The Fresh Loaf

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Is there, somehow, a way to increase the structure of a dough with high hydration without making infinite folds😬?

Matheus's picture
Matheus

Is there, somehow, a way to increase the structure of a dough with high hydration without making infinite folds😬?

Hey, as I already said up there, I wanted to know I there is a trick to add structure to high hydratation doughs. At the moment I'm trying to make breads with higher hydrations to get a moister and lighter crumb.

Can anyone help me on this? I would be grateful💯🤛!

 

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

I really like Trevor's website, breadwerx.  The e-book is well worth the price; and his vids are really helpful.  He shows his approach with all kinds of hydrations for variants on an open crumb.

No connection just really like his work.

Matheus's picture
Matheus

Oh, I already heard about. Thank you for the advice💯!

 

MichaelLily's picture
MichaelLily

I don't do anything during bulk fermentation. I just leave it for about 4 hours and that's it. Time builds structure and in my experience, stretch and folds made no difference. We bake hundreds of loaves a week for over 5 years using this method. Our timeline and process is almost identical to a home baker, except we just eliminate stretch and folds.

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Michael, do you guys go into bulk with the glutens developed well, from mixing?

MichaelLily's picture
MichaelLily

It’s decently developed from mixing. We have it on low for about 10 minutes but 60qt mixers are much slower than tabletop mixers and we are mixing approximately 30 kg of dough per batch, which takes longer to mix anyway. I’ve never been able to windowpane wet dough and we bulk for 4 hours plus so you don’t want well developed gluten. Medium development at most.

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Very interesting, Michael.  I'm barely crawling on learning dough development without a mixer, so much to learn.  So, sorry for a dumb question but you're developing dough strength going into final proof via acid development only, then?  Pre-shaping/bench/shaping, could you tell me the nature of your doughs at that point?

MichaelLily's picture
MichaelLily

More or less, yes. If I recall correctly, time alone will develop gluten strength when flour is hydrated. Our dough is aerated and cohesive after the bulk proof.  We stretch and fold it at that time to encourage cohesion and then for the preshape and final shape, the dough is very wet and somewhat stretchy. I don't know how else to describe it, but it does not have the same extensibility that some of the videos I see demonstrate.  However, it is not entirely unlike those videos, just somewhat less extensible. We use metal tables and enough flour to prevent sticking. The dough is extremely sticky to the untrained hands.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

If the dough requires an infinite amount of folding to maintain structure, chances are good the dough flour has gone beyond its ability to hold the water.  Letting the flour absorb fully the liquids is a good place to start.  Rushing into folding before the flour has been fully hydrated can be a waste of time.   Whole flours and those with more bran and fibre and higher protein levels will take longer to hydrate.

Reducing the amount of water to make a manageable dough is also important so don't be afraid to try lower hydrations in your search. 

 

Matheus's picture
Matheus

Nice 😁! But the problem isn't really maintain the structure, but add more. On the most times I use hydratations above 70% I have to make too many folds(6, 8, 10...), what isn't viable for me. I use one all purpose flour from my country, that is called Dona Benta(Brazilian), and I already get good results(I usually use 65-68% of water), but is being a big challenge to increase my bread's hydratation.

 

Edit1: And I was looking for a more viable way to get structured doughs using high hydratation

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

that hold the water so that it can be released during the bake?

Additions like chia, flax, oat, potato, tapioca? 

Matheus's picture
Matheus

Yeah, I already tried to use chia once(3 months ago) and I was able to use a bit more of water without making too many folds, but I wanted I could use high hydratations on "normal" doughs too.

Edit1: Then I was looking for a easier way to structure the dough(A faster way).

Matheus's picture
Matheus
Matheus's picture
Matheus

If my memory works well, this one had at least 72-74 % of water(Total)(Using the same flour)

Ohh, I guess i needed to make just 3 folds

HappyInFL's picture
HappyInFL

What a beautiful loaf!

loaflove's picture
loaflove

Do you have a crumb shot?

mariana's picture
mariana

Hi Matheus, 

generally speaking, moister crumb has nothing to do with lighter crumb and both have nothing to do with hydration levels, You can have light as a feather and moist crumb with 50% hydration and even lower, no problem. You can have stiff as a board, heavy as lead, and /or dry freshly baked bread with 100-120% hydration dough. It depends on the recipe. 

