Crust and consistency issues
Posted: 08 January 2011 10:55 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello,

I made my first loaf of sourdough today using TBB and Tartine Bread Cookbook loaf, which is a very wet loaf with long rise times.

While the dough seemed good up through the first rise, for the final rise it did not rise nearly as much as I thought it would. When I baked it in a dutch oven, it stayed flatter than I would have liked. Perhaps one reason is that it stuck to the cloth a lot and so I had difficulty removing it and I think it deflated in that time. Would simply adding more flour to the cloth resolve this?

The other issue is that while the crust has a good consistency, the color looks splotched and uneven. In the baking process, the lid is removed after 20 minutes of baking. Finally, the crumb seemed a bit dense and even a little sticky - not as big of bubbles as I would have liked to see. How do I fix these issues?

Thanks so much!
Will

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Posted: 08 January 2011 11:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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walevitt - 09 January 2011 02:55 AM

Finally, the crumb seemed a bit dense and even a little sticky - not as big of bubbles as I would have liked to see.

Really hard to diagnose remotely, as you know, so I’ll just throw out some random ideas.  The flatness and denseness seem like symptoms of overproofing.  Possibly deflating the dough prior to baking produces the same symptoms.  Did you use the rice flour mixed with wheat flour as the Tartine book recommends?  Also, there’s the possibility of lack of structure.  Have you used the stretch and fold methods previously?  What sort of flour were you using?  Also, the bread looks lighter in color than the Tartine bread normally does.  Its color might have been more uniform with more time in the oven.  Did you preheat for a long time?

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Posted: 09 January 2011 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hello,
Thanks for the fast reply.
How would I tell if it is overproofed? Also, for rising perhaps the temperature was too high as I did his recommendation of turning on the oven briefly with a baking stone in it and then turning it off and putting the dough in there to ferment. I did not use rice flower, only bread flour, which was probably a mistake. I have used the stretch and fold methods previously, but again possibly not that well. I used bread flour instead of all-purpose as TBB says that gives it more structure - thoughts here? I did preheat for a long time - would you recommend baking it overall for a longer period.

Thanks so much!

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Posted: 09 January 2011 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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walevitt - 09 January 2011 05:08 PM

How would I tell if it is overproofed? Also, for rising perhaps the temperature was too high as I did his recommendation of turning on the oven briefly with a baking stone in it and then turning it off and putting the dough in there to ferment. I did not use rice flower, only bread flour, which was probably a mistake. I have used the stretch and fold methods previously, but again possibly not that well. I used bread flour instead of all-purpose as TBB says that gives it more structure - thoughts here? I did preheat for a long time - would you recommend baking it overall for a longer period.

Thanks so much!

It’s probably hard to overproof a sourdough, since the rising is so slow.  Still, the time left for proofing should be only a guide and the condition of the dough should be the final arbiter.  The normal measure is poking an indentation with your finger and seeing how quickly it fills back up.  If it fills very slowly, the dough is proofed; if it doesn’t fill at all, it might be overproofed.  Using the warm oven increases the possibility of overproofing.  I’ve abandoned this technique in favor of adding warm water to the dough if I want to accelerate the proofing.  Normally, I don’t, and wish to slow it down.  Oh, let me also throw out the idea of underproofing.  Is your sourdough culture strong?

But I didn’t mean to imply that overproofing was likely; I was suggesting that if you inadvertently deflated the dough, you might get similar results.  After all, what is overproofing but dough deflation?  Many people consider that rice flour is the best anti-stick substance that we can use, so its absence might have contributed to your sticking problem.  I use plastic bannetons, so I don’t have experience using the floured kitchen towel technique.

As for color, if you Google on Tartine bread, I think you’ll see that the bread is very dark.  The darker the bread, the more powerful the flavor.

BTW, I haven’t made the Tartine bread, so take what I say with a grain of salt.  I just bought the book a couple of weeks ago and don’t have the right kind of Dutch oven to attempt it.

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Posted: 09 January 2011 10:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks for the advice! I’ll try it out again and let you know what happens.

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Posted: 12 January 2011 11:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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So I made the bread again today and it turned out great! Thanks so much for the advice!

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Posted: 12 January 2011 11:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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walevitt - 13 January 2011 03:15 AM

So I made the bread again today and it turned out great! Thanks so much for the advice!

I’m sure it had nothing to do with me, but it was kind of you to say that.  Can you tell us what you think made the difference?  It will help our troubleshooting skills.

Thanks!

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Posted: 13 January 2011 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Biggest things that I did differently was pay more attention when doing the folds and turns during the bulk rise, and then making sure that it didn’t stick to the cloth during the final rise. Also, used scissors to slash it, which I found helpful.

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