The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Proposed Experiment - % of BF Rise

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Proposed Experiment - % of BF Rise

Albacore, aka Lance came up with an experiment (A Tale of two Bulk Times) to determine the affects of the percentage of rise during bulk fermentation. His quest is a subject of interest to many bakers, IMO.

What is the very best percentage of bulk fermentation rise for a straight sourdough?

It seems plausible that various doughs of different make up could require different amounts of rise. But initially, it might be best to focus on a straight forward starter, water, flour bread in order to narrow the focus.

Lance’s experiment sparked my thoughts. I got with Lance and asked permission to start a new post on the Sourdough and Starter forum. He is all in...

 In all experiments, the ultimate goal is to produce definitive results. Often one experiment leads to another, and an another... I have an idea, based upon his initial quest that should remove some variables. What if a single dough was mixed and then divided into 3 peices of equal weight. Each peice would then be placed in 1 of 3 identical containers. Something Like THESE. Each container would be precisely marked (using the water weight displacement method I wrote about) with 3 individual percentage of rise marks. For example; 30, 50, and 80% and BF in the same place, either ambient or in a proofer. Once the doughs reached their target rise they could either be baked individually, or retarded in order to bake one after the other. I hate to waste the electricity (electric oven), but baking as they reach their target rise would produce more definitive results. For a number of reasons, retarding would shift the perameters and could/would skew to results.

 I hope that someone else will take on this experiment or something similar. I am busy remodeling and don’t have as much free time right now. 

 Please reply with any suggestions for a better or less expensive set of 3 containers. Ideally, the container should be clear, a little narrow with straight sides, and hold around 500g of dough with enough room to easily double. We may have to reduce the dough size to meet the criteria.

 Let’s put our heads together to develop an accurate experiment that will determine the affects of verying degrees of BF rise.

 Dan

 

The results of my test may be seen HERE.

 

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

and my first thought is that I would define a bit more the 'best percentage of bulk fermentation for a straight sourdough'....as it so depends on what the baker wants to achieve or not that drives the method...and how do you define your 'straight SD'...what hydration, what type of crumb....what flour...what other considerations...I am sure that you were already thinking of what formula to use for this experiment...

I really don't want to overcomplicate this experiment as really, really lots of learning here but what I would do is once you agree on a formula to be consistent and then make a list of assumptions -before the experiment - that you would expect associated with each rise?

Top of my head, some assumptions:

30% rise, more likely to get irregular crumb, safer for baker if you don't let bulk go too far as shaping not too difficult as not too proofy dough, lower risk to overproof final proof as not so developed in bulk

80% rise,  proofy dough it more difficult to handle...and higher risk to degas during shaping..., bulk is longer and more folds and therefore more even crumb or not, higher risk to overproof and needs a very cold fridge for retarding...

I see a table with different variables popping up in my head and how those will be affected depending on the rise..

It would be also interesting to note as part of the experiment what signs of 'end of bulk' are clearly visible or not...e.g. domed look, bubbles, shine, dough is less sticky...is there a difference between 30%, 50% and or 80%?

Finally, I tried lots of different methods to judge % of rise and I always found that to judge the exact amount of rise is not easy especially if you talk about the difference 30% and 50%...but that is probably me...

It might be difficult to compare like for like with all of us exactly but probably great learning for the individual baker...I think it did something like this and was not able to exactly tell you the difference in rise in numbers but still learnt a lot...

Sorry for the brain dump and I hope this is still helpful.......Kat

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

It would be great if a number of people wanted to run a test. We could compare results. But even if only 1 person ran the experiment, the initial input from others would be beneficial.

Obviously, different hydrations, different flours, different doughs, etc would produce different results. One test can’t answer all questions. My first thought is something like starter, water, flour, and salt aroung 70% hydration. Something - run of the mill.

Keep the thoughts and idea coming...

Dan

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Dan,  I have given this a great deal of thought over the last several months, but can not think of a decent method to experiment.  The problem I keep getting to is that at the end of BF, I shape, then FP -  so even if I divided into 3 loafs, i would still have 3 different final proofs going on, and not sure how to equalize for that .  I know if I overferment the final proof, then I will get an airy loaf with no oven spring.  While you might say use the same time for FP for each of the loaves, as I understand sourdough starters and generations , it is likely that the loafs with longer BF will have a larger yeast colony, so I haven't figured out a way to run the experiment.  BTW, I have thought that the increase in BF will have some effect on the amount of increase in FP,  but have no support for that. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

You make a great point.

Question - What if we skipped the warm proof and put the doughs into a frig when they finish the BF? 

If done this way, we have a few baking options. 

  1. Put all dough into the oven at the same time
  2.  Bake 1 at a time with the idea that an hour and a half more refrigeration is not a major factor useing a very cool (38F) refrigerator.

Looking forward to feed back. 

Dan

albacore's picture
albacore

As discussed, Dan, I think this is the way it will have to work. Once bulk rise gets going, it can move fast and without the retard you might be wanting to get the next loaf in the oven while the first one is still baking.

Recipe-wise, I would suggest 90% BF/AP with 10% wholegrain flour to add a bit of interest, but keep any bran effects to a low level. I would suggest the levain quantity to be 10% prefermented flour to minimise overproofing during retard.

Empty PET water or soft drinks containers might be suitable for BF.

Lance

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Agree, so the plan is ,  mix, knead, then 3 separate containers for bulk ferment.  Do three different times for BF, then shape each one then into the fridge.   Dan,  I agree, the time difference in the fridge won't be much of a difference.  I usually work with WW, though as you pointed out,  different recipes should not have that much of a difference.  For me,  will go with 100% whole wheat, with hydration at 82%, and will probably go with batards, since it will be easier to bake them all at once.   I will have to wait to Saturday for the kneading, and Sunday for baking ,but am interested to see how it will turn out.  

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I am working on finding 3 identical clear, straight sided vessels that will contain 500g dough and allow for a minimum of 100% rise. For those interested Here is a Link to a discussion dealing with converting the actual volumn of a dough to grams, or milliliters of water in displacement. Initial testing seems to indicate that the weight of bread dough is very close to it’s weight in water where volumn is concerned. And since 1g weight of water is 1ml of volume, the percentage of rise may be very simple to calculate. I plan to test this theory on larger weight (500g) in order to confirm the concept. If this is correct, and our test doughs are 500g we can mark the percentage of rise on each vessels s follows. A 500g dough with a target rise of 30% would need to rise to a level equal to 650g of water. (500 x 1.30 = 650)

ALSO, since the vessel is planned to be narrow and tall (for better rise assesment) I am thinking that we will do well to oil the contanier to facilitate easy removal of the dough with as little disturbance as possible.

Thoughts?

Dan

albacore's picture
albacore

Dan, I think you may be confusing weight (well mass, to be technically correct) with volume. All we need to do is calibrate our straight sided vessel. We do this by putting in a known volume of water - lets say 200ml. We can use a measuring cylinder to do this.

Then we put a mark on the container at 200ml. Then we add another 200ml water and put another mark on (400) and so on.

Of course, we don't quite do it this way, because we've all got nice digital scales now and we know that 200g of water occupies 200ml of volume, so we simply tare the container and pour in 200g of water and put the mark on.

