The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A question about proofing and scoring

S7ewie's picture
S7ewie

A question about proofing and scoring

When I ask this, I'm thinking of the people who spend 10-20 minutes scoring patterns into their dough before baking. But it applies to anyone who makes bread.

How does your dough sit so still on the counter? Lately I've been experimenting with methods to try and produce a more open crumb. Many things seem to point towards higher hydration and very gentle shaping. However, for me at least, the combination of these two things leads to quite a slack dough, and when I tip it onto the counter, it tends to spread out instead of sitting there nicely in the shape of the banneton.

I feel like the only way to control this is to reduce the hydration or shape tighter but that contradicts what I know about getting that elusive open crumb. Those who carve patterns often have a very good oven spring and a nice open crumb so there's something I'm not being told here haha.

Can anyone enlighten me?

dbazuin's picture
dbazuin

A small trick is put the dough and banneton 15 minutes in the freezer. 

S7ewie's picture
S7ewie

Thanks, I'll give this a try :)

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

...or sticking the dough/banneton in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours (if not longer).  Proofing will slow to a crawl and if you've bulk fermented correctly, this short cold proof won't likely lead to any over-proofing but will help your dough retain its shape, will help your ability to score as well as overall oven spring!

S7ewie's picture
S7ewie

Thanks, I've yet to do any fridge proofing, I'm too impatient haha. I'll adjust my schedule and give it a try next time :)

Benito's picture
Benito

Cold dough is much much easier to score.  As you can imagine it is firmer than warm and as the others have said, will hold its shape better.  I do wonder if the people doing those complex time consuming scoring patterns freeze their dough for 10-15 mins before flipping them out of the banneton to score.  I think if I were to try something complex I would give it a freeze first as well as do the cold retard.

Benny

S7ewie's picture
S7ewie

I had a chat with someone yesterday who's a bit of a scoring artist. Turns out their crumbs aren't quite as open as I thought. She said she works her dough quite hard which results in a denser crumb. But she's deliberately trying to avoid a big oven burst as it can ruin her designs. 

Benito's picture
Benito

That makes a lot of sense, you seldom ever see those fancy scored breads cut open to show off their crumb.

S7ewie's picture
S7ewie

No exactly. She sells most of hers. They show off the patterns but not the crumb so it was quite surprising to see to be honest. Starting to think a looser more relaxed dough is quite normal if you're aiming for an open crumb.