The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Big Holes

lisah's picture
lisah

Big Holes

Hi Everyone,

I've been baking bread for 20 years and I've yet to achieve what some of you seem to have done so well.  I can't seem to find a formula that will result in a very open crumb (i.e. big holes) and also a very nice brown artisan crust.

I have all the tools, and a La Cloche too if needed.  I have a stone in my oven.  I have a Kitchenaid mixer and dough hook.  I have a good old starter in my fridge.  I have King Arthur flour (several types) and instant yeast.  I also have many of the major bread cookbooks, but I don't know which of the formulas will yield what I'm after.  My water is well water and from what I can tell, is very good for baking and it tastes very good too.

Can anyone tell me how to make a nice artisan loaf in my home oven that will have big holes, a nice flavor, and a nice artisan crust?

Thanks so much.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, lisah.

To make a bread with an open crumb, you need to make a "high-hydration" dough. The weight of the water needs to be between 70% and 85% of the weight of the flour. Now, some breads have even higher hydration, but we won't go there yet, assuming you have not worked with "wet" doughs before. But, in general, the higher the hydration, the more open the crumb.

If you use whole grains or flours with higher protein, they absorb more water resulting in a drier dough, so the 70-80% hydration would need to be increased to get the same openness.

Second, you need to have a complete bulk fermentation. Cutting it short, will not give the yeast enough time to make the CO2 necessary to make the holes you want.

Third, you need to handle the dough gently so you don't squash the bubbles too much. This is important when you divide the dough and form the loaves.

Forth, all the maneuvers that improve oven spring will also result in bigger holes. This is a big topic in its own right which has been discussed a lot.

If you have never made a bread with a really nice open crumb, I would suggest starting with one that is not too demanding and makes outstanding bread. I have in mind "Nury's Light Rye." The formula is in Daniel Leader's book, "Local Breads," but can also be found in this TFL entry:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/5500/pierre-nury’s-rustic-light-rye-leader

Now, this is a sourdough bread. So, if you have not made sourdough breads before, that will require some time, effort and learning up front. But most, if not all, of the breads you will see on TFL that have the kind of crumb you want are sourdoughs. You can achieve this with other methods using pre-fermented doughs such as pâte fermentés or bigas, but, in my opinion, sourdough is worth the effort.

If you have some bread cookbooks, we might be able to suggest other specific recipes you already have. Look for formulas for ciabatta, rustic bread, or pugliese. These are popular breads that have an open crumb.

I hope this helps.


David

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Lisah, look in search for Susan's sourdough loaf, the one baked under a stainless steel bowl. All it takes is 3/4cup starter, 3/4c water, 2tspn salt, 2 tspn oil and 2 1/2c bread flour (I like King Arthur.) Very basic and it makes lovely bread - ask Marni! Good luck, A.

lisah's picture
lisah

Hi A,

Thanks so much.  I will try the formula you posted.  I have a nice starter in the fridge that I use all the time.  I'll let you know how it goes.

 Lisa

lisah's picture
lisah

Hi David,

Thanks so much.  I plan on baking this week and will use your advice.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Lisa

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Lisa,

First off, I second all the suggestions by dmsnyder.

I would only add, from my own experience, that retarding the proof of sourdough, i.e. letting it rise, after shaping, in the refrigerator helps in getting a nice open crumb. I find this to be the case even when the hydration is under 70%, say at 67%. The first time one does it, it seems kooky and even scary. Will the loaves rise? But they do, and they hold their shape after a night's worth of chillin'.

Also, good steaming can make a big difference. There are a lot of posts on TFL about steaming, and I suggest you dig in here and read about the subject. I am finding that keeping the tops of the loaves moist, with steam if possible (I have been using one of those "steam cleaners"), has a lot to do with good oven spring and thus with allowing the CO2 to expand in the oven and render nice big holes.

Good luck!

Soundman (David)

lisah's picture
lisah

Hi David,

What great ideas.  Thank you soooo much.  I never thought of a steamer before.  I have 2 different kinds at home.  I will definately try that!  As for overnight proofing...  Should I shape before I put it in the fridge?  When I take it out of the fridge, how long should I wait before I bake it?

