The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bulk Fermentation Bubbles

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Bulk Fermentation Bubbles

I’ve been baking bread for around 2 decades. and during that time have worked very hard to produce the bubbles pictured in the images below. Joze’s 50/50 bake got me back to attempting to solve the “Bubble Mystery”. I don’t remember ever getting large bubbles, either at the surface or in the dough itself.

Things I’ve considered...

1) Starter not strong enough or inactive - My starter is kept at room temp and feed every 12 hours. I consistently get a 3.5 - 4.5x rise, depending on temperature and/or feed ratio. Typical feed is 1:3:5 usng AP flour. Whole Wheat and Whole Rye have also been feed to the starter.I have feed as high as 1:10:10 with 12 hr to rise. Typical hydrations are 50, 60, & 100%. The starter is feed at max rise or when it just starts to recede. I am under the impression that my starter is extremely active. But even my starter does not produce extremely large bubbles. My breads rise nicely and the crumb is very open and often lacey. Oh! I have been fortunate to have a number of proficient bakers send me their starters to try.

I made a 30 second video of my starter. https://youtu.be/Iv0gA8bLpRY  NOTE - each transition in the video is 5 minutes and there is a split between the first and second build. The first build is 1:1:1 and took 3 hours. The second build (same video) is 1:2:2. I supplemented 2/3 liquids with YW. I was able to get large holes in the last build, possibly from the YW. But the dough has finished BF and still no large bubbles. Even if I over ferment grossly, still no big bubbles :-( .

2) I have considered that my flours are too strong. I thought the strong gluten was making it difficult for the gasses to inflate the aveoli. So, I adopted this mind set. Develop the gluten so that it is strong enough to contain all of the gasses, but not so strong as to hinder the expansion of the aveoli. In an attempt to create this type of dough I have extended the autolyse experimenting with both cold and warm temps and with RT fermentation. I have purposely over-proofed. I have experimented with too many flours to remember. Flours range from 10-14% protein. Yes, I even bite the bullet and placed an order with Central Milling ;-(. 

3) I am blessed to have both a proofer and a retarder so fermentation experiements have run the gamut of temps and times.

I am at a loss, but determined to NOT give up. I am intent on figuring this one out. I see the solution to this problem as a necessary step to consistently producing extreme open crumb.

NOTE - the 3 images below are not my doughs. The images were “borrowed” from other bakers. 

I stole the image above from Joze’s 50/50 video.

I don’t ever remember getting bubbles like this.

I have noticed that quite a few bakers, including myself, produce a “singnature crumb”. By that I mean their best crumb is easily associated with the baker. The standard answer to extreme open crumb is usually, handling. But until I solve the bubbly fermentation, I’m putting extreme open crumb on hold. I’m betting once I get the fermentation, the crumb with follow directly behind.

Can someone PLEASE put my suffering to an end ;-))

Dan

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

i always thought of these big bubbles in the dough has a negative, not a positive observation.  Either from handling that trapped air (not gas) between layers or too long a fermentation or as often with sourdough, it needs a folding to pop these things and get all the bubbles and gluten stretched into a decent matrix.  That is, a nice foundation where all the bubbles, temp and growing yeast cells are distributed evenly and can grow bigger at the same speed.   I go out of my way to pop those big bubbles when I see them esp if the rest of the dough seems heavy and dense.  You've said it yourself and you have trained your hands over the years so I'm guessing that these air trapping mistakes while working the dough are rare indeed.  

How often are you slicing the dough open to look directly at the interior bubbles and their patterns?  The outside ones near to the glass will only tell part of the inside story.  Look for consistency in size, then while the dough can trap gas, give it a final shape and proof.   

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Mini, I heard you mention cutting the dough to visually inspect for bubbles a number of times before. My doughs are pretty slack. Mine just seal up. Do you have any images of cut dough?

The best thing I know to do is to look through a clear container.

Dan

kendalm's picture
kendalm

with you on this in fact thinking back to my days flipping pizzas we"d also see this in over fermented doughs. Here's and interesting observation just to throw another angle on this - ok, so the drill was to pump out a ton of dough in the am.  divide and shape then to the walking cooler until the evening at which point shape a batch of pies for evening rush. On the busiest nights we'd often have a few shaped pies sitting in pans that wed leave overnight because we were too wrecked to toss them (that was the protocol unfortunately). So come next morning youd open shop to 10 or 20 over proofed pies - these were the best breakfast pizzas ever and in recall that baking them worked best if we did them while the oven was not quite to temp otherwise theyd deflate. Point being - sometimes super bubbly dough can get that way from long warm proofing but now the 'matrix' has lost a lot of strength - again I am talking yeasted doughs but its a really interesting topic that Dan brought up and now got me all amped up to maybe sling some overproofed pies - thanks Danny !

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Geremy, my favorite bread, a version of San Francisco SD is over-proofed to the max. Any longer and the dough would turn to complete slop. The BF runs 16-17.5hours at 77F! It is very demanding on the flour, and I’ve only found one flour that works for me. I estimate the rise to be 6x, maybe more.

Dan

Question - how do you shaped such an over proofed pizza dough?

kendalm's picture
kendalm

that's incredible - I wanna get more into sourdoughs and may hit you up on that Dan. Re overproofed pizza - We'd shape them the prior evening with full intention of baking the same night but if we didn't the pie would sit there shaped in the pan overnight. Come morning, sauce it up and get it in the oven a little early since it took a long whole to reach full temp. When the sauce went on ot was very marshmallow-like amd puffy and smelled sour and tasted sour despite being yeasted dough - willing to bet your fav above is quite similar !

