Sunday, March 16, 2014

Bread Baking Babes make a splash; Floating Dough

This month we wrapped our dough in a teatowel, tied a pretty twine around it and called it a day!
please join us as a Bread Baking Buddy! Let Elle  know how you wrapped your dough by the end of this month....

Hehe, we did a little bit more than that but you guessed that already. Elle over at  Feeding My Enthusiasms        was our host this month and we gathered around her kitchen table while she spun us a story about how to wrap your dough and sink it off in a bucket of water....

The dough was a very rich dough, quite the amount of butter, sugar and eggs added to get a brioche like dough. Don't let it scare you, the dough was amazingly well-behaved, easy to handle and tame!
So far so good, nothing new there. But here we go.... now  we were supposed to wrap the dough in a floured tea towel, tie it up en sink it in a large bowl filled with warm water! Yes. Immerse a package of dough in hot water.

And then? Well, it sinks to the bottom.

Then within 30-45 minutes it rises back to the surface (any submarine songs?)
The packet bobs right up and floats on the water... so funny! It's all bulky and feels airy.

Because it's still wrapped in that teatowel! Granted, I floured it heavily but then again, the whole thing is soaking wet so what the dough looks like? I was really wondering if I could get it out more or less in one piece.

Turns out I need not worry. The dense layer of flour kept the dough ball intact and protected from the water and with the help of my dough scraper I could get the dough out pretty easily.

Again on the work surface and pushed back, balled up and put to rise in a loaf pan. I didn't make two separate loaves but instead chose a bigger loaf pan and put two balls of dough next to each other to rise.
And then made dinner, all of us around the table (doesn't happen very often these days), enjoyed after dinner coffee..... forgot ALL about that dough rising@

Unfortunately -in this case :-() it rose pretty quickly although I used only 1.1/4 tsp of yeast. Over rise! So so very unnecessary. I baked it and we had it the next mroning for breakfast. A real brioche like dough, dries out quite fast but overall very very nice loaf of bread!

Thanks Pat for this step out of our comfortzone again in a direction I never imagined!

It was fun and I was almost sorry the boys have grown so much because this must be so great to do with children around! Sinking and rising dough packages! Can it get any better? And see -> no ruined tea towel!
But now, can someone please tell me WHY we do this?
I mean, does it help the dough in any way? Make it softer? Or quicker? More controlled rise?

This is what Elle discovered:
The theory is that the dough, being delicate, will benefit from rising in water where the water barrier will keep the yeast produced gases inside the dough, for a better first rise. Having it wrapped in a tea towel is probably necessary since Beard says this is a sticky dough, even when the first kneading is done.

Also please let Elle know you baked along with us: YOU are invited to play along, get watery, and become a Bread Baking Babe Buddy. Just bake the bread (recipe below), take a photo, send her an e-mail (to elle dot lachman at gmail dot com) with the photo and a link to your post, plus a few words on your experience baking this bread. Variations are encouraged, but do try the water proofing, OK? By the way, this makes excellent French Toast



  1. Yes enough flour in the towel, really saves a lot of scraping. Glad the bread still held its shape after overproofing (that happens to me a lot too). Yes we made them into french toast as well, delicious!

  2. Ha, over proofed thy name is distraction! But with everybody at the table at least it as a worthy distraction.
    Really like the two dough balls in the pan shape.

    About the only thing I see that this method has over a bowl rise would be: a steady state temp as there would be not effect from breeze and there could be absolutely no drying out of the dough. Did it make some huge difference … I can’t figure that.
    I do see I could have saved myself had I remembered to flour the tea towel.

  3. Hey!! Nobody said anything to me about using pretty twine!

    I can't get over how beautifully non-slack your dough is!

    And why do we do it? Who knows? Because we can??

    I thought it was to push the rise and keep the bread in a moist environment. I know someone who talked about the importance of rising bread in a steam chamber - I think he knew a guy who had worked in a bakery in the 1970s before the advocation of getting bread dough to make long cold rises to enhance the flavour.

    Tanna, you could have saved yourself if you had floured the tea towel. But I don't think it would have made much difference if you had followed the instructions to sprinkle it with flour. Sprinkling wouldn't do much at all.

  4. I sprinkled the tea towel and Elizabeth I right...not much help. I do think that the water proofing led to an even rise and maybe a bit faster than usual...hence the easy overproofing we had. I also think that it was brilliant for you to make one big loaf. So delicious I might have to make it again.

  5. Your loaf looks great! I almost made one big loaf. Now I know it would've worked. I should've sprinkled more flour on my towel. After seeing how much you used, I didn't use enough.

  6. I love your tea towels.... And I love the way the bread popped over the pan - very pretty.

  7. Mmm.. how come your towel looks so neat and clean? I floured mine before placing the dough into it but it still was pretty messy. You must have the golden touch!

  8. Oh Sandie... did you see how heavily I floured my teatowel? And I can assure you fabric in this house is not teflon coated.. I wish!


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