The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lack of oven-spring ...

wquiles's picture
wquiles

Lack of oven-spring ...

Hi,

I have been baking sourdough bread at home for a couple of years, but everything was "by eye", without measuring "exactly" anything.  But I was never quite satisfied with the flavor - too dull.  So I found this site, created a new starter following the pineapple juice method, and this time around I bought a kitchen scale and I am trying to be more consistent.  While developing the new starter, I noticed inconsistencies temperature-wise, so I decided to make my DIY proofing box as well (right now works between 76-78F).

This is my current method:

- Thu afternoon, take starter (5oz) from fridge

- Mix 1oz of starter, with 2oz water and 2oz flour - put in proofing box

- Mix 2oz of starter, with 4oz water and 4oz flour (this is the levain) - put in proofing box

 - Friday mid morning, put starter back in fridge (at least 12h have passed)

- Around mid-day Friday, mix 17.5oz of flour with 8.8oz of water - let sit for 30min 

- Mix flour with water with levian.  At this point the mix is way too messy, and too wet for me to mix, so I add about 2oz of flour to get a more manageable consistency.  I add the .35oz of salt at this point.

- Fold and let rest 30min 5-6 times each

- let rest until early evening for bulk fermentation 6-8h (in the proofing box)

- cut in two, shape, put in banneton, covered in air-tight plastic bag and store in fridge - it is about 7-8pm now

- Sat morning, about 9am, bring oven and dutch oven to 425F

- Once ready, transfer bread into dutch oven (on wax paper), put in oven, bake with lid on for 25min.  Note that the bottom of my dutch oven has a small piece of wire frame so that the bottom of the loaf floats above the bare bottom of the dutch oven - I started doing this years ago to prevent the bottom from burning too much for my taste.

- Remove lid, bake for another 25min

- Remove bread, place on cooling pad, wait at least 30-45min before cutting/eating

  

 

The crust is perfect, and tastes glorious.  The insides I feel need more work.  Not enough oven-spring, and although fully cooked, the insides "feel" almost two "wet" (I know, subjective), but not quite as firm as "I" feel it should be:

 

Advice/tips?

Will

dbazuin's picture
dbazuin

let it cool longer say 2ours then the inside should be less wet. 
shen colling down it is still cooking and cut it to early. 

 For beter ovenspring bulk rise shorter. 

Also a stronger starter gives a beter ovenspring.
I did take advice from Sune from foodgeek.dk and buildup my feeding scheme for the starter to 1:5:5 to make it stronger. It matues fulle in 12 ours now with 5 gram starter and 25 gram flour and 25 gram water. It almost triple in heigth. 

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Hi Will, I would agree that at 76-78ºF bulk fermentation for 6-8 hours may be a bit too long so your dough may be over proofed by then, I would shorten this.  Also, I’d preheat that oven much hotter, 500-475ºF and then when you put your dough into the dutch oven, drop the temperature to 450ºF.  You will get better oven spring with higher temperatures for the start of our bake.  After 18-20 mins take the lid off and drop the temperature if you like to have a less dark crust, I usually drop to 425ºF or so. You should also get a drier crumb this way.

Benny

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

...with the other comments about your bulk being too long and your oven not hot enough, but also have one other observation.  I wonder about the loaf not coming into direct contact with the bottom surface of a hot DO or baking stone.  I use parchment paper and some polenta grits and never have any problems with the bottom of the loaf burning.  I think the direct heat into the bottom of the loaf, when it is placed directly onto the surface of a DO or baking stone, helps with oven rise.  Also, different recipes and hydration levels significantly impact on the airiness of the interior.  Are you making sure the interior of the loaf is reaching to around 210?  You really want to let a loaf cool for at least several hours before cutting as well.

wquiles's picture
wquiles

Awesome - thank you so much for the tips/suggestions.  I bake once a week, so this coming week I will be doing it again, and will leverage this collective advice.  I will of course take photos to share :-)

Will

 

Embrais's picture
Embrais

I have had so many failed breads. I can easily say over the last year or so KILOS of flour have been sacrificed trying to get it right. I prefer to bulk and fold for no more than 4 hours for either high hydration or stiffer doughs. Overproofing during bulk fermenation was something I did constantly. Lately I have been making sure my starter is strong, bulk for 4hrs and fold 3 times. Final proofing is always overnight in the fridge, I just seem to have the best result that way.

