The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough oven spring?

chrismbryan's picture

Sourdough oven spring?

Hi everyone,


I've been making reasonably nice bread with a wild culture that I've been maintaining for probably around 6 months.  It seems fairly strong and my loaves proof nice, but when I started making bread again with dry yeast, I noticed the commercial yeast tends to spring much more in the oven.  Is this just a "fact of life," or do you think I can encourage my culture to perform better in the heat?


Thanks, this is my first post after reading for months!


xaipete's picture

I used my turkey roaster as an improvised cloche on a loaf of sourdough bread I baked a few days ago and got a lot more oven spring. This loaf had no commercial yeast. I think it is the way to go if you want to do SD without commercial yeast.


SulaBlue's picture

Alas my roasting pan has no lid.

Is the purpose only to hold heat/moisture in and retard browning the crust? If so, perhaps I could use one of those disposable aluminum pans?

Right now I'm solving the issue by only baking boules and baking them in my dutch oven - but eventually I'd like to try other shapes on my pizza stone.

xaipete's picture

If you have a canning pot, that would work too.


karladiane's picture

Hi there:  I think the Cloche idea will certainly help - do you have the temp up pretty high?  Generally, the concentration of yeast in sourdough is less than from commercial yeast, and I have found that really pre-heating the baking stone and my La Cloche for a good hour at pretty high heat (~475F, then I turn it down a bit after 10 minutes of baking under La Cloche) really helps me have good oven spring.

Good luck!


xaipete's picture

Someone on this forum used a foil turkey pan. I suppose that works too.


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Chris.

I don't think there should be a difference in oven spring using commercial yeast versus SD starter, all other things being equal. That means using the same recipe (with reasonable conversion of SD to yeast), equivalent mixing, proofing, loaf forming, baking, etc.

You might post the recipes you are using for SD and for yeasted breads. We might find a clue to your problem.

I'm the one who uses a foil roasting pan as a cover for baking. It works fine.


Janedo's picture

I've actually always found the opposite. I get incredible oven spring with my sourdough breads which I purposely underproof. Yeast bread is not my forte because I don't even really like it. If you're starter is healthy, you have good steam and the right heat, with a bit of underproofing, you'll manage to get great oven spring with the sourdough.


jackie9999's picture

I found the upside down clay pot (think gardening) with an eyebolt and couple of washers made the world of difference for my loaves. The colour improved from that dusty grey I was getting, and it holds the moisture in so I get a nice crust as well. I read about it here and over on wildyeast blog....

Renee72's picture

Hi there, I'm really new to wild yeast breads, but I noticed that once my starter got really active I actually got a better oven spring than when I was using commercial yeast.  I am so new to sourdough that I probably shouldn't be giving advice, but I wonder if feeding your starter more often would help?  That seemed to be what really caused my starter to take off.  Just a thought.

The other thing I have been doing recently is to put my bread in a non-preheated oven.  This has also really helped my oven spring!   

LindyD's picture

 If you're starter is healthy, you have good steam and the right heat, with a bit of underproofing, you'll manage to get great oven spring with the sourdough.

I think Jane has noted the most important points for great oven spring - especially the underproofing.  When I load dough that's about 90 percent fermented into a hot, steamed oven, I can watch the oven spring as it takes place.

And it's a much better show than what's on the networks of late.

rolls's picture

i heard a lot about underproofing to get good oven spring but how can i you tell i think im more likely to overproof.

jolynn's picture

I often bake sourdough breads in a large cast iron dutch oven with the lid on for the first 15 minutes or so (to keep steam in for good oven spring) and then off for the rest of the time to crisp the crust. Sometimes I transfer the bread from a peel (carefully!) into the pre-heated cast iron, other times I just let the bread proof in the cast iron pot and then  bake it. Good results either way.