Over-oxidized dough in breads


Finally, one last question. I've read a lot about baking bread and how overmixing can lead to overoxidation of the dough leading to loss of color in bread and off taste, I think?

In his bread baking class, i believe J Hamelman describes how to watch out for this or how to test the dough to see if this has occurred. I can't find any information on this topic anywhere on the Internet and was hoping someone could shed more light on it.

badge posted by: mariebia725 on January 26, 2013 at 4:20 pm in Q & A
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reply by: PaddyL on January 26, 2013 at 4:24 pm

I doubt you could do this at home. There's a recipe in Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Breads that has you beat the dough for 30 minutes in a mixer, I've made it, and it's delicious.

reply by: mariebia725 on January 26, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Do you mean that it's not possible to over-oxidize dough at home? Hmmm...ok, but still curious about how it would look and taste. I guess it'd be hard to find an answer among home cooks since it probably never happens to a home baker?

Thanks for your answers, PaddyL:)

reply by: KIDPIZZA on January 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Good afternoon. Marie, first I would like to welcome you to our BAKING FORUM. I went to GOOGLE & entered in the search box OXYGENATION IN BREAD DOUGH

There is much written there about this subject. I might mention this, It is very important to have this in a yeasted bread dough. However when it is to much it is a liability. That is why we home bread bakers cannot duplicate the quality of prof bakeries is because there mixers can mix dough in 5, minutes with just the right amount of oxydation with the gluten fully developed. Special high priced mixers is the key. But mixing in the stanard mixers we should we able to develop the gluten in 8.5 to 10, minutes. Their should not be any overoxydation.

Anyway I hope I was able to answer your question in a manner that you could understand what I am implying.

If not post back & there should be other members that may help further.

Good luck to you & enjoy the rest of the weekend young lady.


reply by: GinaG on January 26, 2013 at 6:08 pm

As Kidpizza points out, we don't have professional mixers in our home, so we need ways to improvise.

There are steps one takes to prevent over-oxidizing, it's just a matter of taking care.
A very good practice is to autolyse your dough. The second is your method of mixing and kneading. Some also say that using non-iodized salt is helpful, but I've not noticed the difference in my breads.

Autolysing your dough ensures that the flour becomes properly hydrated, prior to adding the salt and mixing your dough. The standard text-book length of time to rest the dough is 20-30 minutes prior to mixing, but I've had some happy accidents which led to my standard practice of autolysing the dough for much longer. The result is a better rise, improved integrity to crust and crumb. It also requires far less mixing/kneading once it has rested and you add the salt to the mix, further reducing risk of over-kneading, which can in turn render the oxidation we want to avoid.

We need to watch the temperature of the dough. If it heats by from over-mixing, we risk oxidizing it. Many recipes indicate the desired temperature of the mixed dough for this reason: To avoid oxidizing our dough.

Stretch and fold method is a technique used to build your dough and when done properly, really minimizes the likelihood of over-processing.

Autolyse and waiting to add the salt results in a more orderly gluten formation. I think of it as letting the dough work for you, rather than working the dough, does that make sense?


reply by: KAF_Frank on January 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm

When I was an apprentice, dough in this condition was simply called "rotten dough". I've never seen a home baker achieve over oxidation of a yeasted dough. I would expect most, if not all, stand mixers designed for the home to either burn out or shut themselves down due to overheating.

In commercial bakeries, very lean doughs are those most in danger of over oxidation. It occurs when a dough is mechanically over beaten. Beaten, not kneaded. High speed commercial mixers use super efficient spiral dough hooks. The negligent baker allows the spiral hook to carelessly pound away at the mass. This is essentially an error of inexperience, or inattention.

The first sign of over oxidation is color change. A dough made with unbleached flour will go from "creamy" colored to "dead white". This is due to the tremendous amount of air that has been beaten in. The gluten structure will be damaged and noticeably weaker. Because of the over beating, the dough may be somewhat "foamy" in consistency. The dough temperature out of the mixer will be excessively high, the rises will be rapid due to poor gluten structure and high dough temp. The finished loaves may be pale and flavorless, due to the yeast working too fast and consuming all the available sugars in the dough. The interior crumb will be spongy and crumbly.

Frank @ KAF

reply by: mariebia725 on January 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Thank you all for your responses. This is all very helpful information. And thanks for the reassurance that this is uncommon in the home setting.

I was mostly curious about how to tell, even though I don't think it would happen. I'd almost like to intentionally try to do this to see what the taste of the raw dough would be like and the smell too. Hmmmm