I also super heat my dutch oven to 525F for at least 20mins _after_ the oven says it's ready to be sure its nice and hot. For extra steam, lately I have been adding an ice cube under the parchment just before closing up the dutch oven. I get a much nicer crust.

Benito's picture
Benito

That is beautiful.

Benny

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

Would you mind posting your recipe and method?  I think others might be interested in well.

wquiles's picture
wquiles

Well, as you expected, these suggestions have significantly improve my sourdough bread!

I did few things I did differently:

- Instead of the 8 hours bulk proof, I did only 5 hours

- I removed the metal grate on the bottom of the dutch oven - put some flour and still used the parchment paper as always

- oven to 500f (with dutch oven inside) for 30min AFTER temp was reached before starting baking

- lower temp to 450 - bake for 20min

- remove lid - lower temp to 425 - bake for 10min

- lower temp to 400 - bake for additional 10min

(the last two steps were me trying to get the right "color" on the crust - part of the experimentation)

 

This was right after the bulk rise, as I cut into two pieces and started to shape them:

Here right as I was putting into oven:

 

This is how it came out:

 

Just a tad "burned" in the bottom:

 

 

And here is the second loaf (5 cuts instead of 3 cuts used in the first one).  This is right after removing the lid:

 

and the result after baking - a little "lighter":

It also burned a little on the bottom - much like the first one.

 

Here side by side (first load on left, second loaf on right):

 

I checked the internal temp (instant thermometer) for the second load when I removed from oven and it was around 209F.  I am of course waiting at least an hour to cut into the first load (man, it is HARD to wait that long!).  What should be the internal temp of the first loaf to know it is ready to be eaten?

Will

 

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

I usually bake batards because they are so much easier to cut and get slices in the toaster, but it looks like using a 5-slash patten across the boule results in a nice oval, which makes a better shaped slice.  I'm going to give this a try!

wquiles's picture
wquiles

and here is the first loaf after 90min or so.  For the first time "ever" for me, the insides are now fully cooked, like I always hoped them to be:

 

And the taste?  Glorious - already had a ham/cheese/butter sandwitch with it:

 

THANK YOU so much for the advice and guidance!

 

Will

wquiles's picture
wquiles

Now that I am doing only a 4-5h bulk fermentation, the oven spring is awesome!

 

On the right was my first loaf from this morning (yes, slightly burned the edge a little), and on the right, the just-scored second loaf prior to baking:

 

and here is the after baking picture:

 

Close-up on that second loaf:

 

Will

 

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

Looks like gorgeous bread, inside and out!  Kudos!

wquiles's picture
wquiles

Thank you!.  The inside is perfect now that I am following the advice from the group here in this forum:

 

So yummy!

 

Benito's picture
Benito

That looks great, good job.

Benny

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

You use the word "burned" several times.  These loaves are not burned, they are fully cooked.  They look nice and are an example of reducing fermentation, baking at higher temperature, likely for a longer time, and in contact with a hot surface, followed by waiting a sufficiently long time after baking before slicing.   These are all essential elements.  

wquiles's picture
wquiles

Gotcha - thanks for the words of encouragement.  My lovely wife and my kids now "really" look forward every week to Saturday's fresh sourdough bread :-)

Benito's picture
Benito

Definitely not burnt, it is nice to see darker, medium and lighter colour in the crust and your loaves show that from the ears to the area of the bloom.  Excellent bakes.