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Another batch, more questions

solano's picture
solano

Another batch, more questions

Since I started to sourdough I have had a problem that I believe to be the development of gluten very early, before adding levain, which made the process of mixing the levain more difficult and broke the structure of gluten that formed, making it more difficult recover it. I always see everyone saying, be careful when mixing the water and flour for autolyse, we do not want to develop gluten yet, but as carefully as I take, in 30 minutes it seems I have a structure formed, no longer that simple wet mixture. So this weekend I decided to try to cut the autolyse, I mixed the levain with the water and I added the flour, I left for 30 minutes in the oven (it was really cold this weekend, less than 10 ºC, 18 º in my kitchen and approximately 23 In the oven with the light on, before mixing I heated the water to approximately 32º C.), then I added the salt and made about 10 minutes of slap and fold. This was by far the easiest work dough I ever did, slap and fold turned into a smooth, soft and elastic dough, without sticking to my hands, it was the first time I got a good slap and fold result. After that I put it in a covered container and made folds whenever I realized that the dough had relaxed, I do not know exactly the times, but unlike what usually happens, the dough was holding very well the shape since I finished slap and fold. This took 4 and a half hours, from the end of the slap and fold to the pre-shape, always in the oven with the light on. I made the pre-shape, I left covered 20 minutes, discovered 5, shaped and in the banneton for 1 hour in the oven and then to the refrigerator. 13 hours later I baked the bread. The photo of the crumb is from the first bread, the second brea have not cut. It seems under fermented, with a bad structure, maybe my folds were not well made. One constant problem I have had is to put the dough in the banneton and it does not spread filling it all up. My starter is fine, doubling up on the times, strong, so I do not think that's the problem. The temperature is about what I usually work. I was wondering if the problem could be that I was creating too much tension in the dough during the bulk fermentation and also in the pre-shape and shape and that would be preventing the development of the gases. There were two loaves, two different doughs, same method, but I'd rather do it so I do not have to cut the dough after the bulk. The two are very similar, so probably the crumb of the second loaf is like that too, I'll post the picture later when I cut it.

Is it possible that too much tension would create this problem?

What am I missing out on cutting the autolyse?

What could I do to not develop the gluten too soon? No matter how smooth the mix, it does not seem to work.

These breads were my usual recipe, 1000g dough, 100% white flour, 65.03% water, 2.19% salt, 18.58% levain (100% hydration). Final hydration, 68%.

I had high expectations with this batch, when I got such a good dough after slap and fold, but we're in the frustration business, right? hahaha We always win, at least learning.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Whenever flour is hydrated, gluten will develop. Water mixed with flour will develop the gluten. No-Knead recipes rely upon it.

Many bakers that specialize in extremel open crumb autolyse for hours. Trevor Wilson uses a pre-mix method (flour, water, & salt) and lets it go overnight. The autolyse develops gluten but also makes the dough more extensible. It is my belief at this time that the gluten should be developed well enough to contain all of the gasses, but not so much as to inhibit the expansion of the aveoli (air pockets).

As far as proofed vs over-proofed, I’ll let others in the know answer that one. I’m still working on that knowledge and skill.

I will say that even your disappointments are gorgeous :-) Your crust, score, and rise are out of sight.

Dan

solano's picture
solano

I tried using Trevor's pre-mix method before, but I think I used a very weak flour and I ended up with a flour soup. I have better flours now, I think I'll give the method a try again. Thanks for the help, Dan, one more time!

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Trevor's pre-mix and now I do it but I keep the dough in a cooler place rather than let it get to room temp like he says. That does the trick and now I have beautifully extensible dough in the morning. As it is quite cold in your kitchen you are probably ok though the way he suggests...I now put it in the wine cooler at 6C and no soup anymore.  Good luck! Kat

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I like Kat’s idea of slowing down the autolyse or pre-mix using cooler temps. But today I went just the opposite. I didn’t want to wait 12 hours. So I mixed the flour and water and autolysed @ 82F to speed things up. I’ve learned from Joze that in order to attain extremely open crumb, you should create a dough that is very extensible. My flours are strong, so I am experimenting with autolyse timing and methods.  I am attempting to produce a dough with gluten that is strong enough to contain all the gas, yet weak enough so that the aveoli can expand easily. It seems that bread requires a very fine balancing act to attain the level we aspire.

