the verdict on shaping

hi all,

just pulled my latest batch out of the oven, and am curious about something. I'm getting good crumb and internal structure, but the dough is really lifting in the oven, and not keeping its shape all that well. I'm shaping then proving in floured towels, and the shape is there when it goes into the oven, but for some reason i'm getting way too much initial kick. the bread is great, but i would love to hear any tips or pointers for maintaining a better shape. thanks all


31 comments

Nowon,

It would help if I had a picture to work with, but I'll have a crack none the less.

If your dough is llifting in the oven it means it's well conditioned. However, if a little underproof it'll have a tendency to split in an unsightly manner. Conversely, if a little over proof it'll tend to flatten out. So, it should be clear that proof time is a balance, not too much and not too little. After a bit of time at baking in your place you're instinct will get keener. By feel you'll know exactly what to expect. But there is a technique to mitagate the problem. Cutting the dough piece prior to entering the oven contrary to popular belief is not primarily to decorate the bread but control the oven expansion. Of course, it's best if done correctly then expansion is controled but decorated bread will also result.

Next tip; you may need to improve on your shaping technique which may also be the reason for the irregular resulting shape, but again unless you are able to get some training from an experienced hand you'll need to learn from your mistakes.

In the mean while you may find this thread from some time back which deals with this very problem. [url=http://sourdough.com.au/?q=forum/topic/418][b]here[/b][/url]
There is nothing wrong with a good oven spring if the dough is ripe. What do you mean...is it bursting or cracking? Describe it mate...what happens ? do you slash it or dock it? into oven on trays or....?what temp? what kind of oven? how proof was it? etc .........................


 

just cut the loaf, and it came out really well, so very happy. I have some pics, but havnt worked out how to post them yet (am still learning this game!)

As for the other questions - I bake in a 30 year old gas oven with a single burner at the back with the door tied on with rope (lets just say the temperature control and hot spots are 'interesting'. I use a seperate thermometer, and think i have a handle on it). the bread is started at 250C for the first ten minutes, then dropped to 200 for the remainder. this is also on a baking stone. I played around with temps a lot trying to find the combo that gives the best result, and this setup seems to be working in terms of the finished product. I shape the bread before its final proof, usually into a baton, using two floured towels to maintain the shape untill ready to bake. I always slash lengthways, either straight down the centre or just off to one side. when i started doing this the result was good, but i was using a lot drier dough, and not nearly as developed. whats changed is that the slash is just filling up as the dough kicks, and you can barely tell i've done it at all. the crust looks good, i just cant work out why the slash is filling out and not maintaining that distinct cut. once slashed, i slide it onto the stone, and remove the peel (i use semolina dusted baking paper).

the results are good, and considering i'm learning just by playing around (and having a heap of fun, not to mention some really nice meals!), I'm happy with the results. i initially was shooting for the internal texture, and think i have a handle on that. next was the flavour, and thats definately improving. now, i just want to make the loaves a little prettier. this is all learning, and the art of it fascinates me.

if anyone could point me to how to post pics, i can post them up

cheers all


Hi Nowonmai, later I'll put up tutorial showing you step by step, but for now click on 'Gallery' at the top of the site, then click 'Your Album' and start from there. Then follow the instructions on the Personal Albums page.

sounds like you are right,it would have to be a softish dough, but also sounds good to me. i think i know the aesthetic you want, so cut deeper with the blade,and off centre,with the blade at an angle....cut deep into it at least 20cm....or if it is baugetteish, go with leaf cuts?...deep

 If that doesnt give what you want,cut down vertically, at least that deep,well to the side...you have to cut it open, rather than just run the blade into the doughs skin....but some like doing that, getting what you want to avoid. 

otherwise,just make a less-soft dough,... or give it less proof....theres a few ways...but id also like to see the pics. 


 

[quote=JohnD]

sounds like you are right,it would have to be a softish dough, but also sounds good to me. i think i know the aesthetic you want, so cut deeper with the blade,and off centre,with the blade at an angle....cut deep into it at least 20cm....or if it is baugetteish, go with leaf cuts?...deep

 If that doesnt give what you want,cut down vertically, at least that deep,well to the side...you have to cut it open, rather than just run the blade into the doughs skin....but some like doing that, getting what you want to avoid. 

otherwise,just make a less-soft dough,... or give it less proof....theres a few ways...but id also like to see the pics. 

