The Fresh Loaf

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Please help me troubleshoot blowout

debbahs's picture

Please help me troubleshoot blowout

This is my first attempt at Hamelman's Whole Wheat with Multigrain Soaker (levain). Everything went splendidly, all along the dough behaved as expected, and given it was my first time with this formula I followed it exactly. 

Formed into rounds and final ferment for about an hour in banetons. Scored as usual. Preheated and steamed oven as usual. Then this happened. Blowouts in both loaves, in the exact same spot, along one of the score lines.  

I am guessing this has to do with either poor shaping or scoring or both (Both areas I am really working on), but would love to hear your thoughts. 

nmygarden's picture

My guess is underproofed, and possibly under-steamed, also. Internal pressure rose as the baking began, and had to be released somewhere, in this case, each loaf took out its weakest score line. They look toasty brown and wonderful, though, so great work!


debbahs's picture

and they do taste good, so at least there's that. Good crust and crumb, just not very pretty. I'll focus again on every detail. 

in terms of under steaming, I pre-steam as Hamelman suggests with a few ice cubes, then steam with one cup boiling water upon loading.   It actually seems like a lot to me but I have no point of reference. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Is difficult. Do you have a Dutch Oven or a DO substitute? 

Agree with Cathy. 

debbahs's picture

but don't know what a DO is. 

I have used the Dutch oven effectively with the no-knead bread recipe (the NY Times version), but have been using the pizza stones exclusively with the Hamelman book as that type of setup is what he bases his formulas on. 

Arjon's picture


pmitc34947's picture

Nice work!

Score you loaves and you can control how they expand.

kendalm's picture

Seems this is a degassing thing - looks like a huge bubble was trapped prior to going in the oven. Just sayin'

debbahs's picture

practicing my hand work. Hamelman's book is great but a lot of the techniques rely on "feel" and "experience" and if you have neither it can be a bit touch and go (pun intended) to replicate. 

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Another possibility is that the loaves are either too close to the top of the oven, or the top element is still on when you put the bread in. That will result in the top crust setting too quickly and then the expanding 'inside' has to go somewhere else. Do you have a deep pan or lid that you can cover the loaf with for the first 20 minutes or so? Or perhaps a second stone or even a heavy baking tray that you can put on the rack / shelf above the loaf in the oven?

debbahs's picture

I have the stones on the middle rack (we have a Viking dual fuel convection oven, although I bake w/o convection) but with the addition of the stones that does raise up the level a bit. The heat comes from the bottom, not the top, if that matters, but maybe I'll try dropping down the rack 1 level to see if that makes a difference.

Filomatic's picture

I make this bread a lot, and it's an active riser.  It sounds as if you followed best practices, and your cuts seem good as well.  Please show us the crumb, as it might tell a story.  I tend to ferment my Hamelman recipes longer than he calls for, somewhere between Hamelman and Tartine.  I generally do 3-4 folds, as opposed to 1-2 and final rise cold, or if warm usually longer than he calls for (in my Brod & Taylor proofing box).  Even with the blowouts these are beautiful breads.

debbahs's picture

And in terms of details, I followed Hamelman's formula exactly, including following his proof times as well. I don't feel confident enough yet to mess with it, although I'm starting to (in terms of doing some levain/poolish fermenting in the fridge if I know I won't be able to make my dough within 12-16 hours).

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

time before final shaping.  Looks classical under-proofed.  But...

Wonder what the crumb shot will look like.  Try to cut lengthwise right thru center of the loaf and the middle of the bump.

Beautiful Crust Colour!   A Crust lover's delight and you have plenty of "ends" to enjoy.

Edit:  Seeing the crumb shot, yup, more proofing time and lowering the shelf as suggested earlier should help.  Looks like the top crust set too soon due to the high heat at the top of the oven.  I don't see any major bubbles for a "blow out" so the shaping seems fine to me.  

Vince920's picture

Give us more details about proofing times and the hydration level.