The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starting to Get Frustrated

mdiamondstone's picture
mdiamondstone

Starting to Get Frustrated

Hi Everyone - newbie to the site here. Been baking bread for almost 3 years, and started to have some issues about two weeks ago. I lost power, fridge temp was too low, everything was overproofing, apartment was too warm - basically everything that could go wrong went wrong. 

I'm trying to get my mojo back, and I just can't do it. I've attached pictures of the bake I did this morning. It's like a little volcano.

389g KA Sir Lancelot
100g KA AP
86g Castle Valley Mill Whole Wheat
506g water
12g salt
81g starter

1.5 hr autolyse, 4 hour counter ferment @74F (with stretch & folds and lamination), 13 hour fridge proof @38F, bake at 550 for 15 minutes (klosh on), 475 for 15 minutes (klosh on) and 475 for 15 minutes (klosh off).

Using tartine shoelace shaping method, dough ball feels tight when it goes into the banneton.

Please help - I'm losing my mind over here. 

mdiamondstone's picture
mdiamondstone

Another angle. I'll cut it open in an hour or two when it's cool and post crumb photos. 

mdiamondstone's picture
mdiamondstone

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

might be part of it.  Crumb shot?

mdiamondstone's picture
mdiamondstone

i'd agree with you 100%, except that i've made this loaf with success before. crumb shot posted below :-) thank you for your help!

JerrytheK's picture
JerrytheK

550 is (in my experience) is an awfully high temperature for the first 15 minutes. I do preheat my DO to 550, but drop it to 475 before I add the dough to the DO.

And I agree with the comment on the awfully high hydration.

Also, the dough may also be over proofing with the 74 room temp. What's the final dough temp after you mix in the levain and salt?

mdiamondstone's picture
mdiamondstone

final dough temp after salt is close to 76. the recipe i'm following (perfectloaf / my best sourdough) calls for a 4 hour counter proof at almost 78! i've backed it down since it's the summer, but i think i'm still overproofing. see crumb shot photo further down in this thread.

BreadBrother's picture
BreadBrother

The shape suggests over proofing to me (3 hrs at 75 is more like it, more if cooler; also remember that it takes some time for the loaf to come down in temp in the fridge, so you were probably closer to 5 hrs total proof).  The slice will tell you more... if the top of the volcano is mostly one big hole it's a sign of over proofing.  Good luck! and don't despair...we all go through weird phases I think. 

mdiamondstone's picture
mdiamondstone

based on the crumb, i guess it must be overproofing. what's nuts to me is that i've had success with this method and recipe before, with right about the same counter time. i guess the outside temp or humidity is REALLY playin around with things.

yesterday i dropped my ambient temp to 73F and had it on the counter for 3hr 30min. I got essentially the same results - waiting for the loaves to cool (idk why, they're going to get thrown out anyway, even if just out of spite at this point), but then I'll post more pics. it's basically the same, maybe a *step* in the right direction.

i guess i'll try again today with three hours on the counter?

mdiamondstone's picture
mdiamondstone

mdiamondstone's picture
mdiamondstone

Once again, two loaves of garbage :-/ Ugh, this is discouraging. Crumb shot from yesterday here, photo of today's bake coming in a moment.

mdiamondstone's picture
mdiamondstone

the big bubbles at the top and the dense crumb below are a new thing, and have only started happening when i've been trying to troubleshoot the issue. could i be underproofing?

 

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

Have you considered trying a cold bulk ferment?  Given the increased temps and what looks like over-proofing, you might give it a try...just to cool things down a bit and give you a little more control over fermentation.  You could employ this before shaping, leave the loaves out a while to get an idea on where you are with proofing, then do a shorter proof (either RT or cold).  I also agree with the other comment about baking no more than 500 degrees for the first stage as well. 

I would reduce the hydration of your dough and also make sure you are building enough gluten and strength during fermentation, and that you have your shaping down.

I'm sure you'll get it figured out!

mdiamondstone's picture
mdiamondstone

a lot of the photos i've looked at are suggesting to me that this is under-fermented - large holes only at the top, very dense crumb elsewhere.

i'm wondering if i'm under-doing it on the counter and over-doing it in the fridge?


BreadBrother's picture
BreadBrother

With the proofing times you reported (4 hrs.), and the crumb pictures, this looks more like over proofing to me.  Try bringing down the time you are bulk fermenting at room temp (mid 70s F) before you put it in the fridge.   Try 3 hrs and into the fridge.  You'll get there. Good luck! 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I would agree with you.  

"...under-doing it on the counter and over-doing it in the fridge?"

Try letting the bulk rise go longer before shaping. Or degas thoroughly before chilling. If the dough is not cooling down fast enough in the fridge: Try chilling the banneton before filling with dough. Or place an ice bag briefly over the dough after shaping to cool it down before going into the banneton.  See if that helps.

mdiamondstone's picture
mdiamondstone

It's not perfect, and I haven't cut into it yet, but this morning's loaf is beautiful and even. not quite as large an ear as i'd like, but there is clear evidence of rise. the poke test felt about perfect when it went in.

modified my method to 4.75 hours on the counter (ambient temp around 75F, dough temp at 77F), and 12 hours in the fridge. i feel like i could still take an hour or two off of the fridge proof.

i'll post crumb pictures in a couple hours when the loaf cools. thank you all so much for your help!

mdiamondstone's picture
mdiamondstone

i think this looks solid. any recommendations?

BreadBrother's picture
BreadBrother

Hooray! Looks like a lovely loaf, inside and out.