The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

JH Semolina Bread...with a tumor

MadAboutB8's picture

JH Semolina Bread...with a tumor

Hi to all the lovely The Fresh Loaf members....

I'm new to the bread making and sourdough...just started about 3 months ago with both bread and sourdough making. So far, I'm totally obsessed with it. I learned a lot through this web site and found it's very encouraging. I also purchased few books about bread making. My first is Peter Reinhart's BBA which I found to be very good for novice bread enthusiast.

I usually baked only on the weekend...and each week I just can't wait for the weekend to get my hands and taste buds on to the next loafs.

Here is the semolina sourdough from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread book. I use the semolina flour (sourced locally in Melbourne, Australia). I got the feeling that Aussie's semolina flour could be different from ones in US. My loafs doesn't have the creamy light yellow crumbs as described in the book. But the crumbs still lovely and soft.

I use black sesame seeds in stead the whites.

My starter is mixed with the unbleach bread flour and rye flour, the majority is rye flour.

The loafs got an amazing oven spring. So much so that the loafs really look deformed, looking almost like tumors are breaking away from the body:) I also got the feeling that it could be the result of my poor scoring technique.

The loaf with a tumor


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

will help with the over-springing.  Give the dough just a little longer to rise before flipping out of the rising baskets (scoring) and popping them into the oven.  No problems with scoring that I can see.  

What temp was the bake?  Raising it 15-20°C more might also help add more crust color if desired.  With the proof slightly longer, the crumb will bake faster in the higher heat, so the total baking time will be about the same as the above loaf.


MadAboutB8's picture

My dough was retarded overnight in the fridge for about 10 hours. I took the dough out in the morning and let it sit at room temp for about 3 hrs before putting into the oven. It's quite cold here in Melbourne, Australia. Temp at night and early morning is around 8c. I did the final shaping before I retarded the loaves.

I bake them at 250c for the first 5-6 mins with the manaul steam (the water spray bottle), then turn the oven down to 225c after that. Total baking time is approx. 30-35 mins.

I used the fan-assisted oven. One of the loaf were baked on a pizza stone, and the other on the inverted baking pan.

I'm also using 500g size bannetton to proof a 800g-loaf (these loaves). Can this also contribute to the deformed loaves?

I thought that I might have started the scoring too high and that's why the dough kind of spitting at the bottom and the top.

Thanks a lot Mimi for your suggestion and I'll try longer proofing time for my next weekend bake...can't wait

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I used the fan-assisted oven. One of the loaf were baked on a pizza stone, and the other on the inverted baking pan.

Notice any differences between the loaves? 

I'm also using 500g size bannetton to proof a 800g-loaf

Well, the dough shouldn't be rising and spilling over the banneton.  When the shaped dough is first placed into the banneton, it should take up to half the volume.  If the dough takes more, the banneton might be too small.  

How long and at what temp is the dough rising before being shaped and retarded?  It could be that the dough is too long in the banneton forming too thick of a crust and then bursting instead of stretching when baked.  Do you think that could apply?  If so, lengthen the rising time before shaping (try one extra hour for starters) shorten the retarding in the banneton by a couple of hours and then carefully watch the warming up time before baking, it may be shorter.

The oven heat is right for crust color.  Could also be the crust is setting up too fast.  With more steam in the beginning the crust has longer time to stretch.  Moisture helps the browning of the crust (Hamelman, Bread, page 24 para 2.)  Either get a steam tray into the oven or try covering the loaf so the fan is not contributing to drying out the rising crust.  Cover for the first half of the bake and add 5 minutes.

Love the dark seeds too! 

Mini   (sorry,not Mimi)


RobynNZ's picture

Hi there MadaboutB8, Welcome to TFL,

I am wondering how you got on following Hamelman's temperature instructions for the dough. Hamelman is specific about timing but he is also specific about temperatures. If the temperature is not the same as he suggests, the time will be different to his indication too.

When bread baking in winter we need to seek out warm spots to aid fermentation and to adjust the water temperature so that the dough is warm enough. 

When you mixed your bread did you aim for the specified temperature 76°F/25°C for the dough?   If this is unfamiliar you might find Susan's post a useful read:

I find her water temperature calculator, which you can download from the foot of her post, very handy.  Or you could read Hamelman p382-385. (I find Susan's explanation easier!)


Just as Mini-O has explained the bursting you have experienced is usually the result of the bread not having proofed sufficiently. While you are giving your dough a lot of time to work, from your explanation it sounds as though it is not in a warm enough spot. Your morning room temperature isn't much above fridge temp! 

Have you found a spot to do the two hour bulk fermentation that is at 76°F/25°C? For  me at present that spot is the hot water cupboard. Some people bulk ferment beside their computer.

Just to complicate matters Hamelman on page 152 tells us that after removing the fully risen dough from the fridge there is no need to allow it to come to room temperature(70°F/21°C) as there not much difference between room temperature and fridge temperature compared to oven temperature!  (I trust you have read pages 144-153)

The problem is whether you can be sure that your dough is fully risen, the 'poke' test isn't effective with cold dough. While you are still learning you may find it easier to allow the dough  to warm up to 70°F/21°C (so-called room temp) after your remove it from the fridge so that you can feel it. Do you know the 'poke' test? Underproofed dough will spring back when poked. Proofed dough will spring back about half and an indentation will remain. Overproofed dough there will be no spring back, just an indentation. You'll soon learn to feel the dough, and know when it is ready for the oven, rather than relying on the clock.

Despite the burst the bread does look delicious!

Cheers, Robyn



jrudnik's picture

I just made the Semolina loaves with "flying sponge" not nearly as good as a sourdough loaf, but I screwed up big time when I was putting the bread in the oven and somehow ended up with a baguette and a really big ring!

MadAboutB8's picture

Mini - Yes, the one baked on Pizza stone has more even oven spring/rising. It could be more even heat distritution from the stone, I guess. It's the better looking one without the burst.

Re banetton, my loaves filled about 3/4 full, I might have to consider making a smaller loaves or buying a bigger bannetons.

Hi Robyn -- I was thinking about getting the temp probe and thought that I would get by without one. Now, I'm reconsidering it. I only go by time, feel and the look of the loaves as I don't have the temp probe yet. 

It sounds like a great idea to play around with the water temperature. I'll try that and report back.

I usually do my bulk proof inside a power-off oven. It's probably nowhere near 25c but warmer than room temp. I'm thinking to also put a bowl of boiling water next to the dough next time.

I do the poke test but find that it's quite hard to tell the difference of well-proof and overproof. My loaves both were indented when pressed, and slowly rose back.

Thank you so much Mini and Robyn. Your advices and comments are very encouraging. You guys seem to have answers to every baking's been so great!