The weight of the dough is irrelevant; we just need to put the dough in the container, read off the volume from the markings we've made and work out what volume to look for after the chosen percentage increase.

As an aside, if we always bake with a dough made with the same weight of flour and water, then the initial volume of dough should be the same every time.

Of course, the practical difficulties arise because the surface of the dough is never flat - both initial irregularities (though these tend to settle down after 30mins) and later on a dome top. This is why I developed my dip method, but possibly it's not for the faint-hearted!

Lance

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Lance, I look forward to talking wirh you today on FaceTime. I hope to convince you about the water displacement concept. If our discussion reveals that I am correct, maybe you can communicate this idea on the forum better than I. Others have had a hard time understanding this. But if you read through this LINK, maybe things will make more sense. In all honesty that post is to technical and scientific for me.

Dan

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I think the first question we have to ask is "why do you want to bulk ferment in the first place?"

Only when we know the answer to this question are we equipped to define the end point(s) of any candidate experiment(s).

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I think we BF in order to allow the microbes to ferment, produce gas for inflation and acids for flavor. During this time of fermentation an under developed gluten can and will gain strength and become more developed.

As I attempt to answer this the question morphs to, how does greater ( and lesser) fermentation (elasticity, extensibility, CO2, and acids) affect the outcome of the baked loaf.

By performing this experiment, I hope to better answer that question.

Danny

While attempting to answer Doc’s question this thought came to mind. I plan to not do anything to the dough during the BF. I don’t want to add unnecessary variables. So the dough should be properly developed before the individual peices are divided from the whole.

These types of statements and suggestions make us think more before starting and IMO, is a great benefit.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Doc.Dough makes a great point.  I have BF dough that has tripled in volume, then after shaping ,  the final proof barely increases in volume, I assume because I overproofed the BF.  If we are only doing BF for flavor, perhaps that is not needed, especially for sourdough?   

albacore's picture
albacore

As I understand it, bulk fermentation is to develop flavour and to further strengthen the gluten network we have created during mixing.

We wouldn't be able to develop as much flavour without BF because if we left it in the banneton for normal BF + FP time it would be o/proofed - or over the top! - unless we had some kind of knock down stage in the banneton.

Anyway, the solution to this quandry is (for once) extremely simple - another experiment without any BF! Or maybe think of that as a 0% bulk volume rise ;) But perhaps we should get the first experiment done and dusted before we go down that road.

Lance

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

It is not clear to me how you know what the objective of BF is until we understand what happens if you don't do it, since presumably doing a BF gets you something that you don't get if you don't BF.  And bulk fermentation is a process step for yeast bread as well as for sourdough bread.

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

which bread will rise more...the one that you mix to almost full gluten development or the one you don't......so many dependencies...  Kat

p.s. you can see that I am a bit focused on the mixing part at the moment...funny how the focus moves to different areas of the process as part of the learning...

albacore's picture
albacore

So are you "in", Kat? 30/50/80?

Lance

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

the area that seems to be needing most attention in my learning journey amongst many is still the ambient proof and judging

degree of final proof. So I probably could do more with the type of experiment that Leslie did a while ago to get more consistent. As I am limited with retarding space for more than 5 loaves,  I am experimenting with cold bulk and then ambient proofing the following day. I shall be following your experiment with interest though and might join in at a later stage... Good luck! Kat

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

If you skip the BF then the dough would proof to where it should in the basket for that amount of dough but you would be making fast bread that lacks flavor.  Fast food of any kind is bad  very bad and especially bad for bread  making and why a yeast bread is not the best choice for flavor because it is fast besides lacking the sour..There is plenty of food for the wee beasties to raise a loaf including BF 3 times.  BY doing a BF and letting the wee beasties work on the dough and then deflating it and letting do it again what do you get? - more flavor.

The best flavored SD breads are ones that have been raised 2.5 to 3 times - bulked on the counter to say at least 50%, then punched down and bulked in the fridge for 12 hours and then shaped and proofed for baking on the counter.  Low and slow makes for great bread.  Using a small pre-fermented flour levain also helps to make the times as ling as possible and why the Perfect Loaf breads that Leo makes taste so great,

You just want to make sure to get an autolyse in there to give the wee beasties extra food our get some sprouted grains in there where the enzymes are already produced in greater amounts.

There is a difference in making bread that tastes good or one that looks good.  It is really nice to do both....hard to do with 3 rises since the crumb gets mi-ore dense every time you mess with the dough and why as few as easy folds do the trick fir large holes if that is ylour standard for bread.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven
barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Dan,  I know I said I was going to run a test this weekend, just found out I am tied up most of Saturday.   I thought I had a workaround, but now am not sure ( I said I had been thinking about this problem for some time with no resolution).  

What about making 3 loaves, with identical hydration and salt, but having the starter vary from 5%, 10% and 20%? In theory, BF could be the same time for all three, then preshape, then shape, then final proof then into the oven at the same time.  The three would have different increase in volume during BF due to the differing amounts of starter.  My concern is that the fact that there is a different amount of starter may also have an impact, because there is less fresh flour in the final dough.  What are your thoughts? 

I am still on board for the experiment, but will have to cram it in one day - which means I can't do the retarding for final proof., or wait another week.   In theory I guess I could retard, but it would be hard to get the internal temp of all 3 loaves the same.  

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

No rush on the experiment, Barry. IMO different starter percentages add another variable to the equation. I try very hard to keep variables to a minimum. 

I am also tied up and don’t know when I’ll get around to doing it. 

Dan

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I suggest that you try to stick to assessments that go after qualitative differences rather than trying to get statistically significant differences in a quantitative variable when you have no common calibration standard.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I am trying to understand both of your replies. As I contemplate your statements a song comes to mind, “It Don’t Come Easy” by George Harrison :D

Doc, please answer your first post dealing with the purpose of bulk fermentation.

And after that, an example of quality vs. quantity with no calibration standards in common.    I think an example would help me tremendously.

I want to understand your  suggestions and observations. So much so, I’m willing to look like a fool to get them :-)

Danny

inquiring mind want to know”

 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Until you define very carefully the objective of bulk fermentation, you are ill equipped to know when you are done or where you are on the path.  In declaring that you want to measure dough volume as the end point without clearly understanding the relationship between dough volume and the desired result of bulk fermentation, you are potentially making measurements along an axis that doesn't matter. So again: what is the objective of BF?

Mini Oven, in her post below addresses some of the issues that arise when you have an inherently quantitative process. How do you know that the dough is developed "equally" across a set of bakers working in their own environment with their own equipment, ingredients, and processes? Either you have to define a canonical process that everybody can execute with precision (I think that is a bridge too far) or you have to look for characteristics that you can describe qualitatively and look for differences there based on defined process steps.  Even getting the same flour will require some research.  How do you know that you got flour from the same batch even if you buy the same brand? And how do you know if it makes any difference?  How does everybody control bulk fermentation temperature to the same level of precision? Water temp? Flour temp? Amount of energy dumped into the dough during mixing? End point for mixing? All of these quantitative variables may turn out to be important and unless you make them equal, or decide that you will measure them with precision and do enough experiments to back it out statistically, you do not have comparable results across your set of testers.  This is not a large group exercise.  I suspect that you need a few dedicated perfectionists with excellent technical skills and common equipment to have a shot at concluding anything quantitative.

