The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oven spring

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BakingBetty's picture
BakingBetty

Oven spring

Hi there, I'm hoping someone wise will know the answer to my little problem.

I've just taken my third sourdough out of the oven. Tastes great - all three have. Good lot of bubbles. Nice crust. All great except I don't seem to get a very good 'oven spring' - the bread is practically the same as when I put it in (apart from 'oven spread'. The result is just flat rather than boule.

I cook in a 210oC preheated fan oven. I slash the top. Proving time 6 hours (straight from fridge) in a 19oC house. I stretch and fold the dough (70%+ hydration) four times. Starter is nice and bubbly. Hmmmm.

Help!

Pioneer Foodie's picture
Pioneer Foodie

Not certain, but it seems like six hours out of the fridge is too long, unless your starter is really really slow. If you have them formed before you put them in the fridge, that should only take an hour or 90 minutes max for an individual loaf to come back to room temperature. If you were letting a loaf rise without retarding, wouldn't 90 minutes be plenty? So that would say three hours out of the fridge is enough. I think four is more than adequate. And you're doing six. So perhaps you got all the spring your starter has to give before you put it in the oven, and then the "oven spread" is just your loaf deflating because it is over proofed.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Hi,

It is difficult to assess a problem like this without knowing the details of your recipe.  Here are a few things on which you might focus:

The dough may be over proofed and therefore not rising and possibly even collapsing in the oven.  The hydration of the dough may be to high, that is, too much water in the mix.  The loaves may not be shaped properly and therefore lose their shape.  The gluten structure of the dough might be under developed and causing the loaf to not hold its shape.  As you can see the possibilities are many.  If you would like a more definitive answer you could post your recipe complete with exact details on procedures, techniques and timings.  With that information you will find no shortage of help and suggestions on this forum.

Good luck,

Jeff

BakingBetty's picture
BakingBetty

Thanks Jeff. I didn't know how much info to include in my post.

I keep a record of all timing etc. SO for this loaf, I had 9oz starter, 8oz white flour and 160ml water (this makes a high 84% hydration). Left for 1/2 hour before 4 lots of stretch and folds, 45 minutes apart. Then left for 6 hours to rise. Shaped and into fridge. Took out in the morning and left till 3pm before putting in oven. From touching the dough, I had the impression it had overprooved. However I have the same problems when I left my first loaf for 3 hours to proove (72% hydration).

Is that enough info? Please ask for more. This is what I'm getting in any case....

. I test proving by looking for a doubling of dough and prodding.

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

at least I think it was her, If its 80% hydration it is ciabatta or it belongs in a pan to support it.  If coming from a basket it will spread rather than rise.  Since you have a 72% hydration this shouldn't be a problem.  So it might be over proofing or not enough gluten development to give the bread the structure it needs.

I'm guessing it is overproofed.  Try letting it rise 85% and then bake it - instead of letting the dough double.   I would also do 4 sets of S&F's on 20 minute intervals and see of that helps, then shape and let it sit on the counter for an hour before  refrigerating overnight.  After it comes out of the fridge in the morning it should be ready to bake in no more than 4 hours max. 

I quit shaping and retarding.  now retard in bulk, let it rest on the counter the next morning for an hour, shape and final proof for about 2- 2 1/2 hours and it is ready.

Happy baking

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

than fresh flour in the dough mix so I would expect your dough oven ready in about 3 hrs or less.  After the stretch and folding a few times, shape & chill.  The 6 hrs rise before chilling was too much in my opinion.  Fold if needed at the end of retarding.

Did you get the impression the loaf was ready to bake half an hour after the folding?  Long before you chilled it?  

With enough folds and dough development, it should be standing on it's own before chilling.  Otherwise shorten the time between folding.  When it starts rising more sideways, stretch & fold it gently to re-build height and strength.

BakingBetty's picture
BakingBetty

It's hard for me to assess when the dough it ready to be knocked back. I find myself starting at the bowl thinking has it risen enough? Hum. How do you tell if the gluten has been developed sufficiently? Some of the reason for letting the dough sit around was to allow the gluten to develop. At least that's how I've understood it after reading bits and bobs. I will do the s+f closer together and leave for much less time to proove. FInially, I agree the hydration is too much. I kept reading more is better so got carried away! What is a good range of hydration values? Still sooo much to learn. Thanks guys.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I used to ahve thos same problem.  Mini pointed oiut to me that I wasnlt allowing the dough to nearly double as I though but I was allowing it to triple!.  I posted some photos of before and after it had proofed in the basket and she caught my problem instantly - way overproofed.  I think thso is youyr problem too.  it is hard to judge 85% proofed in the basket.  All of my bakes recently have been the same.

