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Oven Spring / Crumb Problems

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porkchops's picture
porkchops

Oven Spring / Crumb Problems

Hello!


So, I dove into the world of sourdough a couple months ago! I've had some moderate success, but am still getting the hang of things.


Right now, I'm working on the Tartine basic country bread recipe. The bread tastes great, and the crust is delicious. However, my oven spring is really lacking. At this point I've tried baking it about 7 times, and this was my most recent attempt:


crust


The crumb is fairly dense and has some air holes but it's not anything like it should be:



My starter is very active and rises/falls predictably. I don't think that has been the problem. 


After reading about the bulk time being generous in the Tartine book, I reduced it to about 2.5 hours and let it proof for about 3 hours on the counter (72-75 degrees). The oven spring was better, and the crumb was more bread-y and less dough-y than previous batches.


I stretch and fold every half and hour during the bulk and the dough gets noticeably firmer throughout the process. When I do the initial shaping and leave it for the bench rest, it flattens out with big fat round edges like it looks like in the book. I get good tension on the boule before it relaxes.


I do the final shaping and get it nice and tight and let it rise. At this point, it seems that the dough relaxes, rises slightly, and becomes very soft. By the time that I am ready to bake, I flip it out of the proofing bowl into my hand, and it immediately de-gasses. I've found it very hard to move it at this stage without having it lose its shape. I've considered flipping it directly into the dutch oven, but I don't know if I can pull it off without burning myself.


I'm determined to get this working! Luckily, it has tasted fantastic, so it hasn't been for nothing. I'm looking forward to the day where it turns out just how I want it to! For reference, I've been using KAAP and Arrowhead Mills Organic Stone Ground WW flour.


Thanks in advance for the help!

jeffy1021's picture
jeffy1021

That's how my first Tartine country loaf looked.  But that was because my starter was only about a week old at the time and didn't have enough strength.  With that being said, it sounds like you are doing everything right.  The bulk fermentation times in the book seem to be underestimated in my experience, though I typically do it overnight at a lower temperature so it usually takes about 12 hours in my case.  Does the dough increase by 20-30% during bulk fermentation?  It almost sounds like the dough is overproofed or the leaven has lost all its strength by the time you bake it if it deflates when you turn it into your baking vessel.


Hopefully someone else will have some more insight.  Best of luck to you and don't give up!

porkchops's picture
porkchops

Thanks! Yeah, the dough is increasing during bulk fermentation. I'm determined to make this work :) I'm going to try decreasing the proofing time and see if that helps.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

It is most probable that your dough is overproofed.


Jeff

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I agree with Jeff.  That's the first place I'd look for a solution.  Just remember to change only one phase of the process at a time when making your adjustments to processing your formula.

porkchops's picture
porkchops

Thanks Jeff and flournwater :) I'll start by decreasing the proof time and see what effect it has. I hadn't tried that yet since intuition told me that I had to let the bread rise even more before baking. I'll post back with my results (hopefully I can bake tomorrow)!

hanseata's picture
hanseata

when you take it out of the proofing bowl, it must be overproofed. Those few very large holes within an otherwise much denser crumb are an indicator for overproofing. I would also rather use cold overnight fermentation.


Karin

porkchops's picture
porkchops

Success!


I was definitely over proofing. I cut down the proof to two hours instead of three and got much better results! It's amazing what an hour can do :)


Thanks to everybody for the pointers. It does seem that the proofing times in the Tartine cookbook are "generous" as I have read elsewhere.


Oven Spring:


rise


Crumb:



 

PigHeaven's picture
PigHeaven

I'm having the same issue, except that my bread is often lopsided - rising high on one side and staying flat on the other. This is due to very large voids in the bread where large air pockets have formed.


 


Also, the cookbook says that when I lift off the cover of the combo cooker, it should release a cloud of steam. I see no steam. Is this a symptom of the same problem or a different one?


 


Thanks!


 

shalako's picture
shalako

I haven't managed any oven spring in 4 bakes and I don't know if my issue is overproofing or not, but I am also not getting any release of steam when I remove the lid.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

With proofing it's really important to go by what you see and not just by the time! The most important tool is your finger, not the clock.


Even though I bake on a semi-professional level, selling my breads to a local store, I always do the finger probe to judge whether my breads have proofed right. Poking the dough gently with your finger and see whether, and how much, the indentation springs back gives you a clear idea about the status of the rise.


To achieve an oven spring, the dough should come slowly a little bit back when you make a dent (ca. 25%). If the dough springs back fast and the indentation closes or almost closes, the bread has not proofed enough. If the dent shows hardly any or no movement at all, it is almost overproofed or overproofed, and the bread will have very little or no oven spring.


(This rule does not pertain to higher percentage rye or other breads made with flours with no or very little gluten).


If no steam escapes when you open the lid, it probably doesn't close tight enough - or most of the steam escaped already before the lid was tightly closed.


Karin

porkchops's picture
porkchops

This is great information to have-- especially for a beginner. One of my criticisms of the Tartine book is that it says that you need to learn how to feel the bread and watch for signs for when it's ready to be shaped into loaves and later baked, but it doesn't always explain *how* it should feel or react at these times (especially in the transition times).

PigHeaven's picture
PigHeaven

I'm using a combo cooker with the shallow pan on the bottom and the large pot on top. Given that the steam should be rising, I think it's unlikely it's escaping out of the bottom.


 


I'm wondering if over-proofing might lead to lower moisture content in the dough, and therefore less steam?


 


Thanks!

robadar's picture
robadar

Interesting thread.  I too have been experimenting with Tartine's recipe,  and I've found their loaf proofing time too long.  I've gotten down to three hours,  but I am going to try two.  I found a big difference bewtween two flours -- Giusto's  "Baker's Choice" and King Arthur all purpose, the latter rising much better.  This leads me to wonder what would happen if I tried bread flour.  I suspect the rise might be better but maybe with a tighter crumb.  Thoughts?


As to moisute loss during proofing, I doubt that an hour more or less proofing would have much to do with moisture loss.  I suspect that with over proofing the loaf simply loses its "strength", that is, it breaks down and doesn't hold a good rise. 


P.S.  What ever happened to Rec.Sourdough?  Anyone know?  I'm guessing that spam plus the overbearing and unfriendly attitude of some participants  brought about its demise.


 


RB

porkchops's picture
porkchops

I have used KA Bread Flour and it provided the best oven spring. I didn't notice much difference in the crumb, but I didn't directly compare two batches at the same time.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Wow - what a difference an hour makes! Second boule looks delicious.


Kind regards, Daisy_A