or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › Major problem with my lean dough
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Major problem with my lean dough

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I have been trying (failing) to make a decent French bread. I have followed formulas in Peter Reinhart, Rose Levy Beranbaum, and Daniel T. DiMuzio baking books.Dozens and dozens of times. But one thing that has me stumped is that I ALWAYS get gigantic bubbles in my fermented dough. When I dump out the dough onto the work counter and i start to shape the loaves , RIGHT THEN AT THAT PRECISE POINT I get giant bubbles in the dough. When I say giant, I mean huge, the size of peach pits. Needless to say, that makes shaping almost inpossible. In an attempt to locate the problem I went to the very , very basic dough; a lean straight dough. (in other words I deleated the preferment)    TEST DOUGH:  280 gm A.P. Flour

                                                                                   182 gm water

                                                                                    1/2 tsp of instant yeast

                                                                                      1 tsp of salt

This is 65 % hydration.  Measure water, Add instant yeast and stir.   Measure Flour  and add salt and stir well. . Combine the 2 mixes and knead by hand for 2 minutes in a S.S. bowl.   Rest 15 min to hydrate dough. Hand knead 15 min. It always passes the windowpane test. Lightly grease a pyrex container and put the dough into the container. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let bulk ferment for 2 hours. By this time the dough has doubled and I can see tiny, tiny bubbles (smaller than  grains of rice) thru the clear pyrex container, which is exactly what I want. I lightly flour a counter and dump the fermented dough onto the flour. (No problem so far) the dough is quite "spongy" and very sticky. I divide the dough into two pieces with a dough scraper. Still no problem. I very gently coax the dough into oval shapes. NOW HERE COMES THE PROBLEM. I gently lift the back of the dough up and over to the front and using my thumbs I press down and away with my thumbs on the seams (not touching or disturbing the main body of the dough) to seal the seam and tighten the "skin". Instantly I get huge bubbles in the dough.  Now if it was only a matter of one or two bubbles then I´d say , No problem. But that´s not what happens. I get dozens and dozens of huge bubbles. It´s as if, quite suddenly, all of the tiny air pockets have decided to rush to make huge air pockets. I now have a  dough totally covered with huge bubbles.  GRRRR !  

 

P.S. Please keep in mind that this test is not an attemp to make a flavorful bread , it ´s just a way for me to try to understand where the problem lies.   Please help because I´m going crazy with this problem.  Thank you

post #2 of 19

Sorry, got a little dizzy 1/2 way through your post.

Why APF and not bread.

instant, right. not dry

cut your yeast just a little if it something like saf t

Try proofing at a lower temp.

Try punching with open fingers like pizza dough before forming.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ricwhiting View Post
 

I have been trying (failing) to make a decent French bread. I have followed formulas in Peter Reinhart, Rose Levy Beranbaum, and Daniel T. DiMuzio baking books.Dozens and dozens of times. But one thing that has me stumped is that I ALWAYS get gigantic bubbles in my fermented dough. When I dump out the dough onto the work counter and i start to shape the loaves , RIGHT THEN AT THAT PRECISE POINT I get giant bubbles in the dough. When I say giant, I mean huge, the size of peach pits. Needless to say, that makes shaping almost inpossible. In an attempt to locate the problem I went to the very , very basic dough; a lean straight dough. (in other words I deleated the preferment)    TEST DOUGH:  280 gm A.P. Flour

                                                                                   182 gm water

                                                                                    1/2 tsp of instant yeast

                                                                                      1 tsp of salt

This is 65 % hydration.  Measure water, Add instant yeast and stir.   Measure Flour  and add salt and stir well. . Combine the 2 mixes and knead by hand for 2 minutes in a S.S. bowl.   Rest 15 min to hydrate dough. Hand knead 15 min. It always passes the windowpane test. Lightly grease a pyrex container and put the dough into the container. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let bulk ferment for 2 hours. By this time the dough has doubled and I can see tiny, tiny bubbles (smaller than  grains of rice) thru the clear pyrex container, which is exactly what I want. I lightly flour a counter and dump the fermented dough onto the flour. (No problem so far) the dough is quite "spongy" and very sticky. I divide the dough into two pieces with a dough scraper. Still no problem. I very gently coax the dough into oval shapes. NOW HERE COMES THE PROBLEM. I gently lift the back of the dough up and over to the front and using my thumbs I press down and away with my thumbs on the seams (not touching or disturbing the main body of the dough) to seal the seam and tighten the "skin". Instantly I get huge bubbles in the dough.  Now if it was only a matter of one or two bubbles then I´d say , No problem. But that´s not what happens. I get dozens and dozens of huge bubbles. It´s as if, quite suddenly, all of the tiny air pockets have decided to rush to make huge air pockets. I now have a  dough totally covered with huge bubbles.  GRRRR !  

