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Old 06-13-2007, 05:34 AM
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Default Steam explosion

Here is my latest try. I did a crossing slash and got some nice spring. The deeper, more angled cut definitely gives the bread some lift. Thanks Jim.

This one sagged in a little before baking, so I think I have hit the limit on how far I can go with the low gluten flour. Still, my slash is getting more artistic.

Next steps -- better flour and I am going to start using a real banneton.

This is still fun.
James
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Steam explosion-dsc02631.jpg  
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Old 06-13-2007, 08:05 PM
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Default Re: Steam explosion

Nice job!
Done in the dutchoven or in the WFO...great caramelized crust
Super
Dutch
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Old 06-14-2007, 05:16 AM
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Default Re: Steam explosion

Thanks Dutchoven,
This one was in my Ikea Dutchoven. I am back in CA in a couple of months, and will be getting back into more consistent WF cooking then.
James
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Old 06-14-2007, 03:06 PM
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Default Re: Steam explosion

James,

Computer woes again; just back up. Your photograph shows just what should be happending: you've got a very nice web in the slashes. That means the dough was just about on the money, and the slashing was well done. I'm not in the habit of encouraging competition, but you're getting very close to getting it exactly right. Well done.

A higher gluten count might help, but be careful with your bulk rising times and temps.

Don't know what your environment is right now, but it might be that the water you're using is a tad on the warm side, resulting in mixed dough that is too warm. Don't know.

Jim
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Old 06-15-2007, 01:37 AM
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Default Re: Steam explosion

Jim,

Good idea. I will check the water next time. Not ice water, but cold from the tap. Right?

Water temperature -- yet another thing that I did not take seriously before.
James

btw -- would you consider a Mac? OS X is very stable. :-)
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Last edited by james; 06-15-2007 at 05:47 AM.
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Old 06-15-2007, 03:36 AM
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Default Re: Steam explosion

James,

Water temperature, along with mixer friction, are two areas that I've been addressing more and more. You have Hamelman's book, so have a look at the section near the end entitled "Desired Dough Temperature." It's a revelation. Yesterday was quite hot and humid, and my flour was at nearly 80F. Using his formula, I ended up needing water at 43 F to prevent overheated finished dough. The major stumbling block is dough hook mixers almost all of us use. My spiral mixer has less of a friction factor than a planetary, but it's still a factor. Time for a fork mixer.

Of course there are some formulas that call for very cold water, the one from Peter Reinhart for Ancienne dough, for example. This completely eliminates heating problems, but the dough should be made quickly and handled little.

The good news is that water temperature is easy to control, while some of the other factors are not.

Overall, the temperature of the finished dough should be about 76 F for wild yeast doughs and 77-80 for commercial yeast doughs. This last can be tough to achieve when heating the water to 90-100 F to activate instant dry yeast or active dry. Staying within these guidelines has a surprisingly large effect on both loaf volume and crust consistency.

I noticed that the VPN regulations specifically say that the dough should not get too warm. They give no details, but I'm assuming they mean use a fork mixer.

The current problem I had, now resolved, had to do with Microsoft, not me. I'd consider just about anything right now, including tom toms, because this has been an exercise in hair pulling.

Jim
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Old 06-15-2007, 06:47 AM
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Default Re: Steam explosion

OSX would get you away from microsoft. I'm a linux guy, but that might be too much of a project coming from microsoft.

Jim, When you talk about dough temperature after kneading, is it the idea that gluten can be better developed in the dough by kneading at a certain temperature? I'm curious about the order of temperature changes. If the dough is going to be kneaded (with end temperature ideally 76) and then bulk fermented (about the same temperature), then placed in the fridge, then formed and baked, would changing the order affect things? For example, could the dough be mixed (jsut brought together) cold, then left on the counter to bulk ferment (and rise to 76), then kneaded, then placed in the fridge?

Marc
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Old 06-15-2007, 07:17 AM
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Default Re: Steam explosion

Maver,

We're really getting into the fine points here. Part of the reason for kneading in the first place is not only to thoroughly combine the ingredients, but also to develop the gluten. This is the purpose of the windowpane test: to see if the gluten web in the dough is properly developed. Ideal temperatures for finished dough have to do with yeast development more than anything else, but also the ability of the dough to absorb water completely. Bringing the temperature up too high in the mixer will affect the yeast, which will affect the rise, the flavor, the volume of the finished loaf, the quality of the crumb and the crust. Wild yeast is more susceptible to high temps than commercial yeast, but they both suffer. You can actually see the dough begin to break down, getting shiny and sticky, if it's overmixed.

If you were just to bring the dough together as you suggest, the gluten would not be sufficiently developed. However, Hamelman recommends short mixing times (3 minutes first speed, 3 minutes second speed, e.g.) with moderate development, then stretching and folding one two two times during bulk fermentation. This maneuver strenthens the gluten without overmixing. I don't think kneading after bulk fermentation would work very well.

You could also combine these techniques with an autolyse period of about half an hour between the two mixing periods. Not only will the dough drop in temperature, but the flavor will be improved in the finished bread. This is true whether you retard overnight or not; autolyse plus retardation will pull maximum flavor from the grains.

In a way, creating surface tension on hearth loaves serves a similar purpose. By giving the top surface of the dough tension, a sort of dome is created in which the gasses created by the yeast are contained. This is where an open crumb comes from, among such other things as proper hydration.

My experience with students has been that though they might have baked a lot of bread, they univerally tend to mix their doughs too stiff.

Anyway, wandering now. Hope that helps a bit.

Jim
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Old 06-15-2007, 08:10 AM
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Default Re: Steam explosion

I don't know what Jim thinks but in the beginning I would always check dough temperature when it came out of the mixer or after kneading with a probe thermometer. Most everyone I spoke to said to look for a temp in the mid 70's. Just a thought!
Dutch
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Old 06-15-2007, 08:59 AM
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Default Re: Steam explosion

Dutch,

That's exactly what I do and what I use, so you're spot on. Mid-70s is a perfect temp; mid-80s ain't.

Jim
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