The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oven Spring--how to make it better?'s picture

Oven Spring--how to make it better?

I have been making bread from Tartine Bread, basically a naturally leavened bread.  The flavors have been outstanding, as well as the crumb.  I have experiemented with various hydration percentages (75% and 80%).  The 75% seemed to spring a bit better than the 80%.  The 80% was raised at a bit higher ambient temperature and probably for a bit too long; the dough seemed too puffy and sloppy.

Anyway, I am not pleased with my oven spring.  Does anyone have secrets they are willing to share?  I place the dough in a cast iron oven and close it off to provide steaming for the first 20 mins.  I tranferred the dough in two different ways:  (1) inverting the proofing basket into my hands (this seems a bit sloppy); (2) inverting the proofing basket directly onto the hot cast iron stove lid (not so precise if you miss, may practice will make it work better); and (3) using a paper sling (also seemed sloppy, but with pactice maybe it gets better).

I think with better oven spring my scoring patterns will come out better.  But, for the time being my scoring does not appear to provide the type of visual affect I would like.  Again, I believe this to be due to poor oven spring.  BTW, it's not zero, just not as good as I would like.

Suggestions are appreciated.


varda's picture

I have found that I get poor ovenspring for three different reasons.   One, my starter isn't quite up to snuff.   Two, I overproofed the loaf.    Three, insufficient steam at the beginning of the bake.   I don't generally bake in a pot, but that should capture enough moisture to get enough steam if the seal is tight.   I know some people mist the pot before baking - and spritzing the loaf before putting in the pot should also help.   But the worst culprit at least for me, has been a weak starter.   You could try refreshing it - lots of tips how on this site - prior to baking with it again.  Hope this helps.  -Varda

bottleny's picture

Proofing time affects the ammount of ovenspring. Someone had done several test not long ago. Search the forum (I forgot the link).

pmccool's picture

Achieving a tight outer sheath on the loaf during shaping is also important for good ovenspring.  A loosely shaped loaf will spread more and spring less than a loaf with a taut skin.