The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Advice on score and rise please!

aleksdok's picture
aleksdok

Advice on score and rise please!

Hi, I’m fairly new to baking sourdough. I have a 75/25 white/rye starter called Bernie who is doing a great job. The issue comes when it’s time to score and bake.

I am using the Breadwerx stiff dough / open crumb recipe as I find it very difficult to work with a high hydration dough for now, and it’s been providing with me with some really lovely bread:

I don’t have a Dutch oven or a cloche, so I’ve been baking with a pan of water below the bread to steam it. The bread crust will harden before its split along the scoring and then continue to rise along the side. I tried to score a different loaf deeper, to see whether I wasn’t scoring it enough, and it opened up some more but didn’t rise as high. I bake at 250c in an electric oven. 

Here’s another example of the top of the bread 

 

Is it a case of my scoring technique? Maybe I should preheat the oven for longer or turn the heat up more? The bread is very tasty and has a nice crumb, I just wish it was a little prettier. Any advice is much appreciated!

Abe's picture
Abe

Lovely loaves. Loving that crust. Looks like a nice soft crumb too. 

I think they did for the crust too quickly therefore preventing oven spring. The gas had nowhere to escape and tried to push out from underneath hence the one on the left with the bulge. More effective steaming will correct that. 

If you think the hydration is too high then lower it. You have to find a hydration that works for you and the flour you're using. 

leftcoastloaf's picture
leftcoastloaf

Looking good! I would say your crumb is indicative of underfermentation (large holes next to really really small holes), so you might want to give the dough a longer (or warmer, or both) bulk proof so the entire dough is more filled with gas. That should help with the shape of the dough.

Next, I would check this out for oven spring: https://www.theperfectloaf.com/baking-with-steam-in-your-home-oven/

You could maybe add some rolled up towels to encourage more steam, and lava rocks to really saturate the oven. However, I've only really had my best success with a dutch oven.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Alek, I notice right away that you have an artist flair. It is obvious in your scoring. Nice design!

What I find interesting is the way your loaves rose, especially the one on the right. It kind of reminds me of a flying saucer :-)

By any chance, was the skin of the dough very dry when you put it in the oven? It is unusual, the way the sides lifted up from the bottom.

Are you baking on a stone? If not, how are you set up?

Dan

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Dan, I have noticed in my loaves that if a loaf on the baking stone not only rises upward from the middle but effectively downward too (thereby creating the roundish lower edge) it is a sign of being under-fermented (i.e., I took the dough out of the tub too soon during the bulk period).  I suspect that occurred here too.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

That’s good to know, Ted. I think I’ve learned lately that Iam pushing my loaves too far. I don’t think I ever err on the under-proofed extreme. Recent testing is starting to change th e way I think about proofing.

I don’t remember ever getting a loaf to stand up from the bottom like that.

Dan

Abe's picture
Abe

Then the bread cannot open up and rise upwards. The only way is through the weakest point. That coupled with runaway oven spring can result in the bread expanding downwards resulting in what you see. 

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Abe, do you think that a dough that should have had a longer bulk fermentation will be too elastic (and not extensible enough) when shaped and thereby result in the crust setting too quickly?  In thinking back, I am reminded of billowy dough that was easy to stretch out during the shaping process and which had great oven spring, and I am thinking too of dough that was very difficult to shape because it did not have a lot of extensibility (even after a half hour bench rest).

Oven spring comes from the expansion of air, but if the dough is too restrictive (i.e., not extensible), then the expansion will be not only upward, but downward too.  Does this make sense?  (Anyone else with ideas please jump in here too.)

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Ted, longer Bulk Ferments and also longer proofing will always results in more extensibility. When flour is hydrated with water enzme actions begins. This action works to break down the glutem making it more stretchable. That's one of the reasons  guys like Trevor like a long autolyse. When a dough becomes extensible (stretchable) the gas bubbles are able to expand more easily, allowing for more open crumb. The amount of elasticity versus the amount of extensibility is a delicate balancing act. Too much of either is normally not a good thing. If a dough is too stretchy it will not be able to hold a strong shape. Ciabatta is a good example of that. On the other hand if the dough is too elastic, shaping will be difficult or worse. Bagels being a good example in this case.

Consider baguettes. They need to be extensible in order to get their signature shape, but without elastcity they won’t be able to hold their shape. I am learning more and more how delicate a balancing act these 2 characteristics are when baking artisan breads.

Hope I didn’t ramble on too long...

Dan

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Thanks, Dan, you are reinforcing my understanding of what goes on and why some things work and others don't. It is all part of the learning process. You are exactly right that the balancing act is a tough one, and that is where experience really comes into play. Following a recipe is one thing, but making decisions is another, and that is the true craft and art.

