The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough Bread - Oven Spring problem?

PabloKamien's picture

Sourdough Bread - Oven Spring problem?


First time posting here!

I've been doing sourdough breads for about 6 months.

As for the photo attached, I don't think the bread got much oven spring. the top part of the bread, the holes are much smaller then the ones on the bottom. Usually my breads are like this.

I'm trying to figure it out what happens, but so far with no success.

My recipe is:

150g 100% starter

300g water

500g bread flour

10g salt

My procedure is:

Sometimes I let the mix autolyse for 30min and others about 1h30/2h, just the water and flour.

Add the sourdough starter to the mix, on a Stand mixer, and mix until incorporated.

Add the salt

Sometimes I knead on the hand, others on the mixer.

Bulk fermentation for about 4h, doing the folds at about 30/40min apart.

After that, shaping and putting on the proofing basket, then refrigerator for 8h to 12h.

For the oven, I preheat my dutch oven at 250ºC/482F, for 45 min. I've tried different ways, removing the bread immediately from the fridge to the oven, or letting get to room temp for 30 min or even 1h.

When I get the loaf inside the dutch oven, I put some water on the bottom of the pan (not on the parchment paper), about 10ml.

I cook it 25 min lid on, 25 min lid off.  

What can I do to get bigger holes on top of the bread?




suminandi's picture

first of all, it is pretty good looking bread. However, the crust looks pretty thick which can be a sign of inadequate gluten development. If the matrix of bubbles have thick walls, they expand less. Did the dough pass the windowpane test before you shaped it? 

If it did windowpane, perhaps leave the proofing basket out 30 min before refrigeration. Perhaps your fridge is very cold and the loaf is underproofed (slightly). 



wheatbeat's picture

These things are always hard to trouble-shoot because there are a lot of variables. You may be under-proofed. I would let the loaves stay out at room temperature for 2 hours (out of the fridge) or so before baking to see if it makes a difference. Also, you are pouring water into your dutch oven or into a pan that sits at the bottom of the oven? Hopefully not in the dutch oven. Lastly, you may not be developing your dough properly with your folds. You don't need strong development up-front, especially when doing an autolyse, but by the time your bulk is done, your dough should be well-developed. 

BakersRoom's picture

For one, spray or brush the bread with water instead of putting water in the Dutch oven. It just works better and  the crust is crisper. But that's not the problem. 

With a stiffer dough, you need to be careful with the shape and pre shape, not mashing the dough at all but barely balling and cinching it.

I used to get bread exactly like that until I started treating the dough more gently. You could also up the hydration.  High hydration dough is more forgiving of rough handling.

calneto's picture

 Your loaf seems perfectly fine for 60% hydration.  Apart from increasing the water amount, one thing you could do is wait longer between folds. Trevor Wilson has a video about how to get larger alveoli at 65% hydration.  I think he performs  a total of three folds, some spaced as much as 2 hours between them. You could try that. Check the video. I think it is on youtube.

BakersRoom's picture

In his ebook, he only recommends one fold, and says you don't even have to do that. 

jey13's picture

Here's a video of Trevor's 70% hydration sourdough. Under what circumstances can the folds be ignored? 

BakersRoom's picture


70 needs some folds, but not 6, in my experience. I think 4 is okay. Maurizio Leo does a few early folds, then none for the last half of bulk. It's a better technique for openness if you don't have perfect "bread hands"

calneto's picture

do you mean Open Crum Mastery? I have the book and don't recall this advice. What I remember him saying is, in his basic video, not to obsess with the number of folds, that it will not affect the result by that much. I also remember that in some videos, where he performs a lot of folds, he also uses very little levain (15% or even less).

Here is a link to the video I was talking about:

One method I have seen used frequently is Kristen's (fullproofbaking): 1 strong fold, 1 lamination, 3 coil folds. I have been doing 5 coil folds instead of that. If you give too many folds, especially 'hard' ones, your crumb will likely tighten up and not be that open. I like coil folds. They have delivered much more open crumbs than regular folds for me at least.

BakersRoom's picture

Read it again. In the section on the stiff loaf he says he gives it barely a fold, and that you could go without it if you want. 

I've seen all the videos, but don't take my word for it, try it yourself. Stiff dough has enough structure not to need stretch and folds in my experience. The only reason I give it one is to check the level of proof.