Thanks again.  I'm not a novice at baking bread.  I've baked many a beautiful and tasty loaf.  But I have never been able to master the art of "big holes".  You know, the kind you see in San Francisco sourdough or excellent Ciabatta at a fine Italian restaurant.  That will be the highlight of my bread making if I can achieve this.

I'm very good at enriched doughs and pizza, so if you all need any advice there, just let me know.  I also have lots of bread baking paraphenalia and sources for ingredients, so let me know if I can return the favor of you all giving me your sage advice.

Lisa

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Great questions, Lisa. And don't worry, others will happily pick your brain for good ideas on anything you can shed light on.

So, no, you don't seem a novice to me at all. I too baked a lot of pretty tasty loaves before getting advice and tips and technical suggestions from the ace bakers who toil around the hearth of TFL. The all out artisanal bread approach can become addictive, however, so forewarned is forearmed.

One of the surprisingly helpful techniques I discovered prior to TFL is retarding the proof when baking sourdough. (I don't know how the technique would work on yeasted bread, it might make fantastic loaves!) The idea is that slowing the final rise, AFTER shaping, allows the yeast to cool down and the bacteria to "catch up." In short it's mostly about building flavor. Now others, Janedo for example, favor retarding the bulk fermentation. I promise to try that one day soon, but I haven't done it and can only say that Jane produces awesome loaves. Her blog is full of wonderful recipes and pictures, and is now bi-lingual!

http://aulevain.canalblog.com/

Back from commercial, to retarded proofing. I had always thought that when you take your loaves out of the fridge, you should wait and let them come to room temperature. I have done that and it works fine. But reading Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread book suggested that baking the loaves fairly soon out of the fridge not only works, but is a good idea. My last sourdough bake I followed this and was very pleasantly surprised by the results. I posted about that here (shameless self-promotion):

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/8445/never-give-sourdough

The discussion on that post focused more on the long autolyse than on the baking of loaves cool-from-the-fridge. Two things I liked about the latter: 1) the cool dough held its shape beautifully through scoring and into the oven; 2) it allowed for a longer period before the yeast got killed (140 dF). I had more time to steam and that gave me a lovely late oven spring.

Steam cleaner: If you already have one (two!) I think you will find it can be a real help, used properly. If you have an attachment that provides lots of holes for the steam to come out, and therefore significant coverage, I would use that. You want as much steam as your device will put out in the shortest amount of time, because you don't want the oven temperature to cool down any more than necessary.

Most books I have read suggest the steam needs to happen very early, and I'm sure that works in professional ovens. I have been finding, somewhat to the contrary, that in my humble home oven steam works as long as the top crust hasn't taken on color. That usually means I stop the steam by the 10-minute mark or even sooner, but with cool-retarded dough, it might go even a bit longer.

I look forward to seeing you post soon about your adventures, and showing some photos if possible. Great to have you on TFL!

Soundman (David)

davec's picture
davec

Lisa,

Your post really inspired a fascinating discussion!  I only hope you are still reading these posts, since I haven't seen a comment from you in a while.

 I am coming to  this whole subject from a completely different angle than either you or any of the expert bakers who have responded to you, so my recommendation is completely different:  try a loaf of the New York Times no-knead bread, and modify your techniques from there.  An excellent video and full recipe can be found at:

http://www.breadtopia.com/basic-no-knead-method/

Learning about this approach is what got me interested in baking a little over a year ago.  The article I read claimed this would produce a crusty, chewy, tasty bread with the classic big holes that I wanted, and that you are looking for. It did.  Unlike the people who have responded to you here, I had no idea bread like that could be made at home.  I was blown away, and have been baking and enjoying it for more than a year now.

 The technique uses a wet dough, a very long ferment, absolutely no kneading, and a single folding.  Baking in a Dutch oven provides the steam for the good crust.

 What this approach did for me was to inspire confidence.  I began to experiment with different flour mixes, fermentation times, temperatures, etc.  When I got interested in sourdough, I made my own starter, then began to adapt my recipes to sourdough.  I soon began researching approaches on the internet, which is how I eventually found this site.

