The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Scoring, and slowing the spread.

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Grenage's picture
Grenage

Scoring, and slowing the spread.

Greetings!

Most of my breads (all sourdough), are about 71% hydration, and for the most part, generally turn out quite well.... by amateur standards.  Alas, I am having a problem with scoring, something which hitherto was always fine!  I make a cut, and it expands like the Red Sea; this obviously results in an instantly larger suface area, rather than the desired gradual expansion.

The only thing I can think of, is that my shaping is now tighter, and it's putting more pressure on the scores.  Do I need do adjust my techique, or look into alternative tools?  I used to use a straight razor, and moved on to a serrated knife, which were both fine.  Can a decent Lame make that much difference?

jcking's picture
jcking

Scoring an over proofed or at peak proof will cause the spread described. If there's a lot of whole wheat in the loaf it's better to score half way thru the proof.

Jim

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Grenage.

I think Jim meant under-proofing.

Your guess that tighter shaping is the cause of your rapid spreading bloom is a good one. To compensate, make your cuts more shallow (1/4 inch deep) and at a more shallow angle (about 30 degrees). From your description of the problem, I doubt what you use to score your loaves is a factor.

I hope this helps.

David

jcking's picture
jcking

Is it rapid expanding happening before loading into the oven, or after loading into oven?

Jim

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Clearly, one of use has misunderstood.

David

Grenage's picture
Grenage

Hi there, and thank you both for your replies.

The spread occurs immediately after scoring, so it's spread completely by the time I've loaded it into the oven.  I've been keeping the cuts shallow, but the angle is always perpendicular due to the bulk of the knife, and the minor drag I get with it.

Thinking back, I believe that my early breads were much a much lower hydration (I've been hammering the same ratios for so long), so that's a bit of a game changer.  I'll try with a new razor blade on the next loaf, and if that makes the difference, at least I'll know.

I'm reasonably happy with the proofing level, as I don't get bursting or collapse during the bake.