The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What am I doing wrong

sccraft1's picture

What am I doing wrong

My rye bread gets air pockets how do I stop this?

pmccool's picture

we can probably rule that out as a method for eliminating the air pockets.

It would be very helpful if you could describe what you are doing (the formula, mixing, kneading, shaping, temperatures, panned or unpanned, all the stuff that your question didn't tell us).  Are the pockets inside the loaf or just under the top crust?  Pictures would be especially instructive.

In the absence of other information, and assuming that you are talking about a flying crust, aka "the room where the lazy baker sleeps", it usually comes down to one or two possibilities: how the bread was shaped and whether or not it was docked.  Give us some more info and we'll be able to make some better diagnoses.


sccraft1's picture

The holes are going through the middel of my bread. I am making it in a hobart mixer at work. I make 3 - 31/2 to 4 # loafs. The loafs are long like loafs you get in the store. I don't know what docked is so could not tell you. The holes are close to the top and large enough that its very hard to melt cheese on it.

pmccool's picture

That changes the picture.  Since I'm a home baker with only a week's worth of experience in a bakery, I'll quickly bow out of this thread and let some of the folks who do this for a living chime in.

Docking is just a matter of poking holes in the dough before it goes into the oven.  You can use a wooden or metal skewer, or a thin knitting needle.  The idea is to provide a path for the escaping steam and other gases during baking so that they aren't trapped under the crust.  Since the crust will dry and harden first, it will contain the steam being generated by the still-raw dough in the inner part of the loaf.  That often creates a big bubble at the top of the loaf.  The folks at have this to say about rye breads: "When the proofing period is completed, the loaves are washed with corn starch wash or egg wash and a sharp object about the size of a pencil is punched about half way through the loaf about two inches apart the full length of the loaf."

I hope that is helpful for you.


K.C.'s picture
sccraft1's picture

I will try the poking holes in yhe dough. Thanks foe explaining docking.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Maybe shaping the loaves a little bit later would pop large bubbles forming.  What percent of rye is in the dough? 

JoeV's picture

I'll give it a shot. i frequently make a couple of different types of rye bread, and have not experienced this situation. I have seen it in commercial bread back when I used to buy bread, but just passed it off as part of the baking process or inferior quality control...really. Docking makes sense. although I always slash my rye breads, which may be why I don't have the problem. Here are two examples of the crumb and skin of teh baked loaves

These two are teh same loaf...


This is a different laof. Notice teh lateral slash teh full length of the laof

Here's a crumb shot and teh loaf it came from


One thing they have in common is a fairly deep slash, which may help eliminate trapped air.


Matt H's picture
Matt H

Why not just stuff cheese INTO the holes. Don't understand what the problem is...

sccraft1's picture

I cook in a restraunt and make different sandwiches. Cheese ext. go through the whole in bread and mess up my grill. The sandwiches don't look that nice on the plate. I like a nice prezentation.

Lucifer's picture

I get large pockets of air just below the top when the rye dough is overproved.

Note the maximum level it rises and stop proofing just a bit below that leaving some for the oven spring.

My rye bread is either 80% rye or 100% rye sourdough.

ananda's picture

Hi sccraft1,

You don't specify what kind of rye bread you are trying to make.   However, if it is the kind mentioned by Lucifer above, then I can offer you the following thoughts.

I have made 000s of these all-rye, sourdough tinned loaves for a large supermarket in the UK, late 90s and early 00s.   I am familiar with the problem you are addressing, and remember it being quite a difficult one to solve.

Can you tell me if you are having problems with the water absorption; do you find you want to add considerably more water?

If using a sourdough, are you having to deal with an overly rapid fermentation?

I think you have poor quality flour, if this is the case, and there is an excess of enzymatic activity.

Regarding solutions, here are a few measures to take.   Firstly, cool down the water in your sour, so the end mix is cooler, and the ferment rate slows.   You could consider adding a portion of the salt to the leaven, again to slow it down.

Alternatively, you could introduce a second pre-stage, by constructing a soaker.   Try and find the work of nicodvb here on TFL.   You should use a portion of salt in your soaker to control enzymatic activity.   Consider either a hot, or, a cold soaker.

Best wishes