The Fresh Loaf

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Over-proofing, under-proofing sourdough or just bad shaping...what does it look like?

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Over-proofing, under-proofing sourdough or just bad shaping...what does it look like?

Hi, 

I am baking Sourdough since November and managed to get a couple of very good loaves done with a great crust and oven spring and even scoring and ears. That often happens when I do a long cold bulk fermentation in the fridge overnight and then shape and 2nd proof the dough and then bake. A bit like the recipe and process in url below only that I do not do the 2nd day retard in fridge in bannetons but bake on 2nd day with good results.https://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/recipes/no-knead-sourdough

However, if I try the stretch and fold method and then retard in the fridge method overnight as in the Tartine book or in Vanessa Kimbell's recipe from Sourdoughschool.co.uk I most of the time end up with a flatish looking loaf with very little oven spring as you can see in the photos. I can eat it but it is nothing compared to some of the good results I had but I am not consistent in outcomes which is infuriating. I seem to get elasticity in the dough and also thought I am getting better with shaping but then again this morning ...the loaf as in picture!!!

Also, although I am getting better at shaping and creating tension - so I thought - when I score the bread it tends to flatten and loose shape. It that a sign of bad shaping and do I need to create more tension?

Sorry for all these question and I know in the end it just means practise, practise and to be patiens. Any tips, much appreciated.

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Sourdough baking is difficult, and Tartine is on the more difficult end of baking methods.  Knowing when a dough is properly proofed takes longer than you'd think it should.  This loaf actually looks pretty good.  It's got an even crumb and looks proofed enough, so I'd guess it's not under.

You will see many highly hydrated loaves that spread and still get tremendous oven spring because they were handled skillfully at every turn, including proofing and shaping.  But spreading or difficulty holding a shape is a telltale sign of overproofing, as is a flatter result and a more closed crumb.  My overproofed loaves have also had a dented look, as if they rose, but then couldn't hold the shape.  I've also found that fermenting at higher temperatures with high hydration dough (as Tartine does) risks overproofing, because the dough may overproof during the final rise.

You can try to change the result several ways, including lowering the percentage of levain, shortening the time of the warm bulk ferment and/or the cold final rise, etc.  My preference would be to shorten the warm bulk ferment by an hour first and see if that works.

I'd also recommend getting Hamelman's Bread.  He does it differently from Tartine, and I find his methods more reliable and easier to execute.  I often increase the hydration of his recipes as I have advanced from a novice baker, and I omit the commercial yeast called for in his recipes, which he says you can do but add time to the bulk and final rise.

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Filomatic,

Thank you for your response and feedback.  Considering how it went when I started I have already learnt so much and trying to re-visit and eliminate what could have gone wrong but there are a lot of variables...... It does not help that it is winter and temperatures are difficult to manage in our cottage in UK. I think I will try as you have said to shorten the  time of the warm bulk fermenting or the cold final rise. I have a feeling that with the loaf in the picture it actually was too long in the fridge although it was exactly 12 hours but I could see how the last 1 hour made a big difference and maybe in my fridge I give it a little less and see what happens? I seem to also recall a similar post on this somewhere on this web site.  I also might try Trevor J Wilson's Champlain Bread which has less hydration and look into Hamelman's Bread as you suggested. I am also in the process of getting my starter on a regular feeding regime so that I am sure it is really active and ready. Planning to get it to live in the fridge and then just create levain when I need it. I would like to share one of my better loaves but don't seem to be able to attach pics in my reply.  Thank you again  for your help. Katharina

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

I mean an hour less warm bulk ferment.  I routinely final rise for over 24 hours, but I also am not bulk fermenting for a very long time (2-3 hours).  I have had the experience of the bread overproofing after being put in the fridge for a final rise.  It holds its temperature for some time after you put it in the fridge, especially if you're at 82 F or so, as Tartine recommends (Hamelman recommends 76 F for most recipes).  Again, at higher temps there's a shorter window between perfect and overproofed.

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Thank you and will try that way...

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

I should note, I just chose one hour arbitrarily.  It's not a bad idea, though, since Tartine likes a long fermentation, and I think a lot of people end up with difficulty handling warm, wet, often overproofed dough as a result.

People here are advised to lower hydration to the low-to-mid 70s until confident enough to try wetter dough.  Caveat, the higher the percentage of whole grain, the more water it needs.  70% hydration of white flour is much wetter than the same hydration for 50% whole wheat or whole grain.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Kat, I noticed in another post that you liked Trevor’s book. Have you seen this video? https://youtu.be/wuk8Ma4gaeA

Even though the crumb in your pictures is not extremely open, I think it looks ok. But it definitely lacks height. IMO, we can get obsessed with large holey crumb. I know I do :-)

The bread didn’t rise. Did it spread out during bake? When the bread has been finally shaped, is it taut? If you gently press it down, does it resist and then bounce back? Are you heavily degassing the dough when you handle and/or shape it? Is your starter very active? How do you determine when the bulk ferment is complete?

I know. Lots of questions, I’m curious. 

Have you tried a good room temp bulk ferment, then reshape and shape. Load in bannetons then cold proof overnight. Remove from frig and bake immediately in a hot Dutch oven? I don’t evaluate the cold proof, instead rely on oven spring.

HTH, Dan

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Dan,

Thank you for much for taking time to respond. Yes I have seen his video and I was actually wondering to give his Champlain Bread a go as it is less in hydration.

One thing I need to learn is to read the crumb correctly and in order to understand my mistakes. I had in the past really good results but that was when I basically did the bulk fermentation in the fridge. Then after a rest at room temperatures pre-shaped and shaped and scored. 

It is when I try it the other way around that I have the 'flat bread' syndrome!  Here is the mystery:

1. I have a rye starter which I cannot control 12 hour cycle but it is predictable if I use a certain temp that it will grow a lot, looks bubbly and healthy, stringy etc. and passes the float test (although more tricky with rye)  in approx. 4 hours time. I also make sure that it does not get too acid and has that nice smell. I normally use it for baking at it's peak to be on the safe side...

2. I do the stretch and folds and try to 'listen to the dough' rather than just follow the time in the book. Also try to be not so vigorous after the 2nd stretch and fold as I don't want to degas the dough. So really try to be gentle with handling  - YES I have been listening to Trevor......'integrity of the dough' is important to me especially, if I normally bake one at the time!!!! So normally, the sign I look for to decide the bulk ferment is complete is the amount of bubbles that I can see from outside my plastic bowl and also if the dough has grown combined with development of elasticity and window pane test.  However, I use our utility room with the boiler for the dough as it is the warmest room in the house approx. right to keep dough to 76F but can be sometimes more or around 72.  So this is where I worry that I over-proof or underproof here and don't trust myself?

3. Pre-shape was initially a total disaster but now I feel slowly getting better with the use of little flower on the bench, little flower on the dough, flipping dough and then shaping....I probably could shape it tighter at that stage...but love it when it after rest turns into this happy little rounded pancake shape...

4. Final shape....REALLY try to do this gently and not handling dough too much and degas. I probably handle too much in order to get a nice tight ball where you can use the scraper to move to get tension. With this loaf it had a bounce but not as much as I liked but it had tension - can it have too much?

5. It went into the fridge for 12 hours - I probably had too much dough for the banneton and it filled it all the way to the top. It held it shape when I put it on the bottom of dome and THEN when I scored it flattens and looses form?

However, I had loaves that flattened a bit after scoring and then still had loads of oven spring?

Sorry for the long post and I will not be upset, if you just can't face it but you did ask!!! (Smiley face, if I could insert one)

Kat      P.s. I think we should start a Trevor quote of the day - he really makes me smile and he is a gifted writer and baker!  "Don’t grab the dough . . . it’ll grab you!"   - certainly has and my family worries about me!

