The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oven spring, where are you?

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staff of life's picture
staff of life

Oven spring, where are you?

I think I may be having a problem with my oven.  I turn these beautifully shaped boules out of their bannetons, slash them (and manage most times not to deflate them) and in the oven, they brown, but there's not a lot of spring.  I have the problem also with my other breads, but it's more noticeable in the boules.  My oven does have an air circulation problem--even though I use baking stones, if I try to make a standard sandwich loaf of bread, it will rise up very high on one side of the bread, and normally on the other.  I never had that problem before I had this oven.  So I don't know if it's the oven, or (which I kinda hope, because if it's not that, then it's) my technique.  I called the repair man, thinking that an element had gone out, and he replaced the thermostat, but the problem remains.  And ideas?  Please!?!

Caro_'s picture
Caro_

I think it does sond like your air circulation, if one side rises better than the other. I suppose you have tried turning the loaf round after about 5 minutes?? Is it fan-forced and can you have the fan removed?

Have you tried turning up the oven to as hot as possible, putting in the bread  and then turning it down to the required temperature after 5 or 10 minutes and turnng the  loaf at the same time? I always have the best oven spring when the oven is really not and the dough is really wet, like a ciabatta. Have you tried a cloche to eliminate the air circulation problem? 

ryan's picture
ryan

staff of life,

some questions:

was your dough proofed (i have in my denial put in some dead dough... :))?was your dough over proofed (if so it will loose it's power in rising)?is your oven calibrated (if not the correct temperature you will get no oven spring)?was your oven preheated for 45-60 min. prior to baking? (same issue)

i've found in baking my boules that reading multiple recipes on how the are produced/ risen/ shaped and proofed to be the most beneficial and based on that I create a technique that works for me the best.

good luck,

ryan

 

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Caro--

Even if I turn it around (and I did an experiment once, turning it around every 2 minutes for the first half of baking), it still is almost as bad as if I left it alone, and then I've let the oven temp drop.

Does anyone know if bread rises better in a hot (450 degree) or not so hot (375 degree) oven?  Most of my breads are in a hot oven. 

I think that with the thermostat replacement, the oven was also recalibrated.  I'm not putting in a dead dough or one that's overproofed (I'm assuming the only hint in over-proofing is the wrinkled, flat top of the baked bread), and I'm letting the oven run for about an hour with the stones in it before I start baking.  (Yay winter!)

I have a new double oven that's sitting in my dining room awaiting hook-up.  I'm anxious to try it out and see if it is indeed my oven that's the problem!

Caro_'s picture
Caro_

staff of life,

sorry, guess the turning wasn't much help.

 

I always put my bread into a very hot oven, the hottest I can get, usually for about 10 minutes, then turn down for the remainder, unless it's sweet or very rich breads, which I put in at about 200C, then turn down. This works well in my home, electric oven , which is quite old. However, when I worked as baker in a hotel, with big commercial gas ovens, the bread-baking never seemed so temperamental and loaves often went in at various temperatures, due to the ovens being used by the cooks for other things. In fact, they opened the doors regularly, despite my protestatations, yet the bread rarely suffered. It certainy never flattened or collapsed. But then, such big ovens did not lose heat that quickly. Opening them was always like being hit by a blast from the midday desert!

However, generally, I always thought the rule of thumb was that bread with a lot of fats and sugars, the temperature should be lower, about 180C/360F , but your standard baguette or boule could go in at high temps.

 

that's my experience.Still think it's your oven.

mij.mac's picture
mij.mac

If your dough isn't over proofed it doesn't matter if you preheat your oven or not. If you do over proof your dough you'll get very little rise. Imagine taking the top of a fresh bottle of coke and compare it to taking the top of old, flat coke. It's all about how much dissolved gas you have in your dough.
mac