The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

still cracking loaves

metropical's picture

still cracking loaves

Is my hydration too much or too little?  I'm getting inconsistent results with my regular loaf.

Crack on one side, even though top is diagonal scored 5 or 6 times.


2c Silverton grape starter ~ 75% hyd.

3/4c ww

1/2c rye

2c bread flour

5 tbsp wheat berries boiled for 20 mins in 1c water plus 1/4c quinoa boiled in an additional 1/4c water for 15 additional mins.

1 tbsp gluten

2 1/2 tbsp sprayed malt sugar extract

1c hot water

mix 5 mins with Bosch on 3

Autolyse 30 mins

add 2 1/2 tsp yeast

2 1/2 sea salt

Mix 5 mins on 3.

Rise 20 in steamed oven at ~ 80ºF

Baked from "cold" at 400º for 45 to 50 mins.


These are from today

pmccool's picture

the 20 minute proofing time between mixing and baking is not enough.  Whoa!  I just re-read the temperature--80 dC?!  Not dF?  That's really hot for proofing. 

Um, you are in territory that I haven't explored yet.  I'd love to hear more about why you are using such a hot/fast proof.

Just looking at your photo, though, it appears that the loaf had not fully proofed by the time you started baking it.  As the oven came up to temp, the yeast inside the loaf continued to reproduce until the temperature got high enough to kill them.  Somewhere in that short stretch of time, the crust had begun to set so the expanding dough tore loose the weakest point on the loaf. 


metropical's picture

yea, 80ºC would be a little troublesome.  heh, heh, heh

thanks for the catch.

I had prevuiously been proofing 30 mins and that seemed to go agin me.

I have a proof setting in the oven that is 100ºF, that I turn on till it comes to temp then turn off, let cool a few minutes then put the bread in.

Up here in the cold north eats, the kitchen in winter ain't really room temp for rise time, so I use this method, or sometimes just the oven light on.

The oven light on is what I use when I feed my starter.

The odd thing is, for years I made this bread without any problems.  Dunno if perhaps my starter has developed more yeast suddenly or perhaps the one ingredient change substituting some ww with the boiled quinoa has led to the inconsistency.

Here's a loaf from a few weeks ago.

Dunno what I'm doing different, unless it's just the weather or something.

OBTW, the lil black bits aren't roaches.  They're chocolate malt that is usually used in stout or porter brewing.

I use a teense mostly for color as it doesn't add any flavor that we can tell.

Andrew S's picture
Andrew S

Your bread is under proofed, it is a classic brad fault - splits, flying tops.

Try to bulk ferment  a bit lower as well

Proof temp is way too high but I guess you figured that.  Why not do an overnight proof? Cold room wont be an issue and your cooler dough will be more stable and tolerant

Try removing the ingredient you changed, do a test bake and see.

The problem wont be caused by anything really etherial, you just havent pinned the culprit down yet!

Too high a protein level can also cause problems if under fermented.  The loaf is held a bit "tight by the glutenin so the oven spring can be a bit of a damp firework and uneven/flying top.

I still reckon under proof and too hop a temp is the culrit, try the obvious ones first


metropical's picture

I'll try the overnight proof.

I assume you mean on the counter at room temp, ~ 62ºF.

What do you mean by "Try to bulk ferment  a bit lower as well"?

The autolyse step is done at room temp too, though by that time of day , in the winter, it's prolly 64-66ºF.

In the summer is could be 80º.  But as I remember, summer breads have been more consistent.

Andrew S's picture
Andrew S

After the mixing stage dont put your dough somewhere  too hot, the same goes for the mix temperature. Let your just come together on slow,  take a reading,  give your usual mix and take another reading.  Small, home size batches can take on a lot of heat through friction. you may need to adjust your water temperature.  What is your desired dough temperature?

Do you mix to a set dough temperature?

I would be very interested to hear how you get on.

Andrew S

metropical's picture

I tried the cold rise in the fridge for about 5-6 hours.

I know Ive done that before.  It tuned out much better.

But seemed to suffer a little in it's rise height from memory.

I baked at 400º with a pan of boiled water for 10 mins, when the oven reached temp, nor from a cold start.  The I remove the pan and bake until 200º interior temp.

Do you think a cold start might be better for a little extra oven spring?

Do you think a longer counter rise instead of the fridge might be better?

metropical's picture

I don't mix for dough temp.  I run the Bosch on 3 for 5 mins.  That's been what I've been doing for a number of years.

The water that goes in is around 100º.

I'll try an overnight proof on the counter.  See what comes.

But I seem to remember doing that once and the loaf exploded in the oven, like a blooming flower.

But I'll give it a go, coz my memory may be not.