The Fresh Loaf

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So what happened?

Danni3ll3's picture

So what happened?

I did my usual procedure but when I preshaped my boules, they fell apart. I shaped them as best as I could and literally threw them into the bannetons. They are heavy dead feeling hunks of dough. They are in the fridge now but I don’t have any hope that I’ll have anything decent to bake in the morning. 

I’ve made this before but I changed the procedure for this bake. This is the original recipe: 

This is the changed place recipe:


90 g barley flakes

180 g boiling water


100 g dried cranberries

50 g pumpkins seeds

50 g sunflower seeds

20 g sesame seeds

1 1/4 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary


660 g strong bakers unbleached flour

220 g freshly milled Selkirk wheat flour (220 g Selkirk berries)

110 g freshly milled rye flour (110 g rye berries)

50 g fresh ground flax seeds

715 g water

22 g salt

30 g yogurt

250 g levain (Procedure follows)

The day before:

1. About 8 hours before bedtime, take 2 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 4 g of filtered water and 4 g of wholegrain rye flour. Let sit in a warm spot. 


The night before:

1. Mill the Selkirk and Rye berries if using, on the finest setting of your mill or measure out commercial whole grain rye and whole grain wheat flour if you don’t mill your own.

2. Place the required amount of each freshly milled flour in a tub and add the unbleached flour to it. 

3. Grind the flax seeds and add to the flour mixture. Cover and set aside.

4. Boil the water for the soaker and add to the barley flakes. Let sit overnight.

5. Toast the pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds in a dry frying pan. Once cool, add the cranberries and reserve. 

6. Before going to bed, feed the levain 20 g of water and 20 g of wholegrain flour. Let it rise at room temperature for the night. 


Dough making day:

1. Early in the morning, feed the levain 100 g of water and 100 g each of unbleached flour. Let rise until it is very bubbly and has peaked. This takes 4-5 hours in a warm spot.

2. About two hours before the levain is ready, using a stand mixer, mix the water with the flours, and mix on speed 1 until all the flour has been hydrated. Let this autolyse for a couple of hours.

3. Chop the rosemary very finely and add to the cranberry/seed mixture.

4. When the levain is ready, add the salt, the yogurt, the barley soaker and the cranberry/seed/rosemary mix , and the levain to the bowl. 

5. Mix on speed one for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on speed 2 for 9 minutes. 

6. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place in a lightly oiled covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes in a warm spot (oven with light on).

7. Do 2 sets of coil folds at 30 minute intervals and then 2 other sets at 45 minute intervals, and then let the dough rise to about 40-50%. It should have irregular bubbles visible through the sides of the container and quite a few large bubbles on top as well. 

8. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~850 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 30 minutes on the counter. 

9. Do a final shape by flouring the top of the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule. 

10. Sprinkle a mix of rice and all purpose flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge overnight. I try to keep this between 10 and 11 hours.


Baking Day 

1. Preheat the oven and the pots to 475F for an hour. Place parchment rounds in the bottom of each pot and carefully place the boules seam side up. Cover and bake for 25 minutes at 450F. Uncover and bake for a further 20 minutes at 425F. Final internal temp should be at least 205F.

Anyone have an idea what happened? 

Danni3ll3's picture

slightly better than expected but they are still bricks!

fermented's picture

Hi Danni,

I loved reading about your process! Thank you for sharing your recipe in such great detail!

If I had to guess I would say that it over fermented. In the picture it appears that the gluten is breaking down. I didn’t notice any mention of your dough temperature during bulk. So this could explain why you had different results in the past with a similar recipe. I’m always amazed what a few degrees will do. But I could be wrong.


Danni3ll3's picture

The dough was moving a lot slower than it usually does so it took a while to get to 50% rise. It did feel fine during the last coil fold. The temperature in the oven with the lights on is usually about 82F. The dough, however, when I shaped it, didn’t feel any warmer than usual. I unfortunately don’t take dough temperature so I have no idea what it was. 
The only other thing that I noticed that seemed different was that my starter was very sticky and clumpy for the feeds. I add water and usually, swirling the water dissolves it but not this time. I had to smooch the lumps and stir vigorously. My last feed was also 100% bread flour instead of half bread and half wholegrain flour. I used it when it wasn’t quite doubled but seemed active enough. 
So maybe a combo of all of this contributed to over fermentation. Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell that this was happening until it was resting after the preshape. When I saw it starting to break down, I went ahead and shaped everything before all the loaves were one gooey mess. 
Thanks for your explanation. 

Benito's picture

Hi Danni, I’m sure seeing the crumb will help figure out what happened and to see how the fermentation was.


Danni3ll3's picture

I gave them all away so no crumb shot. 

Danni3ll3's picture

as I was. I’ve heard back from a couple that it’s delicious. So at least, these loaves  didn’t go to waste.