The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Just not getting any "oven spring"

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charlene in va's picture
charlene in va

Just not getting any "oven spring"

Hi,

 

I've been doing quite a bit of baking from Peter Reinhart's  "Whole Grains" book.  I made the Whole Wheat Hearth Bread last night and have been experimenting with additions to the bread - last night's addition was sun-dried tomatoes and basil. 

 

The breads do well - the crumb is good and the taste is great.  They are fairly easy to handle - I'm getting the "windowpane".  My problems are that I'm not very good at slashing - I read about not slashing too deeply but if I don't they just seem to fill in.  There is little to no oven spring.  So, the bread's good but I'm just not happy with it.

 

All the breads that I'm baking begin with some type of pre-ferment and like I said, I love the taste and texture of them - just not happy with the look, I guess.

 

Any suggestions? 

rideold's picture
rideold

I'd look at the proofing stage and check your bread more frequently with the finger poke test.  It sounds like you are maybe overproofing your loaves.

charlene in va's picture
charlene in va

Do you think folding the dough would help?  I've been trying to fold at least once during bulk fermentation especially if the dough is a little slack.  The Whole Wheat bread from the other night was more firm so I didn't fold it.

 

My kitchen is a little cooler than usually right now - probably not much over 70 degrees but the dough seems to rise pretty fast - usually not much over an hour.

 

I'll keep trying - I just can't wait to see that extra spring!

 

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

how are proofing

is a crust forming which will reduce the if not halt oven spring

over proof will also stop oven spring because the yeast is dyeing

the addition of hi acid content ingd. such as the sun dryed tomato will have a retarting effect 

yeast does not do well in a high acidinvorment.

Pro Baker for over 25 years-----Ret

charlene in va's picture
charlene in va

The most recent loaves, I have done the final proofing by taking the dough out of the tub, degassing it by gently pressing the air out of it, pre-shaping into a round and letting it rest for about 10 minutes.  In the meantime, I prepare a half sheet pan by spraying it with Pam and sprinkling semolina flour over that. 

 

I final shape the round loaves, put them on the pan, and cover with a piece of Saran Wrap that has been sprayed with Pam.  I watch the dough until I think it has just about doubled and then try to score it.  I use a "tomato knife" to do that - it has a thin, serrated blade.  If I go deep - the slashes just seem to spread open - if I do a shallow one - you can just see a mark on the finished loaf.

 

I preheat the oven and when it is good and hot - I put the baking sheet into the oven.  I have tried several attempts at creating steam - including the pan of water in the oven as well as spraying the loaves and walls of the oven with a mister.  I can't see any major differences when I bake with steam and without.  

 

When I bake in our commercial oven - it is an electric convection oven.  At home, it's just a plain Kenmore.

 

The loaves generally have a good crust - they just don't rise a bit more after I put them in the oven.  

 

Thanks for your suggestions - keep them coming!  I'll post some pictures when I figure out how...... 

charlene in va's picture
charlene in va

That's interesting about the tomatoes - I don't add very much - maybe a heaping tablespoon per two small loaves.

 

I've also tried adding dill weed and dried onions.  I've noticed a little difference in the rise in both.

 

The bulk fermentation seems fine - it goes downhill after that.

 

Thanks! 

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

thats because when you cut pieces you are reducing volume and the smaller pieces are on there own.  the loves will get colder siince there is now less bulk to hold the heat. that is the same with any bread porduct. the smaller the pieces the colder they will get.

and by that time your working with a mature dough.

to speed up the final rise you can

1-tur the oven on for two minutes at 200 ...then turn it off and put the bread in the oven with a tray on the bottom and pour boiling water in to the tray close the door and let the dough rise there till it is about have risen take the bread out and cover them . you can now pre heat your oven normaly to get it ready

2-you could make the bread boxes i posted about and let the bread rise in them.  if your place is very cold you could warm the boxes in the oven for a few minutes before putting the bread in them to rise.

Pro Baker for over 25 years-----Ret

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

There are a lot of different views about oven spring.

 

Some people see it as some sort of holy grail. On the other hand, the French feel that lots of oven spring is an indication that the bread wasn't allowed to proof long enough, and that as a result didn't develop all the flavor it could, and should, have. Longer fermentation is a good thing if you want full flavor development.

 

Your comments about how you handle the dough makes me think you may be over-handling it, which isn't a good thing if you are looking for big holes.

 

If you want more spring, some things that seem to help are shorter rises and slacker dough.

 

Hope that helps,

Mike

 

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

There are two main reasons for slashing bread.

 

One is to make pretty patterns in the crust.  The other is to control where oven spring will occur.  Extreme oven spring (visible in my example bread at http://www.sourdoughhome.com/sfsd1.html) can tear a loaf apart.  It will tear at the weakest spots in the dough.  Slashing defines the weak spots, or creates them.

 

If you have an over proofed dough, it isn't going to wpring much, if at all.  And it is very, very fragile.  If you slash the dough and it collapses, that's a hint you shouldn't slash the rest of the loaves in that batch.

 

Sometimes if you put the collapsed loaf on a hot baking stone in an oven with lots of steam, it will recover.  But rarely fully.  And you can't count on it.

 

You can feel your dough and with experience tell when it is over proofed and that you shouldn't slash it.

 

Some people can shash dough and not have it collapse when another baker will collapse the same dough.  Why?  A sharp knife helps a lot.  Razor blades are excellent for this.  A clean edge helps.  It helps to lubricate the blade with a bit of water or cooking oil.  Lastly, a hesitant cut and repeated cuts seem to do more damage than a bold slash.  So, get a lame (razor blade holder), spritz the blade with water or oil and SLASH the dough... if you feel the need to shash at all. 

Hope that helps,

Mike

 

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Hi Charlene in Va--

Here I thought everyone on TFL was on the west coast!  Do you mind telling where in Va you live?  I live in the northern Shenandoah Valley.

SOL

charlene in va's picture
charlene in va

Hi neighbor,

I'm in Southwest Virginia - actually just about as southwest as you can get without being in West Virginia.

staff of life's picture
staff of life

The one part of Va I'm not very familiar with!  I know it's very beautiful though.  I live about 30 mins from the WV border--many people who work in the factories in my area are from WV.

SOL

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I'm a little surprised that you're degassing the hearth loaves.  But I don't have PR's book in front of me - does he say to do this?  What happens if you simply shape without degassing?

charlene in va's picture
charlene in va

Well, I've read so many different things lately - I'll have to check and see exactly what he does say about degassing.  I have tried without and I usually get the big bubbles on the top.

charlene in va's picture
charlene in va

Well, I've been working on my "oven spring" problem and after trying a few things - I have to admit it seems to be overproofing. 

 

I would have sworn that they weren't over proofed - I just didn't think that 100% wheat dough would have that much "get up and go" but it must!

 

Anyway, I was thrilled to do quite a bit of baking this weekend and had many successes!  Thanks so much for your suggestions! 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Glad to hear about the successes!  Did you mean 100% whole wheat?  WW often rises faster than white flour.  I believe it provides more food for the yeast.