My point, though, is that, as a complete novice to baking, I have been successful in producing great, chewy, open-crumb breads, and almost all my experiments have been winners.  If you, as an experienced baker, try this simplified, no-brainer approach, I'm certain you will immediately figure out which techniques to adapt to your other recipes.

 Dave

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I think. I've been on a holy run lately and I've broken all the no nos. I've used instant yeast, dry yeast, and sourdough. I've been brutal to my dough to the point of using a rolling pin. I've done it with 65% hydration all the way to 87%. And Still come out with bubbles, lots of them. The last sandwiches were embarrassing, I had to stuff the holes with cheese and little tuffs of bread and still had mayonaise spots to wash out of shirts.

I think the secret is in the mixing. I'm a lazy mixer, and I've been mixing by hand. The less I mix the more holes I have. I suggest if you want to develop holes, mix less. Easy enough.

Just mix everything together to a shaggy dough and let it sit 30 to 60 minutes covered. Come back and knead just enough to even out lumps and shape into a ball, about 1 minute. Smear lightly with your favorite healthy oil and let it rise covered refrigerated or not (I would give a sourdough about 4 hours counter time before chilling.) Whatever happens next doesn't seem to matter, I've punched it, dropped it and even rolled it out flat and rolled it up again. I've even doubled a recipe, kneaded it lightly again and proofed it again.

Then I fold the dough a few times with rests in between to allow dough to relax and gasses to form. There are always lots of bubbles. Eventually shape into a loaf and let it rise before baking. Don't forget to slash and bake with added steam. My last loaf was the 1-2-3 method and steamed under a stainless bowl the first 15 minutes at 250°c.  Gives a fantastic crust!

Mini O

Soundman's picture
Soundman

MiniOven,

Excellent post! I love the simplicity of it, and that it gets us away from too much mixing. It seems you can build in enough gluten by folding.

And you say the hydration didn't really affect the holiness?

About the stainless bowl: what could I use that would allow me to cover two decent sized boules at the same time? This cloche idea is very intriguing, but I don't want to have to bake my loaves in sequence.

Thanks for the research and the tips!

Soundman (David)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Soundman (David).

The solution is in season!

As Marni suggests, a disposible aluminum foil roasting pan, made for roasting .... Oh, say, a turkey works wonderfully well. I found they allow me to bake two batards, side by side, with their long axes parallel to the long axis of the roaster. I would think 2 500 gm boules could fit as well.

The trick is to find a roasting pan that's deep enough. The usual 2.5 to 3 inches doesn't quite do it. The disposable pans I found are about 4 inches deep. Maybe 4.5 inches.


David

Marni's picture
Marni

How nice to get what you want for less effort!  I'll have to give it a try - thanks.

David, Another poster here (MaryfromHammondsport?)  has used a very large roasting pan to cover two loaves.  The oval shape must be the secret, one boule at each end.

Marni

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Marni and David,

Thanks for the great suggestions! I believe we have a turkey roaster that might fit the boules, so to speak. Since it has to come out of mothballs soon anyway, I'll go hunt it down and see if it'll be deep enough, either top or bottom.

Soundman (David)

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Nice Post Mini-O,

I am wondering whether you (or anyone) has any theories as to why the ragged, neglected to hydrate dough method produces larger bubbles.  I haven't tried the method yet but feel that your simply stated method may well have wide ranging implications.  David's thought on hydration is also something that's worth considering (i.e. wetter dough => bigger bubbles). 

I have a build coming up and am thinking about having a go with the raggedy, neglected to hydrate, punched out and unduly mangled dough method...,

Wild-Yeast 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Wild-Yeast,

Mini's idea of less beating up of the dough makes sense to me. But the autolyse should hydrate all the flour just fine. I do find that the conventional wisdom about wetter doughs make for more holes is true in general. The shape makes a difference too, I think. A really wet dough divided into more and smaller pieces, shaped with lots of crust area, will get more holes than 1 large miche-style loaf, or so I think at this point.

