The Fresh Loaf

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How best to avoid large air bubbles in bread baking

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gardenmama's picture
gardenmama

How best to avoid large air bubbles in bread baking

Forgive me if this is the wrong place for this, but I didn't see a general forum on techniques for shaping dough where this question might be more appropriate.


I tend to gravitate toward high rising doughs, since I mostly make sandwich breads for my family's consumption as sandwiches and toast. I have one recipe in particular we all like that's a wheat germ bread, calling for 4c bread flour, 2 c ww flour, 6 tbsp wheat germ and 3 tbsp flax seeds or sesame seeds, and 2 eggs (among other things). The proportions are pretty similar to most of the other breads we prefer, since we like whole grain or multi-grain breads.


However, I seem to have a consistent problem with this particular recipe, and have this problem enough with other recipes, and I'm wondering if my technique is off in the shaping or somewhere else. I'm getting big air bubbles, either right under the crust or sometimes elsewhere throughout the bread.


My usual technique is to knead, grease the dough ball and let rise until double, punch down, rest, divide into two balls, work each with my hands by folding the opposite way and squeezing out as much air as possible, working the dough pretty well with my hands until I have a suitable loaf shape, putting into greased loaf pans and letting rise again, then baking.


I'm thinking the problem is with my shaping process? But I suppose it's possible it's something about the way I'm baking. I usually preheat the oven with a rectangular stone on the bottom rack to 400 for 20 minutes, then bake for 30 minutes (or so, depending on the recipe).


Any ideas, questions or advice are welcome :)

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Happens to me also, from time to time, when I don't slash.


A decent slash along the top length of the loaf will probably remedy that big bubble just under the crust.


Firm but still gentle(or maybe not so gentle) degassing, then tightly rolling the dough to shape the loaf will probably help for most of the other bubbles.


Also, make sure not to over proof.

yozzause's picture
yozzause

HI there Gardenmama


holes will often appear if you have to much oil or flour getting incorporated into your final shaping process, what is happening is that if the dough is being kept apart by smears of oil or over generous amounts of flour on the bench during the moulding process this allows the gas and steam to form a reservoir in the loaf which results in a large gas hole. try not oiling your dough piece when allowing it to bulk ferment, if it is covered with film it should n't form a skin as it gives off moisture and gas that keeps it reasonably skin free if covered. 


You can let out a bit of aggression here and give the dough a good slap down on the bench and belt out as much of the gas as you can before you do your folding over,  give it a good firm down with the heel of your palm and use your thumbs  pushing into the dough piece as your hands push the dough piece down and away from you when rolling up.


regards Yozza

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How do you mix your dough together?


Mini

gardenmama's picture
gardenmama

Whoops, that got posted as a comment, rather than a reply to your query. I use my Kitchen Aid for mixing and kneading.

gardenmama's picture
gardenmama

Re: mixing dough. I use my Kitchen Aid for mixing and kneading.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

So you think it only has to do with shaping.  Have you looked at Mark's Videos lately?  They are great for trouble shooting.


mini

gardenmama's picture
gardenmama

I was thinking it was probably the way I'm shaping, but it certainly could be occuring somewhere else in the process. I came to bread making from a bread machine, then graduated to only making the dough in the machine and baking in the oven, and now use the Kitchen Aid so I can make more dough at a time. I'm learning as I go! Where do I need to look for the videos you're talking about?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Scroll down and click on one of Mark's Back Home Bakery videos.  There are a few there and some contain an floating index for more.  He has a way of tightening up the dough using the counter top,  no oil.  Sort of pushing and tightening.  


If you're using yeast, you could also do two bulk rises, not uncommon for a fine crumb.


Mini

MommaT's picture
MommaT

Hi,


 


I agree with Mini.


I had similar problems until I re-visited the detailed shaping instructions in both BBA (Reinhardt) and Bread (Hamelman).  Now, my loaves do not burst open in unseemly places and the only holes are the ones I'm trying to achieve with the dough I'm producing.  


Also, I'm not such a sticker for squashing all the air out of a dough before shaping.  I tend to be a little more gentle on the dough.  HOWEVER, when shaping I am a stickler for getting a night tight fold or roll on the dough and sealing well with the side or heel of my hand.  


The other payoff is that I feel a nice tight shaping gives me a better rise/lift/shape to my final loaf. 


Good luck!


MommaT

Karen Parent's picture
Karen Parent

I had searched and searched the web for answers on the "large air pocket" problem and had tried many different things . . . nothing seemed to work - until now that is!  I haven't changed my technique at all, but did have the fortune to buy a used commercial deck oven at a very reasonable price (and have the space to put it) and that seems to have put an end to the air pocket problem.  The same recipe I have been using, and technique - and I now have beautiful bread.  I make bread exclusively from 100% fresh milled flour and sell small amounts at a local market so it was very frustrating to have these air pockets.  Previously used a regular electric oven - nothing fancy. Happy in BC, Canada :-)