The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Another semi dense loaf

Fost9508's picture
Fost9508

Another semi dense loaf

Well I made a another loaf and it seems like the crumb is still pretty dense.  In a previous comment somebody noted I should bulk ferment longer so I did.  I also tried to create a bulk ferment checker by putting some of my dough into a clear glass jar, but after 5 hours of bulk fermenting i didn't see any change.  Maybe the jar was too small and maybe the sample was too small and not representative of the dough.  If others have ideas on how to test the bulk ferment would like to here it....here is the recipe and process

Flour:  440g (used all purpose)

Water: 297g

Salt:  10g

Levain:  18/35/35 (100% hydration) (AP flour)

temp for levain, autolease, and bulk was 78F, controlled

Based on my estimate this dough would have a 70% hydration

The starter I used in the levain was being maintained for nearly 2 weeks and was easily doubling in size every 12 hours.  For the levain i used the above amounts and let sit for 6 hours.  A lot of bubbles, more than doubled in size and passed the float test

I autoleased the dough for 2 hours while the levain fermented.  Once done I added the levain and salt to the dough, mixed then did a few minutes of slap and fold.  Then bulk fermented for 5 hours.  I did 3 folds spaced by 15 minutes than 3 folds spaced by 30 mins, then let it rest for the remaining bulk ferment.  It was hard to tell if the dough doubled in size and my test idea above didn't work, but 5 hours seemed like long enough based on the amount of levain in the dough.

Once fermented i did some light shaping, let sit for 20 mins, then did some stich folding before putting into the basket for proofing.  Proofed at 40 degrees for 15 hours.

Hope for some feedback.  I feel like I did things differently this time and getting similar results.  I feel like I am mixing the dough pretty well, but could that be some of the issue?  Not mixing the levain thoroughly enough into the dough.  Maybe I need to move to a rye, stone ground or whole wheat starter???

 

Thanks again

Abe's picture
Abe

Sorry if this diagnosis is beginning to drive you mad but it's under fermented. Next time forget the clock! Don't budge from the bulk ferment till your dough is puffy and aerated. Since you're underestimating i'm going to advise you to aim for doubled. Not necessarily needed for the bulk ferment stage but better to aim for more and slightly underestimate then aim for less and under estimate. In other words go the other way next time and push it for as long as you can. Sometimes it helps to go to the other extreme to know what the middle ground is. 

Also at 20% starter i'm surprised it didn't sufficiently bulk ferment in 5 hours. I'd pay closer attention to the starter and try experimenting pushing that further too. 

Fost9508's picture
Fost9508

Abe - Yeah..that confused me as well.  A 20% starter shouldn't need 5 hours and I thought about letting it go further, but I was worried about going to far.  I will try pushing the starter longer, but it seemed to do everything I expected ( good size increase, good bubble activity) and it seemed like the rise was starting to level off a bit.

Abe's picture
Abe

From the way you describe your starter it does sound good. Try making one change at a time. Next time push the bulk ferment. See if that improves anything. 

banana's picture
banana

It might just be too cold to proof. I proof my sourdough in the oven with the light on and it proofs much faster than at room temperature.

banana's picture
banana

Judging from the huge bubbles at the top and the dense crumb it is underproofed. After I shape my dough I let it proof for at least 4 hours at room temperature before I refrigerate it. I hope this makes sense and good luck.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

In the recipe, flours vary and it just might be too wet.  

Degas a bit more when shaping. If you feel any air pockets, pop them.  

Be a bit more agressive with the folding in this respect and pop any large bubbles (they just get bigger) around the edges of the flattened out dough before rolling up during the shaping.  When flattening out the dough use fingertips like typing on the dough, this not only helps spread the dough out but pinches off any long air tunnels in the dough structure that allows gas to conjugate into lage bubbles.  You may then notice that the dough takes a bit longer to rise.  The large bubbles can fool one into bakng too soon.

Benito's picture
Benito

I’ll chime in agreeing that your bread was quite under fermented.  An active at peak levain would probably have that dough nicely fermented in about 6 hours at about 80ºF.  Do you have a thermometer?  It would be helpful to know what your final dough temperature is after mixing.  If it is quite cool and your room temperature is quite cool it may take substantially longer than 6 hours to ferment fully during bulk.

Try using warm water to mix to get your final dough temperature closer to 80ºF.  Then try bulk fermentation in your oven with light on but door ajar a bit.  Some ovens like mine with the light on and door closed will hit 90ºF or greater so it is useful to have a thermometer to be able to check that your oven isn’t getting too hot if you decide to use it.

Benny

Fost9508's picture
Fost9508

Hi Benny.  Thanks.  I have a set up with my oven where I can control temperature pretty accurately.  The entire process I have been doing is kept at 78F until the proof which is at 40.

I suppose I could bump that up to 80ish.

Benito's picture
Benito

78ºF is fine but your bread is telling you that for the strength of your levain at the temperature you’re doing bulk at 5 hours isn’t long enough. Either bulk longer, warmer or both. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I see in the title post photo the cut bread is resting on a cutting board with a lot of white flour like substance on it.  I hope that the white substance is not raw flour.  That would contaminate the fresh bread.   ???

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

Deflate the dough before shaping.

 

In addition to the other comments provided, which I agree with, is to deflate the dough after bulk ferment and before shaping.  This distributes the gas in the loaf resulting in a larger number of smaller, well-distributed bubbles.