The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Small crust bubbles

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sitzhaki's picture
sitzhaki

Small crust bubbles

Hi,


Some of the breads have numerous small bubbles in the crust, while others don't.


I find these bubbles very decorative.


Can someone explain what are the factors that control the forming of such bubbles?


 


Thanks,


Shai


 

johnster's picture
johnster

Those bubbles that you are referring to are called "Bird's Eye".  If you are trying to increase their number, form your loaves, and then retard the formed loaves in the refrigerator overnight.  You should see a significant increase in the number of bird's eye next time that you bake.


 


Good luck,


 


John

sitzhaki's picture
sitzhaki

I will try that next time I bake.


 


Shai

crunchy's picture
crunchy

I find that my loaves have lots of blistering if I spray them with water as I put them in the oven. Steam itself doesn't do it, but steam right on the surface of the loaves does. Not sure why that would be, but it works for me.

arhoolie's picture
arhoolie

I use steam while baking, then mist my loaves on the cooling rack after they come out of the oven.  It's a trick I learned from a bread class taught at a local [Ann Arbor, MI] baking school.  I get lots of "birds eyes" that way.


 


-brian

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I take it you went to one of the Zingerman classes, Brian?


Anyway, I'm curious as to the origin of the term "birds eye" and wonder if  you can point me to the source.


The blisters I get on some of my loaves are caused by tiny pockets of gas which are trapped during long cold retardation of the dough.  Are "birds eyes" supposed to be the same type of blisters?


I tried Googling "birds eye, bread crust" and came up with but one reference which was in a recipe for Filpino salted bread rolls.  Lots of Birds Eye veggies and stuff about birds with crusty eyes, but nothing else related to bread.  I wonder if it is a regional term.


 


 

mcs's picture
mcs

I've never heard the term used for bread bubbles, but maybe it comes from the wood-term, as in 'birds-eye-maple'?



-Mark


http://TheBackHomeBakery.com

LindyD's picture
LindyD

No idea, Mark, but birdseye maple is one of my favorite woods.  Figures, since it is also very rare - at least the gorgeous good stuff.

arhoolie's picture
arhoolie

"I take it you went to one of the Zingerman classes, Brian?


Anyway, I'm curious as to the origin of the term "birds eye" and wonder if you can point me to the source."


Yes, the classes I took were at Zingerman's.  I've had the Better Bagels, Rockin' Rye and Wild World of Sourdough classes and plan to take a few more.


 


As for the origin's of the term "bird's eye", I have no idea about it either, but the bird's eye maple idea sounds plausible to me.


-brian


 


 


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Lucky you, Brian.  I was thinking of taking the Power of Flour all-day class this spring, but it's such a long drive (I'm less than 50 miles south of the Straits of Mackinac), I'm still up in the air about it.  


I have discovered that Crooked Tree Breadworks, a bakery between Petoskey and Harbor Springs, offers some classes so I might try that first.  


 

johnster's picture
johnster

While I am familiar with the phenomenon, I actually read the term "bird's eye" in BBA.


 


Regarding the holding of shaped loaves in the refrigerator overnight to draw out more flavor from the flour in lean breads: "But purists object because the technique causes blisters, sometimes called bird's-eyes, on the crust (due to carbon dioxide trapped just beneath the skin during the cold retarding stage.)" page 168.


I'm just the messenger...  ;)


 


John

loafgeek's picture
loafgeek

So I let my sourdough rise in my banneton to just about where it would be when I'd throw it in the oven, then instead throw it in the fridge over night?  Then I'd preheat the oven (covered dutch oven in my case) for a 1/2 hour or so, then pull the banneton of dough out of the fridge and flip it into the hot pan?  Score it, cover it and bake for 25 minutes at 450F then uncover it for 5 minutes more.

Only thing I see happening is the dough sticking to the sides of the banneton being in the fridge that long.  I guess I'd have to put extra flour on the dough if I did that.

Maybe I could just put it in the freezer for about 2 hours then throw it in the hot pan.

vtsteve's picture
vtsteve

I think you'd want to fridge it about an hour shy of full proof; it will continue to proof as it cools. Carbon dioxide dissolves more easily in cold dough than warm, so chilling builds a reservoir of excess gas  that forms the small blisters when suddenly released by the heat of the oven. Merely chilling the dough in the freezer wouldn't allow time for the extra gas to form and dissolve.

loafgeek's picture
loafgeek

Thanks much; I'll try it.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Appreciate the info, John.


BTW, my question about the origin of the nickname was certainly not meant as a criticism of your post; rather, my curiousity about a term I had not seen associated with bread.


It's certainly a gentler way of describing a blistered crust, which in some circles is considered a defect.

johnster's picture
johnster

I didn't take it as a criticism, at all.


 


What I meant by "I'm just the messenger" was that I didn't initially share with the thread's author, Shai, that the blistering could actually be seen as a negative, and quoting the context from BBA kind of let's the cat out of the bag.  


 


Glad to have been of service!  :D


 


John