The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Too Much Water ?

Stig's picture
Stig

Too Much Water ?

Hi guys 

I made this today, a 50/50 white and black wheat wholemeal seeded loaf.

 

  

Now I've had this problem a few times. I should point out that I live in Southern China now and the atmosphere here is pretty humid, hot 30C and have air-con on, where I proof is usually around 27 to 29C as it's the room next to where we have air-con so I leave the door open. 

I have a feeling that the dough was a little too wet, now I should also mention that its not a sourdough loaf, I used a bakers instant yeast.

Here is the recipe I followed. 

 

410ml Water

3 tblsp Milk Powder  

2.5 tblsp Brown Sugar

1.5 teaspoons Salt

3 tblsp Oil

2 cups All Purpose Flour 

2 tblsp Gluten

2 cups Wholemeal Flour

1 tblsp Wheatgerm

1 teaspoon Instant Yeast

 

½ Vit C tablet crushed

  Seeds I added were pumpkin seeds, sunflower flower, flax and sesame seeds, about 1 tblsp each

Any thoughts ?

All suggestions welcome : )

 

Stig

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

410ml Water                         Divide by flour weight to get approx 82% hydration,  only metric measure? Very high hydration considering the flours.  Might want to drop it back 350 and add more as needed when mixing up dough. Then adjust the recipe.

3 tblsp Milk Powder              Will act like a liquid, softens crumb, adds a tiny bit protein to the dough.

2.5 tblsp Brown Sugar           Sugars act like liquids in dough.

1.5 teaspoons Salt                 About 1.5 %  a tad low for including seeds, might get more control over fermentation if almost 2 tsp or 2 tsp salt used.  Table salt or sea salt?

3 tblsp Oil                               Oil is oil,  shortens gluten, works as a crumb softener and lengthens shelf life.

2 cups All Purpose Flour      125g x 2=  250g     Local flour?

2 tblsp Gluten                        Why?   If your using local Chinese flour, most likely low gluten so I get it. Otherwise              too much of a good thing, can make the dough soggy and heavy if too much is used.  Depends on the strength of the VWG but 2 Tbs is a lot for 500g flour,  2 tsp might be more like it.  Sift into flour first before wetting.  I personally don't trust the ingredient after the melamine debacle ten yrs ago.

2 cups Wholemeal Flour      125g x 2= 250g.  

1 tblsp Wheatgerm               Equate with the seeds.

1 teaspoon Instant Yeast      For a slow rise with approx 500g flour.  

 

½ Vit C tablet crushed.          a dough enhancer.  Hmmmm.  

Of the seeds, flax will draw a little moisture from the dough and reduce the feel of the 82% hydration, the other not so much. Could soak seeds, whole flour, in 350g water for a few hours before starting to make dough.  That will give the bran and gluten in the whole flour a big start at softening and forming respectively.

Would love to see a crumb shot where the top crust has dropped.  I suspect the final proof was too long.  Seeded breads will not rise as high as a loaf made from just refined wheat flour so get it into the oven before it " doubles" and see if that helps.  

How is the crumb after several days?  

Stig's picture
Stig

Thank you Mini for such a detailed explanation and breakdown of the recipe. "Divide water by flour weight to get approx % hydration" This is very useful information that I did not know. As for the flour yes it is local Chinese all purpose flour (bought from WalMart lol) the gluten amounts to add are as clear as mud on the net lol but I was led to believe 1 tablespoon to each cup of flour, the packet is written all in Chinese so just had to play it by ear. Not so easy getting things like bread flour here at a reasonable price, so figured that I would make my own lol. "Depends on the strength of the VWG" May I ask what VWG is ? 

Seems like I don't need the milk powder, oil nor the vit C tablet neither hmmmm. These were also in my mind as to the why they were included. 

 

Anyway here are the crumb shots you requested. 

 

 This also happened as it cooled.

 

Anyway thank you so much for the advice.