[/quote]

 

I bet you meant 20mm not 20cm!

________________________________

Nowon, cutting is an art to get the desired result, technical and aesthetic. The angle of the blade, the depth of the cut, and the placement of the cut, all determine the final results. Generally speaking, if the dough is a little under proof it will require a deeper cut. Over proof a little shallower.

But again, try to post a pic so our suggestions my be tailored exactly for your need.

 

 

no,i meant 20cm lol,yeh thanks danube man!........20mm.

The cuts i do on my "casalinga",3 wavy lines (in my pics),are taken from a shield design of the local peoples (kaurna),which is my tribute to them,and makes the loaf decidedly un-european,which i wanted...local content.


 

or 20cm in "depth"?
I said "cut it deep" revised to 20mm.?


 

though ambiguous, is surely not worth haggling over. Carry on, I apologise for stalling your tempo. 

 

 

[quote=JohnD]

no,i meant 20cm lol,yeh thanks danube man!........20mm.

The cuts i do on my "casalinga",3 wavy lines (in my pics),are taken from a shield design of the local peoples (kaurna),which is my tribute to them,and makes the loaf decidedly un-european,which i wanted...local content.

[/quote]

Link please? Or is it in your book? I went over to the gallery but couldn't find any JohnD-owned gallery....


ok, the pics are up in a personal gallery, let me know if you can see them. I'm happy with the colour and crust, just couldnt get that shape!

interesting experiment with these loaves. it was the same dough, split into two. the initial ferment had12 hours or so, then another 10 hours after mixing the dough (this includes kneading, and three folds spaced over 3 hours). both were proved overnight in the fridge after shaping, then the smaller was baked on the baking stone. the internal structure was mega-holey, and very light and chewy (didnt take a pic, the loaf was eaten before i thought of it!) both loaves were brought to room temp before baking, but probably were slightly underproofed when put in oven.

the larger loaf had an additional 6 hours proving in the fridge, and was re-shaped and baked on a dusted oven tray. same temps, but no stone. the crust was identical, but the internal structure was much less holey, as the photo shows. I'm guessing the re-shaping knocked out some of the developed holes? both breads had a great flavour, but next days off i'm going to try a shorter fermentation, and no retarding in fridge, see what results that gives. When i get back to my mixer back home, i'm going to work more on the kneading, as the dough is almost too wet to knead by hand (although following a technique taught to me by a friend seems to give good results).

opinions?


Here:

 

A question; 12 hours fermentation for the sourdough and a further 10 hours prior to final moulding, and then all shaped up for the fridge over night? If so the "dough to oven time" (DTO) is too long and will definately be the cause of this lack of opening in the cuts.

Just a couple of comments:

Spring in dough during the initial baking period is largely due to several factors. But in summary; rapid gas and steam production obviously, but also gas and steam retaining properties of the protein and the starch. In wheat bread dough the protein plays a more significant role. In your case perhaps the former seems satisfactory but if the DTO is too long insuffcient gas wil be produced. As well as that, the latter will be impared as the protein looses it's ability to stretch to retain the gas produced. Of course, protein strength will degarde as the gassing power is reduced. There must be adequate sugars to produce gas in the oven but there also must be adequate protein condition to cope. If the DTO time is too long you'll have insufficient movement.

In order to get the best out of the protein in the oven it needs to be ripe, mellow, flexible, but strong at the same time as the gassing power is at optimum. It also greatly helps if your moulding produces tension in the protein when achieving the final shape. This tensioning allows the dough to expand in a predictable direction as the proteins are alligned.

To achieve this mellow yet strong protein the mixing and maturity must be optimum. In most cases novices tend to mix too little and don't control their dough temperature during mixing and ferementation.  Try a few of these;

  • make the dough with cooler water
  • mix until the dough shows signs of clearing
  • during the resting keep cooler and perhaps shorter
  • when final shaping use a moulding action to tension and produce the final shape
  • don't reshape after final shaping and long refrigerated time.(this increases the DTO time and produces excess maturity in your protein, making it unable to cope with the stress of additonal gas and steam that is produced, but it'll also reduce the ability to produce gas)
  • shorten the time from final mould to oven entry (final proof)
  • Take care when transfering to the peel not to rupture the dough structure
  • cut on an angle once but with purpose as John said

 

 

The crumb has a nice sheen and I bet it's very elastic. I hope I've helped.