Moist crumb has to do with baking, for how long you bake your loaf, how much moisture is lost during baking. Even ciabattas with 100% hydration would have dry crumb if baked long enough to lose up to 25-50% of initial weight with vapor during baking. 

Light crumb has to do with gluten development (kneading), amount of yeast, and shaping. Puff pastry and croissants are not made from doughs with high hydration levels, nor do they rely on infinite folds - 2 or 3 during fermentation or gluten formation are enough.  They are simply shaped and baked appropriately. Yet their crumb is the lightest. 

Anyways, high hydration without infinite folds. And ways to increase the structure. 

There are three things that you can do

1) double hydration method: mix and knead a stiffer dough, develop it well by kneading, then slowly add the remaining water and complete kneading. Stretch and fold the resulting dough and let it bulk ferment. No folds are necessary during bulk fermentation at all, only those during pre-shaping and shaping of your loaves. 

2) use the same method as now, single hydration, or double hydrate, but also add more gluten, i.e. add dry gluten to your flour. 

3) fortify your flour by adding a small pinch of vitamin C (ascorbic acid, powder) to your flour. It would fortify your flour and increase the structure of your dough. 

 

Matheus's picture
Matheus

Hello, Mariana. Nice! So, what can I do to have moister crumbs on my breads? The reason I was relating the amount of water to the moisture of the crumb is because(Theoretically)the more water the dough has, less "sensitive" it will be to the water loss during the baking process(The water that will be lost will represent a smaller percentage of the total amount of water of the dough).  What can I change during the baking process? I didn't want to try to bake at higher temperatures because even if the water loss was less the crust would form too soon.

mariana's picture
mariana

Matheus, begin by determining how much mass your bread currently loses during baking and then during cooling process (immediately after baking and 1-2 hrs after baking). And start experimenting with reducing that baking and cooling moisture loss little by little while changing nothing else, to see if you still have the crust that you like with the crumb that you like better than before. 

What is normal for one bread is not normal for another (would be underbaked or overbaked). The vast majority of baked goods lose between 6 and 12 % of weight in the oven and any more than that would result in excessively dry crumb. Any less than that would result in excessively thin or pale crust, i.e. in parbaking (partial baking). French breads such as baguette normally lose about 25% of their raw weight during baking and some varieties of French and Italian breads baked from highly hydrated doughs - up to 50%. 

There are a couple of forum threads on this website dedicated to the topic of baking loss, read about other bakers experiences with it and study that question. Grossly ovebaked loaves stale very quickly, their crumb is too dry to begin with, so proper baking degree is important. 

Underbaking baguettes

How much weight is lost in baking?

I usually err towards baking my breads for too long and must watch myself to not overdo it. I hate it when my challah or pain de mie crumb is too dry, for example, simply because I baked it for 3-4 min too long. 

Usually the key to retaining more moisture during baking is 1) steaming or moistening the surface at the beginning (coldsteaming) when the loaves expand 2) lower temperature in the last phase of baking. Cooling bread quicker results in less moisture loss. And serving/eating bread freshly baked helps as well. No need to wait for many hours or days before eating it, just because you underfermented or underbaked it and want its crumb to be dryer due to drying and staling outside the oven. 

- (Theoretically)the more water the dough has, less "sensitive" it will be to the water loss during the baking process(The water that will be lost will represent a smaller percentage of the total amount of water of the dough).

-Hmm... I would say the opposite is true : ) Experimentally proven and reported in the textbooks for bakers. 

Baking (as in oven management, steaming, temperatures in different stages of baking, set up etc.) is a large area of expertise. You will learn portions of it as it has to do with the specific  breads you bake and with the oven that you currently have. So you would have to discover from experience what works for you. 