The last bread I baked (Tuesday) was 75% hydration, and a la Janedo and dmsnyder I mixed it by hand only, in the bowl. (I kept a bowl of water nearby and dunked my hand into it so as not to get stuck to the dough.) I barely shaped it as well, though I should have divided it into 2 loaves. It came out very airy and holey. That's truly minimal mixing: zero! (This technique shows up in Hamelman in a recipe I think he calls No Knead French Bread, or something like that.)

Good luck with your mangling!

Soundman (David)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Mini 0's discovered secret of wholey crumbs is well-discussed and illustrated in Suas' "Advanced Bread and Pastry" in the chapter on mixing.

Suas is discussing machine mixing only, but the principle holds: Intensive mixing (high speed for a long time)results in highly organized gluten. This means the gluten strands are lined up. The result is a very even crumb texture with small holes, evenly distributed.

Mixing for a shorter time at slower speed results in more chaotic gluten and a crumb with holes of many different sizes unevenly distributed.

The trick is to develop sufficient gluten strength to form the walls that hold the CO2 and allow formation of a good loaf structure for good oven spring and a pleasing shape.

I think the following combination of methods results in good gluten formation without too well-organized gluten:
1. Autolyse
2. A long primary fermentation with several stretch and fold episodes.

I think this is consistant with what Mini was saying. I just don't want anyone to forget that good gluten development is really important, but it is not the same as gluten organization. Big holes require good gluten development _and_ "poor" gluten organization.

At least, that's my understanding.


David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Mini O

Pablo's picture
Pablo

This is consistent with my current experimentations.  I fell in love with the slap and fold technique and have been doing 15 minutes of same as a general rule with my baguettes.  The resultant loaves do have some big holes, but the whole general structure of the bread is more... uniform, close, civilized... than when I was just doing some stretch and folds rather than the prolonged kneading technique.  I'm now drifting back to the stretch and fold technique and away from the slap and fold.  I also find it interesting that the "slap the heck out of it after every fold" technique for shaping still results in good sized holes as compared to the "be gentle and don't disturb the bubbles" technique of shaping.  So much to play with!  I love bread baking!

PS  I was gone two weeks and totally lost my touch while I was away, along with my starter going south on me.  I'm getting a starter going again (many jars and experiments later :-) and I'm getting my stroke down again for the bread.  It was awful to not have any naturally fermented loaves there for awhile.

:-Paul

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Interesting discussion but isn't quite what was observed from the experiment completed last night.

A regular build was accomplished by mixing the water, starter, salt and flour for 1 minute.  The rough dough was then allowed to hydrolize for 30 minutes.  It was then machine kneaded with a dough hook for 8 minutes and finished by hand kneading for 2 minutes more.  The dough was then retarded under refrigeration for 24 hours.

The dough was then pulled from refrigeration and allowed to come to room temperature.  Loaves were formed, placed on parchment and placed in a proofing box at 80 dF for 6 hours.

The dough was then slashed and placed on the baking stone in a 450 dF convection oven.  Because of the loafs size an aluminum tent was jury rigged to cover the loaf for the first 17 minutes in the oven after which it was removed as was the parchment.  The bread finished baking for 23 minutes.  It was then placed on a cooling rack to cool overnight.

The crumb demonstrated a more varied bubble size (no really big ones though) but the most notable difference was in the texture.  The crumb was much more chewy with the taste hinting of cream both in taste and texture.  I'd say this is, overall, a great improvement and will now be worked into my build process.

One interesting point is that the dough became very wet during the proofing.  A slightly dryer dough will  be tried next time.  I suspect that the hydration period is somehow responsible for this but I am not totally sure of the exact mechanism.

Wild-Yeast

Soundman's picture
Soundman

David,

Thanks for the clear explanation and research from Suas. What you say makes sense and also confirms what I, and I suspect others, have been seeing in the bread we are baking.

I have gotten gradually weaned from my KA mixer and rely much more on my kneading abilities. I stop when the gluten feels substantial enough to form a good loaf and resists my efforts (way, way short of 600 folds!). The hole structure I am getting is consistently, as you put it, chaotic. But the holes are large in general, especially considering the amount of whole grain flour I'm using, and as compared to what I was getting when I relied more on machine-mixing.

