The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help! Giant air bubble

Shattoura's picture

Help! Giant air bubble

Hi all, can you offer some advice? 

I made two loaves with double this recipe: I used organic unbleached flour instead of the bread flour. 


This is my first time baking sourdough. I let the bread autolyse, added rye starter that appeared active, did multiple stretch and folds (before dividing and shaping the dough) then ended up with two loaves with a giant air bubble at the bottom and compressed, underbaked bread on top. Where did I go wrong and how to fix it? 

Thank you!



DanAyo's picture

The dough was not fermented enough and/or the starter wasn’t active enough.

Would you be open to baking a very basic sourdough formula to speed the learning process? Although whole grain and/or spelt is very nutritious it does make things more complicated. 

Tell us about your starter.


Bread1965's picture

You'll get there. 

Think about your recipe, it will help you understand what's happened too. You have 245g of flour (22% is whole wheat), hydration is 71%. Your starter at 80g is about 33% - that's a lot. Salt at 8g is about 3% - typical is 2%. With such a high starter amount you probably over-fermented the dough.

It's simple to fix - tweak your recipe. Make the same recipe but use 50g of starter - so about 20%. Use the starter when it's well active and has just doubled to tripled (depending on how active it is). The morning you plan to make the dough, feed your starter with 1:1:1 and keep it in a warm spot of about 75 - 80 degrees (but not warmer) - I'm assuming you were feeding it the day before too.  After you've developed the dough, go through bulk over three hours with stretch and folds until the dough starts to feel puffy.  But let the dough tell you when to pre-shape. If it feels puffy and light after 2 hours, then follow that. If it's slow and you need to go to 4 hours, do that. Read the dough not the clock. Then pre-shape, shape, let it sit out covered for half an hour and put it in the fridge with your basket in a plastic bag and bake first thing the next morning. Try to keep fridge time down to between 12 - 15 hours if you can. Good luck! Let us know.. PS. I'm assuming your kitchen isn't much warmer than low mid 70s. If your kitchen is too warm the dough might develop too fast.

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

I think it is not always as simple as "you did this" without more information.

I can't really tell from your images. But another possibility is scoring or lack of ( I can't really see any) But, rather than offer my own opinion - let me just give you an excerpt from Bread Bakers Apprentice on scoring:

"Often, they protect against trapped gas making tunnels or caverns in bread ("the room where the bakers sleeps")

SourdoughSA's picture

Hi hi...i trust you are well.......i personally think it can be a few things......culture not active enough before use.....try to do a water " test " to see if the culture floats before can also be did S & F.....that you only do at the beginning of the bulk fermenting stage......there have to be a period that the dough needs to rise without S & F.......It can be shaping as well.....and i see the dough at the bottom are very dark and the top very your bottom temp must have been very can be your proofing as well.....try to do the finger " test " before baking.....