See the diagram below for the angle of the cut, of course it should be 20cm's long! [img]http://sourdough.com.au/modules/smileys/packs/example/wink.png[/img] [img]http://sourdough.com.au/modules/smileys/packs/example/cool.png[/img]

[IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b317/plutrach/angleofcut.jpg[/IMG]



On the "home" page,go to Sth Aust.my name. Theres only one,i thought there were more,and its not super clear,but you can see what i mean on some loaves that are visible.

That was the greatest little oven. I could do 200 loaves in a day by myself for a farmers mkt, which is great for a "home" bake.

Hey i cant believe u are fermenting for that long? why? Danubian is right on as to why the cuts didnt open...no juice left! My regular bread is dough to oven in 5-6hrs, and i think thats ideal generally, and can be less.

What % of the flour weight is your leaven when you add it to make the dough?


 


 

thats brilliant, thanks very much! i wish i had photos of the crumb of the smaller loaf, it had the really defined holey structure and a real sheen to it. I will try less time from fridge to oven first, because i'm already mixing the dough resonably cold, and i'll try for a shorter fermentation at room temp (the reason i'm doing it the way i am is to try to slow the proving enough so the flavour really developes. as i said in another post, my starter is incredibly active, but takes time to develope the flavour i'm after. the dough usually proves in about half the time i'm aiming for, hence the fridge retarding).

thanks also for the insight into the re-shaping after fridging. I was trying to work out why the same dough would respond differently after just a few hours, and thats answered it perfectly.

as for the total time, this is the general run of how i do it. i would love any feedback on it.

I mix the ferment late on the first night. for a total weight of flour of 800g (50g rye, 150g wholemeal, 600g white) i mix half this weight with 500g water, and 300g wholemeal starter. this is then left in the fridge for 6 hours, then at room temp for another 5. i then add the balance of the flour, and autolyse for 20 mins. the dough is then kneaded for a short time, left for ten minutes, kneaded again, left for ten minutes. I add the salt, knead again, and leave for 1/2 hour. the dough is the split, then folded once an hour for the next three hours. i then shape, and fridge for around 8-10 hours, on a tray, with floured towels to hold the shape, and wet towels over the dough (havnt had any dryin out probs yet). i pull it out, bring it up to room temp, then slide it onto baking stone using semolina dusted baking paper as the peel (the dough sits on this overnight, so its real gentle when it goes in the oven.
I am a total novice, but the fun is definately in the doing. it makes a nice change from being a chef, and its another skill to learn for sure. even when the results arnt what i wanted, it still tastes brilliant, and i can always try again!

thanks again for the advice, i'll put it into practise for sure, and keep posting pics as i go...


 



its hard to explain - the cuts do open, but they 'fill up' rather than split. the reason for the extended proving is the flavour that comes from it, i'm addicted! plus, i'm kinda teaching myself as i go, so its all experiments at this stage. I just posted my rough schedule for it if that helps.

i use 300g leaven for 800g flour, with 500g water and about 1 tbsp salt. i have done loaves at the same time schedule as you say, but i find the sour flavour doesnt develope enough for me...its a work in progress, and still getting all that nasty OJ outa my starter! the interesting thing is there is still plenty of life in the dough, it starts expanding quite happily once out of the fridge, and i never have collapsing issues. i also dont think i was slashing any where near deep enough, so next days off will try that as well.

its all fun, cause as a beginner even my mistakes are good, cause i can learn from them. and the end result is damned tasty!


with a sourdough of 12hrs with a starter weight of 50% of the flour to be acidified (FTA) with a DTO time for the final bread dough of 20 hrs (15 hrs refigerated) your flour has a maltose defficiency and or insufficient starch damage (if home ground).

