Wet dough issur; bread flattening out


Hey guys, I have a small problem with my sourdough breads. I use a standard wheat starter, and try to work out from the method described in Tartine book - going for aprox 70% hydration. I mix my leaven, let it bubble up, mix my dough sans salt. After a half hour I work in salt and a little more water and sort of handknead it until it has a nice soft consistency and it starts sticking to my hand again. Put in box, "turn" once every half hour for like 3 hours. Pour on table, do a stretch and fold 4 times at 10 min interval, then shape up a nice package which does feel tight and the gluten is well developed. (Infact, already when I remove the dough from the cointainer after the turns I can usually take a hold of the top of the dough, pull, and the entire dough will come out from the container without any breaks.)

I transfer to a towel covered banneton and slap it in the fridge overnight. Next day, take it out, let it rise for 3-4 hours until it can pass the poke test. But now comes the problem; when I transfer it to my dutch oven baker thingie, it is as if though the loaf halves in height and doubles in width - sort of flats out. As if the structure of the loaf is simply too "loose", if this is the correct term. I am abit at a loss as to what to do here. It seems as if though you are not supposed to knead for any length of time to develop the gluten. Doing the turns should be sufficient for that, and stretch and folds should tigthen the outer surface of the dough for it to hold its shape. I should mention I make "long" breads, not circular ones. Any help and advice you can offer I will really appreciate! 

318 users have voted.


Loaf for Life 2012 July 31

Hi, sounds like a good set of steps. One question why the 3-4 rise after your overnight fridge? It seems that this is the overkill for the gluten. Due to the overnight fridge the dough has developed optimally and these additional 3-4 h at room temperature I assume is just an overkill, over-developed and all your gluten will have be broken down by the bacteria that developed during the fridge stage! I would suggest out of the fridge for a couple of minutes and bake! Works for my! And th eother thing is that the teh steps until the fridge are now at much higher temperature so the whole development of your dough will be faster anyway! So keep a good feel and shorten these steps during a real hot summer like this.. :-)



Badnikl 2012 July 31

I use a loaf baking deal with 3 1/4 circle tube like holders, and let it rise there and bake on it, with out transfering.


Also, when doing a round loaf, I rise it on a pie tin that is cut to fit my dutch oven.  Placing the dough and tin into my hot dutch oven using a strip of parchment paper, and lower the whole deal into the dutch oven.  I used to place it in, but had a similar problem to yours.

Thraundil 2012 July 31

Hey Loaf for Life. The 3-4 hours after the fridge is because I used to bake another sort of bread which was bulk fermented for a much shorter time (2 hours) and then shaped and fridged. Those are lower hydration and needed the extra room temp time to fully develop. I will try what you said, and cut the final room temp proofing step! It seems to make a lot of sense that this final step simply kills what I made during the fridge step. (the dough also felt firmer coming out of the fridge, silly me just attributed this to the loaf being cold!) 

robin 2012 September 20

I use Tartine's method as well, but I don't let it rise at room temp after the fridge.  It pretty much goes straight into the oven.  Seems to work really well for me.  The only other thing I'd check is that your starter is ready to go - follow Tartine's check of seeing if a bit of starter floats in water.  

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