The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Kneading with KA and temperature

audieg's picture
audieg

Kneading with KA and temperature

i have been trying to perfect traditional baguettes for quite a while now and have always wrestled with using the Kitchen Aid mixer, with regard to achieving the translucent window pane test while keeping the temperature of the dough around 23°C. I can never get the dough to come off the bowl during the mixing process UNLESS, I mix on speed 6 for a period of 10 minutes. If I autolysed the initial flour/water mix for 1 hour in the fridge then incorporated the yeast and salt - then, after the 10 min at this speed, the dough pulls away from the sides properly. The dough seems elastic enough and at the correct temp. Is this method wrong? Am I doing damage to the dough structure?

All I am aiming to achieve are the proper alveoles in the crumb as I experience with traditional Parisienne baguettes. I use T65 flour at 70% - 74% hydration. Proofing is as recommended - but I always end up with the finished product being a little dense with lots of small holes.

Can anyone help?

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

It sounds like your gluten network is developed really far, which results in a dense crumb (like toast or brioche) and a quite stiff dough.

For baguettes, if you are not using a preferment like a sponge or sourdough, I would recommend mixing the dough much less. In bakeries this is called a short mix. Difficult to explain without pictures but the gluten should have developed a little but still be pretty easy to tear. The window pane should look quite uneven and not smooth. The dough should be somehow sticky yet. Then, when you are bulk-fermenting, give it a couple of folds, like once every hour. The idea is to strengthen the gluten network while developing gas.
If you're using a preferment, mix a little further (called an improved mix in bakeries) and do less folds.

It might take some tests to find the sweet spot between dough strength and open crumb. For the next batch, write down how long you mixed it on what speed and start from that.

TL,DR: mix much less and give it a couple of folds during bulk-ferment.

It also took me some time to find the sweet spot (and I've lost my mojo again), but it's worth it and once you know the method (mixing time, autolyse or not, how long to ferment, handling the dough and baking), you can just keep cranking out baguettes :)

audieg's picture
audieg

Thank you for your advice, however, I’ve applied the same recipe as a traditional Parisien Baker would without their respective machinery - And they manage to get the window pane without breaking or splitting. That is what I am able to achieve but at the ‘10 min and high speed of the KA’. Yet even proceeding with exactly the same process for proofing and shaping, cannot achieve the crumb of the traditional baguette!! I am at a loss.

This is so frustrating because it takes so long to achieve the end product - only to have one’s hopes dashed!

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

Its fine if it breaks after a little stretch (just not immediately). You will add strength to the dough during folding later. Maybe the Parisiens have a better flour or something like that. I remember the flour I had in Finland could achieve a proper dough within 2-3 minutes, here in Germany it takes more like 6-7.

Just try not to stress so much :) Make some test batches with different mixing times and also handle the dough gently once it has build up gas.

I'm sorry I can't give you a more precise answer, just every equipment, flour, water, kitchen and oven works differently. 

audieg's picture
audieg

thanks for your reply again - one thing that bothers me is that I have tried most methods (slap and fold, stretch and fold, machine kneading, etc) and the only one that seems to allow development of the most alveoli ( but still not there yet!) is the slap and fold followed by the stretch and fold methods (3 times). BUT, it is not the same. Yet, if I apply the same procedure that traditional French bakers use in their bakeries (mixing, proofing and shaping) I only manage less than desired alveoli development. Is it related to the temperature of the oven being higher than I can get from a domestic oven? Or, is it related to some hidden process that I am not aware of (highly unlikely).

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

The oven shouldn't be a problem, you can achieve great breads with any domestic oven (230-250°C is enough for like 98% of breads).

How long do you proof your breads? And do you use yeast or sourdough starter (or both)? Because if you followed the French bakers methods (which should work) and the only way to get decent holes is to stretch and fold, my guess is that your dough is seriously underproofed and didn't have time to develop gas at all (or you're knocking out gas during folding and shaping).

My to go baguette recipe calls for a pinch of yeast, 3 h bulk-ferment and 1 hour final proof. If I use starter, it probably takes even longer (haven't done that successfully yet).