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

“I have a rye starter which I cannot control 12 hour cycle but it is predictable if I use a certain temp that it will grow a lot, looks bubbly and healthy, stringy etc. and passes the float test (although more tricky with rye)  in approx. 4 hours time. I also make sure that it does not get too acid and has that nice smell. I normally use it for baking at it's peak to be on the safe side...”

My rye starter plagued me with the identical problem. You can read about it here. See last post. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/54661/im-desperate-learn-why-my-starter-will-not-rise-past-8-hours

“It went into the fridge for 12 hours – I probably had too much dough for the banneton and it filled it all the way to the top. It held it shape when I put it on the bottom of dome and THEN when I scored it flattens and looses form?”

The dough ran out of gas. Or is it possible that the long ferments degraded the flour too much? I’ve been very sensitive to this issue lately. Trevor talks about extremely long autolyse (over night) and that sounded great to me, until I considered dough degradation. I’m sure he has that worked out, but I haven’t explored that yet.

It seems to me that long, warm ferments and/or proofs would do best with stronger flours. It should be harder to degrade (I think). Could this be an issue for you?

Excerpt from Open Crumb Mastery, “If your dough still can't form a windowpane, even late into the bulk, then that could be a sign of potential problems with your dough. Don't get discouraged and throw it away --you can still get decent bread, but it's unlikely that you'll get that nice open crumb you're hoping for.”

It is possible to develop gluten in your dough and then later find that it has degraded and is no longer strong.

Hope something above helps trigger a spark. I threw a number of my thoughts out there. Maybe one or more is applicable.

Danny

 

 

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Danny,

Really useful and I am in the middle of mixing as per Trevor's vid using Ribauld message. Amazing texture of dough and my arms hurt! More press ups for me with this method...will do next round in a couple minutes and let you know how I got on....Many thanks, Kat

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi again,

I am now on stretch and folds and have time for another post...I think with this one I will not retard in the fridge but try to bake today and see what it does. It seems to be coming along nicely but still a number of hurdles to take from pre-shaping, shaping, scoring and 2nd proof.......

Very appropriate quote from you and have not tried that yet as too early and may harm the dough according to book...

Quote of the day re. use of flour and yet another hurdle -  'Shaping the Perfect Loaf (or the Zen of Benchwork):  "I tend to think of it as a quick flinging action, kind of like swatting a ping pong ball with a paddle. You hold the flour in your hand, as if you were about to roll a couple of dice, then quickly flick it into the air at a slight upwards angle. At the end of this motion immediately pull your hand back - the flour will fly out from your hands into a cloud that rains an even dusting of flour onto the bench. It takes a few tries before you start to get it."    I think doing a headstand is easier for me!!!! 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Kat, the Rubaud kneading is nice. It can be a workout, but I for one can use it.

For those they may not have seen this method. https://youtu.be/zgz0oAhgwyg

Can't wait to see the pictures.

Dan

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Dan,

It took all day and finally at 10 o'clock the loaf is done...I did not have much hope as shaping is not my strength and I had to go back and give it a bench rest a couple of times as I just could not get the tension and thought that I probably manhandled all the gas out of it....I can't wait to cut and add crumb shot tomorrow.  I try the Champlain loaf next as less hydration and need to practise shaping...

Thank you for your support and help. Katharina

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

You must be very proud. It appears to be standing taller. Looking forward to checking out the crumb. Isn’t home baked sourdough great? I can almost hear the crunching of the crust as you saw throw it.

I’ve got a Champlain sourdough about ready for the overnight autolyse. You’ve inspired me.

Dan

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Dan,

So nice to talk to exchange ideas as my 15 year old son likes to eat the bread but it not much interested....my husband likes Sourdough but is also prone to the English White loaf....now you must know I come originally from Germany and one thing that I always longed for since when I came to the UK a long time ago was the variety of BREAD but this has changed a lot since 1991!    

Funnily enough the crumb of my loaf reminds me of a German type  'Grey Bread - Graubrot" - I am quite happy with the crust and I don't think it is overproofed ???  Not as much open crumb as I like but I knew that because the dough was very wet and I knew that this is likely to happen the way I struggled with shaping. To be honest I was very happy to see the amount of oven spring as decent height. Not quite as much as I am aiming for but progress and I am learning to walk before running and improve my skills as I go along (and eat good, healthy bread at the same time!).

I also have a Champlain on the go to take a step back and go to 70% hydration and please let me know how you get on with this and we can compare notes...Trevor gets it at the end of the mixing in such a neat ball with tension but that did not work for me like that...it probably is a combination of type of flour and OF COURSE s k i l l.  Did you get it to such a nice ball at the end?  However, the dough seems to have elasticiyy but is just more loose in my case...      

Do you think it is important to work the dough more to build gluten in stronger folds or do I ruin and degas the dough by doing that?

Love to see some pics of your dough...happy baking! Kat

 

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Dan,

Still bulk fermenting by Champlain loaf..how are you getting on ? I also spotted some really useful videos from Trevor on tension pulls  on his Instagram. I think that is also part of my problem with the piggyfolds that I don't seem to get too much tension and then this makes the shaping more difficult. You don't need to have Instagram to view videos :

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdDixGYHdU4/?hl=en&taken-by=trevorjaywilson

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdS5cebHj3w/?hl=en&taken-by=trevorjaywilson

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcfQAejn4t0/?hl=en&taken-by=trevorjaywilson

I think he says you can't have poofy dough doing folds before taking the dough out and I am a bit nervous about that  but I love that he almost has a ball shape on the bench ready for shaping....especially with my lack of shaping skills.  Not quite sure though, if I could degas the dough doing the tension pulls and I am going very gently at the moment...

Kat

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The air bubbles in the top of your dough looks exciting.

If you are willing, it might prove helpful if you snipped a very small piece of dough out of the bottom (folded side) of the ball. Then try a windowpane test with wet fingers. It might tell us something about the dough strength. 

I like the look of the dough ball. It seems like your starter is very active. I am strongly suspecting thr strength of your flour. Maybe others with more experience will comment.

I’ll try to get in touch will Leslie and ask her to take a look. Since reading Open Crumb, she has had quatum leaps of success.

Dan

 

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi,

Just spotted your message and must have missed before. I got those bubbles after the first attempt at the tension fold after 4th hourly stretch and fold as my dough was a bit wobbly and not quite advanced as Trevor's so I just experimented....and continued just to do gently 'tension folds' trying to avoid to degas the dough...

If you could find out whether it might be the flour...that would be great.. I use local freshly milled organic flour and experimented with different flours...I know one of the Artisan bakers in the region use it too...  I need to continue to read Open Crumb....  Many, many thanks, Kat

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Your crumb looks good, but I know it is not what you are aiming for. Since you are from the UK, I’m wondering if some of the problem may be the strength of your flower. LeslieRuf did an interesting experiment using weaker flours available to her in New Zealand.  See this link.  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/54934/experimemtation-next-step I think she is using additional gluten for certain doughs. 

Is it possible that some of your problem could be related to weak flour? Keep in mind, when viewing recipes on the TFL, that most users are from the US where some of our flours are very strong. 

I pose this thought because I read that you are having difficulties getting a good shape. Maybe I’m off base, not sure.

I started the Bulk Ferment for the Champlain Sourdough at 5AM this morning. This is my first attempt. My dough seems much more sticky that Trevor’s. I was able to handle it, but it didn’t seem to behave as well as his. (Pro vs. Amateur) I did use home ground Rye and Spelt. Not sure what he used. Will post images when available.

Dan

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

and still have heaps to figure out yet.  thanks Dan.

