Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community (
-   Get Cooking (
-   -   Dough breaks, doesn't stretch (

KEmerson 12-05-2011 03:23 PM

Dough breaks, doesn't stretch
Hello again my friends,
I am positive this has been discussed but I can't find it. So if anyone wants to direct me that would be fine. However, the dilemma is that my dough breaks and has no elasticity to it. It used to but I've been playing with the recipe. I suspect the problem lies in the mixing: Too fast? Too long?
I have been using my sourdough starter rather than commercial yeast. So of course the overall hydration % from the earlier recipe - the one with commercial yeast - has had to undergo some modifications. And I feel I'm on track with that. But I am not so confident in the mixing times or speeds.
When I make smaller batches I use my Kitchen-Aid mixer. I also have a Hobart 20 qt. mixer for larger batches. The KA has multiple speeds (1-10?) and the Hobart has three. So of course the 2 on the KA does not correspond with the 2 on the Hobart.
I have been mixing for 10 minutes at 2 on the KA but only the 1 on the Hobart.
With this sketchy information, any clues? I can't really remember what I was doing before, but my doughs used to stretch nicely. Not so anymore.
Help would be... helpful.
Thanks all.

texassourdough 12-05-2011 04:28 PM

Re: Dough breaks, doesn't stretch
Hi Kim!

You are almost certainly overmixing. Hydration, relaxation time, salt, and more all have influence on this but ten minutes at 2 is a lot of energy to put in the dough.

Have you changed flour also?

KEmerson 12-05-2011 04:41 PM

Re: Dough breaks, doesn't stretch
Hi Jay, I knew I'd hear from you. Good to chat again.
I knew the time was too long. How long would you recommend? And when you say relaxation, do you mean an autolyse? Which I don't do with pizza dough. Should I? I do a long, slow, cool ferment. Three days in my basement. As for flour, no, I've been using Caputo for quite some time now. I love it.

texassourdough 12-06-2011 07:29 AM

Re: Dough breaks, doesn't stretch
Hi Kim!

I didn't go into recommendations because the symptoms feel "odd" - like something else is going on. Methinks you are overoxidizing the dough among other things.

My take on Caputo seems to be a bit different from many on this site. I think it is an interesting flour but I find other flours more I may not be the best source...but I do think my bread fixation provides some interesting alternatives and observations.

Sounds like you are making "fast" dough - i.e. dough to be used relatively quickly. IMO Caputo is not particularly good for that because in my experience it needs to relax after being balled. So...when I make Caputo I mix it, let it rest 15-20 minutes, and ball it. Then let it rest until use - which is the next day after a retard in the refrigerator. That gives me dough that is relaxed and workable. If the Caputo is retarded in bulk and then balled the next day, I find that the dough is tough and it fights extension. Higher hydration can help is all a problem.

My baguette class at SFBI this summer really changed my attitude toward kneading and S&Fs and Chad Robertson's Tartine book has led me to commonly hydrate the flour before mixing in the salt and yeast. Reason is that salt inhibits water absorption by the flour and gluten formation so you can form the gluten faster and with less mixing without the salt.

NOTE: I have not been making my pizza dough this way - mainly because I have not been making pizza with any regularity over the past year, but... I think I will try it next time.

Simply mix the flour and water (I highly recommend BY HAND) until the flour is wet - no dry flour. Does not have to be uniform but not shaggy either. Ball it up, sprinkle IDY yeast on top (don't mix it in - this just lets it start hydrating a bit too) and let it sit for 20 to to 30 minutes. The gluten will be mostly formed. You won't need to do a lot of mixing.

Now is the fun part...sprinkle the salt on top and knead the dough, yeast, and salt together. You will feel the soft part of the dough where there is no salt and the dough tighten as the salt enters and firms the gluten. It is an amazing touch experience!

Mix it only until it is reasonably homogeneous - then do a couple an S&Fs (four or eight - one for each edge, two passes if the dough is not stiff enough). Give it about 15 to 30 minutes of rest and ball it. (A given flour/dough MIGHT benefit from a half hour rest and another S&F followed by the 15 minute rest and balling but that should be enough.)

I tend to go higher in hydration with this approach than when mixed using a mixer for I find the hydration more uniform and thus the dough is not as handling difficult and needs less work to be manageable. Also note: using rectangular tubs for this works well for it gives you a good shape for really effective S&Fs (though Robertson likes round food storage containers!)

This approach is especially good for yielding breads with larger crumb and should work well on pizza.

If you want to use the KA, couple of comments... I am going to guess you got a relatively dry batch of Caputo and you need to increase the hydration a couple of percent. Second only mix at speed one until the flour is mostly incorporated. Dump in on the counter or mixing board and give it a few kneads to incorporate things and smooth it out. Then let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes and finish with 3 to 4 minutes at speed 2. Then back on the counter/dough board for a few more hand kneads just to make sure it feels right.

