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Old 10-09-2008, 05:13 AM
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Default Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08

James,

With very high hydration doughs that call for long mix times, you can tell when the gluten is properly developed if you turn off the mixer and see a very strong contraction in the dough near the hook. Also, the surface of the dough should be shiny and smooth. As Hamelman and others point out, one of the dangers in these long mix doughs is overheating them because of mixer friction factors, especially with orbital machines.

The one variable that is easy to control is water temperature. I always keep a large container of spring water in the fridge for exactly this reason. At the back of Bread, by Hamelman, there's a section on Desired Dough Temperature that gives a simple formula for determining water temp. It's pretty straightforward: determine what finished dough temp you want, say 76F, by multiplying by 3 for a straight dough or by 4 for one with a pre-ferment. From that figure, deduct air temp, flour temp, pre-ferment temp (if using) and the friction factor of your mixer (either 3 or 4 factors). The result is the water temperature you need to get to the predetermined desired dough temp. Works, believe me.

The only issue is determining the friction factor of a particular mixer. My spiral mixer has a friction factor of 26; most orbitals will have a factor in the mid thirties. It's a matter of trial and error to find the figure on a particular mixer.

Once you get used to this method, it will become second nature. One of the issues with bread making is consistency, batch to batch. Regulating water temperature is a sure way to get over the consistency hump.

Jim
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Old 10-09-2008, 05:25 AM
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Default Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08

Jim

What friction factor would you use for hand kneading?
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  #23  
Old 10-09-2008, 06:47 AM
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Default Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08

RLF,

With hand kneading, essentially zero. Extremely high hydration doughs are very difficult to hand knead, however. If you want to, have a bowl of cool water by your side. Put the dough in a large bowl. Use your hand like a dough hook to reach into the dough, twist, stretch and repeat, keeping your hand wet. The bowl should be rotated with the other hand as you do this. Problem with hand kneading wet doughs is that it takes quite a bit of time to develop the gluten sufficiently for a strong dough and good crumb.

Jim
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Old 10-09-2008, 06:59 AM
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Default Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08

Jim

For really wet doughs, I usually use a dough whisk instead of my hand. Does that make any difference?
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:27 AM
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Default Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08

I have an orbital mixer. Can I use a freezer pac or two around the outside of the bowl to lower the temp while I knead? I have a couple that have a cloth covering and velcro straps, and I should be able to get a pretty good fit around the outside of the bowl... But would it help?

I'm sorry to ask silly questions, but I don't have either Hamelman or Reinhart's books yet. (I hope to very soon!)
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:49 AM
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Default Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08

Elizabeth,

No silly questions here. It would be much easier to simply lower the temp of the water you use, according to the formula from Hamelman I gave earlier. With commercial yeasts, you're looking for a finished dough temp between 77-81 F. If you're using a wild yeast starter, the finished temp should go no higher than 76F. In either case, you don't want to warm the dough to a stage where the yeast is impeded if not knocked off entirely.

RLF,

Sure, I guess you could use a whisk. Devil of a thing to clean, though. Just use an instant read thermometer to make sure you don't exceed the stated dough temps.

Jim
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:45 AM
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Default Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08

Jim,

I am going to run the recipe again today with cold water. I will see if I can get a dough temperature reading right after the high cycle of kneading -- the spot where the friction and temperature would be at its' worst.

Good tip! Thanks.
James
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