The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I finally scored

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tc's picture
tc

I finally scored

Finally it happened...but under weird circumstances. Check it out: I was making Hammelan's six fold french bread. Time got away from me and I missed the last 2-3 folds. Made the loaves anyway, had great ovenspring, and EARS. For the FIRST TIME. The next week I was making the same recipe, and was again negligent with the time. Missed the last couple folds again, shaped loaves without preshaping, baked and got ears again. What's happening here? Aside from not folding enough, I happened to use a much bigger bowl for the dough to rise in than I usually do, and they filled it to the brim. Also usually use a cast iron pan for steam, didn't these two times; I used a tin pie pan with holes so the water can drip onto the bottom of the oven. Usually I can't get my slashes to stay - they disappear right away or during baking. I feel like I didn't shape them any differently than I usually do. Is it because they had more room to rise  this time? Does that make the dough easier to score?  I've spent so much time reading posts and watching vids on how to score properly, and then I get it on a goof up.

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

Also usually use a cast iron pan for steam, didn't these two times; I used a tin pie pan with holes so the water can drip onto the bottom of the oven.

The cast iron pan has never worked well for me; my oven doesn't seal well and the steam poured out of seal and, oddly, out of the burners on top of the stove.  It was gone within less than a minute.  The only times I was able to develop grigne was when a couple of times I hit upon some ideal combination of the pan, dumping the water against the walls, and spraying the bread directly,   Even then the openings weren't especially impressive.

I've recently found that covering the bread produces much more reliable results, grigne every time, and all without introducing any other steam into the oven.  I simply mist the bread well before putting it into the oven and mist the interior of the cover.

So what I'm saying is that your dripping pie tin might be what's making the difference for you by carrying steam longer into the baking process.

tc's picture
tc

What do you use to cover the bread in the oven?

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

Check out the video in this blog entry:

http://www.breadcetera.com/?p=85

 

I'm presently just using a foil roasting pan...actually, I took two of them, cut off the ends, then joined them together to make one long one that will cover a baguette.  I mist the loafs before putting them into the oven, and I mist the interior of the roasting pan before placing it on top of the loaf.