The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Too much oven spring

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

Too much oven spring

I'm having trouble with my rustic bread recipe.  I do three proofs and am getting great crust and crumb.  But I can't develop an ear, even following all the directions for a good score, because the bread has so much oven spring that it blows out.  The final proof is a full double in volume.  I'm using a pre-heated skillet as steam pan, and spraying the inside of the oven and loaf twice in the first 3 minutes.  Any recommendations? Here's the final product:

Rustic Rosemary 2

Rustic Rosemary 1

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

I'm worried that tightening and shaping too much will destroy the nice structure I'm building in the bread.  If I go the route of vital wheat gluten, what percentage should I use?

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

I forgot to add that I'm using GM All Trumps with a little Bay State Big Yield AP.  Also, I'm adding a little olive oil to the mix.  Do you think that is loosening the surface tension?

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

If you like the bread and don't want to change the crumb, then I'd be happy with what you have, and look for an ear on another type of bread.   That loaf looks wonderful!

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I don't have answers for you but I think your loaf looks great!

judyinnm's picture
judyinnm

What exactly is the complaint?  I want your recipe and step-by-step instructions on how you got this lovely loaf of bread.  How would a "leaf" improve this?

(I think you're just bragging.)

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

Thanks everyone for the compliments.  Funny, I think this is one of my less pretty breads, and certainly a non-flattering picture with bad lighting. But thanks nonetheless.

Here's the kind of structure I was hoping for.  Funnily enough, this is from my Irish soda bread, which is a quickbread, but it creates great crispy ears.

Irish soda bread

 

I'm not disappointed with the rustic bread--I think it has good flavor and structure.  I was just hoping for a much more defined ear.  I've been tweaking this recipe for a while and have recently switched to a hands-only method, and have fallen in love with it:  no mixer, no flour on the bench.  It's scary at first but once the gluten strands really form, there is magic in your hands and the board cleans up.

I use a poolish for this bread, and mix it up with all the liquids and let that sit for 15 min. before I do my final mix.  Then I slap and fold for about five minutes, give it another 15 min. rest, then set it for the first proof.  Second proof is an hour or so later, and it gets a gentle fold.  Same for third proof, where I then fold it into a batard and set on the parchment.  I bake at 525 for 7 minutes with a steam pan and water spray at the beginning and at the 2 minute mark.  After 7 minutes I drop the oven to 425 and bake for 35 minutes, then shut off the oven and open the door for ten minutes before taking it out.  Here are my measurements.

Rustic Base - 69% Hydration - 525˚ then 425˚, 40 min.

Poolish

Water 225g
Bread Flour 150 g
AP Flour 75 g
Yeast 1t

Base

Bread Flour 200g
AP Flour 150g
Water 150g
Salt 1.5 t
Honey 1 t
Olive Oil 1 T

Final note:  I love this site and all that I can learn, but find the forum posting interface really clunky.  Isn't there a more 21st century interface that could work?

 

Prairie19's picture
Prairie19

Maybe you could try using a large roasting pan or similar covering as a cloche.  Cover the loaf for the first 30 minutes, remove the cover and bake uncovered for the next 15 minutes  or so.  You should get a great crust and crispy ears.  Prairie 19

JoeV's picture
JoeV

If you want ears you need a cloche to steam the bread, and to constrict the oven spring so it springs to the top and not in all directions. This came from an oblong cloche from Breadtopia.com, and it makes nice sandwich style artisan loaves for Panini sammys.

1# Unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon Instant Yeast

1-1/2 teaspoon Salt

13 oz. Lukewarm water

2T mixed Italian herbs

Left on the counter to rise for 12 hours then folded, shaped and put in a parchment lined basket about the same size as the cloche. Let rise 1 hour then spray with waterand sprinkle Bob's Redmill 10-grain cereal on top for a little kick. I bake 30 minutes covered at 450F and 10 minutes uncovered. Bingo! OH, the clocche is preheated with the oven.

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

Can I try baking it in an oblong stoneware crock pot?  It's got a lid and should keep the steam level high.  I assume with the cloche/crockpot method that you're not adding any steam to the oven and it's all coming from the bread itself, right?

 

By the way, I have to ask, "What's a panini?"  See this clip and you'll understand.

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Baking the loaf covered should give you better bloom (opening up of the cuts), but that isn't your problem. The trick is in the scoring. 

Score with the blade at a shallow (30 degree) angle to the surface of the loaf and don't cut more than 1/2 inch deep. 1/4 inch might be best. You want a long, slow expansion of the cut, not a fast opening. Too deep a cut may collapse the ear.

If you haven't read the scoring tutorial in the handbook do so, particularly the section toward the end headed "What's the point of an ear?"

I hope this helps.

David

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

Hi David,

 

I watched your video a couple times and tried to match it with this loaf.  I don't think it was too deep but maybe the blade was too flat.  I'm going to try this loaf again in a cloche and see if I get different results.  Thanks for the help, and I'll post how it comes out next time!