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

will be smaller, I'm guessing there is less mixing and no salt in the starter so gluten bonds will be weaker, gas will leak out faster than in dough containing more ingredients.  

What happens if you add 2% salt and do a good kneading of the starter? (other than slowing it down) will your bubbles change?  

jmoore's picture
jmoore

Hey Dan,

Is the picture you posted as bubbly as your dough gets? It seems this picture was taken just after a set of stretch and folds. What does it look like at the very end of bulk? I'd be very interested in seeing a photo from the side and the top at the end of bulk.

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

That image was taken at the end of the BF. The dough was moderately giggly, but still retained some strength. I think the skin is too thick to allow the large bubble expansions. I’ve made great ciabatta, but I don’t get the large bubbles in the BF. I am wondering why.

I am missing something, but I’m yet to discover what that is:-(

I turn out nice breads but I want to learn to consistently produce extreme open crumb. Actually, I prefer my crumb, but I’ve set a goal to lean that skill set. Crazy, I know, but that’s how I roll.

Danny

jmoore's picture
jmoore

Could you elaborate on this? There really shouldn't be much of a skin during bulk as long as the container is nice and sealed. Have you tried a smaller container? I try to use a container no more than 3x the initial dough volume. 

Are you up for an experiment? I've been experimenting with Maurizio's Baugette recipe, using straight white flour. I was getting some nice big bubbles during bulk, actually, far too big for the desired degree of proof. If you have KA flour, we could compare results side-by side using the exact same procedure.

 Also, in your dough, is the WW component freshly milled? I think this can be part of the problem.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

One of us could start a new post, and we can compare results. What do you think? I’m due for baguettes. 

Dan

jmoore's picture
jmoore

Are these the type of bubble's you're going after, or do you want them bigger?

I think it would be better to compare regular loafs than baguettes, because I find that my baguettes do better with a lower degree of bulk fermentation.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

It is interesting that the top surface has large bubbles. But when looking through the sides of the container the bubbles are so small.

My starter is very active, so I think the dough strength is probably  problem. But so far I haven’t come up with a solution.

It seems like to he bakers that consistently get extremely open crumb also getblarge bubbles in their BF.

Dan

kendalm's picture
kendalm

Hey Dan, last bake i did was fairly bubbly. I can't speak with any degree of authority to levain builds but generally i try to avoid this effect. In my experience i get a less desirable crumb when dough gets this bubbly but then again I'm not making super goo goo dough like the photos (they look like ciabatta). A couple of change ups on the last bake first off I had a slacker dough since the flour I am using takes less h2o than I am used to resulting in a more goo-like character and second I didn't really adjust for warmer conditions and I knew in the first hour of proofing that gas was really pumping faster. Regarding your comment on strength i thing there's some truth to this and I can say without much doubt that my flour is really delicate and generally can window pane on grqcity alone (something I rarely see with strong high gluten flour such as KA BF and even their AP. I think you'll get better luck with CM - not sure what flour you ordered but if it has a lot of bran which I have noticed with their flours, you may want to sift it out.  when it comes to developing the dough I would (and this is just me - not saying this is gospel), I would gone easy on SFs.  just bring he dough to the point that it's smooth and holding shape. If stand mixing do a long slow cycle for 8-10 mins then a quick 3,4 maybe 5 minute cycle on high or until it's not sticking and then you're done. 2 SFs from there is good enough. I'm speaking about a 70% hydration and it should feel as though there is minimal resistance and should stretch out real easy-like. From here i think it's a matter of time and gas production. As mentioned i Will usually avoid this and monitor until i see tiny pockets appearing on the surface and then chill coz I want to minimize alveoli then exploit the few pockets of gas and blow them up - ie fewer big bubble's as opposed to lots of then competing for space. The last week bake where this (bubbly dough) happened, i got a less desirable crumb - there was great pop in the loaves but cutting though them well, just as I expect when the yeast runs a bit on the too active side, and that is what I call foamy bread - the sandwhich white bread effect. Anyway - just a perspective - but in this guy's opinion, structured crumb for me involves delicate dough and really slow yeast activity followed by a well coordinated oven kick. Anytime the dough is resisting and feels tight and especially is it's rising too fast, well forget about 'open crumb' but again, just what I do and I've seen plenty of vids of really bubbly dough produce fantastic crumb - just a perspective - may the Schwartz be with you - G

Bigblue's picture
Bigblue

Your approach of repeated attempts at the same goal with minor variations along the way is interesting to observe. Thanks for posting them. Keep them coming for other topics as well.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

If I’m anything, I am tenacious. It drives my wife crazy :-)

Dan

albacore's picture
albacore

but I always like this IG video of a dough considered to be optimally at the end of bulk and ready to shape:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVo-oiRhgFT/?taken-by=balticbakehouse

Lance

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Lance that dough is beautiful. But I never get anything like that. Mine are either stronger or slop :-(

Dan

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

dough to me and there is no way it will bubble up like a 50/50 one. So no worries

( .

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Yes that dough does contain a significant amount of whole grain. But even with white flours I don’t get the large bubbles.

I was looking through some old images and found that I did get large bubbles a good while back. But the dough had been fermenting for over 16 hr @ 77F. I hope to get these large bubbles with much less fermentation. I know others do.

Danny

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I am presently  working with Maurizio’s SD Baguettes. For my seccond bake I used 100% Whole Foods AP flour (Central Milling Beehive flour). It contains 10% protein. I managed to get large blistered bubbles on the pre-shape.

I think the weaker (less protein) flour allowed the larger bubbles (blisters) to form. The dough was originally pretty slack. This dough rec’d 600 slap & folds. 

Too bad I didn’t shape ciabatta style. The puufiness made baguette shaping a little difficult.

Dan