Bassinage of an Italian flour that turns to soup
So this morning I was mixing in levain with an Italian flour - https://granoro.it/le-linee-granoro/farine-e-preparati/ - the light green bag "per pizza" - soft wheat - type 0 - W250 - 10.7% protein.
Have had similar happen before with Italian flours in my kitchen where they have turned to "soup", however, this morning I kept my wits about me and watched closely what happened, and would love some insight from the experts here about what is going on.
In the mixer, on slow speed, on the dough hook, I was combining a dough with a yeast water levain made with the same flour. The main dough had also had about 1 hour of autolyse time, so both doughs were already well developed. Both doughs were not over-hydrated - the autolysed dough was at 55% hydration and the levain at 65% hydration. The levain did have the same flour, but the flour mix was 78% granola and 22% hard red wholemeal that is fairly fine. I was just trying to combine in the levain really. Ran the mixer for about 4 minutes and all was well, the dough was pretty tight but to my eyes it didn't look like much had happened - it was clinging to the hook for all of those 4 minutes, the sides of the bowl were clean, and the doughs may (or may not!) have been mixed together by this mixing action.
Then I thought I'd add a small amount of water, a very small amount of water mind you, just to help the dough mix and to assist with eventually adding the salt grains. So, I added about 4g, the dough did the 'whoomp whoomp' sound, fell off the dough hook, swirled around a bit in the layer of 'muddy' dough you get and then started to cohere again on the dough hook, all took about 30 seconds. But then I added another 4g of water and it was at this point that things went wrong. The dough did not cohere again, rather it started puddling worse and worse, I let it run for a total of 2 minutes but those 2 minutes were enough to turn the dough into the soup. I tried adding the salt then, but it did nothing to tighten this dough (as it does with other doughs).
It's interesting that this happened on a slow mixer speed with a fairly low hydration - 60% overall - and a fairly low amount of bassinage water - 8g. So my question is, in general is bassinage in a stand mixer like this an inherently bad thing? Should bassinage always be done by hand, or not at all? Or is it that the doughs were already fairly well developed and shouldn't have been in the mixer, or were too well developed for bassinage? Can a flour exceed its ability to hold water at such a low hydration with such a small amount of bassinage? The soupy dough 'runs' - it pours. It looks like it has lost the gluten that it had. In the past I've baked with it in loaf tins but it really doesn't produce a nice bread once it has broken like this.