The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

springless baguettes

bobm1's picture

springless baguettes

why don't my baguettes 'bloom'? color's good, crust is crispy crumb nicely open... flavor ... everything you might ask for from a baggie but the bloom.It soooo frustrating. i'm using C. Hitz formula but i'm thinking it might be time to change horses.

yes steam, yes stone, yes hot.

ananda's picture


What is your bake profile?

I'd be looking for conduction from decent stored bottom heat if you are hoping for oven spring.



Just caught the bottom of your post.   Will have to come back to you, sorry.

odinraider's picture

Is it possible you are overproofing? When you are going to the oven, are your loaves soft, or are they spongy? Overproofing will ruin oven spring. Check the loaf when you score it. That's a good way to tell (albeit too late to be helpful on that particular bake, but an indication of a problem to be resolved on the next go). Also, are you scoring on an angle, about 30 degrees, and about a quarter inch down?

Another possibility is that the dough is losing hydration during the proofing stage. Try proofing in a different location, or with a tighter covering, to minimize liquid loss. A test for this possibility is if the outside of the dough forms a sort of dry skin.

That's all I've got. Hopefully someone else has more.

The beauty of this question is that it makes me reexamine the steps I take in preparing baguettes. I make them so much the routine has become almost ritual. It begins to lose reason in favor of tradition.

Good luck, and keep trying.


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, bobm1.

I'm not clear on what your issue is. Is it oven spring (expansion of loaf volume during baking) or bloom (the opening up of the scoring cuts during baking) or both?


bobm1's picture

gentlemen, thank you for your posts. to be clear, it is the opening of the scoring to which i refer, believing, perhaps incorrectly, that oven spring and blooming of the score are at lest related if not one in the same.

i must admit that my poolish has often fallen some time before i can mix the final dough. in that regard i would agree with over proofing at the start. However, this is not always the case. 

I would describe the dough as 'spongy' as i go to the oven. returning to shape slowly but fully when pressed with two fingers. as they are not large, perhaps 250g., 5 slashes are performed in a mostly longitudinal manner though maybe not quite 30 deg. (tomorrow) a 1/4"? tomorrow!

the dough is proofed on a linen couch and covered with same and i have noticed that the surface of the dough seems a bit dry. (kinda makes scoring a little easier;) TOMORROW, TOMORROW.....

thanks for something to tweak. i really enjoy the physical part of making baguettes. I actually prefer to roll them with my eyes closed! silly, i know. but it will all be worth it when i finally get the little buggers to BLOOM!

oh, Andy. i apologize but i'm not sure what a 'bake profile' is. you headed your post with 'Oven'. it has been my privilege to use a mini tube these last few weeks.

four ceramic decks with individual steam controls and a high temp of about 570 F.

i had hoped that baking in this oven would improve the 'bloom' but alas, it is the baker, not the oven...

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, bobm1.

You are correct. Oven spring and bloom are related. You can't get bloom without oven spring, but you can get oven spring without bloom.

If you are not getting oven spring, you might consider

1. The loaves are over-proofed. (No more oomph left to expand further)

2. The dough was under-fermented. (Not enough CO2 generated.)

3. Loaves not formed with a good gluten sheath to support upward expansion.

4. Oven is too dry. (Keeping the loaf surface moist allows expansion before a crust forms to restrict expansion.)

5. A thoroughly pre-heated baking stone provides conduction of heat directly to the loaf resulting in rapid expansion of CO2 as well as additional production of CO2.

If you get good oven spring, but your cuts are not opening, consider

1. If your cuts are at 90º to the loaf surface, they may be too shallow. If the cuts are at a shallow angle (<45º), they may be too deep. (The flap seals before it can open.) if you haven't read the Bread Scoring Tutorial (updated 1/2/2009), you might want to do so.

2. Inadequate oven steaming. Try steaming the oven once before loading the loaves and again right after they are loaded.

3. Using convection baking will dry the loaves. This is undesirable early in the bake (1st 10 minutes) and desirable towards the end of the bake (last 10 minutes).

When everything is perfect, the blooming continues for a surprisingly long time, even after the crust has started to harden. When the expansion continues, new moist dough is gradually uncovered. This is a phenomenon that occurs mostly when you cut at a shallow angle. It is also what helps produce a nice ear on your cuts.

I don't know which of these factors might be operative in your baking, so my recommendation is you consider each of them and act accordingly.

Happy baking!


bobm1's picture

David, this is not the first time you have come to my aid and i never fail to learn something new or be reminded of something forgotten. as it happens, this mornings baguettes have given me a clue to at least one of my problems. after reading yesterdays posts i paid particular attention to each aspect of the dough. using the poolish before it had expired made a noticeable improvement to the quality of the dough. i was careful not to let the shaped dough over proof and though i still used a couche i did cover the couch with plastic and place the board in a rack fitted with a cover. the dough was not as dry a the day before. i scored the dough more deliberately this time paying close attention to the depth and angle of the blade.

i would steam the oven prior to placing the dough inside but i only get one really good steaming on the deck. the dough is noticeably wet. when the bread emerged i saw that a few of the scores had improved 'bloomulation'!  not all but this seems to point to my scoring technique, or lack there of, at least in part.

i shall revisit your excellent tutorial and thank you for your generosity and guidance.


hanseata's picture

David, you mention the danger of a convection oven drying out the breads too quickly. It really depends on the oven. My Jennair keeps most of the steam inside, it comes out when I open the door to rotate the breads after half the baking time.

Since I use my regular home oven for my commercial baking I need to bake several loaves at the same time on two racks, and convection (i.e. fan-assisted, not "real") makes that possible.