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I decided to push to the limit my "modest" stand mixer and make a 100% hydration focaccia. Baker's percents: Manitoba flour 100% Water 100% instant dry Yeast 0.5% salt 3% olive oil 3.5%

Procedure in this video with Italian comments, but basically work flour with 3/4 of the water and then add the remaning water in several steps.

The manitoba flour I used is this one.

Then the dough is supposed to be folded some times on the counter and then ferment in the fridge for 24h.

After that, proof at room temp until doubled, then spread on a baking tray, wait a bit and bake.

I have made two attempts in the last two months. Same flour and same machine that rotates the hook along a conic axis instead of cylindrical. So not really ideal and it tends to spread the dough to the wall instead of on the hook itself.

The first attempt doubled in volume with respect to the mark in about 4h in my oven turned off with light on after a while. It was October, let's say 22C (no light) and 30C with light.

The second attempt didn't raise at all in 5h at similar temperatures. But the spreading in the tray was ok and the final product did turn up with some bubbles. Unfortunately the first attempt was spread differently so doesn't really make sense to compare those.

Question is: can "overworking" inhibit the proofing somehow? I mean that the gluten net is so strong that the expansion just can't happen.

Pictures from first attempt:

doubling in volume and cheap machine in question in the background bubbles after 4h at room temp spreading in a dish with wall smaller than planned as I thought the dough was not enough final product

Second attempt:

Little or no increment of volume spreading as large as possible with no walls and topping final product 1 section in correspondence to the bigger bubbles

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  • I acknowledge I may have been a bit verbose, but the question was whether the overkneading can lead to no proofing due to too much strength of the gluten net. i edited the original post by making the question in boldface – David P Dec 6 '20 at 17:39
  • High-hydration doughs may not even require kneading. You can try the technique from "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" -- stir to combine, let rise at room temperature 'til the top starts to level out, then stash in the fridge. But if you do that, I would use a taller container (so it falls back upon itself before it manages to get to the top of the container) – Joe Dec 11 '20 at 20:26

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