Kat - I have indeed decided that adding some gluten flour to my bread flour is really helpful in getting more volume in my bread. Strength is yet another layer to add. Loaves with only bread flour seem to go well with the stretch and folds.  The other factor is definitely hydration.  UK flours from memory cannot absorb as much liquid as US flours and I believe that to be one of my issues as well. My latest which Trevor calls Tartine style country loaf at 85% hydration was probably pushing it too far and dabrownman has suggested 78% hydration would give a better result.  That loaf was really really hard to shape and I struggled to get enough tension/strength. the result was a tasty flat loaf :(. So I am having mixed results but yes stick with it and keep asking, folks here are always willing to help. You are already making some great bread.

My next steps are to figure out the best hydration using bread flour, freshly milled spelt and rye which is my favourite combination. I suspect 75 -80% hydration is where I should be, bread flour seems fine at 75%.

My dough always seems stickier than videos show, and stick to my fingers and bench knife so often. Gotta build gluten/strength better so this happens less.

Lechem can give good advice re UK flours as he bakes lovely bread and is based in London.  Lots of other TFLers in UK too.

Leslie

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Leslie,

Thank you for your  advice and help and I will investigate the best flour in UK...I use some flour that Artisan bakers in the area appear to use but have not tried Marriage flour yet and this has been recommended by a UK baker on Instagram and the mill is also local which is great! I shall persevere with lower hydration doughs and hone my skills doing that...I might get less of an open crumb initially but it still is delicious, healthy bread and hopefully the rest will follow... I am very excited to encounter such lovely folks on this site!  Kat

lesbru's picture
lesbru

You may already know this but the supermarket chain, Waitrose, in the UK, stocks the very strong, high protein Canadian bread flour - white and wholemeal - for a very reasonable price.

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi, thank you and I did notice an might give it a try. I tried to stay with the advice to go for local and near flour and looked to mills near Suffolk. Have you tried Marriage flour? I saw it in one of Vanessa Kimbell's post and that is from Essex so I just tried my most recent loaf just now with that flour.... What is your favourite one? Kat

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I got to thinking about my Stretch & Fold issues (dough too elastic) with this morning’s Champlain SD. The overnight autolyse took place at about 58 degrees. When I placed the dough in the proofer set to 77F the dough relaxed and looked much like Trevor’s. It was extensible and a joy to stretch.

In an attempt to get more open crumb I am starting to focus on the stretches. I’m the kind of guy that thinks, if a little is good, then more MUST be better. I am trying to be less aggressive when stretching the dough. - The way Trevor handles the dough blows my mind. When I watch him I can feel the love.

I enjoy watching his videos above all others. I hope someday to emulate his touch. He is kind to the dough and, in turn, it is kind to him.

I watched the 3 videos linked above. Not many people know this, Trevor was born with a non-stick Teflon coating on his hands. I’m told that if you shook his hand, that it would slip out of your grip. Hehehe

Dan

albacore's picture
albacore

Yes, I've noticed that dough never ever sticks for Trevor or Maurizio, even at 85% + hydration. It makes me feel so bad, I've unfollowed them on IG!

Lance

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Lance,

I am sure you are still following those guys on IG and you were just joking!  There is so much to learn and don't be disheartened! They are amazing but they also have put in a lot of love and hard work into this for a long time!  just started in November and I find that by looking at footage again and again....I spot a tiny difference and then try to apply that into my next bake....so it is like being a sponge and absorb stuff all the time and to be patient with yourself....easier said than done.....I KNOW! Also, this is why I tried the Champlain loaf from Trevor as less hydration to hone my handling skills and then move up to wetter doughs. when I am ready...give ithat loaf a go!  Kat

albacore's picture
albacore

Just a light-hearted comment Kat! But I do have one thought on the matter, which is that where I live, cold, damp weather is often the norm.

I am wondering if a working area has high humidity and a temp of 17C, will the dough be more prone to sticking than if you have low humidity and a room temp of 23C, like Trevor might have? (I don't know where Trevor lives, so I am guessing). Also any pro baker working in a bakery is probably going to be in a warm place - maybe 25C plus? In my mind I see this environment reducing "dough stick".

Lance

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Lance, Are you in US or UK? I am in UK and cold and wet here in the winter which makes managing temperatures very difficult.  BTW, I thought you were joking but sometimes with text I get confused.....I probably will invest in a proofer sooner or later.... Kat  p.s I saw some amazing pics on IG re. wooden workbenches oiled with vegetable oil to help with stickiness...My list of 'toys' that I would like is getting longer and longer... Kat

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

How is your loaf going...mine is 2nd proofing and always scary times as to get it wrong when it feels like you are almost there!!! This business of when to put it in is tough...Trevor's recipe says 3-4 hours but I think it will be a bit more like 2 hours for me...and then the trick to get the oven heated in time without wasting all this electricity as my oven takes an hour just to go to 500F!

Did your dough get to the ball shape like Trevor's before bulk fermentation? I tried to use his methods but the dough remained more fluid and did not get the thickness and tension. However, I then just used the tension folds after 2 hours bulk and this helped...

He certainly has the TOUCH combined with a very natural inspiring nature. As so many things in life,  you give and it will be given back to you....seems to also apply to dough...sorry philosophical rant completed.  Any thoughts on stretches and folds are  much appreciated....I have not got that far in the book on this as he does refer to it in the video. Better read more...

p.s. I got my Rye starter 'sleeping' through the night and was ready at 8:00 in the morning for the recipe which was a bit scary!!!  It appears that 10 feed, 50, 50 seems to do the trick at 64F in our kitchen. It is a bit more advanced right now as the temp in coldest room is higher than 64. But it seems to go in the right direction. Your link was very helpful on this and I now use a danish whisk to make the starter really frothy with the water and then add flour. It helps that it is quite a stiff starter and therefore this also slows it down.... however, as discussed in different post I think I will have to get a proofer to get more reliable temperatures.   Oh, talking about hands....I think I will start more push ups in order to get the mixing going....the Rubaud method is not for wimps!!!!  Kat

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Dan,

Just out of the oven...Height is about the same like last loaf and better than my usual flat ones when I do stretch and fold rather than cold bulk of dough....but as you said there is always room for improvement and I am vexed that I don't seem to get the height compared to when I do the cold bulk fermentation with the dough in the fridge...intriguing....

I keep experimenting... and very happy to appear moving in the right direction and learning.    Kat

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

This is what the boule looked like after shaping. It was a little squat, not near as globe-like as Trevor’s. I’m used KA BF and home ground rye and spelt. I wonder if I should reduce the hydration a tad.

 

Oh! I tried something different with my scoring. Because The shaped dough didn’t stand as erect as I’d like, I decided you keep my score higher on the boule. I thought if I allowed the scores to drop farther down that it would allow the dough to spread outward and not upward. It looks like that idea worked.

I am pleased with the bake. It smells really good. And I like small blisters on the crust.

Dan

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Such lovely colour in that crust and perfect oven spring. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I’m getting ready to test bake another Champlainin SD. Checking to make sure ingredient weights are correct and recalculating the hydration. Everything looks correct and hydration is a modest 68%. As the wheels in my brain turn an idea comes to mind. The issue seems obvious now. I think the 12+ autolyse has weakened the flour to a point where it is degrading enough to weaken my four excessively. Trevor blew my mind when he instructed an overnight autolyse. But he showed us on the video that it works for him. We need to learn what Bread Flour he is using. Tomorrow I shall opt for a 2 hour autolyse at room temperature. I know I’m breaking the rule but I’m determined to find out why 3 of us can’t get the dough to behave like Trevor’s.

After determining the hydration to be 68%, I am no longer focused on reducing the hydration.

Trevor never mentioned the 50g starter hydration, but from the look of it, pouring out of the container, I think 100% is a save bet.

Will keep you posted on my findings.

Dan

”what I lack in intelligence, I strive to make up with tenacity”

Heck, Geremy aka kendalm told me today that he has baked over 1000 baguettes in his home oven in pursuit of a excellent loaf.  Now that’s dedication...

