The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

[experiment] on the effects of permeability of final proofing container

love's picture
love

[experiment] on the effects of permeability of final proofing container

Hi TFL

I was wondering what the effect of the permeability of the proofing container would have, if any, on my final bread. (In overnight proofing.)

Does using a container that is open to air circulation significantly dry out the crust and reduce shine and oven spring?

I tested this by shaping two loaves from the same dough, and proofing them in the fridge overnight.  One was proofed in a stainless steel bowl covered with plastic wrap, completely airtight, and the other was proofed in a plastic colander open to air circulation. Both were lined with flour dusted cloth.

The loaves were baked identically, in cast iron pans covered with aluminum turkey pans for the first 20 minutes at 450.

Here are the results. (SS = stainless steel, CLDR = colander.)

Observations: 

-SS bread rose slightly higher. About 10 % additional oven rise. 

-Colander bread opened significantly more at the scores. 

-SS bread had a richer, shinier, more deeply and evenly caramelized crust. The colander bread was more pale and grey where it was not touching or close to the preheated cast iron pan.

 

Overall the difference was not extremely significant, but it was significant enough that I will now continue proofing my bread in sealed containers.

 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I am hard pressed to see that great a difference between the 2. It looks like the SS loaf )being a bit moister and probably more supple) spread to the edges of the pan and rose an inch thus the slashes opened up a little less and the height is a little different. I suspect the CLDR loaf "skin" was a bit drier, supporting the shape and that is why it "bloomed" more at the slash.  I would be happy with either loaf.

However, I am curious if there is a difference in the crumb? Is the CLDR a more open crumb?

love's picture
love

Hi clazar, 

No substantial difference in crumb between them except that the SS loaf had a few more irregular large holes near the top of the loaf. I would post pics, but bread has a tendency to disappear fast around here.

love's picture
love

Hi clazar, yes, if there was a difference it was very subtle. You can see the difference most strongly in the first pic where the SS loaf is "redder".

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to take moisture away from foods esp. if not covered or wrapped.  The usual compromise is to put the rising bread in the colander and then inside a larger bag or container to prevent too much drying out.  That way the skin doesn't dry out too much so it can stretch a little.  A little bit of moisture is desired if the crust is to brown properly and a little bit of drying out is desired for the skin to hold the dough as it expands in the oven.  Think of the skin as a dough container.