As an example, some pictures follow from my weekend's efforts. The recipe is a variation on Flo Makanai's 1.2.3 Sourdough Bread formula. This variation is simply the use of 25% organic white whole wheat flour and 5% stone-ground organic whole rye. As I noted above, I think the largish-boule shape affects the size of the holes (smaller) to a degree. In other words, baguettes would show somewhat larger holes. Nonetheless, the bread is wholly holey.

The machine mixing took 1 minute pre-autolyse, and 2 minutes with the dough hook after adding the levain and salt. I kneaded for another 5 minutes, at which point the dough was resisting my efforts so I put it in a bowl to ferment. I folded it 3 times at intervals of 90 minutes during the 6 hour bulk fermentation. Then 1 hour of proofing and into the fridge for 20 hours. It got 1.25 hours at room temp before loading into the oven, with steam, at 475 dF. I turned the oven down to 460 at the 10-minute mark and then down to a final temp of 440 5 minutes later, at which point I turned the loaves and swapped their places in the oven. Final interior temp was 207 dF.

Maybe more important is that the flavor is delicious and bold, which may owe to a long (6-hour) bulk fermentation, or the overnight retarded proofing, the use of the whole grain flour, or, finally, the mixing process... or of course all of the above.

30% whole grain 1.2.3 bread

30% whole grain 1.2.3 bread

Two crumb pix:

30% whole 1.2.3 Crumb A

30% whole 1.2.3 Crumb A

That's from toward the end of the loaf, but is characteristic of the hole-chaos.

Another from the middle:

30% whole 1.2.3 Crumb B

30% whole 1.2.3 Crumb B

This second picture (I was a bit unsteady) doesn't show large holes, but the crumb is anything but tight. Close examination reveals lots of sizable holes that don't go all the way through the slice.

The hydration of the bread is 67%, which helps promote an airy crumb, in spite of the 30% whole grain. One last point: this recipe, with simple variations, and this mixing/kneading technique, is yielding very consistent results.

Soundman (David)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Soundman (David).

That looks really good.

I would just point out that your flour mix would absorb more water than a dough made with 100% bread flour, for example. If you want even bigger holes, you could boost the hydration even more. The "cost" would probably be that your loaf would spread more and have a lower profile.


David

Soundman's picture
Soundman

I agree, David. I admit that I lean a little toward loaf height in that particular tug-of-war. The sight of the loaf reaching for the heights in the oven is a psychological lift, so to speak.

The precise final hydration of the dough I leave to how it acts in the mixer just before removal for slapping, folding and kneading. This dough was both strong enough, and extensible enough, that it didn't seem to need more water. Admittedly, with so little mixer time it's not always easy to tell about gluten development, but the dough does let you know how it will handle. And I had thought of perhaps another 10-20 grams to offset the whole wheat and rye's tendency to act like a sponge, but before removing it from the mixer it already felt "wet enough."

A question for those who are participating in this thread:

Are "big holes" primarily an esthetic/visual or flavor/texture consideration for you? I like the way they look, but (once the oohing and aahing are over) what I really care about is  the taste and "mouth-feel" of an airy crumb.

Soundman (David)

TeaIV's picture
TeaIV

I think it has more to do with the mixing. I very rarely knead as much as whatever recipe I'm using calls for, but I'm a very avid mixer :). I usually have an extremely hard time getting big holes. if you look at something like this: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/pizza


it requires no kneading, but a good amount of mixing, with similar results, but it probably depends on something else as well.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

David,

Nice looking boule.  The crumb fermtation bubbles are slightly larger than those I obtained but  are more or less consistent.  Is the crumb chewy?  

Allowing the flour to hydrate before kneading seems to affect the protein development and the chewiness of the eventual bread.  Reducing the kneading time seems to affect the randomness of the bubble size....,

Wild-Yeast

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Thanks, Wild-Yeast,

The crumb of this bread is quite soft, though the crust gives a good crunch and has a nice chew.

I know the autolyse period helps build the gluten, so it may also add to the chewiness of the crumb. (This bread surprised me a little, as the crumb is softer than other recent breads.) I think protein-level in the flour has a lot to do with whether the crumb comes out chewy. Also, I wonder if a longer fermentation time can affect chewiness? If so, in which direction?