Mini's suggestion to mix everything as a single batch is an example of a process control approach that can give you a chance to make some useful qualitative observations.  Mix, divide into some small number of samples (six is good so that you have two in each of three BF test groups) and ferment them in a B&T at a common temp for varying times. But measuring exact volume expansion is something I have not yet mastered.  Archimedes might help (weigh a known volume container filled with water + dough until it is exactly full) but getting repeatability is not something I have high confidence in.  You could challenge all participants to measure the volume of a tennis ball and see how closely they agree.  But until you get that part calibrated (how much statistical variance do you see across your set of testers and over time) you can't set a sample size that assures comparability. Suppose everybody can measure a tennis ball volume to 5ml (1 sigma), how big do you want to make the smallest BF sample?

Just some things to think about.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

all loaves should be from the same batch of dough.

the dough gluten should be well developed before bulking, then less handling is needed to further develop dough gluten during the bulk ferment.  (I think this is a source of many problems in determining the end of a bulk fermentation.  Is dough developed enough to support the fermentation?)

a lower to middle hydration should be chosen for that particular flour.  Times and steps should be based on a standard recipe with experimental bulk times ranging with no, short, on, beyond and way beyond the recipe. (for example)  All other times being the same.

if trying to show impact of bulk rise, the length of it (and only it) should be the variable, all containers should be previously marked with volume levels as volume is also used to determine length of bulk ferment. Specific instructions should be written out and easily copied.

what about using a pH reading during the process?  

How about one batch of dough, wedges being cut off as ferment progresses, photograph of dough thru container and cut surface (both to show any gas cell formation)  simply deflated, shaped the same, proofed for a particular time and baked with a specific time and temp as the experiment progresses.  

Then again, the doughs could be separated before bulking.  All containers kept inside one large container (insulated box?) regularly rotated to maintain equal temps for all dough samples. 

Just putting thoughts down.

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

especially what you say about the gluten development before the start of bulk rings a bell as I am looking more closely at that right now in my baking (and wishing so much for a mixer)....

I assume we also would need to track how long AL was as this will also contribute to gluten development?

My sample size will depend on how many proofing containers  I have that are the same  and how I can all fit them in the Brod & Taylor......

Very tempted to do this and have done something similar a while ago but less scientific....but probably do my stiff starter v. liquid starter bake first and then this experiment next......enjoy everyone... Kat

p.s. I might do this when I have time with  a Champlain as mid-hydration 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The BF containers don’t have to be the same, Kat. If you have a method of calibrating the volume of the initial dough, you can calculate the desired rise for each of your test doughs.

Also, for those without a proofer (or choosing not to use one) any reasonable environment should work for the test. A warm temp will produce faster results, but what does that matter? We are testing the percentage of rise with the quality of bread. I think?

Dan

David R's picture
David R

If there isn't necessarily 100% agreement on what's even being tested, then you're essentially guaranteed to end up more confused than when you started.

Of course there won't be agreement on what the results ought to be, but without a unanimous testable proposition, it's just a free-for-all mutual flapping of gums and/or flailing of keyboards.

albacore's picture
albacore

Or "It's all so complicated we won't bother doing it". Come on Bakers, let's get on with it!

And never forget: a camel was a horse designed by a committee.

Lance

David R's picture
David R

In a way you're right... but at the same time this topic has been argued about for hundreds if not thousands of years, and if there's to be an actual experiment, it needs to be an experiment that has a reproducible result. If at the end you can't say "Try it and you'll see the exact same thing I did", then nothing will have been accomplished.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Looking for input - Are we trying to produce identical test from baker to baker? Example; useing same formula, temp, etc.. Or should we test our own choice of formula, hydrations, flours, temps, etc?

My though (at this time) is to bake whatever you choose and the way you choose. I believe that we should all have certain things in common in order to reduce those variables.  It is probable that baking different bread, hydration, etc will produce somewhat different results. Hopefully, those differences will build an overall consensus as to how the percentage of bulk fermentation affects the final product.

I’m thinking variable that should be in common.

  1. Whatever the number of test doughs, they should be of equal weights.
  2. The baker should have an accurate method to calibrate the percentage of rise.
  3. The test doughs should not be kneaded, stretched, or manipulated in any way after they are placed into the BF containers.
  4. IMO, this is the is the most challenging part. The removal from BF container (with as little disturbance as possible), and all handling up until they are placed in the proofing container should be handled in the most consistent manner.
  5. The scoring, handling, and baking should be as consistent as possible

What should the evaluation criteria consist of? Thoughts that come to mind. Crumb, texture, crust color, oven spring, bloom, staling quality, and FLAVOR. What else comes to mind.

Questions -

  • How should we handle the scoring? My concern here is that scoring can have a large affect on the crumb, spring, etc.
  • Thoughts on warm vs cold final proof. It seems the consensus is to cold retard.

What other considerations come to mind?

Mini is doing a great job (doesn’t she always) of nailing this experiment down. See her post.

Disclaimer - This is our experiment. I have no intentions of dictating it. The above are my thoughts and I hope that others will share their’s. Even if we decide on an agreed upon procedure, and you choose to perform it differently, your data will still be very informative.

Dan

 

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

it comes down to what each of us want to learn depending on what they do in their kitchen, with their flours, with their temps etc. etc. and also enjoy doing it...

I think it will be impossible a) to agree every detail and b) to create exactly the same environment but there is still loads of learning and sharing to be done here or not?

So personally, even if we do slightly different things then I love to see what other people find out and I think the key is just to describe what they have done and their findings and conclusion...

So, even if we all give up now exhausted from the discussion before we even start baking I probably would do an experiment like this just to learn at some stage ..but I will enjoy it so much more in 'virtual' company....:D

So,  my experiment could look like this and I have already learnt from comments that people have kindly made!!! Thank you !

 I would mix probably a formula that I have baked before and familiar with at mid hydration. That is for me the Champlain. I would make ONE batch and document the usual process:

1. AL time, temp

2. Levain build, time and temp

3. Mix + salt process etc. - Method and degree of gluten development at the end of mix

Then before bulk I would divide dough into X pieces and put into separate containers marked with relevant rises..

As I find judging the exact rise tricky, I will keep things simple and look at the extremes here as this is most relevant to my baking  e.g.

30% rise bulk - how will crumb be different with a less developed dough - I would give dough hourly coil folds 

80% rise bulk - how will crumb be different with a very gassy dough? - I would give dough hourly coil folds

Then

Final bulk specimen,  I would finish bulk purely based on the signs I see from the dough and ignore the rise..so I will look for domed look, bubbles, dough is not sticky anymore and comes easy of container, shiny etc....I will take note of rise at that point in time but aim to just judge from LOOK first and  then look at rise, if that makes sense..

When bulk is finished...I will treat ALL samples the same and pre-shape - 20 min bench rest - use the same method for final shape - cinching.... and then into 4C wine cooler....

One thing that I would like to get to the bottom of with experiments like this is:

1. any difference in crumb..

2. how does a longer bulk affect the final proof...(some bakers push the bulk to 50% rise or more but they avoid a longer rest in bannetons before putting loaves into a very cold fridge... OR you could be safer in bulk and then push the retard in a warmer fridge and final proof). 

Baking is personal and for me it is that fine balance between degree of bulk and final proof that I would like to understand better for what it is worth....