 

P.S. Please keep in mind that this test is not an attemp to make a flavorful bread , it ´s just a way for me to try to understand where the problem lies.   Please help because I´m going crazy with this problem.  Thank you

The problem is no problem at all.

The air bubbles are normal from fermentation, but you must punch down the dough and be forceful with it as you form the loaf.

As you shape the dough you must use the lower part of the palm of your hand to punch air bubbles out and form the dough into the loaf.

shape you want. Simply put.....you need to work on your shaping and forming skills.

post #4 of 19

Gently deflate your dough.  Don't punch it.  What is your water temperature when adding it to the dry ingredients.  Look, I ain't got all day and so my water temp is around 110-120F for a faster rise and I know all about the advantages of slower fermentation.  And so my dough is DOUBLED IN VOLUME (not radius and not diameter) in about 45-60 minutes.

 

When the dough has doubled in volume, the radius (or diameter if you wish) has increased to 1.25 times it's original size.  (1.25 is the cubed root of 2).

 

At that point the dough is gently deflated and rolled into a tight boule and allowed to rest for 20 min..  Then I give it the final shape and allow to proof anywhere between 30-45 minutes before placing into the preheated oven.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

I don´t wish to be argumenative but many formulas in my baking books as cited above call for A.P. flour.  That said. I have used bread flour to make these loaves and the problem remains.

Additionally, it is my understanding that the whole purpose of making baguette or french bread dough is to get a very open crumb. Once again, the above listed authors call for a very gentle handling of the dough once it has been bulk fermented so as too not destroy all of the tiny air sacs which will later expand and create an open crumb and a lighter loaf. If those authors are wrong, PLEASE let me know.  I don´t do ANY deliberate degassing. The authors state that just handling the fermented dough will degass most of the carbon dioxide build up. 

Speaking of handling dough, Peter Reinhart quotes Prof Raymond Clavel, "Use and iron hand but in a velvet glove". Hmm? 

I may be, and probably am, quite dense but I just don´t get that. To me it seems contradictory. Could somebody please spell it out. Pretend you are talking to a child. Haha Seriously. 

Panini, you said, "try proofing at a lower temp". The problem exsists way before proofing. Did you mean during bulk fermentation ? Already pretty chilly. This month the kitchen temp is about 65 F  Brrrrr.

Kokopuff, said be gentle with your deflating. Chefross said be forcefull. Aren´t those opposite actions ? Again here is Mr Dense. Back when I was dating, back in the Dark Ages, I was gentle with my date. Not forcefull. See what  mean ?

Happy baking 

post #6 of 19

I don't think you're being argumentative.

I understand that a lot of formulas call for APF. 

  I can only speak from experience,

I can tell you that if you use a flour with more protein it will have a higher gluten content which will make your dough more dense then it is now.

I was referring to the initial bump temp. You may be letting that go to long, if it's cold, 65 is cold,it will take longer, creating more CO2 and killing off some yeast leaving you with big air.I have a feeling you are going to respond, why the chilled water? Well that dissipates with the friction in mixing.

I have made a few baguettes, in many different ways, and I have always degassed the dough. Firm pressure to form boules. Now I don't get a milk crate and jump up and beat it with a baseball bat.

  I would be gentle referring to a dough that is  slack or sour. I'm just sayin:talk: 

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ricwhiting View Post
 

I don´t wish to be argumenative but many formulas in my baking books as cited above call for A.P. flour.  That said. I have used bread flour to make these loaves and the problem remains.

Additionally, it is my understanding that the whole purpose of making baguette or french bread dough is to get a very open crumb. Once again, the above listed authors call for a very gentle handling of the dough once it has been bulk fermented so as too not destroy all of the tiny air sacs which will later expand and create an open crumb and a lighter loaf. If those authors are wrong, PLEASE let me know.  I don´t do ANY deliberate degassing. The authors state that just handling the fermented dough will degass most of the carbon dioxide build up. 

Speaking of handling dough, Peter Reinhart quotes Prof Raymond Clavel, "Use and iron hand but in a velvet glove". Hmm? 