Soundman (David)

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

David,

I believe I am guilty of undercooking resulting in a crumb that is not totally coagulated and firm.  This last loaf was let go several minutes longer than the standard time and looking back I believe that this was responsible for a firmer set.

Fermentation time does have an effect.  I've observed that hootch production tends to make the dough exhibit a higher hydration content converting a tacky dough to a sticky one. It also makes the dough slump.  It could be that kneading the dough and adding flour after a first ferment firms up the dough readying it for final proofing.  I foggily remember that this is somewhat near the recipe used in North Beach for SFSD bread.  Have to go back to the archives to dig it out...,

Wild-Yeast

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Wild-Yeast,

One of the most important things I have learned, that seems most at odds with what one finds in books, is how much longer sourdough dough needs to ferment than does yeasted dough. Even the books I trust the most, Hamelman for example, don't ask for more than 3 hours bulk fermentation of sourdough. Given the significantly smaller number of yeast in a sourdough dough than your average yeasted dough, it doesn't surprise me that my sourdough responds so much better now that I let it ferment for longer than the books suggest.

I'm using Bill Wraith's enormously helpful table concerning the time it takes for various-strength inoculations to double, for a starter or a salted dough. The table tells me that, for example, a dough that has been built with a starter whose flour component makes up 15% of the total flour in the dough, if fermented at 68 dF (my kitchen in the winter), needs between 6.56 and 9.57 hours in order to double. Well, Hamelman makes allowances for temperature, but nothing I've read would suggest that in a relatively normal temperature winter kitchen you need to at least double and maybe triple the bulk fermentation time! (Even at 75 dF the table says this dough would need to ferment for almost 5 hours.)

And it works. In my (limited) experience, it improves flavor, oven spring, crust, and crumb.

Do I understand you proofed your loaves for 6 hours? Can you explain why?

Thanks,

Soundman (David)

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

I proof for 6 hours at 80 dF.  The dough is still fairly cold from refrigeration.  A reduced period of ~4 hours should suffice for room temperature dough. I notice that the bulk doubling times in most of bread books tend to be fairly short of what that which I experience.  This also may be a result of the levaning capability of my starter.  The bread it produces is too good to abandon in hopes for a more energetic one.  Note that the method I use goes from kneading to refrigeration without a fermentation period. I am thinking about letting it ferment for an hour or two before punching down and placing under refrigeration.  This should shorten the proofing period to around 4 hours or so..,

Wild-Yeast 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Wild-Yeast,

It always amazes me how many ways there are to vary the basic bread-baking procedure to derive different flavors from flour. What temperature do you retard the dough at? Your 6-hour proof sounds like it might be providing some of the functionality (flavor development) of a typical bulk fermentation, unless the retarding period and temperature allow full fermentation of the dough.

I have only recently tried the retarded bulk fermentation technique. I found I got a huge flavor difference when I went from 1 hour bulk fermentation to 2.5 hours before retarding. We turned down the temperature on the fridge and maybe it stopped the fermentation in its tracks?

I'm familiar with not-so-energetic starters. My starter was taking 14 or more hours to double for a while, but always leavened the bread just fine. It's now happy on a 12 hour refreshment regimen. But to get a nice tangy taste I split my starter in two and feed one, the rye starter, less frequently than the AP starter. It has helped give the bread back its lightly sour flavor.

It's all food for thought.

Soundman (David)

TroutEhCuss's picture
TroutEhCuss

There are several videos of people handling their dough to show how careful they treat the dough to keep the large air holes.  Personally, I haven't worried about the size of air holes, but rather taste.  Although, the  size of the crumb is a skill to be improved by most bakers from what I can tell from the various websites.

tjkoko's picture
tjkoko

I've posted this statement elsewhere at this forum: 


To avoid producing a dough that is both dry and tough, I barely mix all ingredients into the poolish.  Knead for 10 seconds and allow to rest (or autolyse as some may label it) for 45 minutes.  Then the dough undergoes French folding followed by a 45 minute rest.  Then I repeat the French fold and rest twice more.  Afterwards the dough receives its final shape and proof  before slipping into the oven of glorious darkness.


This method gives me both a great oven spring and large holes.