Cold = slower enzymatic activety. Warm (and no salt) = faster enymatic activity.

The more we learn about bread baking, the more free we become. Learning to accelerate or slow down fermentation makes us the master. Without such knowledge we are enslaved by our dough. 

Solano, I sure wished we could share a kitchen. You could definitely teach this old timer some new tricks :-) I am having a great time watching you soar!

Dan

solano's picture
solano

Dan, did you notice difference in taste due to this higher enzymatic activity? An increase in sour? I'm very afraid of the heat when I'm making breads, I prefer milder temperatures, but you're right, I think temperature is the variable that can help free us from "dough time". I agree, the level we aspire to requires a fine-tuning in all the variables involved, we will gradually get there!

It would be a great pleasure to share a kitchen with you, Dan, and your helpful comments. I wonder how many experiments would come out of this kitchen :)

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

is what we need Solano and Dan! 

I spotted this on a post with beautiful slap and fold demonstration from Richard Bertinet. He is doing classes in Bath in Britain and maybe one day...ha, ha....

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmaXkLPHtrC/?hl=en&taken-by=richardbertinet

We shall not give up...I just overproofed a 50/50 loaf in the oven trying to push too hard...it was soo soft and proofy...I also tried Joze's method but on a loaf this time...oh well........Kat

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

One day (I hope soon) I plan to produce a dough like that. I’m not even talking about the handling. I’m blown away with the dough itself...  mon Dieu!

Dan

solano's picture
solano

This kitchen has a bench knife with your name, Kat. Imagine what a good weekend of testing, TFL forum in real! hahaha

And my follow up list on instagram keeps increasing with your tips! This helps a lot, several times a simple video or photo made me understand something that I could not see just reading.

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

and I don't see how people did this without the internet...I assume they did it within their 'real' community....

Got to get that bench knife if it has my name on it..!!!!!!

It would be good if we all could bake together wouldn't it...better than the United Nations...ha, ha... Good luck...I better investigate and cut that overproofed 50/50 although too early....  

solano's picture
solano

On second thought I think when I tried Trevor's method for the first time it was hot here, maybe this contributed to the soup result. I need to take advantage of the winter to try to use this in my favor, thanks for the tip!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

It is my present understanding (born through experience) that both warm and cool/cold temps affect the sour flavor. But warm favors a mild sour due to increased lactic acids and cold favors acetic acids than tend to produce sharper flavors. I favor a mild, smooth sour, but both extremes (sharp and mild) combined are big time winners also.  IMO, and for my taste, a dough must have some warm extended fermentation to meet the flavor profile I like. 

I often hear people remark, “I don’t like sour bread”. I don’t often say it, but I always think to myself, “that’s because you haven’t tasted the right sour bread” ;-)

Danny

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

loaf with good shaping and nice scoring and great oven spring. 

Well, I am no expert but if this would be my bread I would think that it is a touch on the underfermented side but looking at your write up I cannot see what could have caused this and maybe other people can help?

How do you judge that  bulk fermentation is finished?

Did the dough have that domed look with bubbles at the end of bulk fermentation? This is normally the sign that shows that bulk it about ready to be finished. You describe that your kitchen is very cold and it might be handy to take temps during different stages...using warm water is a good idea!

Trevor actually had a good write up on IG on describing two different crumbs and how he achieved them.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl39foWnqn7/?taken-by=trevorjaywilson

 often use an extended Autolyse or Trevor's Pre-mix method and this has worked well for me. However, I would not do this with 'weaker' flour and it might degrade too much..