 

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Dan,

Newbie here again....great looking loaf. Just woken up in UK and when I looked at hydration of recipe I came to same conclusion like you that as per recipe the hydration should be really low so a mystery that dough was so 'loose' compared to Trevor's ! Totally agree that this must have to do with the flour and the long autolyse in the fridge...but ho hum...what do I know??  I might exactly do what you said and try the same recipe with an 2 hour autolyse today and also use my other starter which is a white flour rye mix but both now tripling and on 12 hour cycle...Oh changing 2 variables..risky.....

In the written recipe Trevor actually states that the 50g starter is 100% (25g All-Purpose Flour/25g water).

I also going to be cheeky and try the Rubaud method to insert a lot of air in the loaf first and then after 2 hourly piggyfolds might go and try the tension folds there after or something like that....

Oh, also I might try a different flour from Marriage that I know a UK baker on Instagram said he is using and his loaves look great!    p.s    Agree on tenacity and my Scottish friend calls it 'bloodymindedness' ...(smiley face inserted)....

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

What a nice loaf. I'd be very happy with that. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Did your dough get to the ball shape like Trevor's before bulk fermentation?” If you mean when he was kneading in the bowl, No. It did not! I questioned his hydration as a mater of fact. My dough was sticky I had to fold on the bench. My dough appeared more wet than what he had in the video.

After writing this I am headed to the kitchen to shape and proof the dough. At last look my dough didn’t have as many nice small bubbles as yours appear to have.

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

happy shaping - this is the job that I am really, really bad at and one of the reasons that I chose this recipe because a 70% hydration but did not feel that different compared to the Tartine video recipe from him from last night's loaf.

So yes, the dough was very loose and this is when in my desperation I when rogue and did rather than the piggyback stretch and fold in his video the  'tension fold' and this created the surprisingly and totally unexected ball with bubbles!  I then tried thereafter tension folds only but never managed to create as nice a ball...beginners' luck!

I hope it goes all well... Kat

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I’m going to ask Trevor to chime in. Maybe he’ll have time.

The main thing I’d like Trevor to address is the wet dough (compared to his) on the Champlain SD video. Both myself, Kat, and I think Leslie are experiencing the same results.

Dan 

“inquiring minds want to know”

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

look forward to crumb.

Leslie

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I plan to chronicle my second bake. First off I can say that reducing the autolyse to 2 hours is causing the dough to behave better. It is representative of what we’ve seen in the video. But, the question remains, how will it turn out.

Starter - My stater runs on a 12 hr cycle. It is mixed 1:3:5 using KA AP flour. I needed 50g of Levain. When I refreshed my starter at 7PM, I also built the Levain. I mixed 5 starter + 25 water + 25 AP flour. I wanted a 100% hydrated Levain. Since my starter cycles at 12 hours, I knew I could count on the Levain at the same time since my flour to starter ratio remained the same. At 7AM it was waiting on me. I like to use my starter once it has cycled from feed to recede.

The dough behaved drastically different with the 2 hr autolyse. Below are images of the first kneading. 

The dough is behaving like a 68% hydration dough should.

 

Below, the dough is pictured after the second kneading. The gluten is developed and the dough is not sticky at all. The affect of the autolyse on the dough is amazing. Compare an overnight autolyse to a 2 hr one to see the the difference. The S&F Where done hourly

I am starting to get a little concerned. I hope the developed gluten does not negatively affect the outcome. If it does, maybe I consider AP flour instead of BF next time. BY-THE-WAY. I heard from Trevor last night, and I think he will stop in to check us out. Maybe early in the week. YAH...

FIRST FOLD - I was pleasantly surprised to find that in the hour rest the dough relaxed quite nicely. It behaved much like the video.

SECOND FOLD - I failed to take a picture of the first, so below is the second fold. My dough does not feel “ultra luxurious”, but it ain’t far from it.

Below the boule is pictured after the final shaping.

Champlain SD Shaped Boule

My dough is not ”poofy” at all.

Below are comparisons of Bake 1 (left side) and Bake 2. The 2 hour autolyse appears to have produced better results.

QUESTION - Did the 12 hour autolyse cause the loaf on the right to darken a lot?

The image below was a real learning experience for me. The bread on the left above was the first bake. Visually comparing the two it seemed obvious to me, the later bake on the right grew much more. But when you look at the over lay of both breads below, the obvious is not so obvious. Bake 1 is on the bottom of the stack. Compared this way, I don’t notice a tremendous difference in size. It does appear to me that the last bake (bake2 on top) did have more dough strength. 

Crumb shot of Bake1

Crumb shot of bake2 - I thought maybe a rat ate his way into the bread :-(

With the exception of the crumb, I was pleased with both bakes. I’ve got to figure out what I’m doing to prevent the open crumb. Could it be that I am doing the S&F too aggressively?

Below is a Crumb Shot of Bake1 (on left) and Bake2 (on right)

 Thanks all, for bearing with us on such a long post. I hope you found something of interest. I know that Kat and I definitely did. Your input is appreciated.

Danny

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Danny,

That looks totally amazing and I am astounded what a difference a different Autolyse can make. We work in different time zones but this looks a bit like a US - UK rocket launch and please see result of my 2nd mix. I did not have to do very much and when you do this rolling against the bowl tucking the seam in method the ball seemed to form and I did not mess too much after that....I set the timer now for 60 min and proceed with piggyback stretch and folds and see where that gets.me...Also learnt lesson that silly me Rubaud method of course only works with higher hydration dough and I assume the same applies to those tension pulls. So....I shall stick to the recipe........  You are amazing at recording this - I do this sometimes as good in order to replicate...   Good Luck!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I was able to use the Rubaud kneading method. But the dough wasn’t nearly as fluid as it would have been with a higher hydration dough. At times I slightly wet my fingertips. And I pushed the dough into and upwards on the side of the mixing bowl. I was happy with the results and got a decent workout.

I just completed my first S&F. And to my surprise, the dough behaved well.

I’m starting to wonder if Trevor is not fougabouing us. Maybe he is messing with us. <Not>

QUESTION; Kat, how long did you autolyse that ball?

Dan

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Dan,

Your final shaping looks so neat, whereas I seem to have a proofy, baloony round shape. Probably should have given it more tension but did not dare to do more!!! It will all be revealed soon!  You also were very good in keeping everything in sequence and so organized whereas my photos are all over the place.  Kat

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

Looks as if it has turned out very well.  Look forward to crumb shot.  :)

Leslie

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Personally, I'd be happier with the crumb in Bake 1 simply because it isn't as open as it could possibly be.  But that's a matter of personal preference, not a reflection on quality. 

All other factors being equal, I suspect that the darker crust in Bake 1 is a product of the prolonged autolyse.  That's based on what I know of long, cold ferments that let the flour enzymes break down some of the starches into sugars that then are available for the Maillard process.  A shorter autolyse would have offered less time for the enzymatic changes. 

You are making substantial progress in your knowledge and your skills.  Keep at it.

Paul

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Yes Paul. The crumb was not good in the second bake. I need to learn why.

I’m thinking that because both breads rose so well and got good oven spring that my starter is not the culprit. Looking for any suggestions as he how I can improve the crumb. In this bread I wanted a very open crumb. HELP WANTED.  

dan

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Danni,    Amazing presentation of your bake and analysis. I will try to be like this next time and make is easier for people to follow. New to the site and learning my way around....and apologize.