Anyway...my last two pennies and always enjoy the baking company..... Kat

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Kat, I really like your idea of your 3rd bake that will be BF by criteria other than degree of rise. I plan to learn from any experiment that is well designed. Personally, I like the idea of various approaches. It is my hope that these variations will help to build a general consensus that benefits you, myself, and others.

Experiments are flawed, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

I strive for perfection, but such a characteristic is not earthly. Confucius: "Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without."

Danny

 

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

and lots and lots to learn! 🙏 Kat

David R's picture
David R

I agree that all experiments are going to be flawed to some degree in some way. There are also some boundaries, some requirements, that create the difference between "experiment" and "just messing around". One of those is that every experiment tests just one falsifiable prediction (e.g. you can't design an experiment that predicts there's life on other planets, because you could never prove there isn't, and you can't design an experiment that doesn't make a definite prediction).

Even with those boundaries and requirements, all experiments are flawed. Without those, it wouldn't be flawed - because it wouldn't even be an experiment.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

 I listened to NPR show about a year ago, and a scientist was on to explain that a well respected scientific journal had just retracted a story that they had printed several months earlier because later experiments confirmed that the results in the prior story were wrong, and he was trying to explain what missteps led to the article being printed in the first place. ( I am not sure, but I think the scientist was somehow affiliated with the journal ) At the end of the interview, the interview asked, innocently enough I think, "how many other articles in your journal do you expect may later be contradicted? "  The scientist paused a second, and then said " 100% " .  The interviewer laughed as if it was a joke, and the scientist said he wasn't joking and that our understanding of science is always changing, and if we looked at a scientific journal of over 100 years ago, probably very little of it would accurately reflect our current understanding of science.

 Just to be clear, I am going to try an experiment this weekend, time permitting, just to get an idea of the impact on rise in BF and how that impacts the openness of the final product.  I know that the results may not hold much weight on how things work in general, or with other flours, or other kitchens, but I would like to get a little insight, since I see some recipes say 50 % increase in bulk and others say 300%  and I have often wondered what the impact would be. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Great story, Barry.

Even though every test I’ve ever run was flawed, I believe I learned something every time.

Striving for perfection is a futile endeavor, but that fact hasn’t deterred me yet :-)

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

was the best professor I ever had,  He started out the year by saying that he was gong to teach us the best physics known to date but take what he says with a grain if salt, He went in ti say that, also to date, 97% of all physic=s facts of the past have been proven wrong by scientists who came along later.  He was right of course.  One of the best ways to get to the top tier of anything is to fail .......all the way up ......and then down:-)

albacore's picture
albacore

So will you be joining us in our experiment, David?

Lance

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How much rise is 100%?   Double? Or volume of the dough before fermentation?  Is double 200%?

What is 50% rise?   Half way to double or half the original volume added on?  or actually 150%?   1.5?   See where I,m going?   Is the dome of a rise included or estimated half way thru or only where it clings to the container?

i don't want to start a big discussion, we could all just follow one discription, one standard.  We just have to know what it is.   

Oh, and what is AL abbreviating?

 

albacore's picture
albacore
  • Take a bulk fermentation container, preferably quite narrow and tall.
  • Calibrate it by weighing in water and marking with felt tip every 100ml
  • Spray inside with spray oil
  • Insert dough
  • Wait 30 mins for dough top to level out
  • Measure dough volume
  • If dough vol is 500ml, then with a 30% rise, target vol would be 650ml. 55% rise --> 775ml. 80% rise --> 900ml
  • I think we should go for 30/55/80% rises. 50% is too close to 30% for comfort
  • Dome tops should be averaged by our skilled team of experimenters ;)
  • AL - autolyse?

 

Lance

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Lance,  you and I are heading in the same direction.  I will change to 55%, and instead of marking as you did,  I will just divide the dough into 3 equal parts by weight, put one ball into the narrow container and flatten the top and mark that height on a piece of tape, take that dough out, and fill to water for the same height, determine that weight, then put that weight of water plus 30% into one container and make a mark,  that weight of water plus 55% into the second container and make a mark, and finally that weight plus 100% and make a mark, and that way I just need to keep an eye on the volume of dough in the container, and pull it once it hits the mark.  I would love to come up with some way to keep track of which dough is which, and may add a dot of food coloring, just to make sure I don't mess it up. 

 

While Mini raises some good points about judging height, with a narrow container, and such a difference between 30% and 100%, we should be okay. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

In prior experiments I have had problems keeping track of the different doughs. I have on occasion added 5g of chocolate malted barley (ND) to color the dough, but in this case I don’t think it will work since we are dividing off of a single dough.  After the loaves are baked I have marked them with a marker. That worked very well, but doesn’t help at any stage before baking.

Barry, have you tried food coloring before? If so, did you put a drop on the top of the shaped dough. Did the colored dough remain visible after the shaping?

Any other ideas as to identifying the various doughs?

Dan

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

and I feel quite intimidated in the science department.....makes all  good sense and this is why I think the use of the same  bulk container is useful to compare like with like...I see what I can recyle...and it will have to be less tall to fit in the Brod & Taylor...  AND to be able to still do stretch and folds?

Are you planning to do NO stretch and folds at all and let all samples just rise? If yes, are not all three samples lacking development whatever the bulk time especially if you did not mix the dough and developed the gluten a lot during mixing? Goes back to the question what we want to find out?

AL - was autolyse indeed

With regards to muddling the loaves up.... as I can bake possibly all loaves in one go in my little oven, when I did something like this last time,  I actually muddled the loaves up in the oven! Doh.... I am clearly lacking in the methodological approach and MUST mark each dough this time!  Be aware this is also easilly done in the fridge...at least for a befuddled brain like mine... and people in the household who interfere with experiments like this... 

p.s. agree with permanent marker and NOT post-its that come off...but, but I hate waste and still want to eat the experiment so find a different way...

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Kat, if container size in your B&T is an issue, why not BF at room temp? All doughs will still BF @ identical temps.

As far stretch & folds during the BF. Why not do slap & folds or Rubaud before the BF to develop the gluten, and then BF without any additional handling?

I have used permanent markers on baked doughs before. And I ate them afterwards :D  But, if the though of eating a little ink disturbs you, why not mark the very tip of the loaf and throw it away before eating?

A few thoughts...

Danny

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

and appreciated....I really don't want to confuse what you guys aim to do...

For me this experiment is very much about looking at the difference in crumb that I get at different degree of bulk ...so folding at a regular interval each of the 'specimen' would give me insight for my future baking including the temp that I bulk at... at the moment I try to develop as much gluten as I can when I handmix and then create structure during bulk. So this is something that I would apply in this experiment to inform my future baking... Does that make sense? 

I might have a total different approach in my mind and hope that I have not confused this post as you guys might have something different on your minds... Kat

David R's picture
David R

If original is 1000 ml, 100% rise causes the new volume to be 2000 ml; that is, 1000 original plus 1000 rise. 50% rise would end up at 1500 ml; that is, 1000 original plus (50% of 1000) added on.

Domed surface you have to do your best to figure out what the total volume is including the dome. Much easier with a tall narrow container, but bread dough doesn't always make sense in such a container.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I have seen this question a number of times on this topic and others. "How do we judge the level of the dough when it is domed?"

