The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

High Hydration Proofing Issues

HKbreadwinner's picture
HKbreadwinner

High Hydration Proofing Issues

Hello!  New to this forum and super impressed with the all the awesome exchanges.  I've been baking basic tin loaves forever: basic hearth loaves, silky Hokkaido milk loaves, etc., and they turn out great.  Kneading, rising, proofing, etc is almost second nature to me.  I've recently ventured into high-hydration (80%) rustic/artisan type breads employing a preferment (eg biga), and stretch and folds.  Here are the questions/problems I'm encountering:

After the bulk ferment and shaping of the dough, I find that the final proof just doesn't rise like it does in the bulk ferment, and NOTHING like the rise I get when making regular sandwich loaves with 65/67% hydration and bread flour (high-protein flour).  Also, whereas I wouldn't dare to proof my sandwich loaves beyond and hour in normal warm conditions, most artisan bread recipes call for 2 hour proofs!  And even then my dough in the banneton barely rises.  Why does it rise so much in the bulk fermenting, but barely in the final proof?  How do you check if a high hydration dough is over-proofed?  Or is it normal for it to not rise as much as a lower-hydration dough?

Also, are you supposed to do any de-gassing (however gently) after bulk fermenting when dealing with high-hydration dough?

Lastly, if you choose to retard your final proof in the fridge, would you let it warm to room temp before popping it into the oven, or bake it immediately after taking it out of the fridge?

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

so that dough has less than doubled, then during your final proof, watch the dough, not the clock.  you may be overproofing.

 I bake most of my breads straight out of the fridge without warming them up to room temperature. 

Leslie

HKbreadwinner's picture
HKbreadwinner

Thanks Leslieruf!  It's just crazy that most recipes I see are bulk fermenting for 2+ hours and final proofing for sometimes over 3 hours!  According to The Bread Bible, it wants me to bulk ferment a Pugliese for about 2 hours until tripled, then proof for 1-1.5 hours until the dough has increase 1.5 times.  It's just scary.  I would never proof that long for low-hydrated loaf bread, especially in humid, steamy Hong Kong. 

Anyway, it's 11PM here and I just started bulk fermenting my batch.  I'll proof until it gets to about 1.5-2 times the size, then pre-shape, bench rest, final shape, and retard it in the fridge for 12 hours and how that goes!

hreik's picture
hreik

straight out of the fridge.  I also feel like Leslie that maybe you over proofed during bulk fermentation.

I looked at your formula.  For me that would be a lot of yeast and I think it got going quickly and just expanded and expanded.

When you work the dough, can you feel the strength building?  When you preshape, does it flatten out or hold it's shape?

I always do my final proofing in the fridge as I feel it gives me the most flavor and easier to handle dough.
 Good luck

hester

HKbreadwinner's picture
HKbreadwinner

Hester,

Very interesting!  I do add a "tad" bit more yeast than what the recipe calls for.  In my novice experience, I just feel that more yeast means more umph, but what you mentioned makes sense, I might of let the dough work too hard.  In regular low-hydration bread loaves that I can make in just a few hours, I use a whole 7 grams of yeast.  I'll definitely cut down on the yeast and stick with the recipe.  Problem is, most scales don't go down to the decimal level, so if it calls for 0.4 grams in the biga, it's hard to actually measure that out in whole number grams.

Last and totally novice question.  Why do rustic breads call for AP flour vs stronger bread flour?  Wouldn't stronger flour hold the air pockets in better?

Love this forum, thanks all.

hreik's picture
hreik

I'm unable to answer your last question about AP vs. bread flour.  For two years I used a T65 French flour, (very very low protein like 10%)  that became too difficult to get and switched to a Montana flour that has a whopping 13.5% protein, so it's very strong.  It rises beautifully, has a lovely taste, so I cannot answer your question.  My guess is that they say 'stronger' flours tend to have a denser crumb, so if you want "holes" you use something w a lower %age..  I have not found that to be the case, esp. if I work the dough properly, a la Trevor Wilson.  His recipes almost all say "Bread Flour" next to which in some he says "(or AP)".  Here's a recent bake using that "strong" Montana flour.

Good luck.

hester

p.s. yeah, this forum is the best.

.MTCrumb

HKbreadwinner's picture
HKbreadwinner

That is a very handsome and beautiful loaf sir!  I must also experiment with stronger flour then. AP flour just seems a bit too weak for me sometimes. I have a batch that’s proofing in the fridge now. Will bake it this afternoon and see how it turns out. 

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Her kitchen temperatures are probably cooler than yours, so fermentation takes the amount of time mentioned in the recipe.  That said, the first data point to focus on is "tripled"; the second is "increase 1.5 times".  The yeast can't tell time, so you need to watch the dough instead of the clock.  In your warmer kitchen, they work much faster.

Paul

HKbreadwinner's picture
HKbreadwinner

New Tork summers are dreadfully hot and humid too lol. But yes, I prob need to not let me dough rise crazily in the bulk fermentation 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Welcome to The Fresh Loaf!

It might help if you include the recipe/formula. Since you are an experienced baker, please note any procedures or methods used in this bake that you are new to you. The more information you provide, the better we can help.

Dan

HKbreadwinner's picture
HKbreadwinner

Hey Dan,

For the biga: 139g AP flour, 109g water, 0.4g instant yeast.  Ferment 6-8 hours at room temp, or over night in a 15C wine fridge

For the dough ingredients: 112g AP+150g rye, 3g yeast, 9.5g salt, 211g room temp water

Total hydration 80%, but I add a bit less water, considering it's been humid here lately.

I add the biga and dough ingredients and mix with a stand mixer for just a minute, then autolyze for 30 minutes.  Then I either knead using the stand mixer for 5 mins or use the method by Trevor J Wilson on YouTube.  Then stretch and fold 4 times in 20-30 min intervals.

Then I bulk ferment until tripled (per Bread Bible by Berenbaum), shape, put in the banneton, then proof.  No problem with bulk fermenting, the dough always expands nicely and huge.

The proofing part is where I get confused.  Mine never gets to the rim of the standard 8" banneton, but I never proof for over 1.5 hours either.  I'm afraid it will be overproven!  In the book's recipe he uses a total of 217g of flour (mine is 400g), and it's supposed to completely fill the banneton.  How does that even work?!

Do you degas after bulk fermenting?  No right?  That will just destroy all the bubbles.  Thanks again!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Disregard, duplicate post