I think you have impressive crumb on both bakes with some nice big holes and the crust looks cracking!  I share with you the conclusion that now I achieve breads with better oven spring the mission is now to maintain that and investigate on how  to do to get a more open crumb! I think I will try the Champlain a couple more times just to get consistency (folks don't worry I shall not put them all in another long post...) and practice my folding & bench skills with that type of hydration. Oh, one thing I noticed is how much darker the first bread was compared to 2nd bake just by using a rye starter for first bake and mixed rye/white starter. for 2nd bake..    Kat

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

would be more open too. You got more volume and slightly fuller “shoulders” with this bake I think.  It is interesting so maybe next bake you could do 2 loaves... one of them s&f as usual, the other much more gently? 

The crumb is still very nice, even if it isn’t as open as you wanted.  I think lots of practice is needed to get the crumb that Trevor gets, and we are all in the same boat. 😊 look forward to the next bake

Leslie

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Well....no pressure then? May the integrity of the dough be maintained! 

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Dan,

No my dough was def. too thick to do Rubaud with it....So I just used the mix method as in the video.

I let that ball Autolyse 2 1/2 ish hours at room temperature and then moved for mixing into a warmer room approx. 77Fish. I also prepared my leaven from my second starter which is a mix between rye and strong white bread flour and is reliable 12 hours. I took 20 feed, 50 water , 25 rye, 25 white and t he leaven took approx. 5 hours and was nice and lively and floated...it was not my stiff rye starter that I used yesterday.

I just did my 2nd S & F. It seems to have relaxed nicely --not quite as soft as Trevor's but you can only see his first S/F and then it jumps to the 5th S/F by when the dough looks smoother...so I bear with it....  It is going to be a long evening!        Kat

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

sorry...I don't think I made this very clear. I let the dough Autolyse for 2 1/2 hours and then mixed with result of first ball and then waited 15 minutes and did another yet brief mix with the result of the ball as in photo... I hope this is more clear...frazzled doughy brain!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I think it might be good for you to explore different flours. Leslie made me a believer. Here in the US we are blessed with our flours.

BUT, I don’t think your flour is/was the main culprit for your Champlain SD. I think the extended autolyse had the greatest affect.

I’m excited to hear from Trevor on this.

Dan

jmoore's picture
jmoore

Hey Dan,

I'm also following Trevor's method to try and get a good loaf. I see that you're using a portion of freshly milled flour mixed with KA flour. I've actually been experimenting with the same approach, with fairly decent result. However, when I go with 100% freshly milled 11.5% protein berries sifted to 85%, I run in to difficulties. I think the gluten develops better when using a decent fraction of KA flour. Have you also had issues with using 100% freshly milled flour?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Have you thought about this? 100% Whole Grain has no additives. Among other things, most flours contain Diastatic Malt. This should affect the rise, not the gluten. 

Also, King Arthur All Purpose four contains 11.7% protein. Maybe you are expecting too much from the grain. Just a thought.

As far as gluten, I’m not sure. If you weren’t extracting I might suggest gluten strands being cut, but not with you.

If that in fact is your problem, have you considered a small amount of Vital Gluten? If you do try it, use it carefully. That stuff is potent. The best way to see for yourself is to mix your ingredients to gluten development. Then test to evaluate your gluten. If you determine it needs more, turn on your mixer and add it slowly. You will see a remarkable change before your eyes.

TIP - If you want to visually learn the affect of salt on a dough do much the same. Mix all ingredient EXCEPT the salt. Mix to gluten development, then with the mixer running disperse your salt throughout the dough. The results will blow your mind. 

Experiments such as these have benefited my learning process greatly. You can read that salt tightens dough, but when you see it happen before your eyes you REALLY get it.

Dan

 

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Dan, 

After my 5th S & F the dough was very proofy with load of bubbles and also gained size...So I thought rather than doing another S & F to go for the 1st shaping as Trevor says in the video not to let the dough get too big... I really should  have done a windowpane test but forgot!!!

So I did go for the shape and managed a ball with still gas and a spring to it...I did not want to create too much tension and probably did not enough....So proving now and will see.....I attach some pics....

jmoore's picture
jmoore

Thanks for the tips and input, Dan! I'll have to try the salt experiment to see the tightening effect for myself now.

 

Regarding gluten: I've read several places that oxidation effects the proteins in flour. I think it's been suggested that using freshly milled flour limits the positive effects of this oxidation, and strength may suffer as a result.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

If you are inclined, maybe you could document your next bake in a fresh post. If you take pictures, that would be a great help. If you do make a new post, try to PM me so I don’t miss it. This one has grown exponentially.

I don’t know your baking experience, so please excuse my questions if they seem basic.

How do you determine the strength of your gluten?

Is the lack of growth your concern when using 100% Whole Wheat?

Can you describe in writing what you visually experience with the dough.

Maybe myself or some other more experienced user can shed light on your concern. Pictures are always great. You know, “a picture is worth a ...”

Hope we can help.

Dan

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

 

 Hi Dan, 

Ok final shaping done which is always the most nerve-racking...I had to use a bit of flower (sorry) but it was not too bad and not too sticky...there were lots of bubbles which I tried to pop as they are not good or not?  I took it 'gently, gently' and probably could have done more tension but did not want to degas the poor chap too much.... So here we go...all tucked in now in the proofing basket..which is another hurdle.......why are we doing this?   How are you doing? I am totally lost what time it is with you now? Kat

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

A well developed gluten and a nice dough.

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Dan,

While I am waiting for final proofing I just looked through some comments on Trevor's video and THERE IT WAS! I was supposed to put the salt in with the flour before putting in the fridge and overnight rest. SO - I am now pretty sure that the problem with the wet dough for me was related to ME forgetting the salt at that stage!!!! Mortified!!!! Kat

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Trevor does an interesting autolyse. Autolyse is without the Levain or salt. Trevor puts in the salt and refrigerates the dough to bring it out in the evening where it can slowly come to normal temperature. 

The purpose of refrigeration and/or salt is to slow things down. Flour begins to degrade once it gets wet. Left too long and it'll turn into a pool of dough. Cold slows this down. The salt also stops unwanted spontaneous fermentation. Because his method of autolyse is a lot longer than the usual 30 minutes to a couple of hours he uses this method. 

If you just refrigerated the dough and forgot the salt then not the end of the world. The cold alone will suffice and do the job. If not left too long at room temperature after it has warmed up. As long as you out the salt in later when adding the levain then don't worry. From the photo above it looks like everything went well. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I choose not to refrigerate before autolyse since I only let it rest for 2 hours. Note: the typical autolyse is from 30 - 60 minutes. If you put the salt in with the starter, I think you should be fine. Do you have salt in the dough?

It is my understanding that salt will soak up some moisture. And I know salt will act to tighten the gluten.

I’m checking the banneton now for proofing. I’ve got to go preheat the oven.

Dan

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Dan,

Sorry and please let me clarify... Champlain ver. 2 I did the same and had autolyse for 2 1/2 hours without overnight fridge.  I meant that for the previous loaf that was much wetter than this time i DID not include the salt and based on a discussion on a question in comments on video I think this could have caused the 'slackness' of the dough in my case combined with my 'weak' flour here in UK.

I hope that I have not underproofed but the dough grew in banneton and had loads of bubbles so that I decided to put it in the oven now..........I might cry in 20 min, when I lift that dome or be very happy!!!!   Kat

albacore's picture
albacore

Kat, I've not really followed this thread too closely, but if you are using some white flour I can recommend the Duchy organic white bread flour as sold by Waitrose/Ocado. I think protein is 13.4% and it will happily go up to 75% hydration and maybe higher in an SD loaf.

Lance

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Lance,

Thank you for your post and I agree and I had good results with the Duchy too. I was experimenting to try something from a local mills around Suffolk... 

Kat

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Dan,

Let me share my excitement I took your advice and went for scoring of a square to avoid to limit risk of sudden collapse!

 Must not cut, must not cut and wait till tomorrow!!!!

This is the best result I had unless I was going the 'cold bulk fermentation' route and thank you for inspiring me to keep doing this and having fab company!  

