Dough Tips |
Sourdough Tips |
Follow these tips
and techniques to make your old "tried-and-true" recipes even
- Buy a dough thermometer and use it. Your dough should
come out of the mixing bowl or off the table after mixing at 75 to
80 degrees F (23.8 to 26.6 degrees C). If the dough
temperature is higher than this, flatten it out, place it in a oiled
plastic bag and refrigerate it for 30 minutes. After the cool
down time place the dough still covered on the kitchen counter for
its first rise. Too warm a dough is very detrimental to good
bread texture and taste, as it will burn up the yeast and a off
color and "yeastie"-beer taste will occur and the loaf
size will be greatly diminished.
- If the recipe you have gives ounces, hundredths of pounds or gram
weights, use them and weigh your recipe. You will be
amazed at the consistency of your bread baking. Do not try to
use ounces as they are too big for any accuracy when making 1 to 4
loaves. Professionally, grams or hundredths of a pound work
- Use only non iodized salt. Iodine attacks the yeast
activity, slowing down the first fermentation. Orange, lemon
or grapefruit peel as well as cinnamon and alcohol will have a
retarding effect and too much will stop the yeast activity
- Never warm your dough in any way, during its first rise,
room temperature of 65 to 85 degree F (18.3 to 30 degree C) is a
perfect environment for proper fermentation.
- Use a lightly oiled plastic bag, place the dough inside,
close bag, giving plenty of room for expansion. Let the dough
rise the first time undisturbed by drafts. Never use a dry or
moist cotton cloth to cover the dough as it wicks the moisture out
of the dough and causes a skin to form which will limit the
expansion of the dough and you will end up with a smaller loaf than
- Do not overload your oven, as good air circulation is
essential for proper baking and loaf color. Watch crust color
and if bread is browning too rapidly, either turn the oven down 25
degrees F (or use aluminum foil to tent the loaves).
- Rich doughs need special handling. After the mixing
of the dough and approximate, one (1) hour rising time, slow the
fermentation down by refrigeration. [Rich doughs that have a
lot of butter or eggs should be refrigerated from one (1) and up to
twelve (12) hours]. This cooling down of the dough will have many
beneficial effects, if the following tips are followed:
- A. Greater loaf volume will be achieved because you will
get what is called greater "oven spring".
- B. Cold dough is easier to handle when forming into the
final desired shape as high butter and high egg doughs tend to be
soft and hard to handle.
- C. The cooling process gives a slower first rise, which
will have the beneficial effect of a clean flavor and longer shelf
life to the final baked product.
- D. After the dough is removed from the refrigerator, form
the dough into desired shapes and let it rise in a draft free
place until the dough doubles to triples in volume, as specified
in the recipe. Bake according to the recipe, watching the
color of the cracks. If the cracks are the proper golden
brown color the bread is done.
- Handle dough gently. Do not beat the dough down
after the first rise (first fermentation) one quick openhanded bang
will do. Over molding could cause breaking of the surface tension
and will result in a smaller finished loaf.
- Use less yeast, 2% is a starting point. If you want
large crumb structure with random bubbles as found in artisan
breads, give longer fermentation time and go down on the % of yeast
used or go to a sponge and dough method and go down even further on
the % of yeast used. Time is everything.
- When a strong crusty bread is desired use a lower
protein flour such as 11.5 to 12.5%. The lower the protein content the lower
the moisture absorption rate of the flour, thus thicker crust
results. If a thin delicate crust is called for, use a stronger
protein flour, 13.5 to 15% since the stronger the flour the higher
the absorption rate the thinner the crust.
- Cinnamon has a direct effect on the yeast
activity and in large quantities it will stop fermentation completely. Keep
high percentages of cinnamon out of the dough itself and in fillings
where it can have only limited effect on the yeast activity.
- Check the dough temperature as it comes out of the
bowl, the optimum temperature for good yeast activity is 76 to 80°F
(26°C). Rarely can a baker control the room temperature or the
flour temperature but the water or liquid temperature can be
controlled easily by using a dough thermometer and checking a water
temperature of the water to be used. Charts for the proper water
temperature to be used are found in many professional baking books
or by requesting one from International School of Baking. Specify C
or F or use the following formula:
|Dough Temperature Desired
|Multiplied by 3 (Constant)
|Machine friction Average
|Water temperature required
Under warm baking conditions, ice is often necessary to
achieve proper water temperature.