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nissanneill 08-05-2007 04:54 AM

Proofing - raising questions????
Today was a cooking day, so up early (for a Sunday), a quick winter's breakfast and into the bread preparation.
First was a single batch of multigrain bread to the formula on the packet. Not much specific weight formulas but volumes only. Anyhow, kept to the recommended, mixed in the Kenwood using the dough hook and using fresh yeast. After thouroughly mixing it, 2 to 3 minutes hand needing and put back into the lightly oiled mixing bowl. I put it on a side table directly in front of our slow combustion heater in what would be described as a very warm room (you know, shorts and T shirt temperature), with a dry tea towel over the top just 2 feet from the heater door.
Went back into the kitchen and made a bun mix, fruit and spices. Yum!
Did the same deal and sat it besides the multigrain for 4 hours. The dough didn't double in size but was not far from it.
I colloaped the dough and cut off approx 1/3 to be made into a smaller stick, (mainly for the late afternoon snack before the evening meal) and a normal loaf. Needed the dough for 3-4 minutes and put them into lightly oiled tins and put back into the same position for the second proofing.
I did the same for the bun mix, divided it onto 12 and rolled onto smallish balls and placed as recommended on a lightly oiled (rather than greased) tray. I put one up on top of our wall unit with a moist tea towell over it, as the room was considerably hotter above the top of the doorway, the others right in front of the combustion heater. My wife moved the higher placed ones as she said they weren't doing anything but she didn't give them a chance. After 2 hours they had increased in size but not as I would have liked. Had to put them into a 300C oven (some coals still in there but no fire burning), the buns cooken in 10 minutes and the bread in 25 minutes. All quite tasty but quite heavy in texture.
It was then time to put the lamb roast in and when half done, in went the vegetables. Another wonderful meal for the family.

What are the better methods used by fellow forum members for proofing your doughs? I feel they need to raise more for a lighter texture rather than heavy.


Dutchoven 08-05-2007 07:50 AM

Re: Proofing - raising questions????
Sounds like you did things that made good sense. I think it just depends on the yeasts, you said you used fresh yeast, perhaps they need a bit more time. When we bake the Mississippi sourdough it is 100% wild yeast and, for a very long time it looks like it will never fully ferment and then very late in the initial ferment it goes crazy. We also don't use a second bulk fermentation, after the initial fermentation the dough is divided and rounded and then benched(rested) for anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour then final shaping and proof. Just as an example the timeline for me on the wild yeast bread is make the dough the night before and allow to ferment overnight. Next morning divide and round rest for 1 hour, final shaping, proof of 4 to 5 hours. I might also suggest not so much kneading in the interim steps. If you try not to de-gas the dough I think you will get the texture you hope for.
Hope this helps!

CanuckJim 08-05-2007 10:22 AM

Re: Proofing - raising questions????

I suspect the density comes from the fact that you kneaded the dough for three to four minutes after the bulk rise. Try just dividing the dough, then forming lightly so not to degas it. Let the preformed loaves bench rest for twenty minutes, do your final shaping. The rise times you describe are excessive. My 100 per cent wild yeast loaves bulk ferment for two and a half hours, then another two and a half in baskets or overnight retardation.

Just leave out the secondary kneading for now. One variable at a time.


nissanneill 08-05-2007 03:31 PM

Re: Proofing - raising questions????
Thanks guys,
I was thinking maybe of manufacturing a specialy 'proofing cabinet' to improve the final result.
I am still experimenting - well trying out the ingredients with different yeasts, flours and formulas.
I'm finding that this - what we take for granted - simple task of breadmaking, is in fact a science where you need to get everything right to get the best results.
We have another big family get together with a special family announcement next week-end, so will put your thoughts to the test.
Again, thanks for your valued advice.


Unofornaio 08-05-2007 04:09 PM

Re: Proofing - raising questions????
Jims on it.. but I will add this..

In the heat you describe it sound like the dough was over proofed. Remember the dough shouldn't "look" like the loaf in size before you bake it, properly proofed dough is smaller than the end product. Instead of finding a warm location find a location that is going to remain consistent in temperature during your proof times, this way even if it is a cooler area being that its at a consistent temp you can weed out other factors effecting the end product, such as yeast, dough temp, mix time, etc. Besides I believe a longer cooler rise is the best for flavor.

I really don't like the oiled bowel thing I don't think its necessary and may actually hinder the dough rise. I used large plastic cans (kinda like garbage cans only food grade) and most of my doughs are pretty wet. When punching down some may stick to the sides of your bowl but this easily comes off.

Second kneading, like Jim said loose it, by kneading again your collapsing all the progress the dough just made and in those temp it probably just didn't have the strength to rise again. After the yeast has consumed its food source past a certain point there is no return and the dough begins to break itself down. I'm not real familiar with wholegrain doughs but I'm pretty sure a second kneading is not a common thing.

I really think your problem here was the proofing times and temp. more than anything. Scout out that location that remains at an even temp.

CanuckJim 08-06-2007 07:34 AM

Re: Proofing - raising questions????

Good thoughts, though I don't think a light misting of spray oil in whatever container used will affect the rise, and it also prevents wetter doughs from sticking to the sides.

Most of the information I have, particularly for wild yeast doughs, is that both bulk and secondary rises should take place at about 76 F in a draft free environment (unless retardation is used for the secondary, of course). Drafts are not a problem if the risings are done in covered containers. As you say, cooler and longer is better than hotter and shorter, or, worse case, hotter and longer.

I think you nailed it when you said the doughs were probably over-risen.

It's worth pointing out, though, that in a wintertime kitchen (as in OZ right now), the humidity level can be a factor depending on the home heating type. Neill, you might want to get a cheap analog humidity gauge; the level should be in the 50 to 60 per cent range. In my case, it's natural gas, so the kitchen can be very dry without a humidifier on the furnace or a pot of water simmering on the stove.


james 08-06-2007 11:06 AM

Re: Proofing - raising questions????
Can I add on to this thread?

I have a boule sitting in the refrigerator. It's in a real linen lined banneton, just waiting to go. King Arthur general purpose flour (more on that later), hand kneaded yesterday.

My question is whether you pop it straight in the oven, or leave it out in the banneton at room temperature (mid 60s here) for a while for baking?

Thanks for the input.

Dutchoven 08-06-2007 12:40 PM

Re: Proofing - raising questions????
Why yes you can! YOu and I hadn't chatted through the forum in some time! IMHO I would say you dould do either. Colder dough might add a minute or two to the cooking time. I can't think of how warming would otherwise improve the quality of the loaf. If it were me I would definitely go straight from the fridge to the oven.

DrakeRemoray 08-06-2007 01:25 PM

Re: Proofing - raising questions????
I have been going straight from the fridge to the oven with great results!


james 08-06-2007 10:40 PM

Re: Proofing - raising questions????
Hey Drew and Dutch,

Thanks for the input -- that's what I did. I think I am a stuck record. I ended up with too much yeast, and my boule slightly deflated right before it reached the oven. This is what I was doing a few months ago. Plus, I have the good American bread flour, which is giving me more structure, so you wouldn't think this would be a problem. I wonder if I will ever learn. Oh well.

The bread was good, but I am going to cut back on the yeast, and start weighing ingredients (as soon as my scale arrives). Hand kneading and measuring by feel is still fun, though the King Arthur flour is very resilient compared with the Italian Tipo 00. I need more muscles.

Next time I will cut back on the yeast, and take a photo.

Thanks guys.

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