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james 05-18-2007 10:03 AM

Protecting bread dough while proof
 
I have never really understood the different methods for covering dough when it it proofing -- particularly when you are doing the final proofing of shaped loaves before you put them in the oven.

You don't want to expose the loaf to the air, or you get a tough, dry skin that doesn't help when you bake.

What's best? A linen towel? Plastic wrap?

With a wet dough, how do you keep the cover from sticking?

And finally, I have coated by dough with a little olive oil a few times recently, which seems to give the baked bread a funny, almost glassy crust exterior. Has anyone seen that? I am guessing that Pam spray doesn't do that.

What do y'all think?
James

DrakeRemoray 05-18-2007 01:49 PM

Re: Protecting bread dough while proof
 
In our very very dry climate, I have recently had good sucess by using a damp towel. I tend to spray it all with olive oil as well...I have not had much problem with sticking....

maver 05-18-2007 02:13 PM

Re: Protecting bread dough while proof
 
I usually use a floured towel with an extra dusting of flour over the dough. After rising, the flour can be blown off, roughly brushed off (which usually leaves some on) or leave it all on for a more rustic appearance. Any residual flour also looks different if the dough is misted directly while baking vs misting under the baking bred (directing the spray at the floor of the oven) to maintain the granularity of the flour on the surface of the bread.

Dutchoven 05-19-2007 05:25 AM

Re: Protecting bread dough while proof
 
The answer depends on the type of bread you are baking. Some types of french bread actually use a dry proof. We mostly use baskets lined with a floured towel and dusting the bottom lightly(Maver). The bottom of the bread dries slightly but that makes it easier to load them because they slide off the peel easier. The olive oil spray and a damp towel suggested(Drake) also will work.

james 05-21-2007 06:28 AM

Re: Protecting bread dough while proof
 
Thanks for all the tips. I tried the boule method with a linen towel in a round steel bowl (my bannetons are in California) two nights in a row, and it has worked out really well. I baked the second loaf in my enamel cast iron dutchoven, and the crust was good. The texture of the crumb was nice -- moist, good hole structure, and it was consistent; in part I think because I shaped the boule correctly.

Of course I could have just watched Jim's video again, and followed the directions. :-)

What do you think the differences are between a linen lined metal bowl and a true banneton for the second proofing? Does a woven basket let more air through?

James

Dutchoven 05-21-2007 01:48 PM

Re: Protecting bread dough while proof
 
Well I don't think air circulation would have much if any affect on the finsihed loaves. The willow bannetons are spiraled and really don't let air through either. They do however influence the final appearance of the bread by creating the spiraled effect on the crust. Similar results can be acheived by using towel that have some texture rather than the smooth linen. We use linen when we are proofing baguettes and ciabattas as they are smoother crusted. My only feeling about the bowl is that baskets are much lighter in weight and would therefore be easier to manipulate while loading bread with your peel. The amount of bread you make creates this. When we fire the oven for baking we do anywhere from 16 to 48 loaves so I want to be able to turn the loaf onto the peel, slash and pop into the oven. If it is only a few loaves it probably doesn't make a difference.
All the best!
Dutch

james 05-22-2007 05:49 AM

Re: Protecting bread dough while proof
 
I think this probably a stupid question, but how many times can you punch down your dough and let it rise again before the yeast gives out and your dough stops rising?

Can you go up and down and up and down and up and down, etc.?
James

Leepinla 05-22-2007 09:45 AM

Re: Protecting bread dough while proof
 
I dont think anymore than 3 times.
I am still killing my bread.
and have been told it is
to much dough punching.

Leepin

Dutchoven 05-22-2007 01:58 PM

Re: Protecting bread dough while proof
 
Well I can't say really how many times. Truthfully though "punching down" is a strange term. Usually you should try to redistribute the flour so that the yeast has something to feed on. As the dough rises the yeasts get isolated and become dormant. We don't punch down. If there is to be a second rise we just pull the edges up and bring them to the center and then let it rise again. Most of my litereature says maybe a 2nd rise then round, 30 minutes rest and then shape for final proof. Much more than that and you will have flat bread, and probably pretty tart as there will be no sugars left. I think it is better to have on long slow rise in the fridge. Then let the dough warm to room temp, shape, proof and bake. I think you will like the flavors. If you do this try to de-gas the dough as little as possible.
Best
Dutch


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