The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What went wrong with my sourdough loaf?

Sencha's picture
Sencha

What went wrong with my sourdough loaf?

Title suggests a failure but the loaf is very nice to eat! Its a 75% hydration. Only been making bread for a under a year so bit of a noob 

 

So its good! however its got a dense section next to the base. I just started baking on a breadstone. Don't know my gas ovens max temperature but I pre-heated on full (gas mark 9)for 1 hour with stone on middle shelf. I seem to recall a loaf I baked without the bread stone suffering the same fate once or twice.

 

The crust on the base is very pale, the bubbles are almost too big and then dense down at the base. I'm going to try moving the stone both up and down in the oven to see what's best for that but underproofed or overproofed could be the problem? I let the loafs rise in the airing cupboard as it was quite cold in the kitchen. They had about 3 hours in there. And I guess about doubled in size maybe just under. They certainly didnt puddle out too much when put on the peel. Maybe I need to be more gentle putting them on the peel? They were proofed seam side up in baskets

 

Anyway. Any pointers or tips would be great.  Here's some pics of the loaf

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the help!

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Do you have a possibility to check the temperature of your stone before you put the bread in?

Infrared thermometer or so?

The crumb looks great - you'll make amazing bread when you get the heat thing right.

I haven't got a gas oven, but if you search on this site you'll find loads of discussions around gas ovens.

Happy Baking,

Juergen

 

Sencha's picture
Sencha

Many thanks

 

I don't have anything to check the temps so prehaps I should fix that. I'm also thinking maybe the bread stone which is 30cm x 40cm x 3cm may even longer to fully heat

 

 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

This is one of those things that is hard to tell without a complete recipe and techniques.  One hour should be enough pre-heating,  but it may not be given the thickness of your stone.  I do not know how much heat your oven puts out.   I would check the temperature of the oven with a thermometer. 

Also underproofing is possible but again it is hard to tell.  Move the stone to the lower shelf closer to the heat source and preheat a bit longer.

Jeff

Sencha's picture
Sencha

Thanks Jeff. Will try all these things out. 

 

I did some pizza on the stone tonight and they were perfection! pre-heated for about 1 hour 15 mins.

BigelowBaker's picture
BigelowBaker

As Yerffej said, this could be the result of a couple things. It is common to have bigger holes at the top of the bread, but the bottom does appear very dense.

My best guess is shaping might have something to do with it. Whenever I make a loaf that doesn't have enough tension, the holes get very irregular and I get dense spots. Experiment with shaping your dough in different ways and try to get as much surface tension as possible.

Also, this is a longshot, but how big is the stone? I use quarry tiles to create a surface in my oven, and one thing I noticed is that if I cover the rack up too much, the airflow of the oven gets weird and things burned or rose unevenly.

Sencha's picture
Sencha

OK Guys. I moved the tile up in the oven after trying it low. Up is the hotter position for me. I autolysed my dough for the first time, Made sure the dough was shaped tigher, proofed for a bit longer and it held its shape well due to better shaping.

 

So it wasn't a sour dough but here is the 100% wholemeal (normal yeast) I just baked @ 75% hydration. Easily the best loaf I've ever made. All thanks so you guys in this thread.! Only pre-heated the stone for 40 mins as well as I was pushed for time.

 

 

 

Taste and texture are sublime!

BigelowBaker's picture
BigelowBaker

Looks beautiful! Well done :)

Sencha's picture
Sencha

Thanks BB!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

As others have said the dense bottom is probably a shaping issue and too cold a stone.  Looks like you fixed both.

Nice baking

Sencha's picture
Sencha

Yeah the shaping was a good call. I'd just switched from my tried and tested way to a way I saw Richard Bertinet shape his loaves. I managed to get the tension I wanted on the second loaf and its getting easier and easier and now even better then my old way. Thank god for you guys! :D