-Peter

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I'm a noo-g so bear with my ignorance.  I wonder what replacing some of the water in the "base" portion of the recipe (say 25 grams) with milk would depress the oven spring enough to achieve his goal.

How far off base am I here?

JoeV's picture
JoeV

What's the need for a slash with artisan loaves? I have never used them and get beautiful, natural splits in the top of my loaves. Just another unnecessary step, IMO.

Here's one done in a Rommertopf...

Here are an assortment I made with different fillings from herbs to raisins to seed and grains. Certain added ingredients (dried fruits in particular) will not give splits to the top of the loaf, while others seem to enhance the splits & ears.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The answer(s) to your question can be found in the Scoring Tutorial.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/handbook/scoring

David

JoeV's picture
JoeV

My question was rhetorical...sorry! I do not score any of my artisan breads, because I want them to react as THEY choose to react while baking. I bake a lot, so I pretty much know what to expect from all of my breads. I understand the whole scoring thing, but must say I believe it's more for aesthetics than anything else. I bake a lot of Italian bread (usually at least 4 loaves at a time), and have no problems with the bread reacting unusually. Here are some loaves with no slash, and they came out just fine...

Then there are these 24 loaves that I made for the church bake sale, which I slashed because people expect to see the slash marks. Functionally, they do nothing for my bread.

koloatree's picture
koloatree

hey peter piper,

i have the same issues. 2 weeks ago, i made a large sourdough baguette, rolled it pretty tight  about 30 mins before the bake, and slashed just a little deep. i got one of my best ears to date. however, its not to where i want it to be. i think it has a lot to do with creating that surface tension and scoring. i will reattempt tommorow.

carefreebaker's picture
carefreebaker

Would someone please explain to me what the "ears" are that everone talks about?

(Love seeing all the beautiful loaves of bread. Each unique.)

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

Hi Dan,

 

Thanks for the input.  It's possible that a harder skin formed during proofing--I was using a towel but not a bag.  I'll try it again using plastic wrap over the proofing bowl and see if that helps keep it moist.  I'm adding water to my steam pan as soon as I put the bread in, so I don't think that's it.  Also, I add 1 t of honey to my recipe to get more crust browning, but that doesn't seem to have helped for this loaf.  I'm trying again this weekend with a rustic loaf and this time I'll use a cloche.  My very first bread, a no-knead, was in a crock pot and it had fantastic ears and crust, so maybe that's key.

-Peter

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

Rustic ear

This weekend's experiment with using a crock pot was a big success!  I made my regular rustic rosemary with a poolish and cold pre-ferment.  Though the boule was a little too wide for the pot (duh! make a batard next time), a nice ear formed.  However, I blew it by not taking the lid off after twenty minutes because I was distracted by other things.  So while the crust shape was right, it didn't caramelize enough, wasn't crispy, and the bread was too soft inside.  It'll make good toast but mostly I learned how effective the cloche can be.  I think my other method produced too much steam, which was basically accelerating the oven spring while sealing up the ear before it could form.  From now on I'll be using the cloche for scored batards, while the steam pan and oven spray will be reserved for more slack breads like ciabatta.  Thanks everyone!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Looks like a winner.

I'm a heavy user of kitchen timers with loud alarms.

David

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

Here's my most recent rustic olive bread, done with 20 minutes sealed in the crock pot, 20 minutes without the lid.  I'd like more crisp crust at the end, and leaving it in the pot to cool for five minutes still left the crust soft.  Maybe I take it out of the pot but leave it in the cooling oven for 10 minutes?

rustic olive

koloatree's picture
koloatree

hi,

awesome job. at what temp are you baking at? i currently dont have a crock pot but i have been using a large alluminum tray lid. i would spray the outside of the bread with a little water mist, place in oven, cover with lid, bake at 500 for the first 10 mins and then drop too 480 and remove lid. here is my latest

 

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

That's some nice-looking bread though it looks like it had uneven heat.  If I'm baking right on the stone, I'll start out around 500 or maybe as high as 550 for smaller loaves.  After about 5 minutes I drop it to 425.  But in the crock pot I did 425 the entire time until I got an internal temperature of 205.  I rotate once halfway through for even browning.

One question for anybody using a crock pot:  how do you keep the folds in the parchment from disturbing the shape of the bread?  Although I'm happy with the technique and final product, my batard has odd lumps in the side where the parchment prevented it from laying flat against the side of the crock pot.  Is there any other way to transfer dough to a hot crock pot without the paper?

 

-Peter

koloatree's picture
koloatree

hi question!

after you divided your dough, how long was the rest, and how long was the rest between the final shaping and baking? what signs did you look for?

 

thanks!

 

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

Since I only make dough for one loaf, I don't divide.  But after mixing the ingredients, I do a ten minute autolyse, then knead, then the first proof is around an hour.  Same for the second, then I score it and put it in the oven.  I generally wait until I'm just less than double before punching down or baking, so I can always catch my bread on the upswing.  The one time I let a bread overproof I just punched it down and reshaped it and it turned out fine.

 

Peter