The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to get Ultra high dough expansion (4-5x) during proofing?

Josef's picture
Josef

How to get Ultra high dough expansion (4-5x) during proofing?

Hello,

I've been trying to create a recipe for Subway imitation bread. The recipe has the following constraints:

  • It's calorie-controlled just like Subway, about 210 kcal for 6'', or 420 kcal for footlong.
  • Basically has the same volume and texture as Subway store bread.
  • At least 50% flour by weight is whole wheat.

This turned out to be much of a challenge for me, as I couldn't get my dough to puff up enough during proofing even after many tries. My dough would usually triple in size after 1 hour of proofing in a warm place; for a loaf this would be sufficient, but Subway somehow manages to proof their bread to much bigger sizes. If I try to prolong my proofing my dough would deflate and/or turn sour.

I also tried these ingredients to make my recipe consistent with Subway's:

  • wheat gluten, a few % by flour weight
  • bread improver (to be fair Subway uses it, so I did the same) which actually substantially increased the crumb texture, but didn't help much with volume.

My current iteration is a lean dough with 5% EVOO and about 70% hydration.

The above screenshot was taken from Subway's training video. They start with a 170g/6oz frozen stick of bread, defrost it overnight in the walk-in fridge, and proof it for about 40mins in a commercial proofer prior to baking. The proofed bread appears to be at least 4-5x the original size.

Please offer some R&D advice? I should mention that I am a home baker and don't have a professional kitchen, but that shouldn't really matter.

 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

It's possible...

1st. Start with the right flour, high gluten but balanced.

2nd. Use an oxidiser (lemon juice derived ascorbic acid works)

3rd. Mix to full development. (This is often overlooked, and takes much, much mixing).

4th. ensure sufficient yeast.

5th. ensure sufficient food for yeast.

Josef's picture
Josef

Thanks :)

Could you give some specific tips? Like how much yeast would be appropriate? When I reverse engineered Subway's ingredients list I found that yeast is very high up on that list. It goes like: "flour, water, yeast, sugar". So yeast is even more dominant than sugar and wheat gluten in their recipe. I am suspecting something like 5% or more by flour weight. Does that feel sane?

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Your question is too broad to answer because appropriateness is a relative concept. I have laid out the schematic principals you should focus on but you will need to experiment...

What type of yeast? My brain only thinks in terms of fresh yeast as percentages. More yeast isn't always better, but certainly a maximised cell density before the bake will help somewhat. However, a higher dose of yeast will make the bread taste more yeasty.

Josef's picture
Josef

Thanks. The type of yeast is indeed puzzling... I wonder whether fresh or dry is more popular in the mass baking industry. I will try to use instant yeast as it is more accessible and works at a fast rate. I guess there is also the off chance that a specific, more energetic strain of yeast is used in commercial operation. I totally need to invest time into experiments.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

The commercial proofers controls temp but also humidity make a better environment for expansion than the warm corner in my kitchen.

i've heard people rising their loaves in the dishwasher with a cup of hot water under it.  I havent tried that myself.

but also... don't believe everything you see in promotional videos.

Josef's picture
Josef

Thanks for the tip, I did some tests yesterday and found that if I tune my oven to 35°C and then place a wet towel directly over the bottom heating element, it gets me about 90% humidity reliably. The setback, of course, is the lack of control. It stays at 90% all the time which I fear may be too humid. I don't really know what the ideal humidity is when it comes to proofing bread but Subway training material insicates their proofer setting is around 80%.