The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How do I get a tall and pretty loaf

hantastic's picture

How do I get a tall and pretty loaf

Newbie's first post. 

I would like to learn sourdough baking and make the loaves as pretty as seen on this forum.

My method (pretty much no knead and minimal SF due to busy schedule):

100g 100% hydration starter

200g water (used cold 60F water)

300g KA organic bread flour

6g salt

In the morning mix and let stand for 10min, lightly SF once, left at room temp 11 hours 60F.

Evening, one more SF, and waited another hour at 60F.

Preshaped, waited for 10min, shaped, and left proof at RT 60F overnight ~8 hours.

Turned into cold dutch oven, baked in preheated 450F oven for 20min covered, baked another 20 uncovered.

My question:

How do I achieve good oven spring?

How do I make the loaf brown better?

How do I make tall loaves?

Thanks so much in advance!




tgrayson's picture

Seems almost inevitable to me that a high hydration dough allowed to proof for 8 hours is going to be flat. Are you proofing in a boole-shaped vessel?

hantastic's picture

yes it was shaped in boule shaped basket. The Dutch oven is wide though which didn't hold the shape. 

Should I try proofing shorter time at higher temp? 

tgrayson's picture

I have greatly increased the height of my sourdough bread by making sure that I have a very tight proofing shape. This actually requires repeated shapings until there is a great deal of tension in the dough (This is effectively doing a series of S&Fs). I do not know how long this tension would own proof lasts only about two hours.


hantastic's picture

That's good to know. I can work on the shaping part.

hreik's picture

Then bring to Room temp.  What is your schedule so we can help you more specifically?

I recommend Looking at Trevor Wilson's video.


this one

hantastic's picture

Thanks for the links. Now I want to make bread like that. 

Arjon's picture

are the two things that immediately come to mind. Improved shaping will help reduce how much the dough spreads / expands outward rather than up, and while my scoring could definitely stand to be more consistent, my impression is that the better it is on a given loaf, the more it encourages height. 

hantastic's picture

That scoring can affect the height of the loaf. Will work on the shaping and scoring part then. Even its baked in a Dutch oven, I wonder if my oven is not hot enough or not enough steam. Will try to add hot water to see if it makes a difference.

i love very dark and crisp crust colors. Can it be achieved by using white flour and high heat/steam or do I need other additive like malt?


bonniebateman's picture

I have the same problem, my sourdough is flatter than I like.  But I'm thinking that supporting the sides while proofing might help.  That's how they get baguettes that shape, using a linen couche, so the rise has to be up, not sideways.  I'm going to try proofing in a container with vertical sides, to see if that works.

Also, if you like dark crisp crust and are using a Dutch Over, take the lid off for the last 15 minutes of the bake.  But keep an eye on it, it darkens fast.


hantastic's picture

Made another loaf this morning with more SF, preshape and shape. Definitely an improvement from the last one.

I also sprayed some water on top of the loaf and included a hot water tray on the bottom shelf of the oven in an attempt to increase steam.

The crumb is not as open as I would like though.