Like you  I am intrigued about references about gluten development and how to judge it as other bakers sometimes refer to achieve 'medium' gluten development or something like that I have not quite come to the bottom of this myself....it might be useful to have a thread about the impact of 'gluten development' and at what stages?

I understand that Trevor uses the Pre-mix and then for instance Rubaud to get a lot of the gluten development going at the beginning so that he can focus on building structure during bulk fermentation. I have a vague memory of something like this in his book but don't want to misquote him and have to have another look...

Sorry for not being more helpful....  Kat

solano's picture
solano

Kat, your question left me wondering, how do I know that bulk fermentation is over? The main factor I use is time, an average of 4.5 - 5 hours bulk in temperatures between 20-25 ° C, noting if there was a growth, but really do not always have those bubbles on the surface, I think it's time to change to "hear" the dough as they say, not the clock.

I had read this Trevor post on instagram, it's very interesting indeed, I started to take better care of my folds after I understood that they will give a good structure.

I would be very interested in this thread about gluten development! Many times I ended up breaking the whole chain and having a soup in my hands.

I need to retry Trevor's pre-mix method urgently, maybe now that I have better flours I'll get a satisfactory result.

Again thank you very much, Kat, just with your question about bulk fermentation you already helped a lot!

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

at edges and bubbles...

There is a good example in Maurizio's 50/50 post

https://www.theperfectloaf.com/fifty-fifty-whole-wheat-sourdough-bread/    and I am sure you will recognize it. I use that combined with the rise as key signs that the bulk is completed and in my kitchen with my flours it is often around the 3 1/2 hours mark...It also happens very quickly suddenly around that 3 hours time...

I hope this helps... Kat

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi Solano

Dan is correct in saying that the mere act of combining of the flour and water starts the Formation of the gluten strands , developing that gluten is through the mechanical  actions of mixing whether by hand  machine or slap and fold. A fairly decent loaf can be obtained from No Kneed doughs to doughs that are mixed to produce gossamer bubble gum like finishes for things like rotti.

From your description you still had an Autolyse of 30 minutes, for me the autolyse makes the mixing especially if by hand less arduous as the gluten has formed  and requires less work to develop. 

I was intrigued with your reluctance to cut the dough, when ever a large batch has to be divided it is usually cut with either a knife or Scotch scraper, the cut edge invariably is turned inwards in any preshaping or handing up to give a nice outer sealed membrane.

With regard to to much tension, dough will usually tear if to much pressure or tension is exerted in the shaping of the loaf which is another reason adequate bench rest is required prior to the final shaping allowing the dough / gluten to relax and recover.

Your loaf very nice on the outside and has obvious good oven spring, and  the picture shows a couple of large holes and in the hole on the right you can see several creases inside compared to the large hole on the top left which has a smooth interior. The crumpled appearance may be from bench flour or even skinning of the dough that has stopped the dough being as one, and has most likely occurred in the shaping of the loaf where as the other hole sometimes referred to as a mouse hole is near the top  where an accumulation of gas from some ruptured  cells has collected . The reason for ruptured cells is very hard to pinpoint, can be over development / under development, underproof / overproof .

The good thing is if this is your regular go to bread you can document  your method and any changes you might like to try, The fact that you often make two loaves from two doughs gives you the perfect chance to run side by side comparisons whether it be a long and a short Autolyse or extra stretch and folds, say hourly compared to half hourly you will be able to compare. i look forward to seeing more of your breads and maybe some good comparisons, keep up the good work

regards Derek 

solano's picture
solano

Hello Derek, the difficulty I encounter is how to develop this gluten after using mix techniques without turning everything into a soup again, this has been my experience and when I break the structure it is very difficult to develop gluten again, I should be more persistent in the mix to be able to develop this gluten or is it not possible and am I actually doing something wrong? Maybe take more care in the mix.