The step of refrigerating the sourdough during the fermentation is definately a retrograde step. It prevents full maturity and development of the flora as well as their by-products (immaturity) at incorporation with the bread dough. The formula I posted is a balanced formula. Each step is tuned to fit with the former and latter steps. If one is changed they will all need to be adjusted to bring back balance. But if you follow it to the letter without sufficient amylase activity or insufficient starch damage you'll never get the acidity, volume and oven spring you're looking for.
the activity of the dough is virile but that's not the crux of the issue.

Good luck.

thanks as always! acid is very apparent with the steps i did last time, but still trying to play with it. if i omit the fridge step, and just bake from straight prove after the folding, will that aid in controlling the kick in the oven?

like i said, the flavour is not the issue now (i think the biggest thing that changed it was losing the OJ!), i'm just learning a small step at a time.

I really appreciate the input though, and would love more opinions if i post more photos as i go?


 


[quote=JohnD]

On the "home" page,go to Sth Aust.my name. Theres only one,i thought there were more,and its not super clear,but you can see what i mean on some loaves that are visible.

That was the greatest little oven. I could do 200 loaves in a day by myself for a farmers mkt, which is great for a "home" bake.

[/quote]

I really love those zig-zaggy slashes (not forgetting to say the sight of the half nekkid baker was a bonus ;) ). Mind if I borrow it sometimes?


[quote=nowonmai]

 if i omit the fridge step, and just bake from straight prove after the folding, will that aid in controlling the kick in the oven?

I really appreciate the input though, and would love more opinions if i post more photos as i go?[/quote]

[quote=Danubian][i]"The step of refrigerating the sourdough during the fermentation is definately a retrograde step. It prevents full maturity and development of the flora as well as their by-products (immaturity) at incorporation with the bread dough."[/i] [/quote]

Omit the step of refrigerating during sourdough fermentation (during the first 12 hours) which is prior to putting the balance of the ingredients together to form the final bread dough.

From the completion of mixing the final bread dough until it enters the oven, regardless whether the dough is knocked or folded, proved, refrigerated or what, etc. is the "Dough to Oven Time" (DTO) time. During the DTO time which shouldn't extend beyond the 20 or so hours mentioned in the formula posted in the other thread, you may refrigerate which will assist in producing acid. However, the stronger the acid intensity and the greater the volume of acid produced in the dough there is a corresponding decrease in bread volume (within bounds). But saying that, the formula posted is a good first approximation of a desired balance between the two.

If you want to increase the oven spring and achieve good volume you may shorten the DTO time, and allow more expansion in the oven and slightly less during final proof. The dough will only perform - increase in volume - within certain limits, the baker can prove a little less and allow a little more oven expansion. But again this is a balancing act.    

I'd be pleased to see more photos and assist where ever I can as best as I can.

One more thing, just for trial a test if you like ....try to buy some commercial flour, organic stone ground and white flour is best, and add some diastatic malt to the sourdough and the the bread dough at .5% of the flour weight of each and folow the formula posted in that previous thread. See if there is a difference compared to your home ground.

Please don't think I'm disregarding your own bread or home ground but I'm keen to show you and discover if there are any defficiencies in amylase enzymes and or starch damage in your home ground.

 

any advice or assistance is greatly appreciated! this bread was made with my own ground wholemeal, but the white flour was 'kialla' organic. at work the other day i made a couple of plain white loaves using ordinary bread flour (cheap, nasty, and very high in protein). the results were fantastic in terms of structure and spring, but the flavour was definately lacking.  I am sprouting barley as we speak, so will trial using the formula as soon as it is ready.

I think i need to go and spend some time in a good bakery as well, so i can see the differences. so little time, and so much to learn!!


Is this similar to the cut and expansion that you're looking for?

[IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b317/plutrach/depthofcut.jpg[/IMG]

30% organic stoneground - although typically stoneground has higher ash content which also means higher amylase activity - even so I add some diastatic malt to offset the amylase  defficiency common in Australian flours.


thats very similar! i have 2 doughs on the go atm, so will post pics when they are baked. one i know is not going to shape well, the dough is too wet, but the other should be ok. i've gone with the same ratios as last time, but have followed your schedule in proving times (i will go for your recipe formula when i have two days off, damn the long weekend!) the wetter of the two i slightly decreased the salt and added about 50mls more water, going for that ciabbatta texture, and the other i stuck exactly to what i did last time, cause it tasted great.

pics will be up tommorow or late tonight, wish me luck!


