The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Diagnosis please - Wonky Ovenspring

trancer's picture

Diagnosis please - Wonky Ovenspring

Hi All,

I'm struggling to get a consistent Ovenspring across my loaves and when I seem to get it right, it's more fortune than design.

I've attached a picture of my most recent loaf.  Good spring on the right side but not the left.  Any thoughts from the Brainstrust?  What should i be looking to improve?  Scoring, Shaping, Bulk?  What might I try?




ciabatta's picture

i'm guessing it has more to do with shaping or scoring.  what does the crumb look like? consistent? large holes anywhere?

the spring and ear look fine.

the part that of the ear that is not opening up looks more attached to whats underneath for whatever reason.


trancer's picture

Thanks for your reply Ciabatta,  I gave the loaf to a friend so I'm not sure on the crumb I'm afraid.  I'll keep plugging away at improving shaping and scoring.

ciabatta's picture

Let's see how your next ones go.  If same, please share setup/process and crumb photo.

trancer's picture

The details for this one was:

  • White Flour (13%) 235g
  • Wholemeal Spelt: 55g
  • Fine Semolina:  35g
  • H2O:  253g
  • Salt: 7.5g
  • Levain:  65g ratio of 9:1 White to Rye

Method (note aside from Autolyse the timings I provide are based on when fermentation started, so Inoculation is T:0

  • Autolyse (this was 2 hours)
  • Inoculation with Rubaud approx 4 mins(T:0)
  • Salt with slap and fold approx 4 mins (T: 00:30)
  • Turn out and bench twist (T: 01:00)
  • Lamination (T: 01:30)
  • Coil Fold (T: 02:00)
  • Coil Fold (T: 02:30)
  • Coil Fold (T: 03:15)
  • Coil Fold (T: 04:00)
  • Pre-shape (T: 05:40)
  • Shape & Bench Rest (T: 06:00)
  • Refrigerate (T:  06:20)

Total fermentation time was 6 hours 20 mins.  The dough had risen a good 30%-40%  The starter had risen about 2.5x and was within 30 mins of peak.  The dough temperature during the fermentation was on average 24 deg C / 75 deg F. 

I pre-shape by turning the dough out on the surface and twisting into a round.  I shaped by flipping that round onto a floured surface, stretching it into almost a square shape, folding the left and right sides into the center and then rolling up into a batard shape.  I dust it with rice flour and pop it into the Banneton.

When scoring I do a quick score like this Trevor Wilson Scoring.  I guess one thing might be that i don't score in a pan, I score the loaf whilst it's sitting on baking paper on my work surface.  Once I've scored i lift the loaf up by the sides of the baking paper which may cause the score to seal a bit as it will compress the sides of the loaf..  I'll take a look into this for the next bake.

I'll post details of next one tomorrow (or the day after depending on when I cut it open)

andykg's picture

does your oven have a fan? do you use a dutch oven or just steam? before i used a cloche my loaf would always be bigger on one side and not rise evenly, its normally due to the oven having hot spots which can be exacerbated by a fan

trancer's picture

My oven does have a fan but I don't use it. I use a Dutch oven, first 20 mins covered @ 250 deg C and then 25 mins uncovered @ 220 deg C.

I preheat the dutch oven in the oven so by the time the bake starts it's super hot.

I'll start keeping a record of whether it's consistently happening on a certain side.  I'll also make sure to put it in the same place every time.

naturaleigh's picture

This looks related to scoring to me...maybe you are not scoring at an even depth all the way down?  Uneven shaping can result in asymmetric loaves as well, but I'm leaning towards scoring based on this photo--looks like you went deeper on the one end.

trancer's picture

I'll have to look into how i'm doing this.  I've baked another loaf this morning (i'll do a separate post when I've got some crumb pics).

I'm now wondering whether it's something to do with the way i put it into the dutch oven.  I'm using a high sided dutch oven.  My method is to turn out the loaf onto baking paper which i've cut so that it has handles on each side.  I then score the loaf and lift the the baking paper (with the loaf on it) by the handles and put it into the dutch oven.  I'm wondering whether the process of lifting the loaf by the sides of the baking paper is causing the score to re-seal, as the process of lifting puts inward pressure on the sides of the loaf.  I have no means to test this in other circumstances right now as i don't have the kit do bake on a stone, and the sides of the dutch oven are too high to score the loaf once it's in the pan (without burning myself that is).

Next bake i'll try and slide the loaf into the pan from a board