Home Bread-Bakers v098.n059.20

crumbly bread / sponge method

"J. Mathew" <joanm@bigfoot.com>
Sun, 16 Aug 1998 09:54:36 -0500
>      It is at this point that I need some advice/confirmation. Most
>      cookery
> books have this second rising as 3/4 to 1 hour. I recon that with all this
> time spent beforehand that about 25 mins is enough 

This is something that is based on many factors, including amount of 
yeast used, temperature, humidity, type of yeast used, ingredients in 
recipe (some denser breads take longer to rise), whether you are using 
a sponge or sourdough recipe/method, and so on.  On a good day 
maybe the dough will take 45-60 minutes, but that's only a 
"guesstimate"!  I tend to look upon time estimates in recipe books as 
suggestions based on the author's experiences.  There are times when 
it takes a much longer or shorter time in my own kitchen.  I never go by 
the time elapsed, but rather judge the dough itself and whether it has 
doubled and passes the "finger punch" test.

>however I often seem to
> get an air hole underneath the crust and can't work out whether it is to
> do with cooking temperatures or whether, after a long rising process, this
> 25mins is far too long. Any help appreciated.

If I understand you correctly, then I think this air hole is due to improper 
formation of the loaf rather than rising time, etc.  When you're punching 
down the dough and shaping the loaf it is important to try and work out 
any of the little air bubbles that developed during rising.  During the 
shaping of the loaf you have to be careful to pinch out any air pockets 
and roll things tightly, etc.  This is something that is difficult to do 
sometimes, and in my experience the only way to get it right is to 
practice, practice, practice!  Your bread will still taste good even if it is 
not "aestheticaly pleasing" with that air hole!  ;)   

One other thing occurs to me regarding this "air hole" problem, too.  It 
may be that the loaf is rising for too long a period *after* shaping, just 
before it goes in the oven.  If this is the case, then there are little air 
pockets/bubbles developing in the dough and these get larger the longer 
it rises.  If you don't let the loaf sit quite so long before it goes in the 
oven sometimes this problem can be eliminated or minimized.

> 8/ I start cooking in a hot oven (about 210 C Fan Oven) with water in a
> pan in the bottom. When bread  is in the oven is turned down by 
about 20
> C. That's about it. 

Adding mist or steam to the oven cavity during baking will cause the 
crust to be quite crispy, such as the type of crust desired when baking 
French baguettes or batards.  There are, of course, other types of 
breads which use this method as well.

I have a bunch of bread recipes on my Web page 
(http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/8098/recipes.html), including some 
information (and recipes) using the sponge method (one of my favorites 
due to the texture and flavor it imparts, especially using sourdough 

I hope some of these suggestions help a bit,
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