The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough extensibility and open crumb

Matt Kronschnabel's picture
Matt Kronschnabel

Dough extensibility and open crumb

I am wondering if anyone has thoughts and/or advice regarding whole grain breads, extensibility, and open crumb.

 

Whenever I see instagram posts, youtube videos, or look through my tartine books the consistency of the doughs produced by professionals seems far in a way more extensible than what I am working with! 

 

I use locally grown and milled sifted (bolted) hard/soft wheat mix, whole rye, whole fife wheat..in various combinations. 

 

I am currently experimenting with very long autolyses ~ 5 hrs. which increases extensibility considerably but I doubt that is what they are doing in professional bakeries to get seemingly similar (and better) results. It is my thought that the extensibility will aid in yielding a more open crumb and will also help prevent tearing of gluten during my folds & shaping. 

 

A basic recipe of mine would be

50% whole wheat

50% bolted wheat

80% water

2% salt

20%leavain

Anyways, I appreciate any thoughts/insights!

 

Matt

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Matt, have you considered adding some spelt to the mix? A small amount of spelt goes a long way towards making a dough extensible.

Abe just posted a 100% spelt loaf that was a success. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/57626/ive-come-conclusion

I have agree with you. My loaves never shape like the greats in the videos.

Danny

Matt Kronschnabel's picture
Matt Kronschnabel

Thanks Danny. I will consider adding some spelt to counter the elasticity of my high protien whole grains. I will follow up when I do and let you know how it goes!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

As little as 10% spelt should give you a noticeable difference.

Abe's picture
Abe

Never thought about using spelt that way before. The trouble with spelt is that it's too extensible but not enough elasticity.  But adding some spelt to a recipe specifically to increase the extensibility is a great idea. Using flours not only for their flavours but for their properties. Nice one!

Try doing a 100% spelt then when doing a stretch and fold pock it up out of the bowl and slowly stretch it out. It's like stretching bubble gum. With bread flour one stops when the dough resists. Spelt doesn't have much resistance. After a few folds it tightens up but then after a rest it loses it. That's why a short final proof is preferred. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I got that idea from Trevor. He often uses 10% spelt nad 5% rye in his breads. I noticed that the resulting doughs are nicely extensible.

I have a theory that open crumb benefits from extensibility. The gas will inflate the bubbles better if the cell walls of the alveoli are extensible. But the dough also needs a degree of elasticity in order to rise and hold it’s shape. Those that consistently produce extreme open crumb have dialed in that balancing act. But since I am unable to consistently produce extreme open crumb, it is only a theory at this point.

Abe, I am scheduled to take delivery of some spelt berries today. I am not sure I’m ready for 100% spelt. What about a percentage of spelt mixed with a high gluten (14%) flour? Pros and Cons? Will the spelt bring a distinct flavor to the bread?

Dan

 

Matt Kronschnabel's picture
Matt Kronschnabel

I too like this notion of using flour for their properties as well as flavors. I have stopped doing my extended autolyse experiments and am going to change gears to experimenting with flours to get the right protein, ash, and flavor balance. 

I have also changed my methods a bit in terms of proof time. I have always been following a standard of 3 hours and 6 folds per Tartine Master Method, and I think in general that is too much handling and the dough is at it's peak around the 5th fold and ready for pre-shape and bench rest. 

With my shaping I have started being much more gentle with my dough and it seems to be responding beautifully. It is not strong enough to do the fancy zippering, but I can let that go if I get a strong & reliable product...I made 24 loaves in the last 12 hours and all of them were responding consistently to these new methods. I have not baked all of them yet, though. 

I am wondering about something else.....What I use to proof is some quart tupperwares with a cloth napkin as a liner. The shape of these tupperwares causes the dough to rise more "up" than "out". I am wondering if a benefit of a banneton/brotform is that it has a gentle slope to the sides which allows to dough to rise "up" and "out" and maybe provides for a more open crumb?

 

I enjoy talking shop. Thanks for contributing!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The recipe salt to the soaker?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Mini, how does that work? I am aware that salt has a noticeable affect of tightening a dough. I am interested to learn.

Dan

Matt Kronschnabel's picture
Matt Kronschnabel

I have considered adding salt to the autolyse. It is my understanding that this would slow down some enzymatic action while also tightening up the gluten. It may be worth trying..

 

For now I am going to stop my experiments and just go back to my same old used to be. I am running a small bread CSA and ruined my batch by experimenting! So I am going to play it safe until this subscription is done and then come back to it!

The alternative I am working with now is using less percentage of whole grains so I can still say they are in there..

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

will help prevent too much enzymatic activity.  Peter Reinhart mentions the benefits with whole wheat varieties.  That would include spelt as well in case anyone has forgotten that spelt is a whole wheat.  :)

You can run a site search here with plenty of hits.  You will run across his whole grains book.  I stumbled across this link. You will see that 5 hours is not a long time at all to soak WW.  And yes, I know it's a bread machine recipe but just ignore that section unless you want it.  What should stand out is the soaking time, the salt amount, and perhaps checking out the book for WW info.   It is amazing what one can do when understanding the flours.

http://www.thatsjustme.com/2010/11/peter-reinharts-transitional-whole-wheat-bread/

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23540/soaker-doubled-use

That last one is about long soakers.