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Xabia Jim 01-26-2009 06:47 AM

Bread Failure
Help CJ and you other bread bakers!! :confused:

Okay, we made two batches of bread for the WFO.

The good....both were tasty and did not get tossed!

The bad.... the wheat bread (Reinhart) seemed to be okay but it did not spring much at all in the WFO. It was supposed to be in a pan but was put in without after rising on a peel. (Temps may have been lower than optimal.)

....the baguette (Mary G's) was really a disaster since it did not rise at all. (It was in the fridge an extra day) It looked and smelled like a bowl of wet flour. So we abandoned the WFO idea and stirred some yeast into it. That seemed to liven it up and it was baked the next day inside as hot as the oven could go with some steam too. Just dumped the dough onto two cookie sheets with flour. It had some nice holes and a reasonable spring.

The Ugly....we're really not sure what happened. They both could be described as "pancake bread"

the yeast is okay....but did it die early due to cold?
... or the extra day(baguette)?
the flavor and texture was okay so ingredients seemed okay...spring water, strong bread flour, fresh SAF yeast.....

could it be that it rose too long before going in the oven causing collapse?
could it be that the oven was not hot enough?

We're scratching our heads on this one!
back to bread school!

gjbingham 01-26-2009 10:40 PM

Re: Bread Failure
Sad, sad! All that prep and work, nothing fine to show for your efforts. I did baby back ribs last night. 3 hours of messing around with a recipe via Alton Brown. Just so-so when all was said and done. The kids weren't happy, which did nothing for my mood. Intangibles sometimes bite you on the glutes when you least expect it when cooking.

My sourdough was alway similar to your report. More bench time, sometimes eight to ten hours improved performance. Oven spring, if I'm correct, relates to the CO2 created by the yeast during fermatation. Too little ferment doesn't allow the gas to form for a good spring. Too much creates a situation in which is is difficult to not degas the dough when handling. Somewhere in the equation, moisture/misting the oven slows the carmelization of the outside of the loaf to allow increased spring from the inside of the dough.

I'm sure that Dutch, CJ or one of the other real bakers knows what's up. I really have no idea, I just like to bother you with my dribble.

Where in the world are you these days?

Dutchoven 01-27-2009 06:24 AM

Re: Bread Failure
Wow, sorry to hear of the troubles. Depending on your flour the denseness and lack of spring could be the result of a lot of bran in the flour...especially if it was a 100% whole wheat for the baguette...was it a pain l'ancienne?...the yeast does not necessarily die due to the cold but I do think that temperature must have had a good deal to do with it...I heard from CJim a way of getting dough temp right coming out of the mixer...have to remember it all...multiply desired dough temp by 4 and then subtract the temperatures of all the ingredients except water...then subtract the friction factor of the mixer...that will leave you with the desired water temperature to achieve your desired finished dough temperature coming out of the mixer...
Hope this helps!

CanuckJim 01-27-2009 06:41 AM

Re: Bread Failure

The baguette failure is a tough one. During courses and regular baking here, we've never had a melt down with that formula. If it didn't rise at all in the bowl, the finger must be pointed at the yeast, whether you just bought it or not. Suggest you sprinkle half a teaspoon of it over some lukewarm (90F)water and see it it starts to bloom after ten minutes. If it doesn't, toss it.

It's a very lean formula, with only four ingredients: flour, water, yeast and sea salt. (I always add the salt last, after the flour has been hydrated, just to be on the safe side.) The water must be 40 F or a bit lower, but this is to retard the rise, not eliminate it, so as to improve flavor. When it's pulled from the fridge (set at 39-40F) after an overnight stay, it should have risen a bit but not doubled. (If the fridge is too cold, it won't rise at all; too warm and it will blow.) In winter, we leave it sit at room temp for about three hours, until the dough has doubled and the surface is very bubbly. In summer, about two hours, more or less. I have a large dedicated bowl for it, so I know it's ready when the bowl is full.

Sounds like you never got to this stage, so we can eliminate handling issues for now. But, how is the dough being mixed? Stand mixer, by hand, food processor. Care must be taken not to overheat the dough and still get adequate gluten development; that's why such cold water is used. Lots of variables in this area.

I'd conduct a careful review of all your ingredients. Strong flour (+- 13% protein) is the right choice, but make sure it's fresh and has no smell at all. Spring water is the best for breads like this; chlorine can seriously affect yeast performance. The yeast must be active. Yeast does not like direct contact with sea salt early on, and that's why I wait to add it.

Sounds like you need someone looking over your shoulder on this one. I think we should work on how to arrange that.

The Reinhart wheat bread really should be made in pans to assist the rise. With so much bran, breads like this one don't perform well or spring that much unless risen in a container of some sort. I did list a pan wheat bread in the pdf WFO bread book. That one uses a sponge to kick start the process; it's very simple to do, and I've never had a failure with it. I'll send it to you if you don't have it handy. You can bake it on 400 F brick (350 is ideal), but you might have to tent the loaves with foil for the last few minutes. Maybe try that one before moving on to Reinhart. The oven should be steamed for either one (more steam for baguette), vented halfway through the bake. For enriched breads (butter, egg, sugar additions) the finished internal temp should be 190 F or slightly higher; for lean breads, 205 or a bit more is right.

The way our schedule works, we frequently bake baguette for eight minutes on a 650F hearth, venting the steam at the four minute mark. You've seen how they turn out. In your case, there is one thing that is seriously off the rails. It's a matter of finding it.


Xabia Jim 01-27-2009 08:48 AM

Re: Bread Failure

Originally Posted by gjbingham (Post 49760)
Sad, sad!

I'm sure that Dutch, CJ or one of the other real bakers knows what's up. I really have no idea, I just like to bother you with my dribble.

Where in the world are you these days?

Thanks guys, we'll keep working on it!

Xabia Jim 03-14-2009 11:30 PM

Re: Bread Failure
Still scratching our heads on this one....

We've now had a master baker try the simple baguettes with the same results. Texture and flavor is good, but there is no spring.

Ruled out yeast, and sea salt.....and we used spring water.

I'm wondering if a hotter oven might help but the Heat seemed to be okay, we think it's the spanish flour.

Any other ideas?

Miguel 03-15-2009 12:33 AM

Re: Bread Failure

Originally Posted by Xabia Jim (Post 52280)
I'm wondering if a hotter oven might help but the Heat seemed to be okay, we think it's the spanish flour.
Any other ideas?

Hi Jim, not an expert by any standard but, did you buy what is called "Harina de fuerza"?

Sorry I do not know the traslation for it.


Xabia Jim 03-15-2009 11:47 AM

Re: Bread Failure
Strong Flour....high protein.....
yes, we've been using that from here and England

Dutchoven 03-17-2009 09:56 AM

Re: Bread Failure
I am so sorry. Tell me the recipe of CJims that you are using...I will refer to it and perhaps have some suggestion as to what might be the issue...although I am really stumped...

AnnieMacD 03-18-2009 01:42 PM

Re: Bread Failure
If you let us know what recipe you are using I'll try it here in Scotland with Shipton Mill bread flour.


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