The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Proofing and Slashing

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mplsmegs's picture
mplsmegs

Proofing and Slashing

Hi there,


I've been mostly a lurker and have learned so much here!  But I'm having some trouble I can't quite figure out.  


I shape and proof the bread and when it's time to bake, I slash the loaves just before they go into the oven.  I have preheated a pan and pour in some water for steam.  But when I bake the breads, they fall where they have been slashed.  This is especially true with the artisan ryes.  I've got surface tension, I'm slashing almost parallel to the surface of the loaf, but it still sinks.  I am thinking I'm either over or underproofing on the final rise.  Any suggestions?  Thank you!

LindyD's picture
LindyD

If the dough is fully proofed when you score and load it, there's only one way for it to go:  down.


Try baking it when it is 85-90 percent proofed.  You'll get some nice oven spring.

Marni's picture
Marni

Those are overproofed loaves.  As Lindy said, slash and bake earlier.


Marni

mplsmegs's picture
mplsmegs

Thanks - that makes sense.  How do you know when it's 85-90% proofed?  

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

I use time to determine when the bread is ready.  My default is 2 hours for the first proof and 1 hour for the second rise, this gives me pretty reliable results. 


Subtract about 15 minutes from the time you usually give the second rise before slashing.  

wally's picture
wally

In addition to what's been said above, if you are baking ye breads with a very high percentage of rye flour, slashing can lead to fallen loaves.  In those instances it's better to use a dough docker than a blade.


 

Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

Geez Wally, didn't know what you were talking about and had to Google it. Oh, my god!! Looks like something from a mid-evil torture chamber!! LOL!


Just gotta love this site!!

maurdel's picture
maurdel

I don't understand. How can you use a dough docker on a loaf of risen bread?


and how does this sub for slashing?

wally's picture
wally

The docker is rolled gently over the surface of the bread.  It creates a lot of small holes to allow for additional rise in the oven.  With high percentage rye breads, because of the weakness of their gluten structure, slashing causes weak areas and the results can be ugly.  And yes, as LindyD points out, chopsticks will do the job as well.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Chopsticks work equally well - no need to scare the kids. :-)

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

I've never had a lame and there are no razors in this house (Spouse has had a BIG beard for decades) so my slashing has never been as good as I'd like. 


Recently I bought a superb filleting knife and two days ago when I made a lean wheat/rye bread I used it to slash some of the free-form loaves.


It was magical - such clean lines, I might even buy another knife for the purpose.


That's not why I replied though, I slashed three of the first loave a above but forgot to do the final four until they were due to go into the oven so I slashed those then and thought it would be interesting to ee the difference. I've always thought that slashing should be done at the last minute.


These loaves were very different, the early-slashed loaves were better formed with more spring than the later ones. I wonder if that can be explained?