The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why is my loaf “pinched”?

Skelley's picture
Skelley

Why is my loaf “pinched”?

Hello bakers,

I recently purchased a proofing basket and the 4 loaves that I’ve made using the proofing basket come out with “pinched“ sides when I bake them. I’ve attached photos. I had previously been using a towel lined plastic strainer for my final proofing, and never had this happen! Any thoughts on why? 

 

Skelley's picture
Skelley
Skelley's picture
Skelley
3 Olives's picture
3 Olives

I’ve had that happen when I load them in the Dutch Oven with parchment paper. 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

did anything else change, such as how you score or bake?  shape of new banneton vs the strainer?

First thought: The porous banneton will dry out the "skin" more than the hard sided strainer.  I imagine the strainer is porous only on the bottom, but the banneton is porous all around.  so with the strainer, the side skin was softer and stretched. Now it can't stretch as much.

I don't see this shape as a defect -- looks perfectly fine to me.  But if more "symmetry" is your goal, scoring in two directions like a plus-sign or pound-sign may help.

Skelley's picture
Skelley

Thank you. What’s interesting is NOTHING else has changed aside from the proofing vessel. Both the basket and strainer are round: and I think the spaghetti strainer is maybe more porous. Still using parchment paper to transfer and I’ve been scoring the same way. 

Benito's picture
Benito

It’s related to the single score.  The single score is acting like a hinge that the bread is springing up through, the outer skin of the dough was firm so the bread hinged open leaving the small dimples at the sides.  You can see the dimples on both sides where the score starts and stops.

 

Skelley's picture
Skelley

What’s interesting is I would also single score when I proofed in the towel lined strainer. I would sometimes score off center and add some decorative scoring, but always a single score. The strainer is just the slightest bit bigger... could the proofing basket be too small? Although now that I say that, I never got a huge rise out of the strainer-proofed loaves, so maybe the strainer was too big?! 

Benito's picture
Benito

Bannetons are designed to dry out the skin as they proof so the skin forms and keeps its shape more than a wetter skin from your previous set up. If you do a cross score you’ll see you boule become more square shaped. 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

The strainer has holes, but an actual banneton "wicks away" more moisture due to what it's made of, such as a soft cane.

Based on the flour pattern on the top, I assume you still used a liner or towel on the banneton, correct?

Skelley's picture
Skelley

Yes, I used the liner! Thanks to both of you. I guess I was hoping for more of that picture perfect round, high domed loaf. May have to adjust my expectations. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Just score a different pattern on top.  If you were to score a # shape on top, it would open up keeping more of its round shape.

Skelley's picture
Skelley

Thank you very much, Benito. 

Skelley's picture
Skelley

So I did a cross score and still have some pinching. Also the loaf has a square-ish shape.  The loaves proofed in the proofing basket are also coming out much smaller than those proofed in the towel lined strainer.

How do you all achieve that round, domed loaf?

Benito's picture
Benito

A box slash centered on top of the dough will give you a more round boule compared with a cross slash in my experience.  Or a circular slash or even a spiral slash should give you a rounder result when baked.