The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

dough turns wet during proof

joostdb's picture

dough turns wet during proof

Hi there

I'm maken sourdough bread on a daily bases for over 3 years now. I think I know what a good loaf looks like.

Since recently, it started with a new batch of flour, there is something wrong.

The dough feels slack after bulk, proof is medium, but most of all, the loaf starts to 'sweat'. The formed bread gets some water on it in the proofing basket.
After baking, the bread is heavy, but the ovenrise is good. And turns stall after a few hours.

I did some testing with yeast and the same thing happens in a milder form.

So, my thoughts are that the flour is nog optimal. But what could be wrong with it? Low gluten? Moist? 

Has anyone same expericenes?


idaveindy's picture

Your new batch of flour came with a higher moisture content than the previous batch. It happens.

Once a baker learns how the dough should feel, he/she holds back a little water with a new batch (and sometimes on every bake)  and watches how the new batch behaves, then adds in the "hold-back water" as needed.

Big-time Commercial roller mills "temper" their grain to an exact moisture level as part of the milling process.

Smaller milling operations that use stone or impact mills usually don't -- they receive grain, mill it, maybe sift it some, ship it out.

Storage conditions, specifically humidity, at the wholesaler, at the retailer, and at your home, also affect the moisture level of flour by the time you bake with it.

Bon appétit.

joostdb's picture

I'm aware of this. I held back up to 7-8% water until the loafs started to rip apart during backing. But the 'sweating' was still there.

idaveindy's picture

"Since recently, it started with a new batch of flour, there is something wrong."

Was it a new batch of the same brand and type of flour, or was it an enitrely new type or brand of flour?

joostdb's picture

Same provider, same type.

Asked the provider but in his opinion nothing changed.

idaveindy's picture

(Ok, time to get out the deerstalker cap and fire up the meerschaum pipe.)

What else can affect water absorption, and then condensation in the banneton?

1. Has the weather changed?  Ambient Temperature and humidity.

2. Did you move to a new residence?  different buildings with different heating/cooling/ventilation systems can affect ambient conditions.

3. did any other ingredients change?  Some ingredients affect hydration.

3a. Salt, type or amount?

3b. Sugar, type or amount?

3c. Add ins, or secondary type of flour?

3d. Did you change the water? Tap, bottled, filtered, "conditioned", "softened",  etc. Changing to a different house also means tap water can change, because of different water source (well, river, lake), different treatment plant, different pipes.

4. Is your country/region known for gremlins or gnomes?  If so, have you offended them?  This may be one of their tricks.

5. Maybe the new flour is the "good" flour, and your previous batches had been overly dry for some reason.

6. Did you change bannetons?  Is your banneton porous so that water can evaporate through it?