And streeeeeeetch: Dough-Gymnastics
No relaxing time for our dough after the extended massage (right after adding our levain, and once more after adding the salt). We’ll let it chill – but not now. Before that, it is time for a great portion of stretching.
We want to train our dough’s muscles for the big challenge during bulk fermentation: we want to strengthen it – as preparation for the gases which will be built during the phase of fermentation. Dough strength and extendibility – this is our focus for a successful Open crumb adventure. Let’s talk about this step with one of my personal Open crumb mentors: Kristen from Chicago, very well known as @fullproofbaking on Instagram!
Kristen: let’s try to define dough strength! A strong dough is one that has some pull to it when you give it a stretch; it is not slack or overly malleable. It is able to hold its shape for a bit of time following a stretch and fold. Following a fold, this same dough will likely retain its rounded curvature at the edges.
Many variables contribute to increased dough strength: high protein/gluten flours, manipulating your dough via hand mixing, salt content, lamination (as you will see in the video below), stretch and folds, lowering the hydration, and properly fermenting the dough. Trevor J Wilson used an analogy of a “bag of balloons” in his eBook, Open Crumb Mastery, to explain the effect of fermentation and gas development on dough strength, which I found to be a brilliant explanation and one that is very important.
An under fermented dough (a bag with uninflated balloons) would not have much strength, and the bag would be slack and unable to be shaped. While an over fermented dough (whereby these balloons are completely filled with air and unable to move in the bag) would be too strong and would resist all forms of shaping. It is generally preferred to aim for in between these two extremes (referring to the volume increase during bulk fermentation).
Fascination – Lamination
Lamination, a technique I learned from the fellow Instagrammer @autumn.kitchen, is an excellent method to increase dough strength and overall dough structure. I’ve noticed a significant increase in overall dough strength and ease in final shaping since adopting the method (no need to pre-shape).
Kristen, a huge THANK YOU for your support during my personal Open crumb journey. It is an honor and pleasure to have your here on #brotokoll!
Make sure to check out Kristen’s amazing bakes on her Instagram profile: @fullproofbaking
Let’s get started!
What are you waiting for? It’s lamination time! All you need to know: in the video below.
Do you have specific questions or issues? Contact me via the contact form. I am happy to help you.