The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gummy and flat Tartine country--flour?

JohnAka's picture
JohnAka

Gummy and flat Tartine country--flour?

I am getting these low-domed but pocketed Tartine county breads from the Tartine Bread book. This one also was gummy. The levain was fine, bulk fermentation was ok, but when it came top reshaping, the rounds did not have the rounded profile edges. So I folded again per book's  suggestion. They shaped up very nicely into nice tight balls, but on the small side. After rising for 4 hours (but without much rise) I baked them, removed them cover, and baked for another 15 minutes. I took the temp and it was 211 (a first!) so I removed them. They felt heavier than usual, and were bit more pale. But I have had this gumminess with a few other loaves as well, so don't want to chalk it all up to cooking longer or to cutting while too warm. 

This time I used King Arthur Whole Wheat and KA Bread Flour. Is this too much gluten? Ken Forkish suggest AP flour but uses Shepherds 'Grain at the bakery but does not say if he uses Shepherds' AP or Bread. Cash and Carry (Smart FoodService) carries the 50# SG, so looking to get a bag. 

So any ideas on gumminess aside from longer cooking, longer cooling? And what type of flours do you use that are available at groceries or warehouses, ie, not artisan flours ? (Due to allergies, rye is not an option.)

Thanks! 

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

Gummy crumb and small holes with a few big ones usually is a sign for underfermented dough. Can you give us your recipe as well as describe your process, please? :)

JohnAka's picture
JohnAka

@baniJP The recipe is straight from Robertson's first book. A condensed version on NY Times and Martha Stewart is here: https://www.marthastewart.com/1130184/tartine-country-bread?printview 

I followed his directions in the book exactly except an extra Preshape stage.

What would be signs of underfermented sourdough with 80% hydration? 

thanks! 

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

I actually quite surprised that this recipe is supposed to work with that little amount of starter. Here it makes up about 10% of the whole dough.
When I make my sourdough bread, my starter makes up about 25% and it usually takes 5-6 h of bulk-fermentation. Maybe my starter is a little sleepy compared to others, but still, it shouldn't make such a huge difference. 

So that kinda confirms my suspicion that your dough was underfermented. I would either up the starter amount (and adjust hydration accordingly) or bulk-ferment for ~5-6 hours and a shorter final proof. Usually you have a longer bulk-fermentation, the final proof is just to build up gases with the remaining starches, to give you the nice, fluffy and chewy crumb in the end. Check for checkpoints like increased in volume, bubbles on a smooth surface. During final proof poke the dough, it should spring back, but leave a little indent - then it's ready to bake.

Also the amount of leaven that they make in the beginning of the recipe is ridiculous, so much goes to waste! Something like 25 g starter, 30 g water and 40 g flour per feeding is more than enough.

JohnAka's picture
JohnAka

Yes, my first post here was about reducing waste. I wondered if the large volume was somehow related to taste. But it seems not, at least not that I can discern. I now keep a few tablespoons of starter that I feed. However, within the full book recipe, he calls for the float test of the starter to determine CO2, so it doesn't always go to for naught. I'll try longer bulk fermentation as well as adding a bit more starter. 

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

There is something called the mass effect and in a nutshell it means that smaller amounts of doughs take longer to ferment than those with larger amounts, which obviously results in different flavors. I think the amounts with noticeable differences were something like 0-2,5 kg, 2,5-10 kg and +10 kg. 

But I guess you are not a bakery, so it doesn't affect us home bakers really.

The float test is a good way to determine your starter's maturity, but after some time you don't even need to do it anymore because you can read your starter in an instant. Also for the float test a teaspoon of starter is already enough.

You can use my recipe:

100% flour
60% water
50% starter
2% salt

- Mix until semi-smooth
- Bulk-ferment for 5-6 hours, doing a fold every hour or two (just do how you feel that day)
- Pre-shape, rest for 20 min.
- Final shape, proof for 2 h
- Bake at 240°C for 20 min. with steam (just pour half a glass of water on the bottom of your oven, close door immediately, or use a Dutch oven), then another 20 min. without until dark brown.

Always works and results in a semi-open crumb. To achieve more open crumb, you probably need to up the hydration, have stronger flour and mix less or do an autolyse. I say probably because haven't tested those theories yet :D

JohnAka's picture
JohnAka

@BaniJP Are you sure you meant to say 50% starter? 

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

Yes, 50% :)

It sounds like a lot, but in the whole scheme of things the starter makes up only about 22% of the dough.

JohnAka's picture
JohnAka

Hi, After I questioned this, I came across a Freakish recipe that called for 50%.  I tried more starter, but it seemed to have over-proofed. So many things could have been the culprit. So just going to start again. what brand/kind of flour are you using?

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

Yeah, proofing times can be tricky, there are so many factors affecting it.

I'm from Germany, so brand names probably don't help much unless you live here too. I don't stick to a particular brand, my only criteria is that it has a good protein content. I try to stay above 12%.
Currently I'm using one with 12,8% from my local supermarket. It says it's great for baking cakes and cookies, but obviously the package design department never baked before. Great for breads though.
If I don't forget, I replace 10-20% of the flour with freshly milled whole wheat flour from the organic shop around the corner.