I keep fingers crossed for your Champlain ver.2! I post crumb shot tomorrow morning UK time and can't wait to see your loaf!    Kat 

 

Sorry for the delayed crumb shot but I had problems with my 'cookies'.. and wanted to load desperately to share...

I need to be another time more organized like Danni and edit the photos in sequence of events to make it easier for people to follow and possibly be more helpful...

I am happy with the bake considering in particular where I started from in the beginning with my flat bread  that introduces this thread.......and learnt: 1. really helpful tips on starter maintenance combined with the information in Trevor's book - both starters are now at feeding times so frothy and airy I could make meringues with it....and I use my Danish whisk..they behave on a 12 hour cycle and triple...

2. Info on difference between UK and US bread strength! Shall keep experimenting but spotted Vanessa Kimbell using here in UK Marriage flour and that is local to me and worked really well for this loaf...

3. Experimenting with Rubaud and Tension folds....as well as the other methods used for stiffer dough for Champlain

I WISH I HAD A MORE OPEN CRUMB THOUGH AND DOES IT LOOK UNDERPROOFED TO YOU? It looked so proofy with bubbles that I gave it much less 2nd proofing time in the basket than in the recipe and maybe that was wrong? It does taste amazing though and Danni on your question on this before - I love the bread a day old or so, especially toasted!!!!!

Enjoy eating your bread and Guten Appetit!  Kat

 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Evidently your shaping worked out. The sides of the boule look more erect to me. Your dough seems stronger than before. We are definitely learning things. Even when we fail, we learn. I like to bake the same loaf back to back. I think I learn best that way. It was great baking with you!

It seems to me that your dough is more “poofy” than mine. What temperature was your dough proofing in?

I generally don’t get much growth in the banneton. Mine rises mostly because of oven spring. I may have to investigate that.

Your bread looks great!

Mine is still proofing. I’m playing it risky and pushing the proof. In the past I haven’t done that. I always relied on oven spring.

Danny

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

wow. a great improvement. keep trying you will achieve your desired crumb I am sure.  This will be awesome toasted too!

Leslie

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

can’t wait for crumb shot! 

I think you and Dan are onto something so really looking forward to Dan’s bake and the crumb shots.  lol I don’t ever wait 24 hours, far too long, I am too impatient to see the crumb. I normally wait 6-8 hours then slice and freeze.  well done

Leslie

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Thank you Leslie...what do you think of the crumb? I would like it to be more open of course but does it look underproofed...the dough looked so ready and I am always worried about overproofing? Kat

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Leslie, Yep - I want to delete that picture!! (not really - all part of the journey)....

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I think the crumb looks great? The loaf stand much more erect. The shaping looks good and the crumb pattern is uniform.  So much better than your earlier bake.

Other than the reduced hydration, do you have any other thoughts as to what improved this one?

You should be really proud with that bread...

Our gal, Leslie is really getting the open crumb thing. Maybe she'll let us know her secret ;<)

Dan

PS  You should post the first image in this post next to your latest crumb shot for comparison. UNBELIEVABLE

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I am not very good at judging this either especially with room temperature final proof. I much prefer cold overnight fridge proof. Still, looking at the pattern of holes, maybe a bit longer would have given a more open crumb. hopefully others will comment as well.

Leslie

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Leslie, 

This is where my journey started. If I do a cold no knead type bulk fermentation of the dough in the fridge, I had some amazing breads. BUT the moment I do it the otherway round I end with the flat loaves...can I overproof in the fridge or is my fridge too warm? I normally keep to 12 hours and it amazes me that some people even retard longer in the fridge...I just mixed another Champlain to put in fridge overnight but longer in fridge and less at room temperature and then maybe try to retard in fridge rather than proof in room.  All good fun, Kat    p.s. I hear a lot about your amazing breads and have to look for some visuals.....

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

but really like the final proof in the fridge. I bake straight out of the fridge and normally I get varying amounts of rise depending on the dough. scoring is much easier too. but we all have our own likes and dislikes and many folks here do cold bf.  I dont know which is better.  

look forward to the next bake

Leslie

Trevor J Wilson's picture
Trevor J Wilson

Hey folks, I was asked to comment on this thread since there were some questions regarding dough consistency (or inconsistency, as it may be) of the Champlain Sourdough recipe. It’s a long thread, and though I’ve read through the entire thing, I fear I may have forgotten a fair share of the early postings by the time I reached the end. I’ll do my best to address the relevant points (as best I can recall them), but if I’ve forgotten anything then please feel free to let me know.

First off, regarding the dough consistency of the Champlain Sourdough. There are typically 2 main issues at play when comparing dough consistency – the flour in use, and the hands doing the work. There are also some additional possibilities, such as dough temp/ambient temp (colder dough and colder ambient temps/less humidity make for a slightly stiffer and easier to handle dough) and starter health/dough health (proteolytic starter tends to increase the chances for proteolytic dough – the kind of dough that tends to be overly sticky, tears easily, or even dissolves rather than form nice strong gluten).

This video was shot mid-March, and my cold Vermont kitchen made for a slightly stiffer dough consistency than what I get with this same recipe during the heat and humidity of summer. But that’s really a small thing – the differences are noticeable, but not overly dramatic.

So that brings us to the 2 main issues . . .

1) The flour I used in this recipe was King Arthur Bread Flour (12.7% protein), Bob’s Red Mill Whole Spelt, and Hodgson Mill Organic Whole Rye. Also, my starter was 100% hydration and made with King Arthur All-Purpose. North American flours tend to be quite strong (high protein) and can absorb plenty of water. If making this recipe with weaker/lower protein flour, then hydration will need to be lowered in order to attain the same dough consistency. Most European flours are weaker than North American flours, so that should always be a consideration.

It’s important to note that dough consistency, not hydration, is what matters. Dough consistency reveals far more about how the final loaf will turn out than does hydration. Hydration is always relative, and though dough consistency is still a subjective matter, it’s far more reflective of the dough’s actual nature than is hydration percentage without context. If I tell you to make a dough that’s 80% hydration, it really tells you nothing about the consistency of that dough unless you also know the flours you’ll be using – 80% hydrated whole wheat is far stiffer than 80% hydrated all-purpose. But if I tell you to make a wet dough, you have a much better idea of what kind of consistency I’m looking for – irrespective of the flours in use. It’s not perfect – my idea of wet dough may be wetter or stiffer than yours, but at least you have a better idea of what this dough consistency should be like.

Champlain Sourdough (as made in the video) should be a medium soft dough. Not too stiff, not too wet. With the flour I use, 70% hydration (with 12% whole grain) typically makes for a slightly stiffer dough than you see in my video, but the long overnight rest helps to soften up the dough and increase its extensibility (I’ll discuss this further shortly).

If your dough seems much wetter than mine, then the first place you should look is to is the flours you are using. Adjust as necessary.

2) Experienced hands make a far greater difference than most folks want to believe. Trust me, if I were working alongside a new baker and we were both shaping this same dough, the dough in the hands of the novice would appear far, far wetter than the dough in my hands. That’s not to brag, it’s just a fact that any experienced professional baker can attest to. The problem is that when you’re a newer baker, you have no reference point to compare to – the dough feels wet and sticky and that’s all you know. So if it’s wet and sticky for you, then it must be wet and sticky. Right?

It’s not until you’ve shaped thousands of loaves that can see the other side – the dough is no less wet or sticky, but since you can handle it just fine it no longer appears to be so. For the newer bakers watching you shape, the dough appears smooth and supple. They figure it should be nice and easy . . . until they get their hands in it.

I know this from personal experience.