This is how I do it. When looking at the dough in the container at no angle (level), I judge where the dough would level out if it were liquid. I don't find this difficult at all. It seems extremely accurate to me.

Dan

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Duplicate Post

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

You can mark directly on the surface of the dough with a permanent marker rather than trying to color the dough (either of which should work just fine until you shape at which point you probably have to repeat the marking). Or you might write a number on a piece of Stretch-tite with a permanent marker, then fold it over to protect the writing and drop it on top of the dough (a tiny drop of oil on the outside should keep it from sticking to the dough). If you process the dough in the same order and keep the label with the dough piece it should not be difficult.  Marking the pan and/or nipping the dough when it comes time to bake should make it traceable all the way to the end.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I like the permanent marker best, so I’ll give that a try on the raw dough and also on the baked loaves.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Great care was taken to maintain uniformity between the 3 doughs.

  • Mixed 1600g of 123 SD using 12% protein flour

  • 15 minutes of Rubaud and 50 Slap & Folds

  • Divided dough into precisely (3) 500g doughs

  • Calculated displacement of a 500g dough to be 425ml or 425g water

  • Marked each of 3 identical vessels @ 425, 552, 659, & 850g

  • Placed each of the 3 doughs into the well greased vessels & sealed tops

  • Proofed (BF) @ 77F Start Time = 1:40PM

  • All 3 doughs retarded overnight @ 38F Bread #1 & 3 were retarded for 14hr, bread #2 retarded 14.5 hr
  • All doughs were shaped using the same procedure. No preshape, a 5 fold boule, retarded seam side up. (Habit! I should have proofed seam side down - no biggie)
  • Oven preheated to 500F, lowered to 450F after dough is loaded, 20 min later the cover is removed and the oven temp dropped to 425F convection for an additional 15 min (Baked to 208F internal)
  • The doughs are baked covered and seam side up, not scored, no extra manipulation, not spritzed

 

  • First dough (30% rise) completed BF @ 6:47 - Fermentation took 5hr, 07min - Baked 8:45AM

  • Second dough (55% rise) completed BF @ 7:15 - Fermentation took 5hr, 35min - Baked 9:45AM

  • Third dough (100% rise) completed BF @ 9:00 - Fermentation took 7hr, 20min - Baked 11:00AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danny

NOTE: A large portion of this was copied, images and all, from Google Docs using an iPad. I was surprised how well the text and images were formatted. Using Google Docs for the initial writeup is a good way to prevent lost post, especially when they are lengthy. Great Job, Floyd!

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Danny,  looking forward to seeing the bakes.  

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

 I should not be surprised having seen previous experiments from you and the accuracy that you  carry them out with...

So far it looks amazing and I would expect the type of oven spring that you get with the 30% as I find that with borderline under underproofed and finished early bulk type orf loaves or not? Would have expected a bit more on the 55% though or not?

Did the dough feel different when you shaped? All showed signs of fermentation with bubbles on the side of the container. Did all of them have a domed look? 

Interesting to see what the difference in crumb will be...  I never will do an experiment as precise as this... Kat

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Kat, “Did the dough feel different when you shaped? All showed signs of fermentation with bubbles on the side of the container. Did all of them have a domed look?“

As expected, 30% domed and shaped best, and the 100% domed and shaped the least, leaving the 55% in between both.

It is becoming evident to me through this test and multiple others that I am over fermenting and also over proofing. It looks like the shorter BF and final proof is shaping up, once again to be the winner. Do you remember the 2 proofing videos I made? Maybe I should consider a 20% rise? I think it is important (for me) to calculate the actual percentage of rise using the volume displacement method. It is easy to be off ~15% by guessing.

I am pleased with the experiment. Believe me, things can go wrong...

Dan

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I was pleased with the execution of this test. I realize there are lots of large images, but thought the closeups and comparisons would be useful. And I look forward to the observations of others.

A few thoughts;

  1. It seems to me that using tall and relatively narrow containers produce smaller holes. I say this because normally Lance produces a lot of open crumb and my breads are often less open. But in both test the holes are not as open as expected. Common sense tells me that the narrow vessel cause more vertical weight and this increased weight makes lifting the dough more difficult and consequently, compressed. It makes me think that Containers like THESE will produce larger bubbles than a narrow and tall one. The only draw back I see is the difficulty is appraising the amount of dough rise.
  2. The differences in the percentage of increase does not seem to have as large an impact on the final crumb structure as I had expected. Although, a number of small difference can have a large impact on the final product.
  3. An obvious one - the longer a dough ferments, the more intense the flavor. That stands true for both cold and warm fermentation.

I am looking forward to learning from the observations and comments of others.

Danny

We really think we know a great deal about bread, but a hundred years from now bakers will laugh at us. Isn’t the exploration of knowledge wonderful?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

To back up my first thought (#1) in the post above.

Here are 2 images from 2 separate test that Lance performed. The first image was not fermented in a tall and narrow vessel, the second was. Lance, correct me if I am wrong. You sure bake some beautiful breads...

Danny

albacore's picture
albacore

And well done for a great set of results!

I am also thinking that the tall narrow vessel must be restricting the dough somehow, inhibiting open crumb development, though yours is more open than mine.

The only thing is that commercial bakers will normally have a good height (or depth) of dough and successfully produce open crumb, so maybe the container narrowness, or aspect ratio - whichever way you look at it, is the critical factor.

 I am now thinking that my original experiment method in the blog may give more representative results - ie consecutive bakes on different days with identical treatments other than different % bulk rises and using normal BF container.

BTW, it looks like your 50% rise has the most open crumb - do you agree with that?

Lance

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The 50% increase does have slightly more open crumb that the 30 increase. But I also like the way the 30% rose up higher on the sides.

QUESTION - if we accept that in most cases 30-50% increase is best, why are so many loaves over proofed, when most bakers shoot for 30-50%? It has to occur after the BF is complete. Are we over proofing the final proof or are we mishapling the dough and collapsing the alveoli? It is never just one test. Each test produces new questions. ...and the beat goes on.

QUESTION -if a dough is bulk fermented 30-50% (properly bulk fermented) is it possible to have an under proofed bread as the final product?

Dan

albacore's picture
albacore

BF Test Results Set 3 by Lance

Here's the results of my trial, following in the footsteps of Barry and Dan.

Dough

    10% wholegrain flour
    10% high extraction flour
    80% bread flour
    levain 10% prefermented flour @ 56% hydration
    1.5g diastatic malt
    75% hydration (69% + 6% bassinage)
    1.8% salt
  


Process  

    20 mins autolyse + 10 mins fermentolyse
    Add salt, then malt
    Mix 2 mins LS, 3.5 mins HS (Famag)
    Add bassinage on lowest speed
    Dough temp 25C, proofing box set at 27C
    Dough divided into 3 x 650g weights and moved into the 3 calibrated BF containers
    Start volume of each, measured after 30 mins = 575ml
   


Bulk Ferment Details

    30% rise: 2hrs 50mins
    55% rise: 3hrs 35mins
    80% rise: 3hrs 50mins (this jar fermented a bit faster; it was 1 deg warmer (28C)
    All samples had 20mins BR and then into frij @ 4C overnight
    Each one baked individually in the morning on the stone with my standard "Zoro" score and steam
   
   
   
Results   

    Good oven spring on all three
    Loaf heights 91/95/89mm
    Pretty close crumb on all three - 30% the most open
    Crumb more open at the edges than the centres of the loaves (I often get this!)
    No obvious flavour differences - all tasted good
   


Conclusion

    Much less difference between the three loaves than I expected
    30% gave most open crumb
    Maybe bulk rise % isn't that critical? Probably just as well!
    Or maybe the experiment isn't complete - does a low BF percentage rise need to be balanced with a longer FP time? Difficult to do with retarded FPs, of course.

