The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New tests weak flour

solano's picture

New tests weak flour

We had a holiday last Friday, so a longer weekend, I've never made so many breads! Still testing weak flours and also a new recipe with a little wholemeal flour. There were 6 breads, the picture above is only 5 because one had already given away to friends. There were 3 different methods, 2 loaves each, I'll explain each one briefly and put the results photos.

This weekend I tested a tip from Doc.dough in the other post, as he explained, I took an aluminum foil and kneaded it in a ball, opened it again and folded it in 4 layers, I placed it in the oven rack to protect the bottom of the pan . It worked very well! The bottom of my breads improved a lot. Thank you, Doc!

These breads were my usual recipe, 1000g dough, 100% white flour, 65.03% water, 2.19% salt, 18.58% levain (100% hydration). Final hydration, 68%. The two that are not 100% white flour are the same %, only 10% of the flour is whole. Temperature in my refrigerator was about 5 ° C and in my kitchen during the day ranged between 24-26 ° C.

The oven and the pan were preheated to 250º C, the breads baked for 20 minutes with the lid of the pan and another 25 minutes without cover and oven at 230º C. It is longer than I left before, was trying to get a darker crust, could have baked for even longer, the bottom held up very well and came out not burned on all the loaves.

The first loaves were made according to an idea that Doc.dough gave, the method I used that time was asking for 14 hours of refrigerator, so he wondered if it would really take all this time and what would happen if it was reduced to 4 hours.

Basically it was this.

- mix (flour, water and levain) - 30 min "autolyse".

- add salt and mix (rubaud).

- 4 stretch and fold every 30 min.

- after 2 and a half hours of the mix, put in refrigerator for 4 hours.

- remove, pre-shape, bench rest 20 min, shape.

- final proof at the counter was 4 hours for first dough and 4 hours for second, the second dough was an hour more in the refrigerator.

Bread 1 result (this opening, shape problem?):


Bread 2 result:

The next batch was the breads with a little whole wheat flour.

The method was as follows.

- mix (flour, water) - 30 min autolyse.

- add levain - 30 min rest

- add salt and mix (rubaud)

- stretch and fold every 30 min, 6 times.

- Rest 1 hour.

- pre-shape, bench rest 20 min, shape. It was 6 hours of bulk fermentation.

- 1 hour rest at the counter and then put in the refrigerator for 14 hours.

- I removed it straight from the refrigerator to bake. The second dough stayed for an extra hour in the refrigerator.

Bread 3 result (why did it open more on the top? shape problem?):


Bread 4 result:


The last batch were 100% white flour bread, same method from my last post.

- mix (flour, water and levain) - 30 min "autolyse"

- add salt and mix (rubaud)

- 4 stretch and fold every 30 min

- put in refrigerator for 14 hours, second dough was an hour more.

- remove, pre-shape, bench rest 20 min, shape

- in the final proof I had to improvise, I had to leave for a lunch, then the dough that was the longest outside the refrigerator and was well developed, I put back in the refrigerator, the second I decided to leave on the counter and bake first when I returned, it was a total of 5 hours at the counter until baking. The one that went back to the refrigerator was 3 hours off, another 4 hours in the refrigerator and straight into the oven.


Bread 5 result (stayed on the counter directly):


Bread 6 result (returned to the refrigerator):

It was very difficult to fit so many loaves into my holiday and weekend schedule, but I succeeded and was very happy with the results. The first batch was very dense, so I think actually the 14 hours in the refrigerator make a lot of difference, at least when I use weak flour. The other breads were very good and especially the 6th bread I found it was even better than the others.

Sorry for the long post. I hope it did not get too confused.



pmccool's picture

Of the six, I especially like the crumb of #3, #4, and #6.  I suspect that #3's uneven bloom may be more the result of the slashing, rather than the shaping.  We'll see if there are other opinions.

That's quite a bit of work.  It should give you some valuable information about the performance of the flour and how to adjust your technique to get the most from it.


solano's picture

It may even be a problem in the slashing, usually I do not slash as recommended by the "pros", a quick and firm cut, I make a firm cut but slower. This time I tried to make firm and fast, so if you look some cuts are not straight, on bread 4 we see this well. Maybe 3 has gone something more wrong beyond the trajectory. Maybe someone else has an opinion on this to share. Thanks! :)

not.a.crumb.left's picture

That is quite an amazing bake with soooo many loaves...They all look good just like a line up in a bakery!

I agree and probably like No. 6 best...and I also like No. fact I like all of them but those I like in particular....

What have you changed in your process now from this experiment?  Amazing to produce that many loaves and all are in essence consistent and a success.... Kat


solano's picture

My friends came home that day and they said that too, "yeah, by the way your house is turning into a bakery" hahaha at least it smells great!

Well, I believe it was clear that you can not shorten the time of bulk only by decreasing the time in the refrigerator, you need to find a balance if you want to shorten the time in the refrigerator, you need to increase the time at the counter. Then I will adjust it according to my schedule. I will return the dough to the refrigerator some time after the shape, how much later I believe I will adjust also according to the schedule and taking into account how much the dough has already developed. With this experiment I got a better idea of ​​how much dough grows in the bowl during BF and how it grows in the banneton, to get an idea of ​​how the fermentation is. Since I have the bottom of the dough well protected now (refractory bricks + the tip given by Doc.dough of aluminum foil) I will try to leave more time to get a darker crust, I think of trying to keep the oven at 250º C, I think the less the dough stay in the oven the better, though it may risk burning the bottom. Well, we'll see.

Thank you, Kat!


not.a.crumb.left's picture

also useful

and I think it links nicely to what you are experimenting with....

I find that this is also a key area for my baking to dial in the 'perfect' balance and this needs to be done for each loaf depending on flour etc.

I am also looking at how bake a darker loaf by adjusting the bake temps without burning the bottoms in my oven! Great to see that you sorted the 'bottoms' is interesting that in a post Trevor said to bake the loaf at higher temps for a shorter time to get a darker crust....other bakers said to bake at lower temp 190C or 180C longer, especially to protect the bottoms.... I tried the longer and lower temp route but not conclusive yet......


solano's picture

Thank you for the link!

I imagine that the issue of the darkest crust is also of balance, the problem is to protect the bottom, if I can do that, I imagine that the highest temperature would be better, always thinking that getting less time in the oven is better, more difficult to protect the underside in the oven you use, I think, I have no idea how such a oven works, but in my case I believe it will work well at the highest temperature. Sunday we will see. Good luck with your experiments, Kat!


not.a.crumb.left's picture

and they are coming thick and fast...

I have three 80/20 White loaves with WW retarding at the moment and shall try the higher temp and quicker bake route and maybe use a metal tray to protect the bottoms of the loaves against the stone...I heard this being mentioned somewhere....As I have three loaves I was also wondering whether to stagger them and bake at different times out of the fridge retarding...oh so many choices...  Kat