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Complete fail with enriched dough

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Complete fail with enriched dough

I tried to bake the Greek Easter bread a couple of days ago (tsoureki). I wanted to follow the recipe from Akis Petretzikis, one of the famous Greek chefs who shared a popular recipe for this style of bread. The only difference is I wanted to convert it to sourdough, here is my formula: https://fgbc.dk/1ito

I made a stiff 50% hydration starter from my rye starter, and including the final levain build included in the formula, it went through three refreshments between 100% hydration rye and being used in the dough. Mixed everything and veloped lovely strong and smooth dough, incorporated the butter, the dough was really pleasant. Left it to ferment. I knew with this sort of enrichment not to expect a quick rise, but having mixed the final dough by around 14:30, there was no movement until night at warm temperature - kept it around 28°C I think. I just left it at 24°C overnight - and still nothing! The dough was still strong, but started showing light signs of degradation. I kneaded in a packet of IDY dissolved in a splash of water, left it for 2.5 hrs, there seemed to be a tiny bit of rise - I should have left it longer to rise properly after all, but I was worried about gluten degradation after such long time, and rushed it, so shaped it, proofed and baked - and it came out super dense with a gummy part in the bottom. But that's not really important - what I want to understand is, how can there be no visible rise (≤5%) in around 20 hrs of fermentation with 46% prefermented flour? I understand enriched dough with sourdough can be challenging, but I thought having a large amount of prefermented flour in a stiff starter, warm environment and plenty of time would make it work, but the complete lack of movement was really shocking!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Ilya, could it be that your starter was not sugar tolerant? 
33% sugar is high.

If I was using CY it would have been SAF Gold, not Red.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I had this thought. Does the sugar tolerance vary between starters? Can it be fixed?

I had some sugar in the levain. It was in a wide bowl so I can't be sure how much it grew, but it definitely increased in size in 4.5 hours, and inside was super nice and spongy - but significantly less sugar than in the final dough of course.

For CY - I just used what I had, which is a supermarket brand. In the recipe he uses double the amount of what I used, and for him the dough doubles in 2 hrs (I think he even says ADY, not IDY).

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

It also had 26% fat.

I have no experience with this but this probably calls for a very active Lieveto Madre. I don’t think a typical SD starter is going to work. But, just a guess.

Maybe try adding CY to the dough. In hopes of saving.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I see, thanks Danny! My experience with enriched doughs is very limited, so that's why I am asking... This is still less rich fat-wise than some brioche recipes, or pannetone, isn't it? That's why I thought I could get away without a proper LM and just use a stiff starter.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

This is one for Michael (mwilson).

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Would be great to hear a comment from Michael about this!

Thanks for your thoughts Danny, let's see what others say, hoping to learn something from this failure.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

A quick glace at the recipe leaves little free water to support microbial growth. Equally the original recipe is teetering on the limits of what is possible, but since it is CY leavened this extremity is perhaps not so apparent.

Approximating free water consider:

The hydration giving ingredients and their approximate water content.

water (~100% - *1)
whole egg (~75% - *.75)
butter, (~15% - *.15)

To that, subtract water binding ingredients based on solubility.

sugar - binds up roughly half its weight in water. For simplicity you may as well consider honey to be the same, even though it contains some water.
salt - binds up roughly 4 times its weight in water, but also increases ionic strength.

Then calculate the hydration. Anything below 35% is pushing it.

Moreover, the high pre-fermented flour is a significant problem because it brings with it acidity, which affects redox and water binding.

As a rule increased acid load slows fermentation and can even bring it to a halt. Combine that with the low level of water availability and get you what you observed, no rise.

46% pre-fermented flour in a stiff dough is just too high, it is likely too oxidative.

 

Michael

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Wow thanks so much for the explanation Michael, I didn't even know this was a factor!