Lance

 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Lance, even though the results didn’t fit our expectations we have learned a great deal. I think you said this was your 3rd test dealing with % of BF. Didn’t all 3 test produce similar results?

I went to review “A Tale of Two Bulk Ferments” and the images are blank. Were the last results similar to the first two?

What conclusions have to arrived at?

Tomorrow we shall see what my test produced. In my experience test and experiments seldom produce the results we expect. But it is what it is. “...and the truth shall set us free

Danny

albacore's picture
albacore

My blogged experiment produced the opposite result, but it was a rather flawed experiment for reasons explained.

BTW, the images are back, at least for me, now.

Variability of results shows how important it is for more "researchers" to run the experiment to increase confidence in the results - so come on, all you TFLers: join in!

Lance

David R's picture
David R

I think experiments with unexpected results (especially when those are documented in a straightforward way as you've done) are some of the most useful in existence. The process is making you do exactly the right thing: to learn to ask better, smarter, more relevant questions. Having solid answers to the wrong questions is a danger; asking better and better questions while showing why the old questions needed fixing is great stuff.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

with the term "open crumb."    Are we judging by the size of large holes or cells, the large ones always more obvious?  Or are we judging by the size of the cells between those obvious big holes when we decide what is open? 

I look and wish I could see the crumb more clearly and yes, they are similar but the 30% crumb (on Lance's) does not look as open to me as the bottom one.  The bottom 100% bulk rise may have less large bubbles but it looks like the smallest bubbles are larger, a more even bite with less variety or possibly dense areas.  If I had to grab one slice to eat, I'd take the bottom one.  I bet light shines thru it brighter.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Dan, following on Mini's observation, I think we need to do another measurement, though it may be a bit of a pain.  We probably need to weigh all three loaves after baking, then wrap each in plastic bag, and remove all the air using the water displacement process, Food Lab Sealing bag without-vacuum-sealer-water-displacement-method then submerge in a bucket of water and measure how much water it displaces.   I went to a baking class once the and the baker said the best test of a loaf was to pick it up, it should feel lighter than you would expect.  We can't really measure width or height , since they are so variable, but you may be able to nail down which crumb was the lightest by comparing the weight of the water displaced, divide by the weight of the loaf.  Note that if you have much of an ear, that may be pretty difficult to measure displacement,  depending on how flexible the plastic bag.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

take a tape measure to the cold loaf and measure around it on all axis (3 directions) around, add them up and divide by 3.  Would it work?  Then divide something by the other.  :)

David R's picture
David R

I disagree with this method, plus I think there's a better AND easier method: Weigh the densest-looking 1 cubic inch of the loaf. (Or other uniform easy-to-measure easy-to-cut size)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

What about taking slices and place on a sheet of glass, a light source behind?  Take a measure of the light coming through the bread.  I can measure luminosity with one of hubby's toys.  How good are my slicing skills?  I suppose an electric slicer comes in handy.  I would have more difficulty slicing an exact cube of bread.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Once you have a repeatable process and can control the dough temperature, I suspect that you can substitute BF time from your first run and get rid of the constraint of having to measure dough volume accurately.  Since you are making a boule, pre-shape as a boule at the beginning of BF and then you can use the height and two diameters and model it as an ellipsoid and back calculate the volume with good accuracy for purposes of verifying that you were close to your planned BF volume increase.  If you are using a banneton the shape is even better controlled.  V = 4*pi*a*b*c/3 for an ellipsoid.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Test number 2,  as usual, a few screw ups,  but a surprise, at least to me.

This time out I am using 100% home milled white winter wheat  ( Central Milling ) no sifting, and using a more standard recipe

200 grams starter ( 100% hydration )

800 grams flour

620 grams water.

16 grams salt. 

 

Since the last time I did not see much difference,  I decided to go big -  I made one batch, then divided into 4 equal doughs, then bulk fermented in measured containers  to the following increases in size 50%, 100%,  150% and 200%.  I felt sure  I would see some wide variations.   As each one hit the mark, I made into a baguette shape, then onto a couche and into the fridge.  I finished kneading and dividing around 9:20,  the first sample was ready at 1:30, then 2:10, then 4:30, then 5:10.   The all BF in a 82% proofer, I think the issue with the 3rd batch was in dividing to make sure each dough weighed the same,  I must have handled them differently, because by the time the second one was ready,  I could tell the dough in the container marked 200% had already risen more than the one in the 150% container.     They rested in the fridge over night, and the next day they went in the oven together - too many for me to cover, and it went into an oven I normally do not use for baking, so the color was not very good.  The surprise to me -  they all looked fine .  I would have guessed that the 200% would have been thoroughly spent and would not rise at all, but it did.  Here it a photo of the slices with a piece of paper showing which was which.  BTW, my wife blind tasted them, and felt the 200% tasted the best.  

 

 

 I actually did the water displacement, and compared the weight of the water displaced by each loaf to the weight of the loaf, but the results were not consistent -  47%, for the 50% increase during BF, 42% , 39% then 45 % -  though the increase in volume of the last loaf was hurt because I loaded it on the stone,  then after a minute realized I loaded it seam side down not up, so I went back and flipped it up.  While not having a cover to hold in the steam probably does not help oven spring, baking the top upside down on a hot stone for a few minutes definitely hurts oven spring.

Again,  I was somewhat surprised that even after a 200% bulk ferment increase, the last loaf came out with a pretty good crumb.  I  think the biggest factor will be % increase during final ferment, but have not figured out how to calculate that as precisely as the above experiment. 

doughooker's picture
doughooker

"800 grams flour

6100 grams water."

Am I missing something? Would this be 762.5% hydration?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

This experiment seems to be smashing the concept of a 30% increase in rise. I prefer to BF for as long as possible without hindering the oven spring. Flavor Rules... So, longer ferments if flavor increases

I like the cross section shape of the 50% loaf, but if I was picking a winner (IMO) I’d go with 100%. But I have to agree with you, the differences a very slight. All slices look good to me.

It is surprising that all of the test that were conducted and published tells us that the percentage of increase is not as significant as we had believed.

For anyone planning to do this test, please make sure to evaluate the flavor. So far, some claimed not much difference others disagreed. If the longer ferments don’t noticeably intensify the flavor, I may choose shorter BF.

Danny

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

bulk ferment at let's say 75F for taste as well and also let the dough go often double or more of it's original size and have done this on the last two bakes in my blog...I get this way the best open and fermented  crumb  and also like Mini Oven said I let the bulk rest for the last 2 hours or 1 and  half hour. I can do this more now as I mix 'weaker' flour with strong Canadian flour with 15% protein and  this also makes a difference and I can push bulk more than I could in the past.

