The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cracks in SF Sourdough crust? Good/Bad?

CosmicChuck's picture

Cracks in SF Sourdough crust? Good/Bad?

SF Sourdough

SF Sourdough

So, today's rainy/hail day baking experiment has resulted in one of the best SF Sourdough loaves I have ever done. It is crusty and flaky on the outside, very chewy and sour on the inside. The only issue I have with it is that the crust ended up with a spiderweb of cracks as seen in the picture above. It did sound neat while it was cooling with the cracking being quite loud. Overall, this has been one of my greatest successes but I am interested to know what caused the cracking and if I should even care.


Thank You in advance!


SourdoLady's picture

I have heard that cracks in the crust is a sign of perfection, but I have not personally experienced such perfection in my bread baking yet! Congratulations on your acheivement. I also have no idea what causes it to happen. Maybe someone else will know the answer.

Floydm's picture

Yeah, I think cracks on a loaf of SF Sourdough are a very good thing. That loaf is beautiful!

Drifty Baker's picture
Drifty Baker

I have heard that cracks in the crust can be caused by baking the bread in a low moisture environments.  It has happened to me and I have been curious too.

CosmicChuck's picture

Wow, Thank You for the positive responses! I did some checking in the local groceries (I live across the bay from San Francisco in Berkeley) and found that about half, the most expensive half, of SF sourdoughs in the stores are cracked in a similiar way. Hooray!

Now how did I do this? I'm still not sure, but there were two main differences between this loaf and past loaves. One is that I got an unintended massive rise in my dough while proofing it overnight in the fridge. This 4x or more rise was brought on by putting a still too warm dish of lasagna under the bread bowl in the fridge before I went to bed for the night. I was worried it might not do it's final rise the next day but it actually doubled less than 3 hours after coming out of the fridge. Maybe it was the three rises that made the wonderful crust?

What I really think may have caused it was me going overboard with moisture. I have never been able to get the shiny crust with small bubbles and had read that it was dependant on moisture during baking. Since I have an ancient drafty gas oven, I sprayed the dough during the final rise, sprayed the dough and oven three times in the first 10 minutes of baking, and left a pan of water in the oven through the whole bake. Add that the humidity here that day averaged around 80%. I really think this may have been the cause.

Anyway, Thank You again for the input and here is a picture of the crumb of the same loaf. Boy was it tasty!

SF Sourdough CrumbSF Sourdough Crumb

Kattweaver's picture

Having been watching TFL for a good while now I finally had to sign up properly and thank you all, I too have had some cracking again today, this week has been full of it...wish I could figure it out, it has been fairly rainy here and I bake half indoor half outdoors does anyone think this could affect it?