The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Preventing French bread "deflation" during scoring?

carlac's picture

Preventing French bread "deflation" during scoring?

Hello, all.  I'm brand new to bread-baking, and have made two rather unsuccessful attempts at simple French bread this weekend.  The problem?  With both batches, when I scored the top of the bread before baking, the loaf "deflated."  I end up with a rather flat loaf (maybe 1 1/2 inches high) with a spongy center and thick, chewy crust.  Tastes good, but a bit hard on the jaws....

 Here are some specifics:

 *  Used a kitchenaid mixer to start the kneeding, but finish up by hand (folding and pulling, like I'm supposed to).  Dough is firm enough so that it doesn't stick to by hands easily, but still fairly slack.  I use flour, but sparingly--dust my hands, not the bread.

 *  First rising (in oven, with steam) it doubles, no problem.  Punch down, turn out, divide, let rest for 10 minutes covered.

 *  Shape by rolling (for 2 loaves) or folding (for mini-loaves). 

 *  Put seam-side down on baking sheet, pinch ends, cover, let rise again--no problem--loaves get bigger, look pretty.

 *  Remove from oven, make shallow scores (with knife or razor blade)--dough pulls, bread deflates.  In the oven, I get no "spring," and the scores never open up.

The first recipe I used was from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, the second (from the web) was slightly different in terms of treatment of yeast and the addition of a small amount of sugar.  But, the dough rose both times.  Clearly, with two recipes and the same results, it's something I'm doing or not doing.  Come to think of it, I tried wheat bread (white/wheat combo) in loaf pans this weekend as well, and also had no problem with first and second rise, and deflation wasn't a problem, but again, no oven spring.  What am I doing to my poor bread dough?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Willard Onellion's picture
Willard Onellion

Preventing French bread "deflation" during scoring?

It sounds like over-proofing to me. The deflation and lack of oven spring are symptomatic of the problem.

Try proofing half the time, or let just rise to 1/2 the original size, on the final proofing.


jolynn's picture


You might try letting your bread proof at a cooler room temp rather than in the oven. I find cooler rises make much better bread. The the dough is alittle firmer and so less likely to deflate when scored.  Good luck!

Ricardo's picture

For one I never let my bread proof inthe oven always do few minutes before baking  and watch the room temp as well if it gets hot that means the dough runs the risk of overproofing then it will deflate when scored.

cognitivefun's picture

Rather than in a warm place, I do bulk ferment and proofing around 70F. I find the results taste much better and overproofing is less of a concern.