The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

folding and oven spring's picture

folding and oven spring


I make Chad Robertson's country loaf with a sour dough starter very regularly.  I have gone through some what of an evolution in oven spring.  At first I did not seem to get much or at least what I desired. I desire a very open crumb.  I use the folding technique described in Chad's book (Tartine Bread).  In thinking more I may need to take and provide photos of the folding process.  Anyway, I get excellent bread, but I am wondering if the large (seemingly excessively so) holes result from my folding technique.  Maybe this is just fine.  It sure tastes fine, but it makes preparing a sandwhich sometimes awkward.

Any opinions are appreciated.

isand66's picture

My guess would be that your dough in underproofed.  How are you determining when to put your risen loaf in the oven?'s picture


Interesting thought.  I do the initial fermentation for 4-6 hours (along with pulling the dough).  I then shape the dough, and let it proof overnight in the fridge.  It's certainly possible than the low temps in the fridge are too cool to allow full proofing.  I remove from fridge, heat oven (~450F) and cook.  I don't allow much time for the dough to come to room temp.  This said, I have used this same process but with much less spring, frankly too little.  It seems that a slight change in how I shaped the loaves resulted in this behavior.  I'm wondering if it's possible to leave air gaps in the folded dough, that then expand over agressively.  I may have to take pictures of my folding technique, as it is hard to explain.

I must ask, though, if you feel this loaf has excessive spring?  I want a nice open crumb, but this seems a little crazy to me.

Thanks again for your post, it's appreciated.

isand66's picture

I don't think it's from the spring.  It is either the proofing or could be your shaping as well.  You want to make sure you form a tight skin around your loaf.

I really think it is probably in your proofing.  Let the dough come to room temperature for at least 1.5 hours at 70 degrees and if it's hotter you can lower the time or if cooler let it sit out longer.


Wild-Yeast's picture

Hi Brian,

I'm wondering if the dough has been degassed enough at the beginning of the forming process. The alveoli look like those formed in bulk fermentation.



caraway's picture

You'll find as many ideas as there are members when it comes to making the perfect loaf.  So I've entered my 2 cents worth for you to ferret through.  From your description, I'm guessing your initial rise might contribute to the large holes.  4- 6 hours for bench proof seems a little long.  Wonder if you've watched to see how long it takes to double your starter?  That's how long your proof should be.   Even if you keep a very cool kitchen, when you feel resistance to your stretch and folds the dough is ready to shape.  After shaping I proof for the same time as the stater doubling takes, then into the fridge overnight.  I think Robertson's shaping technique works fine, doubt if that's the culprit. 

Then there's the shaping!  Getting that tight skin without tearing the gluten cloak is an art all by itself. 

Do remember, the ideal loaf is the one that makes YOU happy.  Pursuit of that is half the fun.

Happy baking,  Sue

PeterS's picture

Large holes like that can occur with a weak gluten structure, one that was never developed or from one that broke down during to an excessively long sourdough fermentation coupled with an overly long proof or some combination of the two. Usually when large gas pockets are trapped in the dough during shaping, they are irregularly distributed and not frequent.