I was always intrigued when people recommended the 30% rise as for me this was always too close to underfermented...However, I find that if  I go for a long and high rise bulk I need to watch the final proof and make sure it is in a truly cold wine cooler.  Thank you for sharing... Kat

 

Heikjo's picture
Heikjo

Great work! Just to be clear, you are talking about increase and not new dough volume right? So the 100% doubled and 200% tripled in volume?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Not to forget we're playing Mother Nature when we retard a loaf.  Does retarding even out results?

Let me tell you about my farmer neighbor.  He plants, cleans and packages sweet corn for the market.  One spring I watched him plant rows of corn seed every three weeks in his fields. I think his goal was not to have his harvest arrive at the same time, to spread out his harvesting work over several months.  He would then have three weeks between each harvest and not be rushed to pick, clean and package his corn for the market.

Well, much to his surprise, Mother Nature had other ideas and by the time the ears were ready to pick, all the fields were ripe at the same time.  I know this example is large scale but if you think about it, there are certain cycles in nature that have a way to push survival of life and the lives of our useful little yeasts and bacteria that are being so cooperative in producing gas and other byproducts for us.

I am sure that without retarding the dough, the results will show more observable differences.  However, we are retarding dough so some differences will be more subtle.   

I'm seeing improvement in the crumb when the dough is allowed more uninterrupted ferment before shaping and retarding.  And again we see that watching the dough vs watching the clock is sound advice.  

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Doughhooker,  corrected the typos.  80% hydration - which is what I normally use for home milled winter white wheat. 

 

Mini,  yes, I think retarding the dough, not scoring, etc, are also playing a role, but frankly I still thought there would be greater differences in the loaves.  While I understand the idea to watch the dough, not the clock,  this test suggests that whether I pulled the dough at 50% increase in size or 200% increase in size would not make that  much difference. 

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

That's a fascinating anecdote about your neighbor's corn, Mini.  It's a great example of how corn is quintessentially sensitive to Growing Degree Days (GDD), a concept that I've often thought could be usefully applied to dough fermentation.  Corn, like most plants, requires a certain amount of cumulative daytime heat over its life cycle for timely and optimal reproduction.  Your neighbor was probably victimized by a late Spring, where those first plantings just sat waiting for Summer temperatures to arrive, which did in earnest by the time the later seeds were planted.  Like a freeway traffic jam, where the first to arrive at an accident slowdown (his first planted) are soon joined by drivers catching up from way back down the road (his later planted).

For bread baking, I've thought for a while that a Fermentation Degree Hours concept would be useful, where different formulae would be associated with (require, for optimum/desired outcomes) a recommended number of fermentation hours above a certain baseline temperature.  For corn, the GDD baseline temperature is 10˚C, which is comparatively high because corn is ancestrally sub-tropical.  Other crops have lower baselines, down to ~5˚C.  For dough fermentation, the baseline would be determined by yeast/bacteria nominal minimal temperature preferences, 10 to 20˚C?

Sorry to divert/hijack the thread.  But it's a thought that's been pinging me periodically.  DTT is useful, especially for pros.  But to me, it's always lacked -- and needed -- a time component.  FDH would provide that.

Tom

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

There is probably an exponent in the temperature sensitivity term but this is a data-free analysis. The lower threshold is probably around 36°F for zero growth and very long times which would suggest that if the exponent is 1, then the  required total degree hours might be ~K=110.  So that the form of the equation would be

       {time in hrs} x [ (temp in °F) - 36°F ] ^1 = K °F-hr

I think this currently falls into the He-he-he category until I have more data, but the idea has merit.

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Thanks for your input Doc.  I'm not sure I understand why the temp sensitivity term needs an exponent, or what purpose the "^1" serves in your expression.  Classic GDD calcs are simplified for practical use, as described in the reference I provided.  I tend to think of GDD as the area under the curve of median daily temp vs time, with the base of the curve being the species consensus baseline temp and not the abscissa.

Given the human variables involved in bread baking outcomes, an FDH guideline would be just that – a guideline.  Apropos this thread's topic, it would also depend upon the SD baker's desired outcome.  Different FDHs would yield different crumb structures and different paths to the same cumulative FDH would yield different flavor profiles.  Bakin bread ain't growin corn.

Yes the concept could use some data.  I've wanted to explore it for a while.  Maybe I can carve out some time for it.  Would be fun.

Tom

David R's picture
David R

Consider a loaf that has huge oversized bubbles near the top crust and a dense doughy mass near the bottom crust. If you measure that loaf as a unit, your result will indicate very open crumb - but the reality is the opposite.

That example (which doesn't appear in any of the pictures in this thread) is only the most extreme case of a very common situation, in which crumb openness is not 100% even. That was my point in suggesting that only the densest portion of the loaf should be judged on openness. A few large bubbles shouldn't count for anything.

I guess I'm saying that literal open crumb isn't useful - that in fact a lack of closed crumb is what one should look for.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

David,  I thought of the problem of the one large hole possibility right after I posted the suggestion of using the volume of the loaf divided by the weight.  

I am actually thinking of one more experiment in this line.  I want to make 3 or 4 samples, and this time shoot for the same amount of increase in bulk - say 100%,  but vary the amount of starter in each so that I will have a time differential to get to the 100% increase, and see what the impact is in openess and flavor.   I am trying to work out reasonable starting numbers.  My most recent attempt had starter (total weight, not just the flour in the starter ) of 22% of total flour.  I am thinking of a 5 % and a 10 % as the two other choices, just to see what results I get.    When I did the last experiment, the greater the increase in volume, the more the dough felt loose and easier to stretch, but it never felt like it was too loose.  In some prior attempts with long BF times - like overnight,  at the end of the BF the dough literally felt like it had no strength, so I just want to test that out.   While there was a slight flavor improvement in the 200% rise compared to the 100%,  I am not so sure it is that big an impact on the overall result.  

David R's picture
David R

If you agree that the densest area of the loaf is the only place where "open crumb" can be observed, and that if a loaf has a noticeably dense area to it then that loaf can't be classified as "open crumb", I don't mind how anyone wants to go about measuring it.

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

latest post on bulk fermentation and the nature of crumb are amazingly enlightening as always...

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvfUUC9HmqN/

It goes with what I thought is the case but tend to under'bulk' when I go for 30% as probably end bulk too early and mess up final proofing......

So, I tend to belong to the let bulk go 50% and beyond camp and get an open but more regular crumb, if that goes well. If not, Trevor just shared here a great tip, of degassing the dough on purpose and ending up with a beautiful honeycomb crumb like his loaf.

So it depends on what crumb you are aiming for that drives the decision on  rise in bulk....?

Kat

 

albacore's picture
albacore

But aren't the results so far on here suggesting that there isn't much difference in the crumb structure at different bulk increases, Kat?

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

about other variables such as the final shaping...we all think we do a certain and consistent shape but do we? Could this play a role?   Scratching her head... Kat

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Kat, I don’t think the shaping had a great affect on the crumb. I say this because there have been many test conducted and it highly improbable that the “bad shaping” was done consistently on a certain percentage of increase dough. The bad shaping should have shown up on various % of rise doughs.

I have really enjoyed reading Trevor’s Instagram post that you linked. I nominate you, Chief Executive Officer of Instagram (and others) links.    “Media Mogul”    You have historically and consistently posted interestings links that benefit the group.