I may be, and probably am, quite dense but I just don´t get that. To me it seems contradictory. Could somebody please spell it out. Pretend you are talking to a child. Haha Seriously. 

Panini, you said, "try proofing at a lower temp". The problem exsists way before proofing. Did you mean during bulk fermentation ? Already pretty chilly. This month the kitchen temp is about 65 F  Brrrrr.

Kokopuff, said be gentle with your deflating. Chefross said be forcefull. Aren´t those opposite actions ? Again here is Mr Dense. Back when I was dating, back in the Dark Ages, I was gentle with my date. Not forcefull. See what  mean ?

Happy baking 

 

From a baker with more than a couple decades experience working with bread dough everyday, I know that recipes are mere guidelines.

 

I know that making bread at home is no where the same as it is commercially, and that recipe writers offer tips and other preparation techniques in order for the home baker to turn out bakery style or hearth baked loaves.

 

To that end, there ARE some dough that need to be handled carefully as to not deflate those wonderful bubbles, but I also know that some dough benefit from the rough handling. I make French Baguette at work along with Focaccia, Boule's , and others.

 

I do not always understand why the bread books say one thing but a real life baker will just shake their heads. Just sayin'

post #8 of 19

@ricwhiting

 

 http://cosasdefada.com/llibres/Amendola,%20Joseph%20and%20%20Rees,%20Nicole%20-%20Understanding%20Baking~The%20Art%20and%20Science%20of%20Baking,%203d%20ed..pdf

 

It's apparent that you like to read. If you don't have this link or book then I think it's a must read or have.

 Like ChefRoss,I  have been producing for a couple of years. I think I started 45 yrs. ago. I not so sure that I have ever gotten a formula from a published book. I have helped proof a couple of books for friends. Believe it or not, some formulas that are scaled down or up aren't even tested. Then you can also take creative license to change products knowing the reader will probably have that item on hand. ie APF. Trust me, if you're making french  bread, baguette, batards etc. wet proof or dry (balancelle), you're dumping bread flour into that spiral or planetary mixer. 

again, just sayin:bounce:

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the gemerous replies.  OK, I´m convinced, from now on bread flour only in my baguette dough. I´m also convinced that I´m dealing with multiple problem areas. Wrong flour (no matter what the bread book author states ). Also, re dough temp: interesting concept. colder temp (65 F ) kills off some yeast and allowing CO2 to grow out of proportation. I´ll certainly give this area some trials. Though, to be honest, I lived in the tropics for 7 years and I had the same problem there. Hot ? My goodness AFRICA HOT.  

Moving on.  I also think that fermentation is a contributing factor. The less I bulk ferment, after a series of stretches and folds, the fewer giant bubbles I get in my dough during shaping. 

Kokopuffs,  my water temp is whatever room temp is. As you pointed out there are advantages to long slow ferment. But I did not stop to think whether there could be some disadvantages. 

Additionally, as some posters have pointed out, a problem area could be that I have not been deliberately degassing  the fermented dough. I have been, slavishly, following the published recipes, as if they were carved in stone, because the authors state that "most of the gas will be lost during haping so no need to degass prior to shaping."  I´ll give this deflation a few trials. 

post #10 of 19

@ricwhiting

 

I just read through some of the ChefTalk posts and your post. I want to apologize. I should not have immediately disregarded the formulas and chefs you were following. Bread baking is a very individual art especially since you are working with a living product. No disrespect, but I think you are a little intimidated by the dough itself. This is totally natural, mainly because of the many factors that can effect product. I don’t want to seem Zen or anything, but you really have to be one with the dough and make sure you are the alpha dough maker. A few good traits that I picked up along the way are, always make sure the dough is keeping up to you and you never chase the dough. Confidence that the dough and bread will come out great. Put it in the oven knowing you will have a great product when it comes out. You will find out that the formula that works for you will be the best.

OK, bread flour. This is the flour you will find in the bakery. It’s a stronger flour and has more gluten which traps the CO2 in. It is also a more consistent flour with protein at 12-16%. If you find a bread flour that is 15%. That flour will usually be the same every time, decreasing the margin for error. A ‘patent’ hard flour that uses the entire inner endosperm is even better. APF is usually a more inconsistent flour running 10-12% protein. One bag can be 10 and the next can be 12.

