The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

long time lurker, first time poster (question)

sketchy's picture

long time lurker, first time poster (question)

Hi, I'm dave, long time lurker, I decided to post a question here to see what I am doing right/wrong :D

I've been baking bread for about a 6 months, I'm using my own sourdough starter, but I am having uneven results with oven spring. I'm not sure if my bread is under proofed, or if is doing exactally what it should be doing, and I'm slashing incorrectly(?). At first, it was surface tension related and the side would rip open, that seems to have been worked out. now I am having problems with overexcited oven spring. I make my slashes, slide the dough in steamy oven, and sometimes it works great, but other times it will crack the bread on the center slash.

the inside comes out fine, but I would like more uniform spring, not just on the center slash. Is this somethign that I should work on chaging, or should I be happy that it wants to expand that much?

kanin's picture

I wish the oven spring on my breads were that overeager... I have a few suggestions:

  • score on a slight diagonal
  • use lots more steam
  • longer proof
How are you doing your final proof? It may have formed too thick of a skin that steam barely affects it anymore.
HogieWan's picture

you need to score lengthwise down the loaf instead of across. 

mrpeabody's picture

Yeah, when I first started baking breads, I scored it exactly as you did.  After lurking around this website for awhile, I quickly learned that I should have been scoring more lengthwise.  I now use more exaggerated (lengthwise) diagonals.

Mr. Peabody

mike721's picture

I would be quite happy with that much spring and not try to reduce it, but I see the problem with that center slash doing all the expanding.

I think I would try a few different patterns, either diagonally ( more like the way a baguette is slashed) or lengthwise as someone else suggested. You might even try a switch to round loaves, scored all around to make a nice symmetrical high loaf. I have had varying results with oval shaped loaves but my round ones almost always work out really well if they get a lot of spring, and yours obviously have plenty!

staff of life's picture
staff of life

If I veer toward anything, it's underproofing.  And my loaves end up looking like yours: split or bursting.  To get a better idea of when a loaf is ready to be baked, make a couple and stagger putting them in the oven.  And pay close attention to what the loaf feels like just before you put it in the oven: when you put your hand on top, how does it feel; how long does it take for the indentation from your finger to fill in, etc.  You'll get the idea very fast!  It worked for me!