“voids” in my boules
Posted: 23 April 2008 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Over the past few weeks I’ve made about 6 hearth breads, let’s say 3 each Basic Hearth and Heart of Wheat.  All have tasted fantastic.  The last few I’ve used a brotform (the willow basket from King Arthur) for the shaped rise.  The problem I am having is that on the last 3 loaves I’ve had large voids in the loaf, they appear near the top center, just below the crust.  The first time it happened the space was huge, we called it spelunkers’ bread. 

My best guess was a shaping error, so I re-read the instructions on how to shape a boule and the next 2 were not as dramatic, but still there.  I even made a ten-grain torpedo (using King Arthur Harvest Grain mix—it was pretty good though I may experiment with other mixes) and all was well until 2/3 through the loaf and there was a little void there as well.  These aren’t like the kind of hole one would get from gas bubbles, the dough looks disconnected from itself.  Still a shaping error, you think?  Could it be from overrising? 

If there is any other info I can provide re what I am and am not doing please ask.  Basically I follow Rose’s instructions as close to the letter as I can get.  One or two of these loaves was an overnight Slighty Sour version.  Should I try without the brotform, though that doesn’t explain the torpedo’s void?

Thanks for help (I am having sooo much fun, I hate going to work!)

All the best,

Lizzy

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Posted: 24 April 2008 02:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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When you knead the dough do you use flour to control stickiness? It seems to me that with high gluten flour you could get layers caused by developed gluten and less developed gluten. The added flour wouldn’t have the same hydration which could cause layering?

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Posted: 25 April 2008 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I thought of a couple of things—do you de-gas the dough before shaping by flattening it gently to break any large bubbles?  Sometimes if you leave large bubbles while you shape, they will only get larger during the rise.  For a torpedo or loaf, I flatten very gently into a rectangle and for a boule I flatten into a round—you have to walk the line between getting rid of the large bubbles without completely deflating the dough—and of course it depends on the recipe—for some you don’t want to do this.  Another thing is maybe you are using too much flour during shaping, which might form a dry pocket in the dough that doesn’t reseal during rising, allowing a bubble to form (I think that is essentially what Gene is saying).

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Posted: 25 April 2008 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Yeah I guess. Not really sure where I was going with that last post myself.

I have always thought that it didn’t matter how much flattening/deflating you did before forming. In fact doesn’t a little extra work help distribute the yeast for a better final rise? I don’t do it very much anymore but I remember old old bread recipes called for rolling out the dough flat. Then forming the loaf by rolling the dough up and pinching under the ends. I guess all that extra work was to remove large bubbles which we weren’t supposed to like in the old days.

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Posted: 25 April 2008 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I don’t do that much—just press it out with my finger tips.  Larger bubbles will form around the perimeter—-I just make sure they pop, otherwise I have found they do cause problems during the final rise.

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Posted: 19 May 2008 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thank you for the replies.  Sorry I disappeared.  I’ve been baking a loaf about every 3 days, so I’ve made a bunch since I posted the question.  I knead with a KitchenAid so I’m not adding extra flour.  I’ve been concentrating on shaping techniques (I do flatten and dimple)—I really think I was folding those voids into the loaves—I was overdoing the shaping with the boules, stretching and turning way too long, while “squosing” too much under and up into the center of the dough from underneath, perhaps creating the void that way.  I am much quicker now and take more care that the bottom is well pinched intitaily before turing upright for a quick tightening and and final shaping.  I’ve pretty much eliminated the problem.  The last one to have surprise non-gas holes was a torpedo that I think I rushed, and didn’t pinch properly.  Trying to find the right balance between too much and too little dough play!  Thank again, guys!

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