My reluctance to cut the dough is for two reasons, I make two breads every time, because I have only two bannetons at the moment, so I use different flours in each dough, in addition I probably could not cut right first and would have to cut more than one time, damaging the dough too much. One day I intend to develop this ability, but at the moment I preferred to have one less thing to worry about.

These doughs were actually holding the shape, even during the bulk they did not relax much as usual, at first I thought it was a good sign, but on second thought it was probably a result of a short autolyse resulting in a little elastic mass.

You gave me a great idea, I had not thought of it yet, I do not need to make the two breads using the same method, of course this makes it easier on the timeline, but I can do different things and compare the results. I'm going to start preparing the schedule for next weekend to decide which techniques I will apply in each dough.

Thank you very much for the help and I hope to be able to count on your great comments in the future too!

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi Solano i misunderstood your reluctance to cut the dough  being in the dividing dough stage not in the scoring of the dough piece prior to baking. If a loaf is at absolute full proof then i wouldn't score it either as you state it  is unlikely to recover and deflate where as if its handled delicately it can be baked, if it has expanded fully there is not likely to be a great deal of oven spring if any, so therefore the need for scoring to control the direction of expansion tear is not going to come into play.  Recognising that full proof and consciously deciding not to score is a fine skill, many a loaf has dropped under the blade!

With regards to  mixing,  the gluten is developed and strengthened in that process the stretch and fold is really an extension to that mixing process for the wetter sour doughs. In a conventionally bulk fermented mix the actual expansion by the gas formation is also stretching the gluten strands. One of the problems associated with stretch and folds is knowing when or how much bulk fermentation to give the dough which is generally by feel and the puffiness of the dough.  Whereas the BF dough visually will crown and can be  tested with the finger or hand poke test before Knocking back or down for processing.

Ideally for a true comparison identical doughs  need to be formulated and different handling techniques can be used and compared for results.   

I don't know whether you have access to Gluten powder, but if you do try wetting some and  having a play with it it gives a good understanding of this remarkable substance.  You can wash it out  from flour too, we used to do a Gluten test for testing Flour strength where a small amount of flour 8ozs and 4.75ozs of water are combined to make a dough which is then covered with water for aproximately 1 hour. you are then able to wash the starch away from the dough leaving the gluten,        2 ozs of wet gluten = weak flour 2.5ozs - Medium flour and 2.75ozs  = strong flour .

if you do this Gluten test you can use that gluten in a future mix to strengthen your flour it will keep in the fridge in a slightly saline solution. The bakery i worked at used to buy wet gluten that came in 20 litre tubs  from a company that was using the starch I think it was exported to Japan. We used the wet gluten in a 100% wholemeal bread that had a conventional 4 hour bulk fermentation process and produced sandwich bread that was very popular. 

You will notice that at no time did i refer to the substance as VWG Its a term that i dislike, it really is quite simply Wheat Gluten. 

Kind regards Derek

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

You said, “take a small amount of flour 8ozs and 4.75ozs of water are combined to make a dough which is then covered with water for aproximately 1 hour. you are then able to wash the starch away from the dough leaving the gluten,        2 ozs of wet gluten = weak flour 2.5ozs - Medium flour and 2.75ozs  = strong flour.”

If I understand and my math is correct, something is not adding up. 2 oz gluten from 8 oz flour = 25% gluten. If 25% is correct, does that equal 25% protein? Am I missing something?

A strong flour would contain 34% gluten/protein. Please help me to understand.

Dan

pipaid's picture
pipaid

2 oz of wet gluten contains some water as well.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I’d really like to know of a vaiable test for gluten percentage. But if I’m correct in my thinking, the numbers don’t come near to adding up. Even if the wet gluten was 100% hydrated, which can’t be the case, the gluten content for a “weak” flour would still be 12.5%.

Not trying to fault you, Derek. I’m looking for the truth. 

Dan

inquiring minds want to know”...

