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Bread Cavitation Problem - Any Bakers With Ideas?
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Posted March 31, 2012 at 8:27AM
Lately I've been using our breadmaker for fresh baked bread in the mornings. However I've been having problems with large bubbles that form just under the crust, which then collapse leaving this to greet me in the mornings. The bread itself is light and tasty enough, but its still annoying. Any ideas what might be the problem? Too much yeast or sugar? Or not enough mixing? Or should I look for some sort of cooking forum instead?
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Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:42PM
The Canadian hard wheats Quickbeam refers to were still being used in the 90's and unto early 2001. They were then phased out by most millers due to the cost incurred due to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
We then switched to North American hard wheat but it was only used in small quantities in any bread making grist that we milled.
The problem with todays plant bread ( the stuff sold in supermarkets) is it is made from the most economical grist the miller can come up with. There will in all probability be a percentage of EU wheat in it mostly from Germany but on the whole it is made with wheat grown in the UK. Although some of this wheat will have a decent protein content the gluten quality within the grain will never match that of our Canadian Western Red Springs or Hard Dark Northern Springs wheat.
To compensate this protein/gluten loss and strength in the flour, gluten is added to the flour in a powder form of additive at rates up to 4% in white flour and higher rates in brown.
This powdered protein is attained by manufacturers washing the protein out of lower protein grain and manufacturing it into powder form to be added by the miller. Powdered Gluten not only helps the protein content of the finished flour, it also raises the the water absorption for the baker. This water absorption figure is the amount of water a baker can add to the dough before it becomes a soggy mess. The higher the water absorption the more financially beneficial it is to the baker as he can add more water which is free, to make a dough rather than adding more flour which costs him money. It also means that the dough will give a good stretch in the baking and kneading process producing a good loaf.
When I left the industrial milling business in 2006, there was only one plant baker that used any form of Canadian or North American wheat in their grists and they in my opinion still to this day make the best supermarket loaf. I don't know if I came name them on here but it's the brand I buy, W**S.
I did not at first see the picture you had posted in your link, and Quickbeam may well be correct that it could be caused by weather. It could be what I mentioned in my first post or a flour strength problem. I would advise trying to make a the dough up partially yourself before putting it in to bake over night as it looks like it is not getting mixed properly.
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Posted April 3, 2012 at 9:28AM
al's l p Your info is most interesting. "Allxxson" do a very strong bread flour, both white and wholemeal, would this be anything like your Canadian or North American hard wheats?
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Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:13PM
In answer to your question regarding the Allxxson flour I would not be able to give a accurate answer.
Under the food labelling act they would have to have some Canadian or HDNS in it if that was stated on the bag. It is a very good selling point as most people know that those wheats make far better bread. Scottish morning rolls normally have a percentage of these wheats in, although greatly reduced from the 70's and 80's
I believe the Allxxson brand is owned by the milling company ADM Milling you could try their website for info or look for contact details on the bag itself and contact them. They would gladly answer your question.
On a final point there is some confusion to consumers regarding the use of the wording "Strong Flour" It's definition is meant to be used in real terms for bread making flour. It will, when baked produce a loaf with good volume, good stretch in the dough and a good crumb texture.
It has as mentioned earlier been used as a good selling point and thus been abused to a point. I know of one very small independent miller in the north of England who uses the words "Strong Flour" on his products but also states it is great for use in biscuits and cakes and pastries and anything else you can bake. Why would any customer want to pay premium money to make biscuits when a bag of own label Txxxo or Axxa flour will do a better job at a fifth of the price?
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Posted April 3, 2012 at 8:22PM
I must say that when I started this thread I was looking for a simple diagnosis and a quick fix. However, as time and posts have progressed, I have learned more than I thought was to a seemingly simple subject. ( similar to a process I went through with johnson outboard motors, but thats another story)
I really am grateful to the expertise expressed in this thread, and I am fascinated with it.
On the subject of strong flour, yes I am using it. I never thought much about the phrase, assuming that it was a meaningless advertising platitude along with 'wholesome', 'natural' and 'full of goodness'.
Live and learn.
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Posted April 4, 2012 at 12:14AM
It'll be interesting to see if your loaf quality has returned with the winter as your kitchen will be quite cold during the night, thus slowing the rate of fermentation of the overnight program. If it has, we know where to go next.
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