Below is Trevor’s bread that was posted to the Instagram link above. IMO, if the largest holes where removed, this would be my ideal slice. I dig me some lacey honeycomb crumb... Now that’ll make me a mighty fine sammich :D

Dan

albacore's picture
albacore

I follow a lot of bakers on IG and Kat has put me onto over half of them!

Lance

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

you make me laugh...I am just this 'perennial student' and researching and finding out things has always been a fun thing to do for me...when I was a student I enjoyed it and also later at work. 

So, I find the wealth of sharing and learning 'out there' amazing and inspiring and this also applies to this forum here of course!!!!! 

I have to read through all the posts here again in detail because I do see quite a difference in my crumb when I bulk at 30% compared for 80% for instance or more. I cannot apply this here necessarily as not within the context of this experiment of course. So I am a bit confused about the findings as they do not correlate to my baking experience....I recently had a bake which sounded similar to what Trevor described and I wished I had degassed it and tried to achieve that honeycomb crumb. Must try that soon.... Kat

 

albacore's picture
albacore

Well Kat, if you did want to join the trial, perhaps your version could be two consecutive bakes of one of your "standard" formulations, one at 30% bulk rise and one at 80% - or whatever you normally do. I don't think it would matter if the bakes were days apart. That was really what I did with my initial trial.

But please don't feel pressured into doing it!

Lance

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Kat, to be clear, to make things as even as possible, I used the shaping method described in the Hamelman KA videos on batards-  where they shape the dough into a triangle and press out all the air.   While some, like Trevor, suggest you handle the dough gently to only slightly degas it,  I did not see a way to do that uniformly in the above experiment.  If I did, the results could well be different. 

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

 and very useful Barry ....gets me thinking...I will have to look at all the crumbs again...and maybe the penny drops.

Maybe if I were to do my experiment I would try  the very gentle cinching approach consistently to ALL doughs (whatever that means anyway, my gentle is someone not so gentle etc etc.)  and see what happens then....

I am also still totally intrigued about the relationship of degree of bulk fermentation and degree of final proof and how this affects the crumb. Now, as all samples got the same degree of final proof this also might affect the crumb as one for example 30% rise crumb might need a longer proof before going into fridge than let's say a 80% rise who should go quicker into a very cold fridge....

I find that is the crux to many of my bakes...degree of bulk and the time of final proof, or is that just me? ha, ha....Kat

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

as also have a starter going to try David's San Francisco Style Sourdough as well as my weekly bakes for friends!

We shall see... Kat

maurizio's picture
maurizio

I'm a bit late to this thread, but I thought I'd drop my two cents. Some incredibly insightful thoughts here on this topic -- a topic I consider to be one of the most challenging aspects to baking sourdough (and all bread, I'd assume): determining when to call bulk fermentation quits. Doc.Dough had a high point at the outset: how do we measure this quantitatively? There are so many conditions with each batch of dough it's hard to compare results baker-to-baker because we're all using a different flour, different starters, different mixing methods, vessels, and so much more. Because of this, when I talk to other bakers or do a post to The Perfect Loaf sharing a formula I'm working on, I don't specifically list a percentage rise to indicate when bulk fermentation is finished. Instead of using rise as an indicator, I like to judge when bulk completes through other signs:

  1. a significant rise in the dough from the beginning of bulk to the end
  2. a smoothing of the dough's appearance
  3. increased elasticity when tugging on the dough
  4. domed edges between the dough and the bulk container
  5. other signs of significant fermentation: bubbles on top and sides, and if you're using a clear container, bubbles on the bottom as well

So, many of the above are quite nebulous, but there's enough between all of those, plus experience with a particular dough, to give me a ballpark for when to end bulk fermentation.

Regarding #1: I say "significant" because I want to see some rise in the dough indicating fermentation and dough strength (a weak or overly wet mixture won't ruse much), but I don't measure the percentage rise explicitly. Why? In my experience, it can lead to false conclusions, especially if you're switching formulas frequently (which I am regularly doing). For example, a highly hydrated 100% whole wheat dough won't rise to the same height as a mostly-white formula. Therefore, saying 50% rise and trying to use that yardstick for both doughs is like comparing apples to oranges. One caveat here is if you are doing the same formula day after day, in this case, you can likely conclude percentage rise.

Numbers 2, 3, and 4 above all point to dough strength, which for me, is the number one indicator overall. As we know, a dough is strengthened not only through mixing/kneading/stretch and folds but also through fermentation as acids created as byproducts have a strengthening effect on gluten. It's easy to see this: observe your dough through the course of bulk fermentation: at the beginning, it's shaggy, sloppy, loose, and at the end, it's smoother, silky, and elastic.

Domed edges between the dough and bulk container sides further indicate strength as the gasses produced during fermentation push the dough upwards, and the center tends to dome slightly toward the outside. I also wanted to state that for me the final dough temperature (FDT) sets the stage for bulk timing. If I'm working on a mostly-white dough with typical levain percentages (10-20%), I can almost approximate when I stop bulk fermentation based merely on what the dough temp is after mixing. If I'm close to 80°F: I better start checking my dough around 3-3.5 hours; if I'm close to 75°F: it's likely going to push out to 4-5 hours. I'll use this as my coarse compass, and then from there, I use the numbered items above to further assess the dough in the moment to determine when to divide.

One thing to keep in mind here is the flour used in a formula and the hydration will drastically change bulk fermentation times and can throw a wrench into things. For instance, if I'm working on a 100% whole wheat dough at 105% hydration, the dough will have an almost flat surface in the bulk container all the way to divide time. Additionally, it may not rise all that much at all.

So to sum up, determining when to end bulk for me is much like what a (good?) doctor might do. I need to look at everything through a holistic lens to conclude: look at all the clues (the numbered items), any data collected (in our case formula and FDT), and experience to give my patient a diagnosis (when to end bulk).

Even with all this, there are plenty of times I still go to dump my dough container and find the bottom of the dough super, super active and kick myself for not tending to it 30 minutes earlier.

That's my approach to bulk fermentation. I know many bakers who use volume increase, and that's just fine, as is right with just about everything in baking: it's all about what you're used to and what works for you :)

maurizio's picture
maurizio

Whoa, looks like my formatting in the comment above just got obliterated. Not sure how to edit all that back in, sorry about that, everyone!

David R's picture
David R

There's a link just below the editing window, "Disable rich-text". I've hit it by accident before.

David R's picture
David R

Some things you didn't explicitly say, but that really stand out to me from reading what you wrote:

  • There are far more variables affecting this question than the ones that usually get discussed.
  • There are several different indicators that can be used to observe the progress of proofing, and no single one of them is "the primary one" - instead, each indicator is merely another indirect way of measuring an invisible state.
barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Maurizio,  thanks for your feedback.  The main take away for me was that there was very little difference in the final taste or appearance of the final product, even though the percentage of increase during BF varied from 50% to 200% .  As noted above, you can't keep everything constant in this type of test, and some of the things used to keep it constant - such as longer v. shorter periods kept in the fridge, may have impacted the outcome, I frankly expected to see much greater differences, even with those things in mind.  

albacore's picture
albacore

That was also my conclusion - there are some differences in the final loaves, but the whole process is very tolerant of different % bulk rises - more so than I thought previously.

The wonderful Kristen @fullproofbaking on IG has just posted the results of an experiment she did with different rises, bulk and FP. Well worth a read.

 

Lance