When I first started I couldn’t shape a single loaf for the life of me. Everyone else was shaping one beautiful loaf after another, but in my hands, the dough just stuck to everything (and most of our dough was only 60% to 65% hydration using higher protein bread flours). And it tore. And it deflated. In fact, I’ve yet to meet a baker who has less natural talent for handling dough than I had. I’ve trained many bakers over the years, and not a one has required as much time (or mangled as many loaves) as I did before I started to finally get the hang of it. I believe that much of the reason why I’ve been an effective teacher is precisely because I struggled so terribly when I first started (and I remember that pain clearly).

Of course, the dough that I was shaping wasn’t any wetter than the dough the other bakers were shaping. It’s just that I couldn’t handle it, and they could. End of story.

People absolutely hate this answer though. When the dough is sticking to their hands and the bench and everything else, the last thing they want to hear is that maybe the problem isn’t the dough – it’s with them. With their inexperience. They want to know why the DOUGH is so sticky, and so that’s what they ask. But the better question would be, “Why can’t I handle this dough?”

Now, that’s not to say that every time a dough seems wetter and stickier than it appears in a video or in the books or in the hands of an experienced baker, that it’s just because of a lack of experience. Like I said earlier, difference in flour is usually the first culprit. But experience is the second.

If you’re using similar flour, but the dough still seems too wet or sticky, then consider that you may just need to reduce the hydration to get a dough that you can handle more comfortably. Over time, as your skills improve, you’ll be able to increase the hydration – what once seemed wet and sticky will instead one day feel smooth and supple.

Okay, on to the long autolyse . . .

It’s true that a dough can degrade excessively from a long overnight autolyse – especially wetter dough or dough with a high percentage of whole grain or rye. It’s the enzymatic activity that occurs during the autolyse that creates the benefits. But like all things, it’s the dose that makes the poison. Too much enzymatic activity will break down gluten to the point that a dough becomes excessively weak. It will tear too easily, it will be stickier, it won’t hold gasses very well (and consequently won’t develop the structure necessary to hold a good shape or achieve an open crumb).

What I do when I premix the dough is not a true autolyse because I add the salt. Salt will slow down the enzymatic activity, and that’s precisely why I add it when letting the dough rest overnight. That’s also why I chill the dough first. A cold and salted dough will exhibit far less enzymatic activity than a warmer unsalted dough will. That’s why it can handle an overnight rest of 8-10 hours without degrading. But as with everything in bread baking, your circumstances may vary. If you’re in a very hot and humid climate then you’re more at risk for dough degradation. Same if you’re making a wet dough, or using lots of whole grains or rye.

I use the premix method primarily for adding extensibility to stiffer doughs. This allows the dough to achieve a more open or irregular crumb structure than it might otherwise have been able to achieve with just a regular short autolyse. But if you just use an overnight regular autolyse (no salt, no chilling the dough) then it’s more likely that your dough will degrade excessively. As always, let trial and error be your guide.

And finally . . .

Dan, the difference between your two loaves from above is that the second loaf was underfermented during the bulk. You can see it in the dough (it looks heavy and has a clean smooth skin without much in the way of surface bubbling), you can see in the shape of the loaf (tall in the center and sloping heavily towards the sides indicating insufficient gas/structure to hold a round full shape), and you can see it in the crumb (a few large holes surrounded by tight dense crumb – what I referred to as Fool’s Crumb in my book).

If you compare your dough to Kat’s later attempts you can really see the difference in airiness between the two doughs. Hers has bubbles and shape. A certain lightness. Yours looks heavy and dense. Too young. I’m not trying to pick on you, just trying to help you understand what to look for.

Underfermentation can have several causes, but usually it comes from an insufficiently active starter. Assuming that your temps were warm enough, and that you gave it plenty of bulk time, then it’s probably a starter/leaven issue.

One thing to note: this recipe uses a very small amount of starter. As such, it requires that the starter be very active or the dough just might not ever really get going. I like using small amounts of starter because I like the qualities that develop from a long slow rise. But that has proven to cause problems for those who don’t have as active a starter. Doubling the amount of starter (or even more) in this recipe would bring it more into line with common ratios, and may help in bringing about a more active fermentation.

That’s all I can think of to write at this time. Hopefully, I’ve answered everything. If I’ve missed something, feel free to let me know and I’ll be happy to clarify or elaborate as necessary.

Cheers!

 Trevor

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Trevor,

Thank you for wading through this very long thread and needless to say how your book and posts continue to inspire! Stating the obvious but you are making a big difference...... Hopefully a recipe to make all the doughs  ooze with integrity....(smiley face).

1. Dough Consistency - I've made a classic mistake in the first bake and LEFT THE SALT OUT combined with weaker UK flour.  Aghhhhhh.....sorry!     I JUST NOW have another Champlain dough ver. 3  in the bowl  following your recipe EXACTLY WITH SALT and the stronger Marriage flour - AND the dough looks almost like the one in your video maybe a tad stiffer. I also left it in a colder environment over night e.g. 64ish. So this explains the wet consistency of my dough and why it degraded as you explained in your post.  I shall never forget the role of salt!!!!!!!!! Lesson learnt...

2. Starter - I noticed the difference with my starter once I've given both of them more attention following advice from your book as well as from threads on this site recommended by Danni and they are now on a 12 hour feeding routine.  Thank you.

3. Balance between building tension and/or degasing, taking air our of dough - I loved this bake because for the first time I could FEEL the airiness of the dough coming together combined with strength. Probably beginners' luck!

When I watch your videos and you finally shape the dough and it has this beautiful 'puffed up, fluffed up plumpness and chubbiness' (and I assume that's  why people keep referring to babies in their comments on IG.....) and your skillful art of shaping/handling that people rave about....in my little world I had a tiny glimpse of that with that dough and from now on to learn the balance where to nurture that fermentation or where it goes too proofy....oh well, probably doesn't make any sense and I  keep practising trial and error as you said.....but I will experiment with the balance of that especially also with your video of the tension pulls...but it is the timing that I worry about - if I do that with a 'proofy' dough too late in the bulk surely I totally kill it by taking all the gas and air and lightness out – but if I don't do it then it seems not to have enough strength? Room for thoughts...

Thank you for your patience and spirit.   Kat

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I really appreciate your time and help. I think I need to try this again watching carefully at the bulk ferment. I noticed that Kat’s dough was bubbly and mine was not. I probably got wrapped up in the clock when I should have watched the dough. After the 6 hours of S&F during the bulk ferment was up, I went on to the preshaping stage. If I understand correctly, you are suggesting a more thorough bulk ferment. If this next run doesn’t work, I’ll take a look at my starter.

Question; I’m beginning to suspect that I may be too aggressive with the S&F. I’m trying not to tear the gluten, but I am “going for the burn”. Looking for maximum stretch. Should I be concerned?

How do you determine when a dough is ready for another S&F? Is extensibility the only concern?

I can’t tell you how much all of us appreciate your help. Your book is constantly being quoted and referred to. 

I’ll always welcome your help or the help of others. I really want to learn...

Again, Thanks.

Dan Ayo

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

For this test, I choose Trevor’s Tartine Bread. I went with the full 83% hydration. I decided to focus on my Bulk Fermentation. Trevor pointed to 2 possibilities for my previous crumb failure. Either underfermented or a starter problem. I didn’t think it was my starter so the first test dealt with the BF. Hallelujah! I’ve been redeemed! 

I really focused on the BF. This is a crumb that I really like. It is open enough for me, but at the same time will keep the condiments in the sandwich and not on my hands. And I achieved it with 35 grams of seeds! I did deviate from his recipe by using 5g Poppyseed, 15g sunflower seeds, and 15g millet seeds. They went straight into the mix with no soaker. I often omit the soaker because I like the very slight crunch I get from the seeds. And it’s easier! I also mixed the dough by using the Rubaud method for 10 minutes, resting 15 minutes, and finishing up with 5 minutes of the Rubaud method. I really liked the gentle way the seeds were incorporated. The seeds will make for a denser dough due to their weight, but I really like the flavor they provide.