UPDATE - I read on Quora.com much the same as what Derek wrote. But it still doesn’t make sense. Can anyone explain?

https://www.quora.com/How-can-you-test-for-the-gluten-content-in-wheat-flour

you can try it by doing the Gluten-Hand washing Method. This testing is approved by  AACC ( American Association of Cereal Chemist )


The Procedure goes like this:

1.Weigh 25 g of flour into a cup and add sufficient water to form a firm dough. Start with 10 ml water and gradually increase until a firm dough is developed. Hand knead dough and incorporate fines into a ball. ( Record the amount of water you add). Let the dough stand in water at room temperature 20-60 min. Washing may become easier with increased soaking time. Soft wheat flour are easier to wash if soaking time does not exceed 20 min.
2.Knead dough gently in stream of tap water over cloth until starch and all soluble matter are removed. When much of the starch has been removed, the gluten ball will become darker and will take on a weblike structure. This generally takes 20-30 min. 
3. To determine whether gluten is approximately starch-free, let 1 or 2 drops of was water, obtained by squeezing, fall into a see thru glass containing perfectly clear water. If starch is present, cloudiness appears.
4. Let gluten thus ovtained by washing stand in water 1 hr. press as dry as possible  between the hands, roll into a ball , place in a dish and weigh it as moist gluten ( wet gluten ) 

Hard flours with high protein contents9 (14% protein) - would have a roughly estimate wet gluten of 35-38% while soft flours ranges from 24-28%.

 

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi Dan The gluten test that i suggested was from notes taken 52 years ago at the technical school as a first year apprentice baker. Things were a little different then with quite a few different Flour mills selling to lots more smaller bakeries, Quite often there was not the same technical support or reports on the flour that was being provided to the bakers especially for those 1 man shows way out in the country.

The gluten test was a way that a baker could do a relatively simple test to gauge the flours strength. i Know that when i became the dough maker and there were only a few big mills the reports from the flour mill that went out each month made quite interesting reading, especially if there were recommendations being put out regarding Flour strength hydration and mixing times. A visit to the mill that had a test bakery was most interesting too but very scientific in its approach.

The Quora  piece certainly was a better account of pretty much the same gluten test and comforting that it had similar conclusions.

 

When  you say "Even if  the wet gluten was 100% hydrated and cant be in this case." Why is that ? What is the water carrying capacity of gluten? 

 I guess the biggest variable  is the amount of water that is in the finished washed out wet gluten because even though the amount of water is measured going into the dough it is then allowed to stand under water for an hour and after that washed out under even more water.  i guess you could weigh it and then dehydrate it and weigh again, But i guess that has already been done with the figures they suggest for the different flour strengths.   Sorry i couldn't be more helpful there Dan!

regards Derek

solano's picture
solano

I am very interested in this gluten test, I was already thinking of testing all the flours I have at home as soon as I get home from work today, but as Dan said, the numbers are strange. I was having trouble understanding the process just with your explanation, but I saw that there are videos on the internet demonstrating the procedure, I believe they will help. I think I've seen this gluten flour in a store that serves bakeries, I'll buy some to play with. Thank you!

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

is something I just saw as a comment on Matteo Festo aka ca_mia_ breadlab IG account describing a scenario and asking for people to come up with answers...one comment was that a slow and minimum mix slows fermentation down....aha I thought could this we related to your potential issue on 'underfermentation'....Have you tried a longer autolyse with keeping other variables the same? Just a thought.... Kat

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmdLnEVAMqd/?hl=en&taken-by=ca_mia_breadlab

solano's picture
solano

Interesting, Kat, I've tried several times of autolyse, short, long, overnight, the problem has always been to destroy the gluten structure when adding levain. And thinking about it now, because of this I've probably been very careful about adding the levain, doing the minimum and slow not to destroy the structure, so it might be that this is even resulting in these under fermented doughs. This weekend I think I'll try one with Trevor's pre-mix and another with a not so short and not long autolyse, say 2 hours or something close to it and then a good few minutes of slap and fold. I can not wait to continue the tests! Thank you for your help!

