The Fresh Loaf

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Slashing Effects on oven spring revisited

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davidg618's picture
davidg618

Slashing Effects on oven spring revisited

A few of you may recall a short thread I posted last week describing, with photos, the difference between upward oven spring, and overall expansiion of two loaves made from the same batch of dough, baked coincedentally, wherein the only differences were the slashing patterns used, the loaves positions on the baking stone, and one loaf was loaded approximately one minute, or less after the first.


Today I baked two boules of sourdough, made from the same formula as last week, and, of course, from one batch. I did everything as close as possible to what I did last week. I did use a different starter, but that shouldn't and doesn't effect the outcome.


I made two changes: 1) I loaded the loaves simultaneously, and 2) I slashed the same pattern on both loaves.


The concerns voiced last week were what other things might cause the dramatic difference in oven spring? Uneven oven heat distribution? The first loaf "robbing" heat from the baking stone? uneven steam distribution?


Based on what I experienced today I think last weeks differences were due, for the most part, to the slashing pattern difference. The only slight difference I think today's loaves experienced were minor differences in the slashings' depths and lengths, and I believe the skin on the slightly smaller loaf was drawn tighter than the other loaf. I'm still working on my shaping and slashing skills, but I did the best I could.


Here's the photos, including the before loading pics asked for. I'm satisfied my oven and steaming method are both working fine. I welcome any comments.





David G.

Comments

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Just realized the loaves positons are reversed between the 2nd and 3rd. pictures.


David G.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, David.


I'd say that the differences between the two boules, while perceptible, are of no practical consequence. It is entirely plausible that the differences are attributable to minor differences in scoring.


I do believe that you would have seen more difference if you had not loaded the two boules simultaneously.


David

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Tomorrow I'm baking again, same formula--I'm trying out a new starter. I'll slash the loaves identically, and test your hypothesis. Stay tuned:-)


David G

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I agree with David David. However, I do see a slight difference in the flour dusting on the 2 loaves which can insulate the dough from the heat somewhat. To me though it does seem that there is something asymmetrical going on below the stone that is making it slightly hotter on one side.Are you rotating the loaves midway through so you know it's not a front to back issue.


I always rotate and reverse my loaves to avoid any differences in coloring about 5 minutes before the end of the bake. Even then I find myself trying to brown up the pale side during the dry out period after the bake.


I'm impressed you are able to score two loaves so similarly. You are certainly paying attention to every detail. Nice job David G.


Eric

davidg618's picture
davidg618

the slightly larger loaf, this time, was loaded on the side opposite to the larger loaf last week.


Like yourself, I also rotate my loaves. I do it at the end of the steam period. While I'm steaming the loaves the oven is in conventional "bake" mode. I found the convection fan drys out the doughs skin slightly where it blows directly on it. It's especially noticeable when I bake baguettes which are loaded three-deep, athwart the oven box. After I remove the steam, I place the oven in "convection bake" mode. In the case of two boules I switch sides, without turning the loaves. This way the sides facing the oven's walls now face the center. Nine out of ten times (or more) I also rotate the loaves by turning them 180* when I check for doneness, usually about 5 minutes before removing, or turning the oven off, and cracking it's door.


David G