NOTE: I still have plans to learn how to bake an extremely open crumb like Trevor’s masterpiece. I want to learn the technique. 

Do you think the 15 minutes of Rubaud prevented the wide open crumb?

Dan

 

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

Danny, that’s a great crumb! It looks so light and airy! So nice to see how far you have come in such a short while! 

Kat, thanks for this thread. A lot of us have learned a lot by following it. 

Danni (the other one) 😉

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Danni,

No need to say thank you it is much more fun together! BTW I adore your peasant loaves! Kat

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

that looks lovely!  very well done.  and with seeds as well...

I think the Rubaud method helps aerate the dough and develop gluten, it may be that the seeds prevented that extremely open crumb, but I am just guessing.

Leslie

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Dan,

Effort and resilience  pays! I looked in Trevor's book and I am by all means not an expert but YOUR crumb does look a lot like Honeycomb Crumb (Open Even) in his book page 16 - don't you think! Beautiful pattern. 

I will also give the Rubaud method a go once I venture into more than 70% hydration dough territory. I am on Champlain ver. 5 and find that I could have had a quite good loaf yesterday, if only my son would not have taken the retarding banneton  out of the fridge and left it out!!! Not sure whether it over-proofed but the crumb still has a nice pattern it just did not get the full height....pic attached.  

Looking at Trevor's video on this method he uses it to create gluten on wet doughs and on an 85% hydration dough so I cannot see that Rubauld would have prevented open crumb? How long was your autolyse as in his video it is a long one up to 2 hours?  You could try the same method without the seeds and I tend to agree with Leslie's tip and see whether making the loaf without seeds makes a difference. I like the seeds a lot though....I am a big fan of poppy seeds and will in the future do something with those.....

I experimented a bit with tension pulls on my succession of Champlain loaves. I sometimes feel that my S & F don't seem to build enough strength but by then the dough is 2 hours in bulk and start to bubble...I was then very nervous to use more strong S & F not to degas the dough.as Trevor recommends gently handling for later folds...BUT..I experimented and even on a slightly proofy dough used very gently tension pulls and the dough was much better for it...and the dough seemed to have proofed with a better tension and I need to read up on this again...     Maybe, I am brave and give the Tartine bread a go on Saturday! I learned a lot handling the Champlain and maybe time to jump into the deep end!!!   ANYONE ELSE USING TENSION PULLS OUT THERE?   Kat

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

What a difference? I was pleased with the crumb.

I went to Trevor’s book to see the Honeycomb Crumb, and before I knew it is was an hour later. I got caught up reading (:-) .

Your crumb looks good also. We’ve both made good progress. 

I did the 2 hour autolyse, just flour and water.

Kat, you’ve mentioned the Tension Pulls a few times. This is used to “pull” the skin of the dough tighter. It is a very gentle operation and I really don’t think you need to worry about deflating the dough with it. It is a gentle “knudging” of the bottom skin of the dough by pressing with the fingers against the bench in order to stretch tight the opposite side of the bottom of the dough. It works to pinch the bottom skin of the dough tighter. As the skin tightened the gas inside makes the dough ball more pressured. Kind of like squeezing the bottom of a ballon. This tension is what causes the dough to retain it’s shape.  If others find error or can communicate differently, please reply. Maybe you already know this, if so maybe others can use the info.

Dan

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

when exactly do you do your tension pulls? I am doing gentle stretch and folds in the bowl, so do you do the tension pulls at preshape & final shaping or earlier?

leslie

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Danny, Leslie,

This is what I understand tension pulls are  based on Trevor's vid on IG. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdS5cebHj3w/?hl=en&taken-by=trevorjaywilson

You do a couple of usual S & F, during the first hours of bulk fermentation  then he  kind of lets the dough drop out of the bowl and then lifts the dough up to then drop gently into the bowl almost dropping onto itself and curling up into a ball type of shape. If you do this a couple of times the dough almost turns into a more 'tense' ball type of shape by itself and I understand that proofing with that tension is good???? He then continues to do those type of pulls rather than stretch and fold and in addition does what Danny describes like a pulling the finished ball across the bottom of the bowl to create even more tension after the tension pull....a bit like what you do during final shaping holding the ball with both hands...

I think he says he does convert from the normal S & F or piggyback folds as he calls them to those pulls after roughly 2 hours bulk fermentation. That seems to have worked for me...and I do it in particular, if I feel that the dough does not have enough strength...don't ask me how...I just go with my instincts.....and might be totally wrong...I have not done the letting the bowl drop out of bowl bit but just very gently do the S & F and then as dough is loose from bowl pick it up and let the dough then drop into the bowl.  It really does create tension and I mostly end up with a neat ball like Trevor....    so that is my understanding but don't rely on it ...I base it on what is in the video and decide what you think....it is worth experimenting and so far I have not done any damage to the dough doing it......... Kat

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

will definitely look at that for next bake.  amazing!!!

thaks kat

Leslie

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Sorry Kat, I mis-informed you. I never saw that video before and I was thinking of something totally different. That’s why I couldn’t understand your concern about deflating the dough. I need to learn about Instagram. I don’t know how to use it, but that will change today, I hope...

Danny

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Danny - no worries ...easy to talk cross-purposes and all good!!!! IG is great to find these little snippets of information. It is a bit like a treasure hunt...sometimes people ask a question and although responses are quite short mainly as focus on pictures they can be really useful...e.g. Trevor answered to one person the difference between what a loaf looks like when underfermented in bulk or not enough proofed in 2nd proof...etc. etc.  But you don't get the level of interaction in depth as here which I think is great!!  Are you baking another Champlain?   Kat

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Kat, I’ll PM you on this.

Dan

liz grieve's picture
liz grieve

Hi Kath 

I use the Duchy flour from Waitrose I have been told by a very reliable artisan baker that the Duchy flour is Marriages flour  I really like it 

Just wondering about the term "piggy folds /  piggy stretch " you describe as you make your dough  Is it a smaller fold 

Fantastic sharing of your dough production Thank you for sharing 

Happy Baking 

Liz

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Hi Liz,

Thank you for the tip with flour. I have tried the Duchy flour but this was in my 'flat loaf' phase - when I was not sure whether the flour was the culprit. I don't think it was and still have some and give it a go. It certainly is good value for money for organic flour......

Re. piggyback folds -  I picked this up on Trevor's instagram videos, which are in this thread higher up and again here to make it easier to find:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdDixGYHdU4/?hl=en&taken-by=trevorjaywilson

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdS5cebHj3w/?hl=en&taken-by=trevorjaywilson

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcfQAejn4t0/?hl=en&taken-by=trevorjaywilson

I think he means the normal S & F and states in his Instagram instructions: 1) I give the dough regular piggyback folds (seam up) for the first couple hours to build up some strength and light tension (and to keep the dough from sticking excessively to the unoiled bowl) and then he follows up with tension pulls. I have tried this a couple of times and it really gives the dough strength BUT I hope that I don't overdo it....I have not come to that part in his book but he refers to it and must catch up.....  Kat

liz grieve's picture
liz grieve

Hi Dan 

Is your Ank having a wee holiday  I have been experimenting with my dough hook but have reverted back to the roller

Happy Baking

Liz

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Yes, I’ve been infatuated with the Rubaud Method of kneading. Are you familiar with it?

https://youtu.be/zgz0oAhgwyg

But my dear Ank is sitting on the counter ready and willing. I never regretted that purchase. For my needs, it is the best.

I still have to knead by faith with the roller. It doesn’t look like much is going on, but the dough ends up very well developed. I like to move the scraper back and forth at times. It appears to work well that way. And the kneading doesn’t raise the dough’s temp more than a couple of degrees, even after running a pretty good while.

Danny