salt right away into the dough.  Other sources of protein include egg whites (one per 500g flour) just drop it in with the water including it as part of the liquids.  Drop the yolk in too if the recipe includes fats using it as part of the fats.

Have you tried Tangzhong or water roux in your doughs?

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

I bought a pizza flour yesterday, a good quality one, i am not a pro at this, but one of my friend makes pizzas, neopolitan style, and he knows his stuff, i trust his knowledge. So i bought it, and fed my starter, to prepare it for the bake with this flour. The starter itself feels completaly different, in 90 % hydration, it feels stronger than the flour i talked about and used it the bread of the post. I am starting to think that all the problem was the flour, and the too high hydration for it. With this pizza flour, the starter is not that active, but i guess this is because the other flour is fresh milled, so it boosts the starter, but it works fine, and feels so much better. I will write, when i made the bread, and i try to use tha same recipe. 

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

I just got some new information about the flour i used, the fresh milled one. It is milled to super fine, this is why they call it soft. So the wheat itself hard, it has high protein, but it is super finely milled. It becomes more runnier than other flours with the same hydration. 

It is funny, how i talk this topic with myself, but i slowly gain the information i need. :)

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

There is some debate, but I do believe the consensus is tipo 00 does mean the finest grind, though it can be made with either soft wheat berries or hard wheat berries.    Either way, you are right to guess that while a recipe may call for a certain hydration percentage, the author was using a particular flour with a particular grind, and you may have to adjust for your flour.  

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

I know the same, but here in Hungary, there are interesting things sometime. I cant test the flour for particle size, but it feels finer, or at least as fine as the pizza flour. Although the pizza flour has 12.5 g protein, the flour i used has only 11 g. So maybe the sum of this leads to a weak dough with this interesting flour. 

The other thing i thought about is the gluten itself. If i take the pizza flour, it starts to hold itself together really quickly, the other needs mire time, i think it is because of the more protein, it has a better chance to form gluten just by mixing the flour and the water, but without any kneading. And if i did not kneadid the dough enough, its gluten mesh simply not stronger enough. I dont know. 

vinyei93's picture
vinyei93

I bought Trevor's new ebook, and altough i am on page 80, i already made some interesting discoveries. First of, the doughs i made were seriously underproofed during bulk, this way i could not shape it tight enough, and then when it proofed in the basket, it did not have strenght to hold itself, endid up in a crumb, which looks overproofed, but it was undeproofed as a whole. 

Now i made an other one, i handeled the dough with care during bulk, gave it enough time. It had so much more strenght and elasticity to it, it basicly shaped itself. Unfortunately, i had to go away from home, and did not arrived in time, it overproofed. :D So i made almost the same bread, but this time without the big holes, with better, airy texture, with better taste. So there was no problem with the starter, or the flour at all, it turned out, that i had luck all the time i made the good breads i was talking about, but i did not know what i was doing. Now i understand it better, much better. 

By the way, that book is amazing, i recommend it to everyone. :)