The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Big Holes & Shaping

albacore's picture

Big Holes & Shaping

Another Big Hole post! I am trying to create some of those Instagram style big hole breads. I don't want big holes all the time, just now and then.

I also want to be in charge of when I create big hole crumb and when I don't. The thing is my loaves used to have more big holes and now they have less. I'm thinking that as my shaping technique has improved, I am shaping more tightly which is good for loaf loft, but maybe not good for keeping those big gas bubbles that are created towards the end of bulk.

Is there a trade off between lack of spread/good loft and big holes?

Having said that, the pros seem able to have good loft and big holes, so maybe there are other factors too.

Recipe-wise I am talking UK bread flour, sourdough, 75% hydration, 4 hr bulk and overnight fridge retard.


kendalm's picture

Has nothing (or not much) to do with it - its elasticity, yeast control, proofing time and oven kick - all of them in perfect balance. I just did a bake today and wrapped extra tight on shaping the only thing this will do is even out the variability in bubble sizes because at the end of the bake its the expanding gases that do all the work. - i will post some crumb shots soon. There have been so many many big hole questions recently ! What the deal !!!

tgrayson's picture

Big holes really aren't that hard and I don't pay much attention to all the procedures that people say are critical. I get a nice, open crumb every time with a wide variety of flours, hydrations, yeast contents, and proofing methods. The only thing in common, I guess, is that I don't use the mixer for anything other than to combine the ingredients, then just three stretch & folds separated by about an hour.

I don't make much of an effort to keep the big holes acquired during bulk fermentation, but then I don't go too crazy punching down the dough, either. Doing a tight shaping doesn't seem to affect the hole size.

I remember years ago trying to get a more open structure and the epiphany I had was: knead less.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven