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cracked top of whole wheat sourdough bread, why?

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sourwholewheat's picture
sourwholewheat

cracked top of whole wheat sourdough bread, why?

Hi everyone,

I'm new here and I'm sorry for starting to post without having introduced myself. Hope you don't mind if I don't. Ok, I'm a woman, using grams and Celcius:)

I have tried "almost successfully" to bake sourdough bread a couple of times.

Today,  I thought to make a no-knead bread (no kneading after the dough has doubled in size) and just to pour it into a wide square baking glass pan. Now, the inside of the bread is perfect for me, but the top is all cracked up.

My question is: What can I do to avoid the cracking?

To give you more details, I've mixed the ingredients yesterday night, leaving the dough to rise overnight. And this morning, after almost an 11-hours rise, I poured it into the pan without touching the dough with anything (only "scratching" some remainder from the walls of the bowl in the end).

The dough was: 1 cup whole wheat sourdough starter, 2 cups water, 4 cups whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon sea salt, about 2 tablespoons olive oil.

I have taken photos of the cracked top, but don't know yet how to post them.

Thanks for any insight and help.

Best regards to all!

 

 

 

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

pictures, it's hard to tell. Did you score the top at all? How big exactly was your pan?

sourwholewheat's picture
sourwholewheat

Forgot to mention that I've baked at 200 degrees Celcius (392F), and that the dough was left for a second rise in the baking pan for about an hour, uncovered, inside the oven with the light on. 

sourwholewheat's picture
sourwholewheat

I haven't touched the top at all. The pan is 25cm by 25cm (10" for inch-users:))

Editing to add: I didn't want to touch the dough in order to preserve the holes inside.

 Dear GermanFoodie, I have mentioned the ingredients/recipe of this bread in my 1st post.

sourwholewheat's picture
sourwholewheat

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

it looks like there is too much water in this recipe. Is the dough really sticky? Also, I have a sourdough rye recipe that also produces a very sticky dough. The resulting bread is dense and has a tendency to crack on top as well, but because I score it, the tension is released and I don't see the same results.

sourwholewheat's picture
sourwholewheat

Thank you, GermanFoodie, for keeping an eye on this thread!

I can't say for sure if the dough was sticky, coz I hadn't touched it, but it wouldn't stick to the glass bowl even before I added the oil in the end. When emptying it into the pan, some of it was stuck to the bowl, though.

Yes, the dough was wet indeed, which I had done on purpose, hoping to obtain a softer bread. I'm content with the softness, but would like to avoid the cracking.

Scoring this dough would've been impossible:) It was just too wet for that.

My previous try was with more flour, but because I use only whole wheat flour, the bread wasn't soft enough. By the way, we don't have all the different types of flour here that most of you do. Just thought to mention it in case anyone suggests mixing in some other type of flour.

GWade's picture
GWade

I know you mentioned you don't have access to a variety of flours, but I think if you supplemented the whole wheat to at least 50% of the flour weight with a bit of AP or preferably bread flour you may have better results. I've found that there is usually just not enough gluten formed with just whole wheat flour in a no-knead dough. Also, oil in a no knead dough has a tendency to inhibit gluten development.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

The finished bread looks awfully flat to me. That sugests a lot of surface area for not very much volume, which might be contributing to weird surface behavior. Have you got a somewhat smaller pan, or can you make a somewhat larger batch of dough?

My first guess on looking at the surface is just the surface (not the whole loaf) "dried out" too much during proofing. Was the loaf at least loosely covered during proofing?

My second guess on looking at the surface is it "set" too soon and the crumb expanded a whole lot underneath it. Crust that sets too soon usually indicates not enough steam. Did you cover (loosely is OK, perhaps a giant pot lid, or perhaps a piece of tinfoil, or...) the baking pan for the first ten or fifteen minutes?

(Also, I agree with the previous poster that 100%wheat and no-knead and sourdough is asking an awful lot and is quite likely to throw up problems:-)

sourwholewheat's picture
sourwholewheat

Ok, thank you. Now I see where the problem lies. 100%wheat and no-knead and sourdough (and no covering for any amount of time when proofing, and oil:)).

Chuck, that "aweful flatness" is what I was aiming at:) I wanted to get a bread like in the picture I'll try to attach. I didn't follow their recipe, just wanted the flatness thereof.

Thank you all for your replies!