The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to prevent braided breads from "cracking" when rising?

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kitcar's picture
kitcar

How to prevent braided breads from "cracking" when rising?

When I see braided breads at the bakery, the braids are always nice a whole, like this

Yet whenever I braid bread, the braids always "crack" at the seams during baking, resulting in a bread that looks like this:

Any idea what causes this, and how I can prevent it from happening in the future? The cracks make the bread hard to transport and cut, as the bread always wants to rip at the cracks first.

Thanks!

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

You can try letting them proof longer before baking.

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I agree with Mary Clare.  The cracks are the result of 'oven spring' so it is just timing you are dealing with.

Janet

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and is preventing the dough from stretching during the proof.  Brush or mist the braid to prevent drying or cover loosely with a wrung out moist flat cotton towel if humidity is low.  

It could also be that the rest step between shaping the ropes and braiding is not long enough.   Give the ropes some time to relax and rise a tiny bit before braiding and braid looser.    Or when done braiding, shorten the braid by pushing the ends toward each other rather than away from the middle.  See if that helps.   

The "bakery" braid is a 4 strand braid and looks like a lower hydration dough.

kmrice's picture
kmrice

I like your loaf better; the bakery loaf looks more like a pretzel than a nice loaf of bread.

I agree that your stretching was probably caused by under proofing. I had a similar result last weekend when I was in a hurry to get somewhere and baked a little earlier than I should have. The result was still great bread - how was yours, other than in appearance?

Karl

kitcar's picture
kitcar

Oh it was delicious! At the end of the day appearance is a lower priority for me over taste, but as this has become a common problem I've run into I thought I would ask, thanks for the suggestions, I will experiment with them all and see what change in process has the greatest impact!

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I just checked into the Baker Blogs and found this.  Might help you out some. HERE   You might check out Juergen's recent blog too. Very timely.

Janet