Very much appreciated !!!

Stig

Anne Ng's picture
Anne Ng

Hi Stig! That bread looks delicious! I also live in China (Nanjing). High five! I've been searching for good bread flour since I starting baking sourdough, and here are some options if you want to look into it: 

I'm currently on a bag of Bob's Red Mill. I got it from JD, a online site like Amazon, has its own delivery team, very quick and no hassle (unlike most Chinese delivery companies). This artisan bread flour is pretty expensive, at ¥30.8 per kg, but has 15% protein and is imported from the US. So I'm planning to try other cheaper local flour. 

I found this Bread Flour, locally grown and milled (in Xinxiang, Henan) hard wheat, 14% protein and has no additives. A little over ¥8 per kg. This is a reasonable price and has high enough gluten. I'm gonna try this after finishing my bag of Bob's. 

When my mom was making yeasted sandwich bread for the family, she used this flour. It's also locally grown and milled (in Suzhou, Jiangsu), with protein content 11%. It's fine for making yeasted white breads, my family used to enjoy those homemade Hokkaido milk breads and sometimes I used it to make Chinese style egg pancake rolls. But when I wanted to go sourdough I read the labels for the first time and found out that it has starch and fibre enzymes, lactate calcium, lactate sodium, and xylose added in to improve bread flavour. I thought they won't be good in sourdough so I opt out of this. This flour is ¥8.2 per kg. Also a reasonable price. 

And if you want to go organic, here's one certified organic. Grown and milled in northern China (Heilongjiang province), known as Bei Da Cang, the northern region that produce the majority of wheat, corn, and soy for China. This one is also pretty expensive, at ¥31.9 per kg and 12.2% protein. 

Can I ask where do you get your wheat gluten from? And what brand are they? I was searching for local family ran millers to buy stone milled flour, but none of them has high gluten. I would love to try making some 100% local sourdough bread, and it's kinda cool to share it with non-baker friends! 

Anne Ng's picture
Anne Ng

Oh and to share my experience, I've been making up to 50% whole wheat seeded sandwich loafs with milk, sometimes milk protein powder when I don't have milk in the fridge, butter, and a small amount of sugar or honey all the time. The only time I got a flat top is when I overproof it. I shaped it, left it in the bread machine and it was in there for 4 hrs, room temp 26C. The bread turned out nice and delicious, except the fallen top. 

As a reference, I usually use 10% butter, 5% sugar, and for my 65%-70% hydration loaf I use a 9:1 ratio of milk to water so that the loaf isn't too dense (aka if you need 200ml liquid, you put 180ml milk and 20ml water). All numbers are in baker's percentage (you get this by dividing the ingredient's weight by total flour weight, then times 100%), by weight. 

If you need someone to read the nutrition labels, or anything in Chinese, feel free to post them. I (and my mom) are happy to help! 

Stig's picture
Stig

Ann 

A pleasure to meet you here and thanks for your kind offers of help. 

I use taobao for many things and pretty much everything here lol. 

I have this Xinjiang Flour arriving any time now. And I have bought this Premium All Purpose Flour and have been using it along with some I got from WalMart which is a little bit cheaper but can't be assured of its integrity. The Xinjiang flour is organic and so far I have had no complaints. 

Got to love taobao eh : )

This Black Wheat Flour from Hebei is what I've been making my sourdough with and its pretty damned lively I can tell you.

Nice of you to share your experience and your finds on JD, thank you. 

Oh and here is a pic of the gluten I got (from taobao lol) 

Hope that helps, wasn't expensive if my memory serves me....

Stig

Anne Ng's picture
Anne Ng

Thanks for posting the pic! I actually had to look up a dictionary to figure out the word 谷朊 (gu3 ruan3) lol. Nice to know what VWG is in Chinese. 

We had a lot of troubles with taobao's partnering delivery services in the past so my family prefer JD. Glad you find taobao good, maybe the delivery problem only happens in my region. 

