The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

drying out

ghazi's picture

drying out

Hi everybody

i've been trying to make bread recently with the same thing happening all the time, when i used to add more water to the recipe it never dries out

here is the recipe i used

Pre ferment

250g - 200g white bread flour, 50g wholegrain spelt flour

150ml water

little yeast and 5g salt

After proofing once, i mix into this

250 same mix of strong white and whoegrain splet, water  and little yeast

everytime i proof the top dries out and looks cooked, i canot slash the tops.

what is the reason for it drying out so much?


pmccool's picture

Or are you covering the dough while it ferments?  If you aren't, the outer surface will dry and harden.  You need to arrange some kind of containment or covering for the dough during its final fermentation.  That might be plastic wrap, or a damp towel, or placing the loaf inside a plastic bag.


ghazi's picture

Hi Paul

I have been proofing it in a black bin bag, wrapping it tightly and sucking out all the air.

For the first proof i sometimes put it in a plastic container with tight lid and does not dry out at all, it's the final ferment that gets it very dry with a hard crust on top.  Goes to show that it does work which frustrates me. Thanks for your quick reply

By the way, i have tried to get to know the bakers percentage though i never really get it. I seem to just go with what i know, what is the easiest way to understand this? Ive been dodging it for a long time and think it might help me in a big way


cranbo's picture

Ghazi, in what kinds of containers are you doing your final ferment in? Are you covering your dough somehow? Strange about the drying out. 

Bakers % is most useful for scaling. Easiest way to start is to treat your total amount of flour as 100%

For example, based on your recipe:

  • 250g flour in preferment + 250g flour in final dough = 500g of flour = 100%
  • Add your total water weights: 150g in preferment + ??g in final dough = ???g
  • Divide total water weight by total flour weight (e.g., ???g / 500g * 100) = % of water in your recipe. 
  • Divide total yeast by total flour weight (e.g., your yeast / 500g * 100) = % of yeast in your recipe. 
  • etc. etc. for all other ingredients 
Does that help at all?




All at Sea's picture
All at Sea

... I can't help but wonder what exactly you mean when you say:

"I have been proofing it in a black bin bag, wrapping it tightly and sucking out all the air."

It's that "sucking out all the air" bit that concerns. Do you mean literally, using a vacuum of sorts to take out any air in the bag?  If so, you really don't need to do that. And I'm wondering if that is, at the very least, contributing to your dried-0ut crust problem. I proof my loaves in their bannetons, by placing them inside a small pedal-bin plastic liner bag. The top of the bags are closed together and folded down a couple of times, and secured with a couple of paper clips. There is still air in the bag, but being contained and still (no air movement to remove the moisture and the moisture unable to escape the bag anyway), the dough can't dry out at all.

All at Sea


ghazi's picture

Thanks for all your supprting words.


The percentage step method is well noted and helps me to understand the process further. thanks for that.

For the final ferment i put it on the peel covered with the plastic bin bag, still been drying out. maybe im coveriog it too tightly without letting air inside?

All at sea

When i mean sucking out all the air, to say that there is no air left in the bag, i do this with my hands. I am covering it loosely with the black bag for some wholewheat bread i made during its last ferment. I purposley do not hydrate too much to make sure io can make bread without drying out. I will see what i come up with. 


ghazi's picture

When it came time to slash the wholewheat loaf, it deflated during slashing. Does anybody know the reason for this?

I also find that if the i make 100% wholewheat it is always better to put some kind of fat inside. Anybody feel the same?


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

usually means the loaf has proofed too long.  

The reason your loaf dries out on top is because your humidity is so low.  I've baked bread this time of year in Dubai and had to always keep my dough covered with lightly oiled plastic.  I also purchased a water sprayer (like for spraying plants) to spray the dough to keep it moist.  5 minutes open in the room will dry out the dough so keep it under a wet thin towel or plastic or both!. 

ghazi's picture

Hi Mini Oven

Thanks for your advice, it seems the humidity in the middle east contributes a lot to the process of baking bread + temp. I will spray it with oil to keep moist at these times. Hopefully by winter this issue will be realized more clearly