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heliman 11-21-2010 04:06 AM

Rubbery Texture
A couple of loaves I have made lately have had a rather rubbery texture. I have used several different types of flour and it seems to be hit and miss as to whether or not I get rubber with any of them.

Is this caused by a heat, humidity, length of mix/knead or other factor?

texassourdough 11-21-2010 02:46 PM

Re: Rubbery Texture
Hi Rossco. Rubberiness is a function of a variety of factors including wheat type/mixing, and such. I am willing to guess you are overworking your dough on the rubberier loaves could be other things! Higher hydration can help but...ciabatta can be tough too, so...

heliman 11-21-2010 07:15 PM

Re: Rubbery Texture
Hello Dr Jay - nice to hear from you....

Yes, one of the recipes indeed calls for a 20 minute wet knead (75% hydration) so perhaps that is a bit too much for the high gluten flour to handle.

Strangely though - using Rynharts no-knead recipe which folds the mix - I still get rather a rubbery texture too. What I am chasing is a very light, crispy french bread texture. I may just have to experiment in the electric oven, before opting for the more volatile heat range of the WFO.

texassourdough 11-22-2010 06:31 AM

Re: Rubbery Texture
Greetings Dr. R!

Given your comments it is more likely to be a flour thing. A 75% dough will be hard to overwork - even in a mixer (tho it CAN be done... you might want to check the temp at the end of the mixing.... should not be over 80 or 82 F). Rubbery no-knead suggests flour more than anything else. Do you know the % protein in the flour? I will guess you are using bead flour. Try going down in protein to AP.

I have been baking a lot from Tartine (a book from the San Francisco bakery of the same name) and have pretty much gone to hand mixing (only) with stretch and folds. Between Tartine and Eric Kayser's books I have also gone to AP for bread - and particularly KA (11.7 % protein vs. 12.7 for KA Bread). For baguettes and banh mi I am going down to 10.7 and even blending in 8.5% pastry flour to tenderize the crumb of the banh mi.

I find it is really helpful to stick with a limited number of flours so one knows them well and then when one tries a new recipe there are reference points. Then can change/shift flours and blends to get characteristics one wants. And...then when one tries a new flour on a familiar recipe the results have more educational significance.

This winter I am going to bite the bullet and order about 50 pounds of stone ground AP to try to up the ante on my artisanal loaves. Will be an interesting test. I will be expecting higher ash and bran than conventional commercial flours and more manageable high hydration loaves (though probably a bit less oven spring due to the bran).

Hang in there!

heliman 11-22-2010 08:34 PM

Re: Rubbery Texture
Thanks for the detailed overview Jay - seems like a bit more experimentation is needed. The protein value of the flour I use is about 11.5% which seems quite normal so its all a bit confusing. I think I need to pay closer attention to the methodology so I can isolate the key areas to better identify the problem.

texassourdough 11-23-2010 01:20 PM

Re: Rubbery Texture
You might also want to take internal temperatures, Rossco. If you are only getting to 205-7 your dough may be more rubbery than at 210. I am usually hitting 210-211 with my bread and I like the texture. (Below about 204 it will be simply gummy and not rubbery in my experience).

Of course, one of our difficutlies is the definition of a "texture". What is rubbery versus gummy vs tough???

Good Luck!

lwood 12-03-2010 03:28 AM

Re: Rubbery Texture
Are you talking about internal temperature of the baking bread being 210-211F. How do you measure that.

lwood 12-03-2010 03:31 AM

Re: Rubbery Texture
Btw, how do you know when bread is finished baking?

texassourdough 12-03-2010 06:45 AM

Re: Rubbery Texture
Hi lwood!

I use an instant reading thermometer. I insert it to the center of the loaf to find the internal temperature. The thump test is simply not adequate IMO for above 203 or so most lean breads give similar sounds. While one may get to where they can tell the difference, you still need a thermometer to figure out how "done" the bread was in order to learn.

I started baking lean loaves (artisanal boules, etc.) to about 205 following Reinhart's guidelines. Over time I have moved to "harder bakes" and "darker loaves" and gradually went to hotter bakes and/or longer times with the target temperature rising to 208 and now 211-212 or so for my higher hydration, Tartine-styled loaves. The higher temp dries out the crumb a bit and gives more of a shiny, glassy, translucent web to the crumb.

The internal temperature baked to can significantly affect the flavor profile and mouth feel of bread and is a factor to be explored as you seek your "ideal" bread.

I should note I don't always check the temp for I find once I hone in on an oven temperature/baking time for a given bread, the effect is pretty repeatable but I do check internal temperature when I am refining a recipe or encounter weird results - which happened about a month ago when my oven seemed to have an "off day" and not get to its normal "set" temperature. Since it has been okay but that expereince has me checking it every time I use it! do I tell when it is done??? Basically the thump verifies it is okay. It should sound sort of hollow. But there is also a look I want and different breads are different. IMO most artisanal style lean bread can be baked longer than bakers allow without serious problems unless the oven is way too hot and the crust is burning. I think it is better to err on the long side than short for underbaked will be gummy and I prefer the more caremalized, darker loaves.

Good Luck!

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