The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Shaping highly extensible dough

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Shaping highly extensible dough

Can anyone explain how to get a dough as extensible as this and still have it workable? I realize that experience plays a giant part, but I’ve never experienced any dough like this. See video link below and start at 5:50 to go straight to the spot.

https://youtu.be/vEG1BjWroT0 Start viewing at 5:50

The question is not how the baker shapes the dough. I want to learn how he gets the dough so relaxed, but still able to hold a shape. I can get a dough to relax, but my dough won’t begin to hold a shape.

Dan

franbaker's picture
franbaker

to hear that you're experiencing the same trouble I am with this. I've watched this video a few times, and even managed to go through the motions of shaping this way last time, but I don't ever get that nice tension, that skin, that he gets that helps the doughs hold their shapes, when I'm working with 100% WW at 85-87% hydration. Truth be told my dough looks wetter/more relaxed/more extensible than his does, maybe because it's WW. Also maybe a bit overproofed. Mine just starts turning back into a puddle as soon as it's shaped, rather than being able to be picked up and moved around like that (6:42-6:44).

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Fran, I can’t imagine you’ll ever get that dough characteristic with 100% whole wheat at any hydration. I can’t begin to get that with white flour. I am thinking that most people have not seen that type of dough, but I’m not sure. I hope we find out that it is easy to accomplish :D

Maybe we can learn together from the replies to this post.

Danny

franbaker's picture
franbaker

this time around my 100% WW at 87% hydration was more cohesive, and, while it certainly couldn't be bounced around like the one in the video, it held its shape after pre-shaping -- relaxing and spreading out a little in 10 minutes, but not turning into a puddle -- and I could go through the motions he did without difficulty (although when I stretched it out sideways in the beginning the "wings" were about half the thickness of the center, and I couldn't get the bottom corners to flare out quite like he did, and I didn't press on the dough as I rolled it up) and ended up with a nice log that I could lift into my basket without it sagging and flopping on its way from the board. One thing I did differently was to use water rather than flour or oil on my (granite) pastry board, hands, and dough scraper. That seemed to work beautifully for shaping -- no sticking whatsoever -- but there was absolutely no traction, when I was pre-shaping into a ball and trying to form a skin. So I have to come up with a solution for that now.

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

was last weekends YW and SD bake. it was 80% hydration. I did only one loaf so did not have to divide dough, but shaping it was actually easy. it blew me away! I put it down to enough gluten development with slap and folds and the strength built with coil folds later.  For the first time ever, my doughs have been manageable and have not stuck to my hands as they normally do. Maybe this was a fluke, maybe not.  

I will wait to see what some of our experienced bakers add.  

Leslie

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Leslie, did it stretch and handle like the video?

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I may have just patted it out then gently stretched and pulled the 4 corners in.  I am always wary about degassing so handle the dough very gently at shaping time.  

I will try that next bake and see.  The extensibility is also in part dependant on the flour. One of mine is very extensible, the other less so.

Leslie

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

Mac is the man...and I've watched him work with more extensible doughs, including a 100% WW, 100% hydration dough, demonstrating the stitching technique...

For more fun with extensibility, check out Richard Hart:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ3hj4qgkBJ/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Of course there are lots of factors, and just to make it more complicated, I think you want to consider not just how to get dough more extensible (adding water will do that), but getting the right combination of extensibility and strength (which I think is what makes it workable, in your terms).

For me, time and proper mixing/development are key, not just hydration (as Trevor has shown us).

So, you might try some things to ensure strength (like a longer mix, or double hydration, and/or more/more intense folds) in addition to increasing the hydration.

One really straight forward way to get doughs  with some further extensibility for final shaping is simply a longer bench rest.

Then there things like an extended autolyse/early rest, which helps with both strength and extensibility (and that would include Trevor's strategy of an overnight rest after initial mix).  A bulk retard can have a similar effect.

You can also 'cheat' by adding some spelt flour, which is notorious for its extensibility.

There is no one secret, but these are some strategies to play with...good luck

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

It is amazing how Hart gets that blob to stand tall! 

I have tried resting the preferment for up to an hour, but still didn’t achieve the extensibility WITH STRENGTH. I am not above cheating a little, so I may try a little spelt to get some initial experience :D

As far as hydrations, I generally work with 70 - 80% using white flour.

How can the dough these guys shape, be so extensible, highly hydrated, and still not stick to their hands and bench. I know the answer is always experience, but could they take my dough and work with it like theirs. Trevor basically says yes, but I would like to see them perform. I suspect the dough I produce is somewhat different fron theirs. I am in no way discounting their skills. But...

The skills required to bake great bread is one of the attributes that keeps me invested in the endeavor. Challenges are great! I hope never to learn them all (impossible), because I’d surely quite and look elsewhere ;-))

I have never gotten my dough to stretch left and right so easily as many videos show. And I’m dealing with white flour.

IF my dough has some strength, I fail to get that type of extensibility. I wished I could share a kitchen with you...

Dan

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

Sure...part of it is experience, and knowing just how to handle the dough, how much flour to use and how...but you look at the doughs and they are smooth...they stand up when worked...that means they are well developed.  So again...think about development along with extensibility, with more extensive/intensive mixing and/or time.

As Mac says in the video, if your dough balls stick together, then you likely divided too soon...meaning they haven't developed enough strength to be the kind of smooth and cohesive mass that is characteristic of a well developed dough.  Even extensive, highly hydrated doughs that are well developed should stick to themselves a great deal, making it easier to work with.

