The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oven spring from under the loaf iso the top

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

Oven spring from under the loaf iso the top

Among the many issues I'm struggling with to perfect my sourdough batarde is this...

I'm getting good oven spring, but the loaves always expand mostly through the seam on the underside of the batarde rather than the slashes I've made in the top. I'm guessing that I'm doing something wrong in the shaping. I'm pinching the seam closed tightly, but just can't get the perfect grigne.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

thanks in advance

Les

breaducation's picture
breaducation

It could be shaping but I think the more likely culprit is poor oven steam. How is the color on your loaves? If your color is fairly dull then it's a sign your loaves aren't getting enough steam. Without steam the cut you make on top will sort of seal up before the loaf can fully expand.

If you have a picture of the loaf I think it would be much easier to understand the problem.

Grenage's picture
Grenage

I've had that before, and as breaducation describes, it was a lack of steam - it can also be a cold baking stone.  In such situations, the top of the loaf will probably harden before the base, which would make the base the blowout point.  Steam will keep tho surface moist.

I assume your bread is proofed enough?

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

@breaducation and @greenage thanks for your great suggestions...

It's definitely not a cold baking stone (I heat the stone for 1 hour prior to putting the dough in), and I think I'm getting good steam (my glasses fog up when I open the oven door!).

I'm curious about the question "is the bread proofed enough". I'm wondering about that, and just last night I read that some sourdoughs (mine's homemade) can take even a day to proof. I haven't been overly concerned b/c I get great oven spring. But why might insufficient proofing cause blowout at the base?

Next loaf I'll post pix.

Les

Grenage's picture
Grenage

Hi Les,

I mention proofing merely because I had severe blowout issues with almost all of my early breads (I am still rather novice); that was down to lack of proofing, and it was more common near the base of the breads.  There's so much expansion, the loaf simply has to rupture.  By increasing the proofing time, I don't get such a massive oven spring, but it does honour the scoring, and generally yields a better result.

Proofing times vary wildly, but a 900g loaf will generally take two to three hours at 20-22C.  Not that you can reliably go by the clock, a poke test can help.

I may well be missing something obvious, in which case I'm sure one of the more experienced posters will chime in!

Russell.

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

Thanks Russell

The dialog definitely helps and your insight gives me some things to think about. You're saying (I think) get more rise when the dough is soft rather than in the oven when the crust has formed. That, together with the insight from the other respondents suggests my crust might be hardening too quickly, so my next experiment will be to lower the oven temp a little, (I'm starting at 500F and lowering to 450F after the dough does in).

I'm proofing the loaf on a couche (no banneton) for ~ 4 hours, but (probably subject for another thread) it sags to a pretty flat shape (so hard to gauge the volume increase) and scoring is tricky.

Stand by for another loaf in a few days

Les

Grenage's picture
Grenage

That's right; you generally want lots of pre-bake rise, but not so much that it collapses on the way to, or in the oven (over-proofing).  You still get some rise in the oven, it's just not the monstrous explosion that you get with an under-proofed loaf.

To help myself experience the difference, I deliberately over-proofed my loaf by a good margin.  The result?  There was a very small oven bloom, and it didn't collapse; even after all that additional time, it was only just over-proofed.  That taught me how much I was under-proofing.

The above is probably telling you how to suck eggs, but it worked for me. :)

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

It sounds as if your loaf is under proofed.  There may be others issues as well but I am guessing this is the primary problem.  Research proper proofing as it is a fundamental and essential skill on the path to great bread.

Jeff

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

Thanks, Jeff,

I will definitely extend my proofing to see how that affects this problem.

But can you share, please, how you make the connection from the symptom to the suggested remedy (or vice versa)?

thanks in advance

Les

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Poor shaping, improper scoring and under proofing are all likely possibilities here.  If you are new to baking these areas all likely need improvement which will come with experience.  The most potent force is under proofing.   When the loaf hits the hot oven and begins expanding the expansion force is looking for somewhere to go and it will find the path of least resistance.   The greatest force would be at the bottom of the loaf sitting on a hot surface.  Despite your closed seam, the loaf expands through this path of least resistance.  A fully proofed loaf would not behave this way.  A fully proofed loaf would expose deficiencies in shaping and/or scoring but it would not break open the bottom seam.  Another clue is your opening statement that you are getting good oven spring.  I suspect that it is too good from under proofing. 

A very slightly under proofed sourdough is desirable for full oven spring.  Too little proofing and the loaf will deform and burst open somewhere.  Too much proofing and the loaf will rise and collapse some in the oven.  You may want to proof more and more with each subsequent bake until you hit over proofed.  This, the dough,  will be your best teacher.

Jeff

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I wonder if we're not overcomplicating the problem.  It may be as simple as your not establishing a good seal on the seam when you shape the loaf.

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

well it's possible that the seal's not good, but that was also my first diagnosis and I'm using the heel of my hand during shaping plus a pretty strong pinch with the fingers as insurance... way more assertive than any of the vids I've seen. There could be other factors too... like too much flour preventing the seam closure from sticking.

Anyway, all good ideas and my next loaf is starting to come to life in the primordial soup of my barm, even as I type, so I'll incorporate the suggestions and keep you posted.

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

Jeff, flournwater, grenage, breaducation, this is really helpful. Thanks so much!