This discussion was not meant to be a thread hi-jack either.  It seemed to me that the scoring was not the problem with the loaves, but rather shaping and rise, and both of those things relate directly to the bulk fermentation phase, which in this case I believe was too short.

aleksdok's picture
aleksdok

Any info is good info! I hadn’t even thought that they might be underproved, I guess it never occurred to me that in my colder kitchen I probably need to give it more time than in a warmer one. I was too afraid to overprove that I’m underproving! Thinking about it now, I did have a better-risen loaf when I forgot about the bread for an extra 2 hours... 

Jay's picture
Jay

I hadn't thought of that. I've had that problem with a few loaves and assumed that it was because I hadn't scored them properly so they couldn't open up at the top and therefor ended up pushing out at the bottom too, but now I'm going to have to rethink my bulk stage and if I'm maybe not letting it go long enough. 

aleksdok's picture
aleksdok

That’s the best description :)

 

I am based in Norway, so it’s pretty cold here. Perhaps I’m not proofing for long enough! Also we don’t have bread flour here, so I use AP which has a protein content of 11.2% and I’m looking for gluten flour to add in but it’s not so easy to find here!

I bake straight from the fridge (it does the final rise overnight there) on a preheated baking tray, and underneath that is a deeper tray which heats up for a long time and then I pour in some water when I place the bread in the flat tray into the oven. This creates a really big gust of steam, I shut the oven door and bake for 35-45 minutes depending on the bread. 

I wouldn’t say the skin is overly dry, I use rice flour on the banneton. There is some skin tension but it’s not hard or dry.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

 is the paleness on the bottom of the loaves.  This makes me think about the heat in the oven.  I think if more heat is applied under the loaf a different outcome will present itself.  Perhaps removing the steam pan after the initial spring or moving it elsewhere in the oven is all that is needed or moving the baking surface lower toward the heat.  A photo of the bottom of the loaf would be helpful. 

250° C strikes me as high but not unusual for a preheating. After the loaf has been loaded temps drop in the oven but if still set at 250° the oven will kick in with a lot of heat and this may have set the top crust before the heat from below the loaf could raise the loaf more.  I might try resetting the oven to 230° or less after loading the oven giving the upper crust a bit more time before setting but I would look at getting more heat under the loaf.  Perhaps the stone needs more preheating, depends on the size and thickness of the stone.

aleksdok's picture
aleksdok

Agreed! I Will start to move the steam pan away, as the bottom of the loaves turn out quite pale. 

aleksdok's picture
aleksdok

I kept the bowl surrounded with bowls of warm water to raise the temperature and humidity of the kitchen, and did a bulk rise of 8 hours instead of 6. Here’s the result! Still not quite the crust I would like, but a better crumb and nicer rise. 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Your crumb looks fine to me, with the exception of the gummy part on the bottom of the bread. Did you bake on a stone? My guess is that the bottom of the bread didn’t get enough heat.

Dan

Update - I reread through the post and notcied that Mini talked about the heat issue also. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/57451/advice-score-and-rise-please#comment-418172

How are setup to bake? Please elaborate. 

aleksdok's picture
aleksdok

Hi! I agree with Mini - I don’t think the bottom is getting enough heat. It’s baked but never crispy. 

I have two baking pans in the oven - the top sheet has the bread, the bottom sheet is deeper and that’s where I pour the water to get steam made.

As per her advice, I’m going to remove the bottom pan after the initial steaming, and I’ll move the bread down one notch so it gets more heat on the bottom. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

switching the trays, placing the steam tray at the top.  When I bake on trays, I also tend to use them upside down trapping heat under the tray edge... so that makes for quite a few different oven set-ups if tweaking is needed.

aleksdok's picture
aleksdok

I switched the trays - and this is what has just come out of the oven!! The rise is perfect, it has a beautiful crispy base, and it’s agony to sit and wait for it to cool so I can cut it open. Thank you so much for the tray advice!!

 

treesparrow's picture
treesparrow

Look at this beauty! Lovely scoring btw.

aleksdok's picture
aleksdok

thanks!! I’ve been following Brooklynsourdough on Instagram and her scoring is so beautiful. Tried to channel her leaf style on the second loaf!

again - thanks everyone who helped out! I’m very appreciative that you’ve upped by bread game. 

leftcoastloaf's picture
leftcoastloaf

Nice job!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

What an improvement.

Dan

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

watching this beauty cool!  If everything I have to wait for had such charm and aroma...  aah simple pleasures!  

Get a shot of the bottom too before cutting.

       Waiting for that crumb shot.  :).