!0 minutes of slap and folds to develop the gluten.  15 minute rest and then 3 sets of stretch and folds 15 minutes apart.  Then one hour of bulk counter ferment and into the fridge bulk.  Then out of the fridge in the morning.  1 hour to warm up, then shape and about 1 1/2 2 hours to final proof before starting the oven pre-heat. 

A great way to learn what is 85% and get sandwich bread is to tin half the dough filling the tin half full.  When it gets to the rim it is 100% proofed - see how long that takes.  At 85% bake the other half of the bread and follow with the tinned 100% proof.

Happy baking

davidlaplante's picture
davidlaplante

I think your dough may not have the strength it needs. I would try to add more flour. I  often retard sourdough overnight at the bakery.The biggest problem we have is we like to have our dough as wet as possibly and sometimes we go over bored and our bread goes flat.

BakingBetty's picture
BakingBetty

SO I just made this week's bread. As you can see, I have spring! The main difference was shorter rising and proving time. I did 12 hour feeds of the starter starting the day before and checked to see the dough would float in water before using. The other difference was following the recipe for sourdough in the handbook on this site. As I mixed it I thought it felt dry. I know realise the recipe was wrong! 210g of water 300g starter and 500g flour do not make 70% dough! I didn't expect it to rise but it did. The problem with this bread is the lack of open bubble structure and not as much taste as I've been getting. Any suggestions for improvement welcome. But thanks to your advice I've got some spring into my bread. THanks a lot.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in your lap!   That looks lovely!  ...at 66% hydration roughly...  you could easily kick it up a wee bit and fold or slap it around some more.  :)

I got fresh fall raspberries from the market today.  Have the container too close to the computer.   Yum!  Am I suffering or what?  If only I could spread heavy cream on a slice of your bread and cover it edge to edge with raspberries!  

"Knocking back sourdough"   I don't think I've ever done that.  I have degassed it a little when I fold to pop big bubbles... I got an idea.  Next time don't sit the dough in the bowl, leave it on the counter top or table and use a bowl as a cover, one you can see thru is even better.  Dig out your ruler and fold your dough, how high is it after folding, now watch it, when it starts running sideways and loosing height, flip it over, give it another round of folds folds, flip back over and tuck under the corners, and cover with the bowl to prevent drying.  Take notes.  

I tend to look at bread dough as a deteriorating process.  Sure dough development needs time and action in the beginning but at the same time you have a race going.  The dough is also breaking down with the help of the yeasts and bacteria which are determined to turn your lovely dough back into mother nature.  Their goal is goo and you have to stop them along the way.   Wait too long and the little beasties gang up and succeed with gravity against you.  You have to make a judgement call about the integrity of the dough as you go along.

The sourdough starts out rather tight and firm and eventually gets looser as it ferments.  You fold it back up and as you feel the dough you can tell that it is getting spongier and filling will gas bubbles with each fold until you or the dough decides who is in charge.   If the dough has been attacked from everyone long enough it gives way and  sometimes it starts to tear instead of stretch.  Stop when it tears, wait and let it relax and finish shaping.   Bake it before it gives way, not completely full of trapped gas.  

Also if you feel scoring will deflate it, don't score it.  It's your call.  Or score it, watch it fall (or not) scrape the dough together (or not) reshape (or not) and don't do again (or do.)  Learn where the limits are.  I think you've seen that outer limit.  Now hunt for the inner one.  So far looks good!

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Mini, thanks, you somehow found the words to describe "strength" in a way I understood. I know its something you need to actually experience, but your description made me understand my experience. Thanks very much.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

About big holes in the crumb.....

They belong in baguettes and ciabatta and a handful of similar breads.   They most definitely do not belong in all breads.  The loaf that you made looks wonderful and striving to always make it better is a good thing but bigger holes,  and more of them,  is not always an improvement.....depending on the bread.

Jeff

BakingBetty's picture
BakingBetty

I guess I want a lighter bread. As you say, it's all an experiment and the science appeals. At least I'm making somehting that looks like bread now so it's a start.

Happy baking to all and one.