Do you think this recipe is even possible to make using sourdough, or with YW (which would avoid acidity, but not the other problems)? Is e.g. pannetone dough more wet and hence avoids this problem?

mwilson's picture
mwilson

You'll likely have more success if you split the formula into two or three doughs.

Your pre-ferment feed was also problematic since there was little flour added, which meant the acid developed during the previous fermentation was not flushed out sufficiently.

Panettone formulations vary, some of the first doughs are more hydrated, some less, depends on the schooling.

The first dough for Massari's panettone is equally very low on free water. Again if the acidity in the LM is too high it will struggle to rise.

That is essentially what makes a LM starter powerful, a very low acid load but a high microbial density.

The logic of low acid (low TTA) YW makes sense but you'll have to consult someone else on the practicality of that...

 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thanks a lot Michael, very helpful insights! Maybe I should study some pannetone recipes to see proper ways to deal with highly enriched dough and not just wing it.

jl's picture
jl

I don't think 3 refreshments is quite enough though. Cold temps favor yeasts, make the 50% hydration starter adapt to 13 C. (Used wine coolers can be found really cheap and are great for the purpose.) Drop the temp gradually (say 2 degrees at a time). Feed at the ratio of 2:2:1 (starter:flour:water) every 12h until it starts to triple between refreshments at 13C. I think for enriched doughs the Modernist Bread people suggest adding 10% of sugar to the starter to make the yeasts adapt to that.

It's an interesting exercise, but are you sure it's really worth it? :-)

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Wow that's interesting, thank you for the info! I don't think it's worth it though :) maybe if I had a commercial sourdough bakery! I'd rather use a packet of IDY in addition to some starter that would just add some complexity of flavour rather than leavening power if this is what it would take to make it work on it's own.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Ilya, are you sure you want a sour flavor with a sweet bread? I am hooked on sourdough but sour and sweet don’t work for me. LM are not sour starters.

For Babka and other sweet breads. It’s CY for me.

Sweet and sour works for Chinese food, but not sure about bread.
But the above is my preference, others may disagree.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Well, in my limited experience the sour taste is not really pronounced in enriched baked goods, it's masked by the sweetness mostly. But I also don't dislike the very light acidity that comes through, I feel it's nicely balanced with the sweet taste and other flavours. It must extend the shelf life too, btw.

But it appears beyond very light level of enrichment I'm going to add some CY too in the future, for the rise...

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I have made enriched,sweet doughs a number of times and I am no expert but my gut feeling is that this is a starter issue. Your starter  just does not seem to have the yeast population it needs to lift this dough. You identified this yourself-now you just have to believe yourself.

"how can there be no visible rise (≤5%) in around 20 hrs of fermentation with 46% prefermented flour?"

For naturally levained doughs made with high sugar and fat, the starter has to be just about exploding after a feed. The yeast population should far outstrip the lactos in population. It should not take that long at 24C-28C to rise. What you describe sounds very much like a long,warm lactos degradation of the proteins before the yeasts could get the rise completed.

And then there's honey. 150g of honey in a weak yeast population could be enough of a push to suppress the yeasts down enough to reduce their effectiveness. Honey can have that effect.

Then there is the question of the high percentage of pre-fermented flour (46.4%). While there does not seem to be a consensus on a "best" amount, there are considerations on how to handle different amounts so the dough doesn't eat itself up. THIS is an old post but scroll down about halfway to an explanation given by ABENW11(not verified). Great explanation.

So a few suggestions:

REALLY beef up the starter.

Watch the dough-keep it in the 24-28C to encourage good yeast growth but do not let it over ferment.

Possibly try using a hybrid-some commercial yeast/all the preferment as written. This will actually tell you whether or not it is a yeast shortage involved in the failure/degradation. If using commercial yeast helps, then you know you have to work on that aspect of the recipe-improving yeast population of starter.

Good luck and bake some delicious fun. The recipe with mahlab and mastic sounds like a great flavor !

