Practical report @ dough development

Practical Procedures (To familiarise yourself)

Part 1. Hydration of flour. One flour with three different levels of water. Qualitative measure of the ‘baker’s window’. These weights and volumes follow the video given by Ox the baker (in week 8), but feel free to reduce the weights and volumes proportionately (for example, consider weighing out 100g of each flour and adjusting the water volume accordingly). There will be less dough waste this way.

  1. Take four bowls and weigh out 300 g of one of your flours into each bowl.
  2. To the first bowl, add 40% water and mix. This is a baker’s percentage- so be careful! 100% hydration means that 100% of the weight of the flour is added as water. So for 300g of flour, you need to add 300 g (or mL of water- it is the same!). Thus, 40% hydration means adding 120 g/mL of water to 300g flour.
  3. Add 60% water to the second bowl and mix.
  4. Add 80% water to the third bowl and mix.
  5. Add 100% water to the fourth bowl and mix.
  6. Leave all dough to rest for 30 min.
  7. Take a small ball of dough, roll into a ball, then stretch out between your fingers to form the ‘baker’s window’. This is where the dough is stretched quite thin, and becomes almost transparent. In well-hydrated doughs, the baker’s window will be clear, without breaks and you may be able to see through it.

Part 2. Hydration of flour and dough development with yeast. Two flours with different protein levels. Determine optimal mixing time, and make a gluten ball.

  1. Weigh out 300g (approximately 2 cups) of each your two flours into separate and clean bowls. Make sure you label which bowl has which flour.
  2. Add each of the other ingredients (yeast to package directions; or 5g if not given), salt (5g; approx. 1 teaspoon) and 210 g/mL of warm water. Don’t worry too much about accurate measurements, just be sure that you add the same amount to each recipe. Ensure that the temperature of the water does not exceed 22oC – it should be cool to touch.
  3. Start a stopwatch and commence mixing of the dough.
  4. After one minute of mixing, interrupt the timing and mixing and inspect the dough. Test the feel of the dough and record your observations in tabular form.
  5. Restart the stopwatch and the mixing of the dough for a further minute. Again interrupt the mixing and record observations.
  6. Continue mixing, and at one minute intervals, pause to record results up to the point you judge to be optimum development.
  7. Continue mixing for a further five one-minute intervals beyond the optimum development and record your results.
  8. Take a piece of each dough (approx 20g) and mould the dough by hand into a smooth ball.
  9. Set a cool tap running gently and knead the dough by hand under the running water for five minutes or until no further change takes place. Massage the ball of dough in your hands and continue to rinse until the water coming out of the ball runs clear.
  10. Record your observations and describe the textural characteristics of the gluten ball remaining at the end of the washing process.
  11. Take photographs of the dough at the end of mixing and at the end of washing. What differences were there between your dough preparations? What does this tell you about the quality and quantity of the gluten?

Part 3. Here you will repeat the determination of optimal development above, but with the addition of sugar to the mixture

  1. Weigh out 300g (approximately 2 cups) of one of your flours into one clean bowl.
  2. Add each of the other ingredients (yeast to package directions; or 5g; 1 teaspoon if not given), salt (5g; approx. 1 teaspoon) and 210 mL of warm water. Here, you will be adding 2 teaspoons (approx. 10g) of white sugar.
  3. Start a stopwatch and commence mixing of the dough.
  4. After one minute of mixing, interrupt the timing and mixing and inspect the dough. Test the feel of the dough and record your observations in tabular form.
  5. Restart the stopwatch and the mixing of the dough for a further minute. Again interrupt the mixing and record observations.
  6. Continue mixing, and at one minute intervals, pause to record results up to the point you judge to be optimum development.
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