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

One mistake that I did was also to forget the salt in the pre-mix which helps to prevent the degradation of the dough. However, if I keep the dough consistently cold now I reap the benefits of a pre-mix or longer autolyse as described by Dan...I also have experimented with Joze's approach making ciabatta with good results but I think you need to get a feel for your flour...

What signs do you see that tell you the dough is degrading?

 

solano's picture
solano

I am from Brazil, we do not have good quality control of our flours and most of them are useless for natural fermentation, this is starting to change now, we already have some good producers of organic flour of great quality, but that is difficult to buy if you are not shopping for professional use or are not in the big cities where you can find in a few places in quantities for a home user.

Today I use a Paraguayan flour that proved to be far superior to the common flours of Brazil, I realized that when mixed with water it does not turn white, but rather light brown. I have not tried Trevor's pre-mix method with this flour yet, but I think I will now get better results.

The signs I see are that the dough passes from a uniform dough to a wet dough again and the more I try to mix, using rubaud or slap and fold, instead of becoming uniform again the dough starts to break, imagine that When trying to do with slap and fold I had to collect pieces of dough through the kitchen hahaha.

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

I noticed that there are some amazing bakers on IG from Brazil and other countries in South America. I learnt a lot my observing what flours some of the UK Artisan bakers are using and then found the one that works for me and I can also source as a very reasonable price.

Looks like you have done the research on this but I find that people are always very helpful, if you ask. Sadly I don't speak any Portugese and Spanish although I love learning languages...  

Also, I think Trevor did sometime back some bakes with a low protein flour in order to get a very soft crumb....if you can't get any other flour then other methods for 'low gluten' flour are required and I understand your dilemma better now.........Kat

solano's picture
solano

The other crumb! Very similar to the first. Now, after Derek's comment, I realize that it would be far more useful to have two loaves of different methods to make comparisons.

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhJ_A2QA1zK/?taken-by=trevorjaywilson

Trevor baking with AP and pastry flour. His comment was: Just goes to show that great bread *can* be made with very weak flour (this was 8% to 9% protein)

It is a beautiful crumb I think!  Maybe when you have a moment there might be some useful hints because if the bread is what you've got then you just adjust your baking! Easier said than done...maybe write him a post with your dilemma and he often does respond.... Kat

solano's picture
solano

Yes, I remember seeing this post and thought, I'll send some flours to him and see if there is any bread, I do not know if the problem is just the low amount of protein in the flours here, with the best I got is difficult to take the hydration up to 68%, with the worst would have to go down a lot and then I do not see why making a loaf with such a low hydration. It always ended in a soup. And now I was wondering if the hydration a flour can handle is directly linked to the amount of protein. I'll look into this.

yozzause's picture
yozzause

 Hi Solano 

I wasn't aware you were baking in Brazil and that your choice of flours is limited, Perhaps the gluten test i described in my last post is even more relevant as you will be able to find how much gluten is in your flours. The flour that i most often use here in Western Australia is the cheap Home brands available at the supermarkets that has a protein level of just over 10%. Occasionally I will buy some of the more expensive flours but they are not any significantly higher in their protein content. I am fortunate to have just scored some BioDynamic white flour from our Great Southern area and looking forward  to seeing how that performs, Perhaps i should follow my own advice and do a side by side comparison of the two flours, Now that sounds like a challenge. 

By the way if you fill in your details  when we click onto a persons Avatar we can find out a little more about them and where they are in this world

kind regards Derek 

solano's picture
solano

Following the idea of Derek, I decided to test Trevor's pre-mix this weekend and a 2-hour autolyse. I put the information in my schedule worksheet and it looks like the image. I will use the same flour in both this time and the recipe will be the same as in this post. I will use cold water in the pre-mix to help lower the temperature more quickly and if it is not cold this weekend, when I remove it from the refrigerator, I will put the container in cold water to keep the temperature a little more at night. Tell me what you think and if you have any ideas, I thank you!