When you bench, you want to punch, not hit, and firmly mold your boules. It will remove some CO2 and redistributes the yeast, cover and let it take a nice quiet 15-20 nap to relax the gluten. It also makes the temperature in the boule equal. And this makes it easier to mold. I know, I know, you read… But, one time, try to almost completely remove the gas and mold. Between the gluten, Co2 and a good oven temp. Your bread won’t be dense and heavy. Sorry Long!! I just thought I need to explain my posts.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hello Panini,   Thank you very much for your support and comments.  Interesting thing about my attitude regarding baguette dough is that I have failed so much and I´ve read , and read and read then I get confused because one author says, "Do it this way" ; the next bread book author says something entirely different.  Example, regarding french bread hydration. One says 72 % hydration or higher. The next says 65 % is fine. That´s a pretty big difference. Last night I doublé checked ALL my bread books and not one of them even mentions "punch down" or degassing a baguette dough. In fact they say the opposite. The general idea they push is a very gentle handling of the dough so as to maintain as much gas bubbles as posible. Please don´t get me wrong, I don´t know enough to take sides in this discussion. I just plain don´t know. I´ve watched many videos re; baguettes and I don´t see any punch down of the bulk dough. What i do see is them dumping out a large tub of dough onto the work counter. Then I see them using a bench scrapper to divide the dough and scale it. then i see some pretty rough handling of the dough when shaping. Maybe that is where the degassing takes place ?  incidentially, their dough looks different from mine. When I dump out my bulk ferment I see many small bubbles in the dough. Their dough looks more uniform, smoother. more even textured. Hard to describe. Maybe you understand what I mean.

Ah, well, back to the grindstone.

post #12 of 19

@ricwhiting ,

  In my head there is a big difference in punch and hit. I just got up and still a little groggy. I think I said punch and not hit. When you bench, you're correct. You usually divide and scale with a bench knife.The technique alone of creating the boule will rid the dough of some gas but mostly condense it into a smaller area. In my head, I feel this step is to to put the dough back into a homogenous mass so it can take a nap without kicking it's arms and legs.. So I use enough pressure to get this done.

Then, when I go to mould, is where the degassing is done. Just the technique of molding and trying to achieve length will pretty much remove a good amount of gas. Capiche?

  There are all sorts of mixers and equipment. I was weened on Pavailler equipment, so the mixers were usually spiral. We also had some different techniques. One place had a balancelle to dry proof.

Anyway, we always started with very cold water, most of the times there was a water chiller installed. Then as the dough mixed, the friction of the dough slapping back and forth would create heat. That is where we pulled the gluten out of the flour and incubated the yeast. There will be  gas, but when you dump to bench you shouldn't see big pockets of gas. Now keep in mind, this was 4o something years ago.;)  but I haven't changed my technique. I think I make an ok baguette, although I prefer a Batard.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #13 of 19

Gently deflate.

 

"Typical everyday bread" clocks in around 65-68% hydration and don't micromanage those numbers when you're just embarking on your breadbaking adventure.  Be able to make a typical everyday bread consistently and then you will want to attempt other kinds of breads a different hydration levels.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #14 of 19

Folding or "Punching" the dough, expels gasses, but also helps redistribute the yeast. Doing it gently is one thing, but not doing it at all and going straight to portioning the dough seems a bit odd to me. 

 

that's my two cents.

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

I often watch Jeffery Hammelman´s videos on making baguettes. If you are not familiar with Mr. Hammelman, he is the head baker at King Arthur flour. He has a large tub of fermented dough which he dumps out onto his work counter. If you watch him you will notice that he does not do any "punch-down" He moves directly to scaling and preshaping the baguette dough. I´m sure that he feels that the preshaping and the following shaping expels plenty of gas. Last night I tried to copy his style ,step-by-step, (Just as soon as I started to preshape,  those x-large gas bubbles popped up but I just mashed them down ) But I think I over did it because my finished ,baked loaf , was a very closed crumb , though still delicious.

My thinking was to follow advice posted here on being more firm with the dough.

Though, to be honest, a home baker does not need to save time like a professional would when he is produced hundreds of loaves in a shift. That said, my next batch will be "punched down" prior to preshaping.

post #16 of 19

@ricwhiting

Well I guess I'm not able to pen what I'm thinking. As I get older it gets worse. I have something called chemo brain:mad:

You mentioned Hamelmam.That's one technique. Jeff usually uses a poolish when mixing. He takes the dough to the bench very young. look it up. I cannot recall him dumping the first fermentation right on

to the bench. With the process he uses, you need to remove the first ferment, then pat down and fold and return to bucket. You can do this a couple of times. When he dumps on to the bench for dividing and scaling I know he will will fold over to get a cohesive mass. Then he'll cut and weigh.Then I'm sure he does this:

".The technique alone of creating the boule will rid the dough of some gas but mostly condense it into a smaller area. In my head, I feel this step is to to put the dough back into a homogenous mass so it can take a nap "

Then he will pat,fold,punch,"Try punching lightly with open fingers down like pizza dough before forming."  then fold and seal. When forming baguette ",Just the technique of molding and trying to achieve length will pretty much remove a good amount of gas. Capiche?"

