The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Scoring not spreading, shiny crust: Not understanding loaves as of late

TwoCats's picture
TwoCats

Scoring not spreading, shiny crust: Not understanding loaves as of late

I've had great consistency with my loaves as of late (great crust and crumb), but I've recently hit a spot where my loaves are not opening up in the oven and the crust is shiny. The loaves also seem denser than usual. See pics below.

What is going on? Am I just jumping the gun on throwing these in the oven? As you can see, the dough looks proofed:

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

 

What is your formula and procedure, especially baking set-up and steaming?

In general, shiny crust is usually from a very humid environment early in the bake. Maybe too much steam or for too long. The poor bloom can be from over-proofing (doubt in your case) or scoring too deeply and with the blade too vertical. But I await your details.

David

TwoCats's picture
TwoCats

Hi, David! I've admired your bakes for years. :)

The formula:

  • 255g bread flour
  • 35g whole wheat
  • 35g semolina
  • 255g water
  • 65g levain (100% hydrated)
  • 8g salt.

Procedure:

  • Autolyse flours and water for 3 hours.
  • Add levain and hand mix.
  • 30 minutes later, add salt and hand mix.
  • 30 minutes later, do a stretch and fold.
  • 1 hour later, do a coil fold.
  • 1 hour later, do a coil fold.
  • 1 hour later, do a coil fold.
  • 1 hour later, shape and put in 41F refrigerator for about 12 hours.

My baking set up is like this (easier to show than to describe): https://www.instagram.com/p/BpxULJhHMYP/

I don't think I scored too deeply, but maybe the blade was too vertical. The crumb was totally fine and delicious tho. I just can't get the bake/crust to look like I want it to look.

Any thoughts appreciated!!!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Your crumb looks great.

80% hydration, by my calculation. So a pretty wet dough. This is more of a challenge to score. Take a look at: Scoring Bread made with high-hydration dough

Paradoxically, with high-hydration dough, a very shallow, angled cut opens better than a deep vertical cut.

The steaming method in the linked IG post is over-kill, unless the author has a gas oven. I would use either the cover or the lava rocks and ice cubes and water, but not all of them. The shiny crust is from excessive steaming.

Happy baking!

David

 

TwoCats's picture
TwoCats

I actually deeply suspect the lack of bloom is due to the vertical scoring, since the oven spring is great, as is the crumb. I'm going to be more mindful of the score next time and report back. I have a gas oven, so maybe the ice cubes and water are OK.

Yes, this dough is 80% hydration, and I actually don't have that much trouble scoring it. I just didn't realize that a vertical score would affect it so dramatically!

The same method, including the oven environment, created much more ideal results just last week.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

I agree with David about the scoring.  I score at an angle (about 30°) with a curved lame on my oval loaves.  I usually don't go over 69% hydration that I find holds it's form once loaded into the oven.  My loaf yesterday is 80% bread flour, 10% stone ground whole-wheat, and 10% whole-rye, 69% hydration.  Steam for first 10 minutes and finish in a drying oven. Pictures attached.

 

TwoCats's picture
TwoCats

Have you had any vertically score doughs come out like this?

I was on such a good run, then ran into this problem!

The dough was nearly perfect (perfectly proofed!), SAVE FOR THE SCORING! Ugh.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

The only loaf I vertically score is a round loaf and I use a straight lame for those.  Hard to compare as the straight lame does not give an "ear".  One further thought; I never fully proof for the final proof; leave it a bit short and it will give a greater oven spring. 

TwoCats's picture
TwoCats

Welp, I took the recommendations here and tried slashing at a 45 angle. I proofed the doughs the same way, and right before baking, they looked relatively similar to the doughs posted at the start of this thread.

The first loaf (not pictured here) turned out similar to the unopened loaf in the first post, mostly because I used a lame that was DIY'ed and didn't quite give me the angle I was looking for.

The second loaf is below. I used my typical tool (razorblade, no bells or whistles, but held at 45 angle). I got this, quite a disappointing bloom. I'm OK with the shape, but just wish it opened up more.

There is some blowout at the bottom too—perhaps an issue with temperature?

Flavor and crumb are good.

TwoCats's picture
TwoCats

I went back to baking with the Dutch oven (and not freeform on a pizza stone), and I got amazing results using the same method I used to make the doughs posted earlier. Maybe freeform is not for me?

yana's picture
yana

this looks so good, the difference with the previous is amazing aesthetic-wise, I'm showing this thread to anyone who asks "why dutch oven?" :D