Is your dough jiggly and has doubled in size after bulk-ferment? Same with final proof? Do the loaves pass the poke test?

audieg's picture
audieg

Hi, Thanks for the speedy reply. The following is the process I use as recommended by Christophe Noel from IREAM in Paris. Poulish @250g water + 250g T65 + 1g Levure. After 3 hours, add 250g T65 + 100g water +10g salt + 8g Levure. Mix on low speed for 1-2 min then on medium speed for 10 min. Let dough rest, covered, for 1.5 hours with one fold and stretch after 30min. Preshape and let rest for 20min, then shape the baguettes and let rest for 1-2 hours. Place in oven @ 250C for around 20-22 min (with steam incorporated). I am careful not to degas the dough when shaping. If I do several stretch and folds and increase the bulk ferment to 3 hours then the dough is very jiggly and hard to handle (can't seem to get the strength from it when shaping. Hope this makes sense.

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

Seems like a solid recipe. 

But it seems there is quite a lot of yeast in this recipe, 9 g should boost the dough quite fast, doesn't matter if fresh or dry.

Now my suspicion is that it's seriously overproofed, especially with 3 h BF, min. 1-2 h final proof and 9 g yeast. Plus you have a poolish, which adds even more rising power. 

I would either follow the recipe with only 1,5 h BF or reduce the yeast by at least half and then follow your method (3 h BF). I use the same measurements in my baguette recipe, but no poolish and way less yeast:

500 g flour
350 g water
1 g dry yeast (~1/2 tsp)/1/4 tsp fresh yeast
10 g salt

Mix until windowpane comes our semismooth, then BF for 3 h with 2-3 folds inbetween. Portion, pre-shape, let rest covered for 20 min., final shape, proof for ~45 min.-1h. Bake at 240°C for 20-22 min. with steam injected for the first 12 min.

Always works like a charm and you should have even better success since you have access to T65 (which I don't).

audieg's picture
audieg

Thank you very much for your positive comments - I will try your method for the next baking episode and photograph the result. Much appreciate your time and advice. 

audieg's picture
audieg

The following is my effort having taken your advice and incorporated less yeast and simply hand kneaded. What this has shown me is that kneading with the KA tears the gluten apart rather than allowing elasticity in the structure. My next go to 'machine' might just be a change to an Ankarsrum. Thank you again for your comments advice....

 

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

Looks absolutely fabulous! 

But I think the KA isn't a problem, basically every test kitchen and hobby baker has it and they produce great loaves. Even if it tore, the gluten network gets stronger during bulk-fermenting and folding again. Maybe you were just mixing it too strong. But bread dough can take a lot of beating.

What I'm trying to say is save your money, especially since the Ankarsrum seems to be a single-purpose machine, whereas the KA is super versatile.

audieg's picture
audieg

Thanks again - and I understand what you were referring to in regards to gluten development but i still would love to emulate the artisan bakers when they obtaining a 'glassy and smooth' finish on the dough after mixing in the machine. This shows the strength from the proper kneading which allows proper and easier shaping. Maybe, I am asking too much or being too critical of my efforts. But, I can't help wonder that if I managed to maintain the dough temperature to 23C after machine kneading then overkneading would not be an issue - but I think that's the wrong thinking. Anyway thanks again and will continue to improve.

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

You can achieve that glossy dough even through mixing by hand, the machine doesn't really matter, it just takes some time and also might be already too far for some loafs.

If you notice however that you are mixing really long, you can adjust the flour or water temperature, just use cold water or cooled flour. There are calculators online if you want to go really specific.

But in my experience, dough temperature after kneading doesn't matter thaaaat much. You can always adjust with BF time. As long as the temp doesn't go into the high 30s, its absolutely fine.

I'm just saying imo you don't need special equipment to produce amazing loaves, in the end your ability to adjust is more important :)

audieg's picture
audieg

I agree - Thanks

albacore's picture
albacore

I suggest you give the Solveig Tofte formula a try. You can find a link to it in this post.

Even with a planetary mixer, I think it will require a lot less mixing time than you are currently using - as a very rough guide, planetary times are double spiral times.

Lance