#11  
Old 11-05-2008, 09:25 AM
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Default Re: Big sourdough spring

I read that last post a couple times and I can't quite figger out what is "docked" and "grigne" mean. Any definitions?

Thanks - Chuck
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  #12  
Old 11-05-2008, 09:35 AM
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Default Re: Big sourdough spring

Quote:
Originally Posted by CanuckJim View Post
James,

The way the loaf is docked definitely has an impact on the amount of oven spring/volume. Last weekend, I had three students here. Among other breads, we made four kilo sourdough-seed boule. The three docked by the students did not have nearly the spring as the one I slashed in a grigne. This turned out to be a good, instructional talking point. Not one of them cut deep enough for the flap to open completely, thereby reducing volume. I usually recommend a cut at least half an inch deep to get proper action. Wish I had taken a comparative photo before the bread left the building.

Jim
Jim,

That makes a lot of sense. I think I will start making two loaves at a time to compare various methods. That should be a good way of learning.

Can you over-dock? The other day my first cross pattern boule did not spring as much as the star pattern using the same dough. Was that because my loaf was not as "active" as it should have been, or was it my docking?

Interesting.
James
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Old 11-05-2008, 09:36 AM
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Default Re: Big sourdough spring

Hi Chucker,

Docking is slashing, or cuttuing with a razor blade. The grigne is that nice lip the loaf develops on the slash.

Have fun,
James
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  #14  
Old 11-05-2008, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: Big sourdough spring

James,

Without looking over your shoulder, that's a tough call. In my experience, the flap or grin or grigne traditional cut yields the best volume. Pound signs, stars, crosses give interesting patterns, but they do not open as fully, because the cuts are straight down. Sure, I guess it's possible to overdock, though I've never seen it done. With the grigne slash, just make sure the blade is held parallel to the side of the loaf; don't cut down, don't cut up, cut in, at about a third the way down from the top of the loaf. It's best to use a curved blade for the grigne. You only use the tip of the blade. Make sure the heel of it does not drag, or you'll get a ragged cut. Just introduce the tip of the blade and pull, don't saw.

Jim
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:20 AM
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Default Re: Big sourdough spring

Who would have known! Well, I did guess correctly for "docking", but would never have guessed that the little lip thingie actually had a real name. Who comes up with this stuff?
Its like those little hard things on the ends of shoelaces have a name, but I can't remember what it is.
REAL QUESTION: So, buying that curved blade is definately better than my razor blade stored on top of the kitchen window trim??
Thanks - Chuck
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  #16  
Old 11-06-2008, 06:19 AM
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Default Re: Big sourdough spring

Chuckster,

There a many, many types of docking blades/knives. Some are serrated and stiff, with sharp points or round points. These are used mostly for stiffer doughs, like rye. The curved blade, called a lame in French, is used for the French grigne cut and many others. Bread competitions in France take the accuracy, effectiveness and decorative nature of the cuts into account when judging. It is they who come up with a lot of these names. The Wood-Fired Bread Cookbook has a pic of several types of blades.

Don't buy the plastic, fixed-blade lame. It's a bugger to sharpen, expensive, and you can only use one side of the blade unless you're ambidextrous. The retail operation of The San Francisco Baking Institute sells a Baker's Blade Holder for $6 USD: Baking Supplies|Baking Baskets and Supplies|Basket|Wicker Baskets |Plastic Baskets|Linen Liners|Proofing Boards|Wood Peel, or you could make one yourself. The holder uses standard double edged razor blades, which they also sell in bulk.

Having said all that, effective docking takes lots and lots of practice. You won't get it in one go; sort of like making pizza.

Jim
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:36 AM
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Default Re: Big sourdough spring

I bought a "Lame" from an expensive cooking store and I have never been able to make it work on highly hydrated dough. I always start with the "Lame" but switch to the serrated knife to finish the job. I have to make about 3 or 4 cuts on each slash to get it deep enough. Is that normal? Or am I not doing this correctly? I just looked at a picture in the "Bread Baker's ApprenticeĒ and they show super deep slashes in pictures, I may need to cut deeper.

I canít remember, are there pictures of docking in Jimís videos?

Paul
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  #18  
Old 11-06-2008, 05:03 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Big sourdough spring

So how deep should you actually cut into the risen dough?
I believed that you had only to 'score' the top of the dough and that it would 'open' when it rose and baked! (The term 'score' in the printing industry means to cut only partway through a sheet of paper the allow it to fold accurately along the straight score line).
Next thing, people will be using sophisticated software to programme a laser to cut detailed illustrations into the pre-baked dough!

Neill
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  #19  
Old 11-07-2008, 06:28 AM
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Default Re: Big sourdough spring

PJ, Neill,

No, it's not normal. You should only have to cut once, in a sweeping motion for the grigne. Highly hydrated doughs are another matter. I use kitchen shears held at a very shallow angle to snip Ancienne baguette; otherwise blade slashes just close up.

I normally slash sourdough boule about half an inch deep.

It would take awhile to assemble, but I'd be willing to make a video demo of the various techniques if members would be interested. Still, it's a difficult thing to learn unless you actually see it done in person.

Overall, don't be tentative with whatever method you are using. Make sure the tool is sharp and go to it.

Jim
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  #20  
Old 11-07-2008, 10:56 AM
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Default Re: Big sourdough spring

I know I would benefit from seeing the video. The folks on here are my only source to learn those "hands-on" things.

Most of my attempts to form the gringe turn out a lot like a wide scar (sorry for the bad analogy), but they don't have much of a lip.

Chuck
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