I have been following Richard Bertinet's recipes for Baguettes and Ciabatta using the french style kneading and 70% liquid.
I am leaving the loaves to prove on tea towels in a warm place, but finding when I need to move them to the oven they have formed a dry skin and are rather moist inside. They tend to split/crack as I move them and are getting stuck to the tea towel. I am sure I am getting the proportion of water right, and think maybe the environment I am proving them in is too warm (worktop near an Aga oven).
Should they not be forming a skin? Is there a "correct" room temperature for proving? Can you suggest any other reasons I am struggling?
I would think you are on the right track
If you are using a T55 flour or equivalent then these flours when hydrated to 70% want to move slowly and if you attempt to rush them along then they can run out of energy quickly.
The idea is to get the yeasts up and running first so they are multiplying well, this would be done by setting down some form of pre ferment at about 21oc max then add this to the remainder of the ingredients before development.
Depending on the level of yest you have chosen to run with will determine the finished dough temperature if you want to process the dough in a relatively short process you would run at no higher than 2% of the base flour weight and your dough temperature would not want to exceed 28oc or be below 24oc.
But if your process is over a longer period then you can be working as low as 0.5% based on your flour weight over a 16 hour process then your doughs would need to be set at 20 to 22oc.
Once the dough is up and running then it would be difficult to stop them and your dough would be happy even if the ambient temperature drops if the dough is slowing down just experiment with giving it a couple of folds through the process and you will see how much quicker it will recover as you reintroduce the yeasts to fresh foods.
Some of the best dough will come from producing the dough to say 50% of its final proving time and then chilling down to say 12oc for a long slow final proof.
Through the proving time the dough piece will be releasing moisture and gasses and you need to conserve this as a lot of the flavours will be in them so make a little dome over the top with a plastic bag or place into a box and cover with plastic to avoid it touching the damp surface.
If you have a dough thermometer then a good guide would be to never prove the dough at a temperature higher than the finished dough.
Hope this helps
Added by: clivemellum
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