I am going to guess you may have evolved down from a wetter dough to a drier, more manageable dough also. (Whether you did or not the comment will probably be helpful to some people!) Pizza dough can be pretty wet and sticky and still be fully manageable with proper technique. I strive to keep flour OUT of the dough until it is balled. Then I use oil to keep it from sticking to the trays I retard/proof it in. But I use plenty of flour when forming and in my experience the excess flour is easily knocked off and I never have problems with sticking to my wooden peel.

Hope that helps!

KEmerson 12-09-2011 06:47 AM

Re: Dough breaks, doesn't stretch
Hello again, Jay,
What do you mean by "oxidizing"? Also, I don't believe I am making a "fast" dough. I let the dough ferment about three days. And why ball early in the process and then rest/refrigerate (1,2,3 days) as opposed to letting the bulk dough ferment for two days and then balling?

texassourdough 12-09-2011 11:15 AM

Re: Dough breaks, doesn't stretch
Hi Kim...

By fast dough I meant a one-day dough. Oxidizing is literally having oxygen react with the dough and break it down. Stiff doughs that tear are consistent with overworking which is in part oxidation. The longer you mix the more you oxidize the dough.

For a retarded dough the mixing time can (and should) be shorter. The rest is effectively autolyze which forms the gluten. They will get arranged when you ball the dough. No need to mix more than just to get the dough wet if you are going to retard for a day.

As indicated, I don't like to ball Caputo (or bread dough) late for I find it has a hard time relaxing once it is worked. I would suggest taking a batch and divide it after an hour or so of resting. Ball one batch immediately. Ball a second batch the next day, and ball the final batch two hours before baking - and see which one handles better. My money will be on the first batch, though by the third day the second batch might be pretty close.

In my experience the dough that is balled early will be more cooperative as you spread it into a crust.

Good luck!

KEmerson 12-09-2011 12:36 PM

Re: Dough breaks, doesn't stretch
Ok, makes sense. As I may have said earlier (who knows?) I'm doing a sourdough and not a commercial yeast dough. As of this typing I am in mid-refreshing the starter and tomorrow I'll do a small batch as a test. At this point I just need to get back to the stretchy stuff I remember. I'll get back to you when it's all done. Many, many thanks, Jay.

Oh, as I'm using sourdough and not a commercial ADY, initial rising doesn't happen for a while. Should I allow the dough to rise before balling or is it just a matter of allowing the dough to rest the hour you suggest? So the dough can continue to rise while balled?

texassourdough 12-09-2011 12:54 PM

Re: Dough breaks, doesn't stretch
If you said it was SD, I missed it - not that it really affects my answer... but there is more degradation happening in SD which SHOULD make it more extensible and less stiff and tear-prone. So??? Once again the symptoms seem wrong...

Couple more thoughts... Is your flour old? Or could it be? If so, it might be extremely dry and need more water? About a year and a half ago my favorite pizzaria got a shipment of Caputo that was uniquely wet and they had to drop the hydration down to about 56 %. (We weighed some bags and they contained about 52 pounds vs. 50 also...) In super dry climates flour can also dry out...and dough that is too dry will tend to tear.

Have you increased the salt in your dough? Gluten is very sensitive to salt above about 1.5% of flour.

Water changes? (almost obviously not, but...water hardness can be important also.)

Good luck tomorrow.

Today and tomorrow I am creating a spelt starter to serve as a basis for some Christmas loaves for gluten intolerant friends! Next week will be baking week for me!

Have fun!

KEmerson 12-09-2011 02:36 PM

Re: Dough breaks, doesn't stretch
I don't believe the flour is old. How can I tell? As for the salt, my recipe has it as 2.5% and I have no clue how I came up with that, though I do know I've seen other recipes @ 1.5% & 2%. So I'll reduce that tomorrow and go with a shorter mixing time and do the balling thing we discussed. I think that's enough changes for now till I see how that turns out.

Re: our Genzano chat, I've had to give some loaves away because they are too popular so it looks as though I'll be baking again sooner than I'd thought. Good thing I really love baking. I really enjoy having another excuse to get at it.
Thanks, Jay

texassourdough 12-09-2011 02:45 PM

Re: Dough breaks, doesn't stretch
The standard salt for bread is 2 percent of flour. 2.5 is not unusual but is on the high side. 1.5 is pretty low. As you will find if you mix the flour and water and then add the salt a half hour later, salt really changes the gluten. As I understand it, the gluten reaction accelerates above 1.5 to 2 percent salt so a 2.5 percent salt dough should be distinctly stiffer than a 2 percent dough. Use 2 percent. IMO 1.5 leaves the dough tasting flat.

Good luck!

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:15 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0
2006/10 Forno Bravo, LLC