 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thanks a lot for this. How do you know when your starter is ready for such a bake? Can you test it: say, feed it some ratio and it would need to double in a specific amount of time? I thought my starter was quite strong - I used recently refreshed rye starter to inoculate the stiff starter (and the rye one has been performing very well for lean bread recently), and gave it three feeds. In the final stage I can't tell how much it expanded, but inside it looked really lovely and spongy (similar to the picture in that thread, actually). It had strong gluten, and after development the dough was also very strong and shiny. So I thought at this sort of inoculation it is bound to raise the dough eventually...

If the starter needs to be fed non-strop for a week to be ready for this sort of bake, then, as I mentioned above, I really don't think it's worth the wasted flour - and I'd rather add CY - as you suggest.

While the texture of the baked bread is not good at all due to lack of rise, the flavour is indeed fantastic, you are right! Although have more mastic, I used up the mahlab and it's tricky to find, so maybe I'll just try it again next year for Easter. But hopefully I'll do some more enriched dough baking until then and will have more experience.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

What do you think about a Yeast Water Starter?

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I think that sounds very interesting. Would it be more resistant to enrichments than SD?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I think it would work much better. Yeast water is built from fruits and their sugars. If the YW still lacks vigor to raise the dough you could try adding some sugar to the starter feeds.

YW is a very powerful yeasted starter and it is worth a try if you are dedicated to the cause.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

That's great, thanks! My YW has been in the fridge for 6 months now I think, maybe it'll come to life and won't need to make a new one - not that it's difficult. I think I'll try and make some sort of brioche dough with it in that case in the next week or two.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I have found mahlab at mideastern grocers-Persian, Arab, sometimes Indian etc. Not usually at oriental stores. Mahlab is a very hard seed to grind so if you can get it pre-ground, it is easier to use. It also goes rancid easily due to the  high oil content.

Fruit yeast water would be a great thing to use but it has the same concepts-it needs to be a strong starter.

Sometimes 3 feeds is enough but sometimes it takes a few more, paying attention to the temp-maintaining at least 26C. Early on, I thought I had a strong starter,it wasn't bad at raising bread but then I did a multi-day build. Holy cow! It got to the point where it about crawled across the counter after a short period of time and smelled very yeasty-  just like I was proofing commercial yeast in a bowl.

Just take a small amount of your starter and do a series of feeds to see if it is different. It might be interesting for all your bakes.

 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thanks a lot! I have a couple of shops in mind that might stock it, just need to go and investigate.

Is that a YW starter you are talking about in the second half? That sounds very promising then, thanks! I've only used it for the Hamelman Swiss farmhouse bread (and that was delicious!) which includes a two-stage build. How would you do multiple builds - any specific hydration and/or ratio to use?

JonJ's picture
JonJ

This is triggering memories for me of the time I baked babka using Maurizio's recipe. It took forever to get any kind of rise, even at warm temperatures. It did rise eventually, but was still too dense for my liking.

I would love to know if it would work if you made the recipe using the original recipe with instant yeast. What do you think? As you say you got a tiny rise after 2.5 hours even with IDY.

 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I think Maurizio feeds his starter twice a day every day, so it must be supercharged compared to most of other starters - e.g. I store mine in the fridge and feed ~ every week.

The original recipe uses active dry yeast, and clearly works well!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez2wp4eEIDY

(written up here: https://akispetretzikis.com/en/categories/glyka/tsoyreki-to-enamisi)

I only used half the amount of IDY relative to the recipe, maybe with the original quantities it would have risen properly within that time...

k2005's picture
k2005

I have also really struggled with enriched doughs, especially when it comes to the proof! Would love to hear what you've learnt to combat this

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Can't tell you anything yet unfortunately - I was planning to try it again with yeast water instead (or in addition to) sourdough, and I have refresh my YW, but haven't tried yet. But enriched dough is a challenge, I think everyone acknowledges that.