Yeast bread: The single rise experiment

Today was my first reasonably rigorous day  of yeast bread experimentation. By that I mean I recorded my data carefully, and took photos. Its a good time to be doing this experimentation. My 20-some ‘fridge vacuum’ son is living with us for the next 4 months and so it will get eaten! Today I wanted to work with the following parameters:

  • a 580g loaf
  • a single rising of an already formed loaf
  • 40 minutes proofing time

The details:

All went smoothly: mixed the sponge, gave it 10 minutes in the proofing oven, I got the flour and salt already, mixed, kneaded for 10 minutes, formed into loaves, into the required pans, and into the proofing oven.

The internal temperature upon going in was 86, and over the 25 minutes it spent proofing, it rose quickly, nice, perky and rounded above the pan. I felt it was right not to go to the intended 40 minutes of proofing before turning up the oven.  Here is what it looked like: I stuck a meat thermometer in the top – – this time I wanted to make sure I got the timings right. It was at this point I turned the proofing off, and the oven on to 450. I  did NOT take the loaf out.

Over the next 20 minutes, the oven temperature rose, and the bread rose some more, but not dramatically. The dough temperature by the time the oven temperature reached 450 the bread was at 118.

after 18 minutes in the oven that is quickly heating up. Internal temp is 110, oven temp is 400.

The next photo was taken 5 minutes later

elapsed time since oven was turned on: 22 minutes; Oven turned down to 350 (i.e. it is no longer ‘on’) internal bread temp: 127 and climbing fast.

I took it out of the oven when the internal temp had reached 204  – a total of 29 minutes after the oven had been turned on. Here is what it looked like:

bread out of oven – dimple on account of the thermometer in it.

A couple of days before I tried a loaf with 2 quite fast risings. I tried the same the next day, but for a number of reasons it did not work out. The following photo compares the 2 loaves. The one on the right is the product of this one rising process, the one on the left is the same weight, and the product of 2 shorter risings.

It looks like I will stick with the single rising. Its simpler, it takes less time, and it gives better results.

Today I worked with a rising period of 23 minutes. The next ‘experiment’ will be to both increase and also decrease the proofing period. I should though, cut a slice, dry it and keep it for comparison purposes.

I want to be clear that I don’t consider this a method for anyone to use. Its simply what works for me – in my particular circumstances. That all said, I would definitely welcome feedback from any ‘real’ bakers out there!

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