Proofing wet doughs

(MTJohn) #1

I usually bake breads with a preponderance of whole grain flours. With these recipes, I also mix dough that is at least 75% hydration. I have often proofed the dough in loaf pans and then baked. Those results are acceptable, but I get a better crust and crumb if I transfer the dough to a pre-heated baker. I proof the dough on a well floured linen cloth and then placed in a bowl. This procedure has worked well for me when baking dough with a lower hydration. But, with the higher hydration doughs, transfer of the dough into the baking vessel can be an adventure. Any suggestions to reduce the tendency for the wet dough sticking to the cloth would be appreciated.

Seeded Sourdough Bread
(Melissa) #2

One thing that helps, which you may already do, is after placing the dough in the basket, I shake a lot of flour around the perimeter of the dough - because this is what will be eventually touching the sides as it expands. (I line the basket with oiled saran wrap instead of a floured towel when I’m really concerned.)

Here’s a pic of an extra floured perimeter

(MTJohn) #3

That’s nothing compared with the layer of flour - a mix of AP and rice - that I had on my linen cloth this morning. When I finished proofing, the cloth was saturated and the dough stuck in several places. I lost a little loft and was not able to get a good score. Otherwise, the bake turned out ok.

Thanks for the suggestion regarding Saran Wrap.

(Melissa) #4

I actually had one of those recently. It stuck, stretched and flowed all thru my fingers as I took it out of the basket. So I basically folded it in half as I laid it in the dutch oven, to try to get a taut shape again. Didn’t turn out so pretty.

I saw a video on Instagram of folding/shaping seems like for high hydration dough. I want to get good at this technique and maybe it will help.

(Video is from @trueloaf if anyone wants to go to the source on Instagram)

(MTJohn) #5

My linen cloth is larger than that in the video clip. It lies loose in the oblong bowl that I use for proofing. When the dough did not release, I let the dough with cloth attached drop into the Romertopf and then used a table knife to peel the dough off the cloth. Fortunately, it was stuck in spots, not everywhere. So, I got a decent result with a few cosmetic defects.

(Melissa) #6

Glad you got it to turn out ok. Good idea to cut it away from the cloth rather than pull.

(FlourDusted) #7

Living in a dry climate and high altitude I learned I need to adjust. What I find that works well for me is to spray a fine mist of water on your linen or coiled banneton, then proceed with a dusting of rice flour. The misting of water will help the flour to adhere more and your proved/retarded loaves will come out flawlessly. Hope this helps! Happy fermenting!

(MTJohn) #8

Thanks. I live in a dry climate and an altitude just high enough that I sometimes use the “high altitude adjustment” found in some recipes.

(Khasidi) #9

Okay, I know this is kind of a hack and purists won’t like it; but I lay my dough on a sheet of baking parchment and then put it in a steep-sided bowl (I don’t have a proofing basket) for the final proofing with the parchment underneath.

When it is ready for the oven, I lift the dough out using the corners of the parchment, and transfer it to the “preheated baker” (in my case, a dutch oven) without flipping it over or anything. The parchment, which by this point is completely stuck to the dough, goes right in the baking vessel along with the dough. During baking, the magic of baking parchment happens and it “unsticks”—the finished loaf comes right off it.

The big advantage of this method is that it really minimizes the amount that the dough is disturbed during the transfer, so you get better formed loaves and better interior structure.

(MTJohn) #10

Thanks, Khasidi. I use parchment with some recipes, e.g. one that I bake that has a lot of cheese in it. So far I have resisted that for those doughs that I want to turn upside down into the baker.

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Durum Herb Cheese Sourdough Bread
(Geoffrey) #11

I do exactly what Khasidi does and it works very well. I use a very heavy Dutch oven and as soon as I have lowered the loaf (on parchment) into it, I quickly pour in about 2/3 cups of water, into the space between the edge of the dough and the wall of the Dutch oven. Quick on goes the lid and then bake same as everyone else, about 15 minutes covered then uncovered for another 30 minutes. The added water I think gives me a bit more spring and make a very “robust” crust (my favorite part).

(Royal) #12

I like this idea of adding water, but what if you’re using a clay baker? Does that present a problem? I use a rising basket that is sprayed with non stick spray then I dump in some sesame seeds and rotate the basket around so that the surface is covered with seeds then it goes into the baker after an hour and does not stick to the basket.

(Geoffrey) #13

Had not thought of that because I only have cast iron but yes, likely your clay container would break if you add water to it once it is preheated!

(DanaAllen) #14

Parchment paper is ideal for all types of bread baking. Just lift from the proofing container and put directly into a baking vessel, or transfer to a baking stone in the oven. Makes it much easier to transfer. I do this with long bagettes while rising and, to transfer to the oven too…

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(DrCohen) #15

I normally proof wet dough in a plastic brotform well-coated with nonstick spray and then heavily dusted with wheat bran or rye flakes or seeds, etc. I proof seam-down in the brotform, then turn out onto parchment, placing the parchment in the clay baker or dutch oven seam-up. No slashing is needed, and I like the rustic look where the seam opens-- different each time.

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(dorislns) #16

In all the replies to the sticking bread I have yet to see someone using potato flour . I use it all the time on all the bread I bake including baguettes ,rolls and ciabatta. It seems to absorb moisture better than just ordinary flour. Also semolina works well , but I still prefer potato flour.

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(ryan820) #17

I have both clay and cast iron and even SPRAYING water atop my dough in my hot clay baker sent a crack through it. I thought it was ruined instantly but the crack either didn’t go all the way through and/nor wasn’t deep… very close call!

(Khasidi) #18

I haven’t tried potato flour, but I find that coarse semolina flour also works very well to prevent sticking. This also works if you are making egg noodles and want to let them sit in “nests” to dry. One often ends up with a stuck together mess, but if you dust the pasta with semolina before cutting the strips, it takes care of the problem. The semolina feels very rough, but it disappears into the cooking water.

(davey1025) #19

as suggested white rice flour and AP flour 50/50 mix and I haven’t worried since.