The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Does my pan loaves need scoring?

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JWK1's picture
JWK1

Does my pan loaves need scoring?

I grind my flour fresh and use about 15% to 20% KASL.  67% hydration.  Nothing fancy.  My loaves get great oven spring and the bread turns out great, but the spring is always very uneven.  One side always seem to "break" near the pan and springs and the other side doesn't, which creates a lopsided loaf.  It doesn't seem to affect the bread at all, but it bugs me.  I always thought it was some uneven heating in my gas oven, but after trying numerous things I realized yesterday that since I'm getting such great spring, I might need to score to bring the top up evenly.

 

My latest procedure is to put a pizza stone just under the rack where the bread is going and start the oven at 500F when I start my final rise.  After the oven preheats, I turn the oven down to 475F.  When the dough is ready I pop it in and immediately turn the oven to 350F.  This gets great spring and a perfectly browned crust.

 

Do you think my dough needs scoring or could it be something else?  If it does need scoring, where/how should I score?

 

Oh, by the way - the same exact thing happens whether I make big or small loaves.  8.5" x 4.5" and 10" x 5" are the loaf pan sizes.  Chicago Metallic commercial II uncoated.

 

Thanks for any help or suggestions.

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

Two things you could consider. You can score your loaves, to create a break where you want it, because it's going to break anyway. Or, you can consider giving it more time on the final proof. It may be that you are underproofing a tad, and the energy left in the loaf is too much for it to handle, therefore it breaks. I never score my pan loaves, and I get great oven spring with no strange breakage. For an 8.5 X 4.5 X 2 metal loaf pan, my rising time for final proof is about three hours. I'm also using sourdough, so if your bread is made with commercial yeast, it won't take that long. But maybe proofing a little longer than what you're doing now would help.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I have had problems with uneven lift in pan loaves. Try David's advice, and proof a bit more. I found that to be the solution for me. With panned bread, it is possible to proof more fully since you won't be handling the dough after proofing.

cheers,

JWK1's picture
JWK1

The loaves really can't be proofed any more than they are now.  I've done it a number of times and the middle just comes out too airy with that over proofed look and texture.  Oh, and the same thing happens anyway.  Maybe it is uneven heat in my oven.  It doesn't happen all the time, just most of the time.

aptk's picture
aptk

I score my loaves when I'm using a known high riser. I use glass loaf pans.

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

If longer final proof won't work because of large internal bubbles, maybe a longer bulk ferment would help. Maybe just punch it down one more time than you are currently doing. Possibly doing some stretch-and-folds at each punch down, to align and strengthen the gluten, could help with the internal structure. Then, you can let it final proof a little more if necessary to keep it from bursting at the sides.

Also, have you tried not pre-heating the oven so hot? For your hydration level, the higher heat may be too much. The outside could be setting up too much before oven spring is finished, causing the oven spring to break out wherever it can find a weak spot to do so. Steam can help with that, as could raising the hydration level of your dough. But it may be simpler just to preheat the oven to a lower temp, maybe just 25 degrees higher than the temp you will be baking at. You can always bake longer to get a brown crust.

For my bread, I can get a nice brown crust and soft crumb using a recipe of only flour, water, starter, and salt, at 65% hydration. I preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then bake at 375 degrees in the loaf pan, on top of the pizza stone, for 15-20 minutes, then directly on the pizza stone for another 15-20 minutes. I always get good oven spring, without any unwanted breaking or bursting, without having to score my loaves.

JWK1's picture
JWK1

Thank you David, it worked great!  With the lower starting temp. I got a beautiful, even loaf last night with dinner.  Even though the browning didn't look different, the crust must have been setting too much too soon.  I never would have thought of that.  I've been cursing all my uneven loaves for over two years!  Too funny...

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

No more cursing, just great bread. Always a good thing!