The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough Temperature while Kneading

xdanielgs's picture
xdanielgs

Dough Temperature while Kneading

Hi sourdough friends, 

I must say, making and baking sourdough is a challenge. I have already baked 2 successful loaves, and several failed attempts when I even had to throw away the dough even before baking. But, I need to persevere.... 

I am having a lot of trouble kneading the dough to develop the gluten elasticity. I am wondering if the problem is related to the temperature of the dough.

I live in a warm country (Brazil) where the average room temperature is about ~27oC (79oF). I've read somewhere that you should not let the temperature of the dough go above 24oC (75F) while kneading. Is it true? What happens if while kneading the dough temperature stays at 27oC or even above that? I have a stand mixer, and I've tried to use it to knead the dough, but it quickly heats up the temperature of the dough. And I am wondering if this is the reason why I am having so much trouble reaching the elasticity that is needed. 

Please, help. I am about to give up this whole sourdough journey. But, I must persevere!

Thanks in advance.

Maverick's picture
Maverick

Warmer temperatures will just make the dough ferment faster than colder temperatures. Can you  please give us some details about your starter (age, hydration, how often fed, how much fed, timing of feedings, etc)? Also it would be helpful to know the formula/recipe you  are using as well as technique/procedure (are you doing an autolyse, stretch and folds, etc). Finally, what flour are you using? This can make a big difference in development.

For what it's worth, I have a section in my house that  is 27C that I use for my bulk fermenting when doing certain breads. So your  issue is not temperature. However, the one thing that comes to mind is that your starter might  need more food at that temperature. But it seems your issue has to do with gluten development in the first place, not the process afterwards. This usually has to do with hydration and/or flour type.

xdanielgs's picture
xdanielgs

There are sooo many variables.... I hope I eventually master it. 

But, my question is: is there a correlation between the temperature of the dough and the kneading process? Why do I need to make sure that my dough doesn't overheat while kneading at the stand mixer? 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Hi Daniel. Your dough can and will exceed 75F during mechanical kneading. It is good to not overheat (somewhere over 80F, 78 is good) your dough because overheating is an indication of over kneading. Too much heat will accelerate the fermentation and also over kneading will harm the gluten and will also over oxidize (too much oxygen) the dough. Over oxidation will harm the flavor of the bread. Extreme over kneading will turn the dough soupy and unusable.

2 suggestions.

  1. mix your water and flour first until the flour is wetted, then let the dough sit covered in your mixer for 20-30 minutes. Look up “autolyse”. After the rest continue kneading until the desired gluten development is reached.
  2. work the dough by hand. Either kneading, stretching and folding, or using the no-knead method.

Let us know how things work out for you. Ask questions and report you progress. We are here to help...

Danny

xdanielgs's picture
xdanielgs

Exactly: "soupy and unusable" describes my dough :(

Thank you very much for those suggestions. I will research them and try them out. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Daniel, please send your recipe so we can take a look. Pictures whenever possible are also very helpful.

What mixer are you using and how long are you mixing?

Are you aware that gluten can and will continue to develop after the dough is removed from the mixer?

There is a lot to learn if you are a detail oriented person. But for those that simply want a good loaf of healthy bread, the process is fairly straightforward and simple. In any case, we can help.

xdanielgs's picture
xdanielgs

Another question: Could the overheating somehow "kill" the levain?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Probably not. Some of us have proofed dough at 105F. IF you stay below ~84 your levain is happy.

Anne Ng's picture
Anne Ng

Hi there, I used to have the exactly same problem as you, so here are some tips for cooling down the dough :)

1. You are do an autolyse in the fridge. Mix your flour and most of your water (and salt if you like to add it in the beginning), and place it in the fridge for 30min to a few hours. This would start gluten development and bring the dough temp down, which is a good thing in hot climates. 

2. You can use iced water or use an ice and water mixture as the liquid base. This will also bring the dough temp down. This way you can skip the autolyse step if you want to, but the ice can be noisy in the mixer bowl lol. 

I used to make bread in exactly the same room temp, 79F and 70% humidity. I also use a bread machine to do the kneading. It's really hard to develop proper gluten in hot climates, since gluten easily break above 24C. My bread routine is, mix all ingredients except butter in the bread machine. Once combined, take the whole mixer bowl out and pop it into the fridge for 30mins. Then put it back, add butter, and knead 1 cycle (23min). 1st proof in AC room, shape, 2nd proof in oven with a cup of hot water, bake.