I looked up the Xinjiang flour and it has 11g protein per 100g flour. It still needs 4g more gluten per 100g to make it the same as regular strong bread flour. Do you still use gluten in this Xinjiang flour? 

Stig's picture
Stig

Thank you once again Ann for your translation of gluten "谷朊 (gu3 ruan3)" and no it's not just your region Taobao delivery partners sometimes suck lol. I do find though that if you talk with the seller and tell them that the delivery was bad then they will complain to the company and you get a better service next time. I have used the site now for over 8 years and only had a handful of complaints, so that's not a bad percentage lol.

Looks like I will be adding a little more gluten to the Xinjiang flour (when it arrives) then, I will try your math on that and let you know the results : ) 

Could I ask a favour then : D 

Could you check the protein percentage of the other two flours for me please. That would be very much and truly appreciated.

Stig

Anne Ng's picture
Anne Ng

Both the first link and the second link are Xinjiang flour. The first one is black wheat (I think maybe black wheat means rye in Chinese?) flour and it says 14-17g of protein per 100g. Their nutrition label does not comply with the Chinese FDA's standard, like it doesn't say how much calories or carbohydrates or fats are in the flour. There's only micronutrients and protein and fibre. Very strange. I would doubt if it really has that much protein. 

The second link is the premium all purpose flour, also from Xinjiang, has 11g protein per 100g flour. 

The third link, Hebei black wheat, has 11.2g protein per 100g flour. 

Sometimes the nutrition label is not in the product description and you have to ask the customer service for it. Usually they will give you the information of that :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Wow, nice crumb,  ah, not overproofed.  Looks cake-like, a simple shaping of the top of the loaf is all it needed.  With a wet spatula or wet fingers.  The bread improvers can stay if you want them.  Each does a little bit to contribute but might be fun dropping one of them at a time just to see the differences ( take notes.). 

After trying the slight reduction in water to see if it helps, you also might try one of my little tricks with low protein flour.  Drop an egg white ( or the whole egg if you skip half or all the oil) into the cup you use to measure water and then fill the rest up with water. Include egg white as water in the recipe.  See what that does for holding the dough together.  If you post a picture of the package, someone here might be able to read it.  :)

Nice crumb colour too!  

VWG = Vital wheat gluten

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

@Mini, doesn't brown sugar, oil, and VWG tend to make the crumb cake-like, even when it's over-proofed?

From the pic, does the gap under the top crust indicate over-proofing? Too much hydration?  What else is that a symptom of?

Thanks to you and Stig for letting me pic your brain to improve my "diagnosis" skills,

Anne Ng's picture
Anne Ng

Yeah I think the big air bubbles under the crust is a sign of overproofing. And usually a very flat top with a okay interior indicates overproofed or not enough surface tension during shaping. 

FYI, here's one very overproofed bread. Before I baked it there were huge air bubbles on the surface. They must have popped and fallen during baking. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

not sure this was overproofed ( square loaf). Looks like it was baked as it was still bulk rising and could have used a degassing with another shaping and final rise.  Is that black pan from a mini oven?

Anne Ng's picture
Anne Ng

Hi Mini, yes that black pan is from a small countertop oven, but the bread was baked in a bread machine (on the balcony lol. I don't wanna heat up the kitchen while my mom's cooking and we don't have an AC air outlet in there). I usually only use it for kneading and bake my loafs in the oven. 

I did shape the bread but it went bubbling like crazy in the 4hrs of 2nd proofing. Here's one with about 2 hrs of proper proofing and it turned out great (except my failed attempt of scoring with a kitchen knife, my friends find it hilarious). 

