The Fresh Loaf

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Liverpoolbaker's picture

Oven spring in professional deck oven

February 26, 2013 - 9:54am -- Liverpoolbaker

I've just recently started doing some baking in a professional deck oven, its a mono oven 4 years old with a steam system. I was quite excited about baking in it, as I've only every really used my old domestic gas oven at home. My basic white sourdough (800g of dough, 75% hydration, 4 hours bulk ferment, 12+ hours cold prove in banetons), is something I get consisten results with when baking at home using the dutch oven. I always get good oven spring and great looking blooms. 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


These are a couple of 755 gm bâtards of Hamelman's Pain au Levain I baked today. I think they illustrate the points made recently in discussions of scoring, ears and bloom, for example in Varda's topic To ear or not to ear.


To quote Michel Suas from Advanced Bread and Pastry again,



If the angle is not achieved and the cut is done with the blade vertical to the loaf, the two sides of the dough will spread very quickly during oven spring and expose an enormous surface area to the heat. The crust will begin to form too soon - sometimes before the end of oven spring - penalizing the development of the bread. If the cut is properly horizontal, the sides of the loaf will spread slower. The layer of dough created by the incision will partially and temporarily protect the surface from the heat and encourage a better oven spring and development. (Suas, pg. 116.)



These loaves were scored with a razor blade mounted on a metal lame. The blade was held at a 30º angle. The cuts were about 1/2 inch deep. I think the coloration of the bloom attests to the slow spread to which Suas refers.




I think you can clearly see three distinct colors in the bloomed crust, progressively lighter in color from right to left, with the lightest color being that under the ear. As the cut opens up during the bake, it does so slowly over a prolonged period. The darkness of the bloom demonstrates the length of time each area was directly exposed to the oven's heat. The ear keeps the area under it sheltered from the heat so it doesn't form a crust, but, as the bloom widens, the previously sheltered area becomes uncovered by the ear, and it begins to brown.


Scoring with the blade perpendicular to the loaf surface thus results in less bloom, and the blooming is terminated sooner in the bake. The coloration of the bloom is more uniform. An example - a Vermont Sourdough I also baked today:



I hope this helps clarify the point of the ear - how you get it and why you might want to.


David


Submitted to YeastSpotting

PeterPiper's picture

Variation in scoring technique

January 26, 2011 - 1:16pm -- PeterPiper

I did a little experiment with my daily bread.  I usually bake 3 or 4 loaves, with 3 in loaf pans and one free-form.  I have always scored them the same way:  the free-form gets on long central score, the pan loaves get two parallel vertical scores.  But this time I wanted to see how identical loaves in the same oven would react to different scores.  Latitudinal, longitudinal, diagonal, and the long low-angle cut.  The results are clear:


dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

This topic is not about the auricular anatomy of elves (or Vulcans). It's about scoring breads.


Scoring loaves creates a visually pleasing pattern, and it helps control the expansion of the loaf as it bakes. This was discussed not long ago in this topic:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/9046/effect-scoring-loaf-shape


The San Francisco Sourdough breads I baked today illustrate a more "advanced" aspect of scoring that is alluded to by both Hamelman (in "Bread") and Suas (in "Advanced Bread & Pastry.")



San Francisco Sourdough Breads (from Peter Reinhart's "Crust & Crumb")



Detail of bâtard crust, with "ear," grigne" & "bloom."


So, what is the point of an ear?


What Suas called "the classic cut" is parallel to the long axis of a baguette or a bâtard. The cut is made with the blade at a shallow angle to the surface of the loaf. The cut should be shallow - about 1/4 inch deep. Paradoxically, this shallow cut results in the flap lifting better than a deeper cut would, thus forming a nice "ear." Hamelman (pg. 80) points out that "a deep cut will simply collapse from its own weight."


The angle is also important. "If the angle is not achieved and the cut is done with the blade vertical to the loaf, the two sides of the dough will spread very quickly during oven spring and expose an enormous surface area to the heat. The crust will begin to form too soon - sometimes before the end of oven spring - penalizing the development of the bread. If the cut is properly horizontal, the sides of the loaf will spread slower. The layer of dough created by the incision will partially and temporarily protect the surface from the heat and encourage a better oven spring and development." (Suas, pg. 116.) 


The second photo, above, illustrates a fairly nice "ear," but it also shows that the bloom occured slowly, as it should. Notice that the color of the crust in the opening has 3 distinct degrees of browning, decreasing from left to right. The darker part on the left obviously opened first and was exposed to the direct heat of the oven for longer. If the bloom occured too rapidly, it would have a more even coloration. For example, see the photo of the boule, which was slashed with the blade held at 90 degrees to the surface of the loaf:



Boule scored with the blade held vertical to the loaf surface. Note the even coloration of the bloomed crust.


In summary, in order to achieve an optimal bloom in baguettes and bâtards, one must attend to 3 variables when scoring them:



  1. The cuts should be almost parallel to the long axis of the loaf.

  2. The blade should be held at about a 30 degree angle to the surface of the loaf.

  3. The depth of the cut should be shallow - about 1/4 inch.


Variable shading of the bloomed crust confirms that the desired slow but prolonged opening of the cut during oven spring occured.


Cool, isn't it?


 David

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