Ok, here they are, I've posted them. I've got to say they look just great, while not perfect, you should be rightly be satisfied with the result. I'll be interested to hear how they tasted. 

For us to follow the story of these loaves can you give detail of the process you employed?

 


Here are the internal pics, I assume this is from the loaf on the right?

 

And this from the left?


yup, the internals are right. the method for these loaves was as follows. I made the initial mix of 300g starter or poolish (mine is wholemeal), 500ml water, 150g wholemeal flour and 250g white flour. this was fridged for 6 hours, then left at warm room temp for another 6 (about 30degrees, cause of the heat outside). this mix was split, and 200g flour added to each, along with another 50ml water in one. Autolised for 20mins, , kneaded for 10 secs, left for ten minutes, then repeated twice more. left for 30 mins, then kneaded once more with salt, and folded. folded twice more over 2 hours, then proved on peel dusted with semolina, using tea towels as bannetons. the wetter loaf was dusted with semolina, then baked on stone at 250 for 10 mins, then 25 at 200. The other dough was proved in a cooler spot, and went in the oven straight after at the same temps. I slashed the wetter one lenghtways, but not nearly deep enough, so it just filled in (i also got massive spring from both loaves). the other loaf had better slashes, but i didnt angle them lenghtways enough, or go deep enough. really happy with the result though, and means i'm slowly heading in the right direction i hope!

the flavour of the two was identical, very sweet and almost honeyish flavour with a reasonably pronounced sour tang, but not overwhelming. very caramelly crust, and smooth and tangy crumb. probably the best tasting loaves i've made yet!! the only problem is i dont have enough to last the week:)


Did you use "starter" (sourdough) or "poolish" (yeast sponge)?

Did you remove the starter for the next batch or was it also added to the final stage?

Just a few thoughts;

  • why such a complex method?
  • why refrigerate the starter/poolish?
  • how long was the final proof?

 

Not to be pedantic; I've posted a few comments on the issue of bakery language and definitions to assist clarification. Links are attached.

[quote=John D]

ken oath...thats why we have

ken oath...thats why we have terminology...so we can talk to each other and understand what is being said.

 A"Poolish" is a batter of flour and water with yeast/a "biga" is the same..they are what UK bakers called a sponge,and its come from barm technology,because when you have the barm active,the next stage is to make a sponge/biga/poolish to proliferate the yeast in a flour substrate,as its come from a wort. Then when this is ripe,a dough is made.When commercial ready made yeast started being used,the terminology was just carried over, and the French adopted it (poolish means Polish) because historically they made very little barm bread themselves, and so had no word for this tech.

There is no equivalent in sourdough ,although it could be contrived...yeast and sourdough are different  systems,and only the basics of bread tech crossover.

At the moment there is some confusion among soudough bakers because the terminology is being re-invented. The French have a surviving exact terminology for s/d,but in using American and yeast terminology as well, what we have is a hybrid ,hence Danuman has been asking people to be precise about "starter"/"sourdough"/leaven etc.and its difficult because in this era,there is no agreed common terminology. Im as guilty as everybody,largely because i didnt want to adopt the French terms because im not French and i live in an Anglo-Celtic culture...and i wanted to avoid the pretension which seems to haunt French culinary.

This is why we need a strong ABA to launch projects like a terminology for s/d so we all know what we mean...its no good you talking French "levain" or "poolish", when im talking yankee "starter" or English "leaven". Language is also plastic in that the word "leaven" has become a verb and it used to be a proper noun,as is "levain". Some will even use the term "mother" which is totally incorrect for a bread starter of any kind. 

So we are all free yes,but that easily leads to license. Which is basically why we have laws.[/quote]

From [url=http://sourdough.com.au/?q=blog/johnd/1149][b]here[/b][/url]

 

[quote=Danubian]

doughman wrote:
Danubian, out of curiosity...how long of a 1st and 2nd fermentation did you give these breads, and what % of starter did you add in the final dough?

I guess here's an example of the need for a specific nomenclature for sourdough baking. Bakers in Australia have a nomenclature for many of their processes, etc. but not a specific nomenclature for the sourdough process, and to the extent that it exists, it's 'confused' as it's a hybrid of American and European, which have differences.

