The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Slashing is deflating loaves.....

darkmoondreamer's picture

Slashing is deflating loaves.....

I swear that soon I will just give up scoring forever...sigh.....last week my slashing didn't work well because the tops of the loaves were getting dry during the second rise. Today I used plastic shower caps over my rising bowls and it worked just perfectly, loaves high as the sky, nice and moist dough on top. Until I slashed them and they all deflated. I used a super sharp, brand new Calphalon serrated knife on one loaf, and a new lame on the other. I slashed quick and sure and the loaves went down like balloons. What else can I try other than just giving up? Thanks :)

flournwater's picture

From you description of the process, I have a mental image of a raised ball of dough in a bowl that was slashed then removed from the bowl to the final proofing location (I typically use parchment paper atop my peel for that part of the process) for final proofing.  I never slash until after the final proof is complete, just prior to loading the loaf into the oven.  Perhaps I misunderstood your description?

darkmoondreamer's picture

Sorry if I was confusing. I slash after the final proof is complete, just before placing in the oven.

mrfrost's picture

A little deflation(upon slashing) is sometimes normal. The loaf will recover it during the oven spring.

Otherwise, suspect over proofing as a possible culprit.


SallyBR's picture

I willl also go with overproofing as the problem, but if you post your recipe, I'm sure the experts here will be able to help you out

darkmoondreamer's picture

The recipe was Memo's brown bread...overproofing may indeed have been a problem as I was trying to rotate baking 6 loaves plus a round Romertopf pan  for a bake sale today....not enough room in the oven so some had to wait.

mrfrost's picture

That's so funny, in that I just made that recipe within the last few days.

I am relatively new to baking and I have the best results with recipes presented with the ingredients given in weights or bakers percentages, or those knowing precisely how the author measures(scoops) the flour. Even so, some moisture/flour adjustment is sometimes necessary, just not so much.

I believe the Memo recipe as written uses very "heavy"(packed) cups of flour. Since I measure my flour by the USDA/King Arthur method of 4.25 oz per cup of flour, I had to add a whole lot of extra flour to get a nice, smooth, somewhat elastic dough ball. Acutually didn't get it quite as firm as I wanted, but it was still a good "dough ball" as opposed to being a still somewhat too sticky, almost a batter like dough ball.

I think you probably ended up with too much liquid(not enough flour) in your dough, which can also be the cause of a fallen loaf, even if the loaf is not slashed.

Also, with the recipe calling for the graham flour and AP flour, I think it's harder to get the gluten developed enough for the loaf to support itself. Sometimes a much longer kneading time is required, especially whole wheat(and especially that graham, with it's large bran bits). You might try using bread flour next time(for the ap), or a tablespoon or two of vital wheat gluten substituted for the ap(all purpose).

Also, for whole wheat recipes, I generally let the whole wheat flour autolyze(soak) for 30 min to an hour in some of the recipes liquid, to help get the gluten development started.

I used to slash all of my loaves also, but now some I don't, especially if the recipe does not call for slashing. That really shouldn't matter though, if the dough is sufficiently developed and not overproofed.


andrew_l's picture

I have found that if I UNDER proof the loaf - quite obviously under risen - and slash deeply, then out into a COLD oven and turn to full, it works out really well.


A very well proofed loaf, however, going into a hot oven, often lets me (and itself??!!) down.


Sorry if this observation is less than helpful!



darkmoondreamer's picture

Thank you all for the suggestions!


Dwight, the first time I made Memo's brown bread I just know I used more flour than called for....the dough was nice and elastic and windowpaned easily for me.

Last nights batch used only the flour called for up to the max amount, and the dough was still sticky and rather wet...That may also have contributed to my problem. I will definately increash it next time.  Gosh, who'd think slashing would be so difficult, LOL?

pattycakes's picture

I agree with Andrew. If you put a moistened finger into the proofed loaf, it should rise back up slowly. If your finger just sinks in with no response, it's overproofed. I haven't had the problem of the bread collapsing when it's just slightly underproofed.

Cold oven bake also makes it easier to get all the loaves baked before some overproof. I suggest preparing loaves the night before and letting them proof overnight in the refer, too...that way you can time the baking to be more in sync with the loaves by removing some from the refer then a second batch thirty minutes later, etc.

Good luck!