 

kendalman's picture
kendalman

Hi

It is possible to do just one `fold', that is all I use.  It makes a considerably stronger dough.  I owe a video of the 'kendal roll. Do look at the topic.  The photos in the link are from my kendal rolled loaves. I use instant yeast and an enriched dough.  I don't work with more than 500g of flour, that makes a big volume loaf.  A bread maker does the mix and knead.  If the roll is done when there is a lot of gas in the dough the bubbles are stacked in the shape you want for enough time for them to take over the strengthening process.  Your strengthening of the dough wears out in around  20 minutes.  

I imagine you can get the extra gas you need by adding instant yeast when you add your starter.  You pay a price for strong dough  you  need more gas.  The end result is shown in the photos.  None are sourdough.  All feel too light when you pick them up.

 

 

HappyInFL's picture
HappyInFL

I agree with other posts that say time is important.............think of time as an ingredient! Also be sure you have a high quality flour with at least 12.7% (King Arthur Bread Flour).  Try adding vital wheat gluten to your flour if the protein content if low.

Briancoat's picture
Briancoat

That flour you are using has about 10% (?) protein which will limit its ability to absorb water and build gluten strength.

As you say it can be done but whichever method you use adds time and hassle.

So what are the cheats?

Glúten de trigo vital

Some time-served French Boulangers add gluten because French flour is low in protein. Not all will admit it 😁?

Maybe these guys or similar have it?

https://www.artalimentos/

I do not use it regularly but it is an easy tweak to go from 10% protein to say 13%

Vitamin C eg tsp lemon juice is another “nature’s flour improver” cheat but I never found it did a lot.

The guy Michael above who said (and I paraphrase) the most important “method” is water + flour + time is so right!

I’m amazed the ‘essential’ steps you can omit if you let the water do the work.

Hope this is at least partly useful. 😊

 

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Hi Matheus,

We start with a caveat: I am a novice at best.

Our flours in Australia are comparatively low protein - with standard flour in the 10-11% range and even our 'bread'/'bakers'/'strong' flour often only 11.5-12% and maxing out at 13%.

This has two effects: first, total gluten development potential is lower than the US/Canadian flours that a lot of the celebrated, large, open-crumbed artisan loaves you'll see are using. Second, the higher the protein level, generally the higher the starch damage* - and the higher the starch damage, the higher the water absorption. (Damaged starch absorbs some 4x its weight in water.)

So, if you are using a softer, lower protein flour, it will, all else being equal (which it never is!) have a lower water absorption ability.

Therefore, it may simply be a better idea to drop the hydration a little. At this point, it's worth nothing that 70% is actually a rather high hydration level and it's only by comparison with some of the artisan super-hydrated loaves that it might seem low. For a home baker using moderate strength flour, 70% is plenty.

NOW, to the actual answer: not all 'folds' are equal and there are many methods that have been developed by bakers over the centuries to knead their dough, depending on the available ingredients, equipment, preferred regional styles and inherited techniques of their culinary tradition.

One method that I have recently found enjoyment using is the 'slap and fold' or 'French fold'. Demonstrations are easy to find online.

Another, since getting my stand mixer (a Kenwood,) is using that - either with the (spiral) hook or - when the dough is seriously high hydration, starting with the 'K'/padle beater and beating it, then finishing development with the hook or by hand (or, if it's really really high hydrations, just the beater).

Another technique is, I believe, called the 'Rubaud' method. This is something I actually chanced upon independently and so my method may not be identical but I never used to have any dough scrapers so, when releasing my dough from the bowl for stretching/folding, I would use my hands and found that just the act of doing so seemed to bring the dough together and develop structure. So I just did that only more vigorously and for longer. Again - similar techniques are easy found documented elsewhere.

The upshots are:

  • Think in terms of 'free water' amount - beyond the absorption ability of the flour, rather than any actual total 'hydration' and 'simply' drop if needed.
  • Try different dough development techniques - the stretch and fold is a great 'all-rounder' but not necessarily the best for any specific situation.

Best of luck mate!

dan.

* - Higher protein wheat is physically harder and tougher is and more force is therefore required to crush it, which results in increase starch damage. Generally.