When you use the term "starter" you are referring to the acidified dough that's added to the final bread dough. This usage as far as I can tell is American. However, when I use the term "starter" I'm referring to the mature acidified dough used to inoculate a new batch of acidified dough that will be added to the final bread dough. As far as I can tell this usage is European.

To recapitulate;

American usage;

·                  starter = acidified dough added to the final bread dough (sourdough)

 European usage;

·                  starter = mature sourdough used to inoculate a new batch of flour and water to become the acidified dough (sourdough) added to the final bread dough.

 

Doughman, this is not a criticism of your usage, only a clarification so we can both understand each other.[/quote]

From [url=http://sourdough.com.au/?q=forum/topic/1093#comment-8471][b]here[/b][/url]


 

 

 

jeesus, all the terminology is a little complex for me! i use a 'starter', that is maintained with daily feedings of water and wholemeal flour. to make a dough, i remove the weight of starter i need, then the remainder is fed, and refridgerated for the week untill i bake again.

as for why i fridge the first part of the dough, i found that it gives the best result both in flavour and gluten developement. i could leave it at room temp, but it would be well past its peak by the time i get to use it (this method also fits in with my schedule). by fridging for the first 6 hours, then room temping for the second, the ferment is near its peak by the time i finally mix and start to knead.

as for the complexity? i didnt think it was complex! i just found that with the hydration i am using, the dough is too wet to handle in the initial stages, so the extended kneading makes life a bit easier untill i get back to my mixer. the folding i do because i love the crumb structure that results. the final proof after the folding was 2 hours for the first loaf, and 3 for the second. i found that with the ambient temp of my kitchen (about 35C), left any longer and it all collapses!

what do you mean by complex? do you think i'm overdoing it? would be curious to know how you would change it, as any input is always welcome!!


aside from specifics, does it look like tasty and well textured bread to you? i was really happy with the result, but a professional opinion from you or any other on this site would be really appreciated (i'm kinda in awe of what you guys produce, and am very grateful that you take the time to help a novice like me out)

I'm a good chef, but as a baker i have a looooooooong way to go!!


I was trying to be sure your "starter" was what I call "sourdough" or if it was in fact a "poolish"! Did you ever put bakers yeast in your starter/sourdough, ever?

I'm trying to understand your process in detail. The things that seem unimportant to the novice are sometimes crittical and recognised by the trained eye. You're a chef; you know what I mean.

Sorry to be pedantic, again, but I could argue that "specifics" is what its all about! But yes, it's probably quite edible with interesting flavour, and you've described interesting flavours, but you'd be the best judge of its taste (flavour and aroma), and mouth feel because I can't taste it from here, but you can.

So far I've go this, and to allow easier reading and for the sake of accuracy, although I've made the assumption that your starter make up is 1:1 flour : water, and you've got somewhere close to 2% salt. I post 1 of your formulae thus;

Your dough totals

                                               wt.                  %

  • flour/meal (includes starter)  .750                100
  • water             "          "        .700                  93.3
  • salt    (assume)                   .015                   2 
  • TOTAL                              1.450              195.3

 

That is a lot of water to produce the type of shape you're making. If I were to do it with that height of absorption I'd be making a ciabatta type of shape/method, spread out on a dusted bench and cutting out rectangle shapes with no need to slash or cut the dough your process doesn't really require it as far as I can see. To me your process is very labour intensive and needlessly complex. 

The collapsing over longer final proof is understandable given that much water. Just a thought about simplifying, you could make this into a stratight dough with resting and it would be easier in my opinion.

But this excercise has revealed you've already got a method and shape that works for you in mind, and as long as you're happy with the bread and process I fail to see why you want to change it? It's your creation and it appears to be good, well done!

no, i never put yeast in any form into my starter. the only additives other than flour and water that i have used was the oj (big mistake!), and yogurt, which gave a great flavour but i stopped doing because it didnt seem necessary.

the salt content you mention is about right. and please dont get me wrong, i'm very interested in the specifics of what i'm doing and how they can be improved, i'm just still learning the bakers language!

i'm trying an experiment with spelt flour at work tommorow, and using a drier dough, so will let you know how that one comes out.

thanks again!