For now just keep trying and take the word" punch" out of your vocabulary for a while. One thing I would like to know is what type of mixer you are using. and what type of yeast youur using.

The bold stuff is from my earlier posts.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi Panini,   I was using a Kitchenaid 5 qt mixer, but now I hand knead all my bread. Just to refresh your memory, I use a Poolish 100 gm Bread Flour, !00 gram water and a tiny, tiny amount of instant yeast. (1/4 cup water mixed with 1/8 tsp of instant yeast. I stir well and use ONLY 2 tsp of the yeasted water) this is less than 1/32nd of a tsp of yeast granules. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit on counter  ; It takes about 14 hrs to ripen and double in volume. There are thousands of tiny, tiny bubbles in the ripe Poolish. And it smells strongly of alcohol, which is supposedly a good thing.

 

Total amounts:   350 gm of bread flour            Poolish: 100 gm bread flour                    Dough: 250 gm of bread flour

                         227 gm water                                     100 gm of water                                  127 gm water

                         3/8 tsp instant yeast                              2 tsp of the yeasted water.                3/8 tsp instant yeast

                         1 and 1/4 tsp salt                                                                                          1 and 1/4 tsp salt

                                                                                                                                             All of the Poolish

 

The rest of the formula is as normal. Bread flour with a 65% hydration. In the morning I autolyse most of the raw flour with all of the water for 30 minutes. I then add the yeast and the Poolish.  Mix in well (again, by hand) . I then add in the salt mixed with a few TBLSP flour which I have held back. I then hand knead in a lg S.S. bowl (never adding ANY extra flour ) for 10 minutes. Dough is now smooth and shiney. And passes the window-pane test. Place in a lightly greased S.S. bowl. Rest 20 min; 1st stretch and fold Rest 20 min 2nd stretch and fold. Back in greased bowl, cover and let double about 2- 2 1/2 hrs. If it is rising too fast I degass and continue for the total time.(another 1 hr or so.

Dump out onto a floured counter, divide in 2 pieces. Lightly pat down to a 5" x 3" rectangle.  From here on I strictly follow Hamelman´s baguette forming. DURING PRESHAPING AND ALSO DURING SHAPING I GET MANY,MANY BIG, GRAPE SIZE BUBBLES. GRRRR !   

When I changed the total hydration from 72 % to 65 % I got fewer big bubbles, but that is the only thing which has had ANY impact. I even went to a straight dough, same prob.. Oh, yeah, I had the same problem bubbles machine mixing. I have changed bread flour numerous times also changed instant yeast brands. Even changed water supply many times

I think tomorrow I will go with a 60 % hydration and see how that works.

Thank you for sticking with me.

post #18 of 19
The other thing that I just happened to think of to ask.... Are you at high altitude?
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hello. Panini,    Success at last ! Yahoo !  It was the hydration rate all along.  As you may recall, I dropped from 72 % to 65 % ; that helped, fewer large bubbles. Today I dropped again down to 60% hydration rate. There were far fewer bubbles and they were too small to worry about.  Of course, there was a price to pay. I got a much less open crumb.  But I think that may be cured by a longer bulk fermentation and/or a longer final proof of the finished loaves.   Additionally, today I ran a test on the "punch down" on a diifferent loaf.  Very tight crumb ; much like a plain white sandwich loaf. 

So, the biggest nemisis is banished. I was beginning to despair of ever riding my self of those &=$ " !  huge bubbles. I may have to re-learn how to develop this new formula in order to obtain a wide open crumb and certainly I´ll need to work on thinning out the crust because I want a shatteringly crisp crust. The taste, however is still "spot-on".  

In answer to your question , no I´m not at high altitude I´m at sea-level, San Diego.

Hydration ? Go figure !   Thank you all for your in-put.

QAlso, Panini, I want to thank you for alerting me to the failings  of Cook.Book authors. They are not related to the Bread God.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pastries & Baking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › Major problem with my lean dough