 

tarheel_loafer's picture
tarheel_loafer

I just posted the opposite :). I was using King Arthur bread flour and getting pretty good rise. I tried AP after reading Forkish and my loaves don’t rise as well. They weren’t gummy or flat though. 

From your description it sounds like maybe you stopped bulk ferment before it was ready, with enough strength in the dough. After the initial shaping, did it hold a nice rounded profile where the dough met the counter? Think muffin top :). That seems to be a good indicator for me. If not, I leave it to keep fermenting.  I’ve learned through trial and error not to worry so much about the nice tight rounds for second shaping, it seems to cook up ok either way. 

tarheel_loafer's picture
tarheel_loafer

I just posted the opposite :). I was using King Arthur bread flour and getting pretty good rise. I tried AP after reading Forkish and my loaves don’t rise as well. They weren’t gummy or flat though. 

From your description it sounds like maybe you stopped bulk ferment before it was ready, with enough strength in the dough. After the initial shaping, did it hold a nice rounded profile where the dough met the counter? Think muffin top :). That seems to be a good indicator for me. If not, I leave it to keep fermenting.  I’ve learned through trial and error not to worry so much about the nice tight rounds for second shaping, it seems to cook up ok either way. 

JohnAka's picture
JohnAka

After preshape, it was more pancake than muffin top, so I pre-shaped again. this resulted in a bit more of a muffin top. So I folded and shaped, and let rise. 

Silent Pain's picture
Silent Pain

I had a very similar problem a few weeks ago, I think mine was even worse.
With the help of the guys here we tweaked some things in my formula, times and methods and the results are night and day.

It's a long thread but if you have time to read and see the progress, there: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/60934/what-went-wrong-here

The main things were my formula (which had too much starter as oppose to your which apparently doesn't have enough), the times (I followed an Irish back's recipe when I live in a place that is 3 times hotter than Ireland so my dough was fermenting and proofing way faster), and the flour I use which didn't have enough protein.
I used a simple all-purpose flour with 10.7% protein, I switched to a stronger flour with 12.5% and boy, what a difference!

That's basically it, you can read more tips from the guys on my thread, hopefully, this help, I went from this

To this

All thanks to the guys here :-)

JohnAka's picture
JohnAka

@ Silent Pain I tried adding more starter and different mix of flours, but this time it came out flat like your first pic. I think it may also have suffered from the oven being too warm during proofing as I had a great rise, but it collapsed during the move from basket to dutch oven. 

what kind of flour did you use? 

Temps have changed so much in Seattle the past week that my usual proofing area is wonky. 

Silent Pain's picture
Silent Pain

With 12.5% protein, here it branded as "pizza flour" but that's just marketing.

I actually reduced the amount of starter in my formula, according to the suggestion I got here, I went from 360g of starter to around 200g with the same amount of flour, reduced the proofing time by 30% and noticed a big difference.

Right now I use this formula, for 1 loaf, 100g starter, 300g water (70% hydration), 450g white flour, 10g salt. Just last week I swapped 80g of white flour with a mixture of rye and spelt (40/40), same amount of water and starter, got great results too. 

When I started baking with SD temps were around 38-42c during the day and didn't drop below 28c during the night so even if I started working at 9pm it was still literally proofing in my hands :-)

Now I don't proof it outside of the fridge, I give it 3-4 hours of bulk fermentation, shape it and immediately put it in the fridge, and I bake directly from the fridge.

As I said, I'm still a newbie, but for now and while I learn and play around with SD, this method works for me. 

JohnAka's picture
JohnAka

Finally had some success this morning. I made several tweak, including adding 100g of starter, using 90% King Arthur Bread flour (12.7% protein), and using a slow final rise in the fridge. I also made this flow chart as I wanted to more easily determine how long each stage might take, and when I could plan on doing (or not doing!) a step. (Chad Robertson's recipe is very precise and instructive, but a guy can lose his place in those 32 pages of text, photos, and explanations).

I believe (correct me if wrong) the higher protein content absorbed more water and that helped during preshaping and  with the dough not sticking to the basket (fridge may have helped with this, too). 

I would like bigger ears, but baby steps. 

Silent Pain's picture
Silent Pain

As I said, I'm far from being an expert so I believe the pros here can shed some more light on the behavior of the protein and water, I was told here that higher protein levels help build stronger gluten so the bread has more structure and doesn't fall flat after you shape it or proof it. I personally felt it immediately when I tried to shape, the dough was very elastic and flexible, I did 1 pre-shape and let it rest for 15 minutes to see if it holds its shape and it did so I flipped it again, did the final shape and popped it in the fridge right away.

I believe part of the whole ear issue is the angle you score the loaf, I've seen this discussion about it here, look for the reply posted by DanAyo, maybe it will help you: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/61321/more-musings-ears

And again, your bread makes me wanna bite the screen, and that chart... wonderful job!

Kimperfect's picture
Kimperfect

Er, those loaves are not baby steps. They're a huge leap. I'm stuck in your before photos. The agony.

JohnAka's picture
JohnAka

thanks! 

Benito's picture
Benito

John, that is a huge improvement.  Considering you baked boules, those are excellent ears as ears are harder to get with boules.  The crumb looks great as well.
Benny

JohnAka's picture
JohnAka

thanks! I've also realized the pots are slightly different sizes, creating different loaves. So now I am marking them with O for the orange pot and /// for the green pot.