The ciabatta we made in Mac's class demonstrated this well...80% hydration white flour formula that was baby's butt smooth and fairly easy to work with, and that took a great deal of mixing to get there.  The dough in the video is similar, but is simply handled differently, or it could be a ciabatta (just look at the crumb at the end).

Don't just hope and wonder...keep trying.  My suggestion: working on the upper end of your comfort zone in hydration, with a dough you are familiar with...mix it quite a bit more initially, give it more vigorous early folds, and add an extra 5 minutes to the bench rest.  And be sure it gets a sufficiently long bulk...

Note, if you are using a mixer, you may need to lower your water temp to compensate for the additional heat generated in the initial mix.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

many, many ways to shape a loaf of bread.  All it takes is a bit of practice and there you go.  But, of course, the important part that made it all possible happened before the video started.  The dough was extensible but, not too sticky, and got stronger when pre-shaped and and stronger still when shaped a half an hour later.  Did you notice how much the dough had spread in the half hour after per-shaping ?  It had gone from tall and proud to flat near pancake because it wasn't supported before the final shape.  But that is what you want,  You want it to relax and become extensible again before final shaping and then support it afterwards.

But when it comes out of the basket it will be more extensible and relaxed then when it went in and it will spread a bit on the counter before you can get it scored and in the oven but the spring will more than make up for it if the oven is hot and steamy enough.

I suggest you all read Trevor Wilson's thoughts on fermentation because that is what makes the dough act like it does when the videos start.  Those that think whole grain dough will act and feel the same as white dough are blinded with wishful thinking of huge holes that will never be like they are in white bread.  That 's not saying a relatively open crumb for a whole grain bread isn't possible. But bread is always relative.  There are always trade offs.  Those that do a bulk retard and expect the dough to act the same as the video when it comes out of the fridge or even a hour later will be surprised too  That video won't help much but another hour later things will be more normal...... but not quite.

Shaping, scoring, slap and folding, stretch and folding, the new word 'coiling' are all skills anyone can learn,  Know what the dough should feel, look and smell like along the way and knowing when it is ready for the next skill to take place is the hard part and more difficult to learn.  But that takes experience and baking a lot of different kinds of bread that all act and feel differently than white bread because all dough is not the same, it is relative.

But if Lucy can do it so can you because we know that she is dumb as a stump, lazy and old and you are not - maybe I am though!

Happy baking

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Now you’ve gone and done it! You had better sleep with one eye open. Lucy is not going to tolerate talk like that ;-))

Dan

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

and not really experienced enough to add much so here we go.......

1. on IG there are some ladies that literally laminate the dough at the beginning of bulk and Ru did this recently...this reminds me of a photo in Trevor's book which shows as an example some dough and it's structure, if I recall...a bit like those photos of the earth layers through the millenia. I very rarely got that 'look' with  one loaf but since I now often mix dough for more than one it seems to make a difference...so I wonder whether it is easier to build structure and those layers with more dough? Anyway, I keep an eye on that now to see how well I 'structured' my dough or not? Would be interesting to get people's thoughts on this?

2. I found that using a bit of slap & fold and a bit of Rubaud combined with the 'sleeping ferret fold' during bulk really helps to create those layers....so at the beginning of my bulk I now literally stretch the dough and layer is like a croissant....(but ONLY in early bulk) - it kind of happens naturally as that ferret does not want to wake up and you need to pull and pull until it releases it's paws and then you can layer or 'coil' as some call it.....

3. I tend to agree that letting the dough rest a little bit longer on the bench seems to make a difference re. too and shaping...I remember somewhere a comment from Chad that you still need that nice round soft edge to the pre-shape (rather than a blob) but it should relax like people said...

4. oh, oh need to add...pre-mix made a BIG difference after my recent Champlain experiment...so I shall work lower hydration ish (70-78 with UK flour) but use the pre-mix and bassinage , double hydration to see how flour absorbs water  to get that extensibility! Great baking keeps the mind nimble too!

That's all from me ...feels a bit like 'the blind leading the blind'...ha, ha....   Kat

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

knows, will soon know or should know at any rate,  that Ferocious Ferrets never ever sleep, especially at night when they cease all folding and hunt  prey much larger than themselves; rattlesnakes and sometimes even the rare, Purple Pygmy Platypuses who fight way above their weight class. 

See the Ferrets take down animals twice their size and the Purple Pygmy Platypus survives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7hUKLrsIeg&has_verified=1 

Serious butt crack with this one.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5KZuNU2JAw&has_verified=1

texasbakerdad's picture
texasbakerdad

What the heck is the 'Sleeping Ferret Fold' and will it help with my tinnitius?

Seriously though, I must know, especially if it improves my bread making game.

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

as Wendy aka Lazy Loafer responded with a lovely image of a 'sleeping ferret' comment about 'coil' folds in the 50:50 community bake thread....I just loved the image of that sleeping ferret and had that still in my head..... Kat

 

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

in the garden so I just started those vids and had to stop!!! No hunting rabbits in our house I am afraid although I grew up on a farm! However, I think just at the beginning the lady demonstrates a perfect 'coiling' ferret hold! ha, ha.... Kat

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

and this baker makes some very good loaves and I really  Iike her little tutorials...and posts.

I started to use recently the shaping method that she is using and had good results with that.....

I really want to do this 'lamination' but wonder how this would work for more than just one loaf...

Looks fun though!!!! Kat

https://www.instagram.com/p/BldMs2XFhn0/?hl=en&taken-by=fullproofbaking

p.s. also interesting that she goes straight to final shaping which Dan has mentioned....