The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oven Spring

lylebrandt's picture

Oven Spring

I get very little oven spring. And I can't get a crisp crust. what ingredeants make this happen?


matthewf01's picture

Im definitely early on in my baking career but I do know that good oven spring comes from a few factors... first, your oven has to be hot enough. If you're baking on stone, give it more time than it takes for the oven to preheat, for your stone to soak up as much heat as possible... at least 30 min. (depends on thickness of course).

Second, adding steam to your oven helps to achieve better oven spring because it keeps the outside of the loaf moist enough that a crust doesn't begin to form, stopping the bread from any further growth and transformation. People have various ways of adding steam - hot stones in a cast iron skillet in the bottom of the oven, over which they pour water; misting the oven walls; misting the loaf; adding a pan of water to the oven during preheating; I even sometimes throw a shot glass of water on the oven floor of my electric oven (possibly unsafe, i dont know).


Finally, make sure you aren't over-proofing your loaf before it goes into the oven. If its overproofed, it will collapse when it goes into the oven and you won't get good browning on the crust. From what I understand this is due to the yeast consuming most of the sugars in the flour so there's nothing left to caramelize.

Broc's picture

Make sure you have enough water in the dough.

And -- google Sassafras cloche -- One of these things will solve all your problems... until you're advanced enough to want to experiment without the cloche.

The cloche keeps the moisture close to the dough -- much like what happens when there's injected steam.

It's magic!

Good luck!

~ Broc



ehanner's picture

It would help if you could tell us what you are doing now. Oven spring is the effect of the last activity of the yeast before it is killed off by high heat. The visual signs of spring might be reduced because you over proofed or because you didn't steam or spritz your dough. Or it could be the dough was dried on the surface and you didn't score deeply enough. Lots of possibilities.

The crispy crust can be some of the same issues as above. In general higher heat, steaming and then allowing the bread to dry in the final phase of baking will improve the crust.

If you want a specific answer, please give us a recipe you are following and the procedure you are following and I'm sure someone can help you further.


jdunivan's picture

We were talking about this on another thread but you might consider trying a cold oven start. I score my bread really deep and it comes out like I needed to score it deeper. Great spring.

The thread I was talking about:

BTW I have done this with Honey oatmeal and a simple sourdough white. My only attempt at using this with whole wheat looked perfect on the outside but doughy in the middle. Haven't had the chance to try again to see if it was something I did wrong.

lylebrandt's picture

I really like peter rienharts hole wheat extrodinair. I sway from reciepy qwit often (Wild rice, American cheese chucks, Onions  the dough is always very hydrated and sticky my pizza dough is very hard to work my caibbta is easier and my extrodinary is sticky. I use lots of water for moist crumb. (Wife's advise) I mist inside of oven 2-3 times at  400 deg lower temp finish baking. always use a stone.  I have had my proof calapse on the way to oven or when I slash. I have a simple proofing box. that I put a small pan of hot water in, water condenses on proof in side, this shows I have to have 100% humidity moist enviorment. From feed back Im getting I must be over proofing When you bake 5-6 loves a cool oven start Isn't possiable or a oven cool.

Soory about spelling I havn't found spell check yet

neoncoyote's picture

I'm relatively new at this sport -- got started in October, oven went out at Christmas, and I used a new oven yesterday -- and had the process down really well until my loves didn't have much spring yesterday. I assumed it was because the dough appeared a little more hydrated than usual, and after proofing in baskets, they seemed to spread before I put them in the oven. All other factors being the same -- ambient temperature, amount of yeast used, oven hot enough, baking stone, steam -- could slight over-hydration (and subsequent spread during proofing) be the reason for poor oven spring? Or should I be looking at another factor? Thanks!

dmsnyder's picture

If you have developed your gluten well and formed the loaves well and have not over-proofed and are baking on a pre-heated stone and steaming your oven ... high-hydration doughs should have more oven spring than low-hydration doughs.

If you are having a problem, providing your recipe and procedures and photos would help us solve your problem.