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Over-Thinking Bread Baking

1. Convection Mode? I use the convection mode to brown the crust at the end of the baking time, because I worry that the hot swirling air will set the exterior before the bread has had the chance to fully rise. Does using the convection mode for the entire baking time hinder the oven spring?
2. Starter Necessary? Is there a discernable difference in using a starter for a Euro-style bread if the entire batch of dough is going to spend the night in the refrigerator?
3. Whey Instead of Water? How does using the liquid that remains after turning yogurt into labnah affect bread? Better for Euro-style lean breads, or enriched American-style? I keep running across the suggestion, but I’ve wary of trying it.
4. Whole Grain Bread “Stretch” Solution? This problem is purely aesthetic, but it still makes me crazy. I make the KAF recipe from the back of its wheat germ package almost weekly (I was out of rolled oats one time and used Bob’s Red Mill 10-Grain Cereal. Really good substitute. Anyway…) No matter how careful I am or what technique I try, the exterior of the finished bread has stretch marks. I let the dough rest for 20 minutes or so just after it comes together. I’ve patted the dough into a loaf shape, and I’ve rolled it out and let it relax a bit before I’ve formed it into a loaf shape. I use the right sized pans, slash the surface of the dough, and make sure the dough is fully risen before it goes into the oven – and I use an oven thermometer. Obviously, I’m missing something….???

asked by Melusine over 6 years ago

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3 answers 2487 views
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added over 6 years ago

Once again, thank you! I have the Peter Reinhart book, and just love it. The starter question came up because the poolish focaccia dough stayed in my fridge for a couple days longer than planned (after the starter spent a couple days in there, too -- busy week!) Anyway, the focaccia was exactly what I was aiming for, with huge holes and wonderful flavor. And no, I haven't soaked the 10 grain cereal, but I'll certainly try it. Again -- thank you, Boulangere.

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Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 6 years ago

Wow, isn't it great when you get that fantastic finish on something like focaccia! Don't worry about the prolonged refrigeration. I've had starters and doughs in the fridge for 48 hours many time, and they turn out just fine. Congratulations!