The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Too much Ovenspring problem solved

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Breadhouse's picture

Too much Ovenspring problem solved


I recently posted a question on Oven spring and the reply was very good. ( Thanx to everyone who answered and made suggestions, they were all very helpful. So, here is what I did:


Firstly, I reduced my hydration from 70% to 68%. I mixed the ingredients for 10 minutes, rested for 45 minutes, stretched & folded a few times and retarded overnite. The next morning I took it out of the oven, divided the dough, pre-shaped it and rested for 1 hour at 27'C. I then shaped the dough into boules, placed them into proofing baskets and proofed for 2.5 hours at 27'C(I checked the dough to see if it was proofed enough and according to my calculations it was). But, when I tried to remove it from the baskets, it was stuck! I had to reshape the dough and let it proof again, this time for 2 hours.(it didn't look fully proofed but baked it anyway!) I turned up the heat, this time from the bottom only, to 240'C . I placed an old breadpan in the oven and poured a cup of boiling water into it once I placed the bread in the oven(it did however not create as much steam as I hoped so I sprayed some more water in the oven for the first 5 minutes). I also made my slashes deeper than previously, which resulted in a more controlled oven spring, instead of the ''volcano'' style oven spring! 

I tried to incorporate all the advice from my previous post into this bread and the result was remarkably better! As you can see from the photo's, the color is nice and golden,, the crust is nice and chewy and the crumb is very soft and tasty. The distribution and size of the holes was also much better. Because my dough got stuck to the proofing baskets, I cannot for sure say that the proofing time was the initial problem, but after 3 hours of proofing, then knocking it down and then proofing it again for 2 hours seems to have helped. I am however still convinced it was due to a short and cold proofing period, along with two very important factors: Not enough steam and not enough heat from beneath. The bread is not perfect yet but I will tweak this method until I come close.


So a combination of everyone's advice resulted in the best bread I have baked yet and I will continue with this method and try and improve on it as much as I can. Thank you to Mini and everyone who helped!






Mason's picture

I'm glad things are looking better.   Those are loaves I'd be proud of. 

The steam obviously helped.  I often spritz the oven as well as adding the boiling water to the pan.  You have a good grigne going there, as the steam helped the slashes continue to open slowly during the bake.

It looks like you might want heat from the top and bottom, though.  The bottom looks a little too dark, and the top could be darker too.  Idealy you want even heat all around the loaves. (I don't have that kind of control in my oven, but I often use a makeshift cloche to get even heat all around the loaf.)  The right mix of top and bottom heat will come with a little experimentation.


p.s. Try using a 50/50 mix of rice flour and AP flour in your proofing baskets.  Nothing sticks to rice flour.

Breadhouse's picture

Mason I initially heated the oven using the bottom heat and as it reached the right temperature, I turned it off and turned on the top heat. I think this was partly my problem as the top heat helped the crust to set to quickly and resulted in the centre boiling out as it reached a higher temperature. I agree with you on the bottom being to dark and will slightly lower the bottom temperature the next time and will introduce the top heat nearer to the end of the baking cycle to help color the loaf.

Like I said, these aren't perfect loaves but it is a good start I think. Definitely something to build on. Thanx for the advice though!