The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My bread keeps "splitting" on the side

AngelaT's picture

My bread keeps "splitting" on the side

Help!  My breads keep "splitting" on the side.  It doesn't matter which type of bread, whether free form or in a pan, whole wheat or white, I have tried leaving the dough more moist, slashing the top, nothing seems to make a difference. The bread doesn't actually split, the bread seems to separate leaving an ugly ridge along the side.  Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas?

Yerffej's picture

Without seeing a recipe this is a total guess but it sounds as if you are underproofing the dough resulting in too much oven spring which in turn is leaving a split/ugly ridge.


AngelaT's picture

What do you mean by "underprofing"? 

JIP's picture

I just think you need to work on your shaping.  Of course if your seams are not sealed properly you will get tears in the weak areas.  Even with slashing weak seams will be a weaker area than your slashes and of course your oven spring is going to go for the path of least resistance.

ema2two's picture

The rise after you shape the loaves, before they go into the oven, that is called proofing.  If you don't let it rise long enough and put it in the oven too soon, it is underproofed.  If you wait too long and put it in the oven after you should have, it is overproofed.  Recipes will tell you a time to let the dough proof, but because the conditions where you bake (especially temperature) will never be the same, you need to learn to 'read' your dough and know when it is ready to go in.  Recipes will sometimes say "fully proofed' or "3/4 proof" when it should go into the oven. 

Jeff is suggesting you try letting that rise be longer,

I'm getting pretty better at judging when my dough is fully proofed.   But I feel like you have to have made the dough at least once before to ge able to estimate when it would be fully proofed and then figure back to guestimate when a loaf is at 3/4 proof for recipes when it is to go into the oven at that point.


nbicomputers's picture

you are 100% correct but lets not forget than not enough steam (if the bread needs steam) will also cause the bursting on the side.

in the baking biz this is called a cripple and crippled loafs were frowned upon where i come from. in the home who cares it's going to taste just as good and it all finishes up looking the same if you know what i mean.

if you are trying to make a cookbook picture loaf proof more and more steam if called for

otherwisw don't sweat it  

bassopotamus's picture

Maybe not enough of a "skin tension"

The only time I tend to get splits is when the loaf isn't pulled tight enough (for lack of a better term). For example, when shaping boules, they should be stretched until they have almost a skin to the outsides. I get side splits when I get lazy and just get them to round, but not firmed up

bassopotamus's picture

A couple things that will help with splitting


1.  Make sure the bread is adequately proofed (the rise after you shape it). If you poke it, the indentation should fill slowly and incompletely. 

2.  Make sure you are getting a good tight seam when you shape it. I pull my boules really tight, and gather up the seam in my hand and give about a 90 degree twist before putting it on the shett for the final rise. 

3. Make sure you slash the top deep enough. Unless you are doing something really fragile (brioche, ciabatta), a good 3/4 inche is probably advised. 

tananaBrian's picture

In my earlier days of baking, this used to happen to me all the time.  I found out through experience that I wasn't letting the dough rise long enough ...You should go ahead and have fun by letting a loaf rise way too long until it falls, poking it now and then along the way so you get familiar with what it feels like at all different stages clear up to and including the point of failure.  You'll never have your splitting problem again.  You can also get splitting if the dough is too dry (too much flour or not enough liquid) or if it was not kneaded thoroughly enough (or the gluten developed well enough in some other way ...time and french folds for example).  Just my 2-bits...