Oh and since you also lives in China, there's a sweet scent flower called 桂花 (gui4 hua1) that blossoms during fall. I collected some from the tree and sprinkled into salted butter. They added a very nice scent to the spread and goes really well with sourdough breads! They are fully edible, traditionally Chinese people has been using these flower to make wine, flavoured honey, and many Chinese pastries. You can try some if there're gui hua trees at your place too! 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Anne, The vertical indent on the side of your  square loaf looks similar to my bread machine pan.  Was that mixed/risen/baked in a machine, or hand-mixed-then-machine-baked, or did you use a bread-machine-pan in your regular kitchen oven?

That looks like a perfect sandwich loaf to me! Yum.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in the right direction, all those ingredients add to a cake like crumb.   I agree with your comments below ( now where did they go?) too.  But overproofed hasn't happened yet, close but it's still holding up.  The top crust colour is quite dark 'which makes me wonder the oven position.  Maybe too much heat from the top.

That crust gap looks to me like just a bubble most likely formed flipping wet dough into the pan.  I late shaping around the edges may have popped it but it sure looks delicious.  :)

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

My box of Hodgson Mill Vital Wheat Gluten (VWG) recommended 1 tsp per cup of flour.  See www.hodgsonmill.com/.   You used 6 tsp (2 tbsp).  Try 4 tsp.

Usually, 1 tbsp oil is recommended for loaves of 3 to 3.5 cups.  Whole meal flour, if it is not old, usually has some oil in it from the germ.  So I would reduce to 1 tbsp.  

3 tbsp milk powder is a lot. 2.5 tbsp brown sugar is a lot too.  Both of those will increase yeast activity.  Given the high temperature of your kitchen, it could be your dough rose too much.  You didn't mention rise time.  I would suggest using just 2 tbsp (1/8 cup) of milk powder, and only 1 tbsp brown sugar.

I would skip the Vit C tablet when using milk powder and sugar.

410 ml for 4 cups flour seems excessive for a yeasted loaf.  suggest backing down to 350.

The sunken top of your loaf also suggests the dough could have benefited from a "punch down/de-gas" and a second rise, or it had too much water.

If you do all the above changes, I would up the yeast to 1.5 tsp.  Normally, 2-1/4 tsp of yeast is recommended, but your very warm kitchen makes for a very fast rise.  You'll also have to time the rise by eye/finger test, not by the clock.  But that's another story/lesson.

Stig's picture
Stig

I must say I am loving this group already. One post and I have learnt more this past 2 days than I've learnt in the past 10 years of trial and error lol. 

Just one question then about proofing.

As you know it's quite hot here for 3/4 of the year around 30C, so I'm thinking to proof in a bedroom with the air-con on. What temps would you recommend I set at for 

a. A quick proof

b. A slow proof

Also with sourdough I do a real slow proof (overnight 12 hours etc) in the fridge. Can you do the same with instant yeast doughs?

Stig

Anne Ng's picture
Anne Ng

From my own experience in the summer I usually prepare the levain by feeding mother starter 1:4:4 and leave it overnight (room temp 26C), then mix in the morning. I use iced liquids to bring the dough temp down. Sometimes I also use ice cubes in the mix. After mixing I put the entire mixer bowl into the fridge for a autolyse of 30min-1hr. Then I knead the dough and let it bulk ferment at 24C room temp. After that I shape and put the dough in the turned off oven with a big cup of 60C water to bring the temp up to above 30C. Then bake. 

Bulk ferment after using iced ingredients usually takes about 3 hrs at 24C room temp. If not using iced liquids nor chilled autolyse it takes about 90 mins to bulk ferment. I use the poking test to examine the stage it's at. Use a floured finger to poke a hole in the middle of the dough, if the hole holds its shape and isn't shrink rapidly, the dough is ready for a punch down and a 2nd proof. The second proof at 30-33C usually takes 40mins to 1hr. 

I don't know if yeasted dough can be retarded in the fridge, but if you want to get more flavour from the dough you can try the sponge dough method. Usually it involves taking 70% of flour and water and all the yeast, mix and knead until smooth, pop it into the fridge to ferment for 12hrs, and add the rest of the ingredients to make the final dough.