Getting air bubbles in a dough mixture can frustrate anyone who enjoys baking. These air pockets can cause bread or pastry to be unevenly cooked, causing frustration in the kitchen. Not to worry, however, releasing air bubbles from your dough is an easy task with a bit of patience and proper technique. In this article, you will learn how to release air bubbles from dough. The techniques are simple and applicable to all sorts of dough, whether it is for bread, pizza, or pastry. With this knowledge, you can perfect your baked goods and make them more enjoyable for you and your family. Like a professional baker, let’s dive in and learn how to release air bubbles from the dough.
Punch down or fold the dough to release air bubbles
It is essential to get all the air out of the dough, or you could end up with large ugly air pockets in your loaf, and nobody wants that.
Let the dough rest until it rises
Take off the plastic wrap or towel carefully once the dough has risen. Put it on parchment paper, or silicone mat or a lightly flour-dusted surface. Or, if the dough is easy to handle, put it on a clean countertop that’s been lightly coated with oil. Turn the dough over and press it flat. Then, fold the dough into the shape you want.
Punching down and folding affect the dough’s texture in different ways
To make bread dough better, you can either push it down or fold it.
Pushing it down takes out air bubbles and wakes up the yeast.
Folding it makes it stronger, gets rid of the air, and evens out the temperature.
Rolling it up is also an option.
Don’t overdo it, or the bread will be ruined. Over moulding could cause breaking of the surface tension and result in a smaller finished loaf.
Punch the dough
Punching down will result in a finer, more tender crumb — something you would look for in sandwich bread or pastries like cinnamon rolls.
Punch the dough down, and knead briefly by hand 2 or 3 times to release the air bubbles.
Fold the dough
Instead of punching the dough to remove air, try folding it. Folding creates bread with more air pockets and a looser crumb. This makes bread look and taste better, especially artisan bread, baguettes, dinner rolls, oatmeal bread, Landbrot (a German country bread with a starter as a leaven), and sourdough wheat bread.
Feel free to try folding in recipes that call for punching down the dough.
How to fold the dough
Pat dough into a rectangle
Pat the dough down, removing most but not all the air bubbles.
Once the dough is deflated, shape it into a flat rectangle, about 1-2 cm (1/2 to 3/4 inch) thick.
The first fold
To create the first fold, pick up one of the sides of the dough and fold it a third of the way over the rest of the dough.
The second fold
The second fold is like folding a letter. Pick up the opposite side of the dough you folded, then stretch it over the first folded piece, laying it on top.
The third Fold – Repeat the first fold
To make the third fold, repeat the first fold, folding it one-third of the way down over the middle.
The fourth Fold – Repeat the second fold
Now it is time for the final fold. Fold the bottom third of the dough over other folds, creating a square centre.
You should now have a thick, square-ish piece of dough.
Note: On all these folds, brush off the excess flour, and gentle stretching is ideal, and the dough should not be pinched closed in any way. You should be able to see the layers of the folds.
Shape and cover it with some plastic wrap or with a towel and let it rise.
This article is part of “How to bake awesome bread”
I hope my easy tips will give you the confidence to step into the kitchen and prepare delicious meals to eat with a handful of close friends.
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