The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

tunnels - help, please

Pablo's picture
Pablo

tunnels - help, please

This must be a classic example of something.  I was making mini bâtards, they looked pretty good, considering there was a steaming incident.  But when I cut them open, there's this huge tunnel on the bottom, the bottom crust is burnt and the texture of the rest is too dense and moist.  Any comments/suggestions appreciated. 

tunnel

:-Paul

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Paul.

Yuck!

My guess is that this is a problem with how you formed the loaves. It appears that you trapped a layer of air between two layers of dough. Maybe the expansion of the bubble pressed the rest of the dough making it more dense.

What do you think?


David

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Well, I did 10 loaves, so it seems doubtful to me that it was formed when I created each of the loaves.  I did the same shaping technique that I do for baguettes, except that I didn't roll them out as much, but I did roll them.  So, all told, I doubt that it was a shaping incident.

I did have a steaming incident.  I was so happy with the formed loaves and for the first time they came right off the couche without careful scraping like I usually have to do.  I felt maybe I was really getting close to proper hydration...  That baker kid flipping them off the couche on youtube was inspiring.  Anyway, everything looked great heading for the oven until I opened the oven door and realized I had forgotten to put my pan of rocks in for steam.  After I said a bad word (or two) I sprayed the petit bâtards with a mister, then slid them onto the stone and sprayed the sides, then I sprayed the sides a time or two more in the first two minutes, kind of in panic mode.  Then I thought "what the heck" and threw the water onto the stove bottom and closed the door.  Then the bake was uneventful.  When I moved them after 5 minutes (that's my routine) to a lower shelf, they were somewhat popped, but not too much, they went to the lower rack without the stone and completed baking and rose and looked beautiful.  Although the slashes looked a little weird.  I was basically happy.  After a half an hour or so I cut one to be sure it was OK, since I had a list of folks I wanted to present bâtards to today and I was on my way out the door.  Well!  Shocking!  I will say that when you cut the crappy tunnel off they toast well.  We've eaten all of them now.

My guess was that I tried to hurry the first fermentation a bit with a warm water bath because I had this deadline today that I wanted to meet.  I'm currently making the same recipe but taking more time for the fermentation.  I'll let you know if they come out differently.

Thanks for the interest.

:-Paul

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


David

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I recall reading about such large tunnels in the BBA; Peter Reinhart, in describing the error, said they're called the "house where the baker lives." Alas, am at work right now and don't have the book with me but I do think he wrote about the cause.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks, that's wonderful news.  I have the BBA but "house where the baker lives" doesn't show in the index and I didn't find it with a quick Google search.  It's great to have hope, though. It seems like it's some sort of classic error.  Let me know if you come across it.  Meanwhile I'm doing the recipe over and allowing longer ferment times.  I think that was my problem, just guessing...

Anyway, I find it interesting and I hope you do too.

:-Paul

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I think it was "the room where the baker sleeps".....been a while since I read that. 

Paul, guess you slept on this one....better luck nextime.

Sylvia

 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

I've had a similar occurence.  I think what has happened is that the dough did not stick to itself during the loaf forming.  It looks like the bottom was pinched together leaving a cavity in the middle bottom that filled with fermentation gas during the proofing period. 

Too dry a dough, too much kneading flour, not enough pinching-in are the usual suspects.  Whatever your method you are definitely consistent.  I venture a guess that a slightly wetter dough may prevent this from occuring...,  Or, if you will, don't do whatever it was you did last time again...,

Cream Puffs?

Wild-Yeast

leucadian's picture
leucadian

Here's what I think happened: The stone was hot, but you cooled everything else off with your 'steaming incident' (door was open, water sprayed on dough and oven, and no thermal mass from your forgotten rocks). So the bottom of the baguettes baked quickly and then burned, while the rest of the loaves came up to temperature slowly. By the time they were hot enough to enjoy oven spring, the raw dough's feet were toast -literally- and broke easily from the bottom skin. Voila, a tunnel. The proof is that the bottoms are uniformly burned, which must have happened before the loaves expanded into a circular cross section, when the dough was still in full contact with the stone. You see a similar effect with flat breads, (pita, puri, even tortillas), where the internal steam puffs up a hardened shell.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Good call.  Sounds quite plausible.  Thanks for the input.

:-Paul

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Pablo, I did find the following in Local Breads by Daniel Leader (page 57):

"Q.  When I cut into my bread, I saw long troughs running through it. Each slice has a gaping hole. Why did this happen and what can I do to prevent it next time?

"A.  Ferment the dough fully and proof it completely before baking.  Underproofed dough often has a lot of yeast activity in the center, which results in large holes.  Loose shaping can also create air pockets that become troughs in the oven, so make sure that your shaping technique is nice and tight."

I think underproofing may play a part as the last couple of bakes of my North Woods sourdough produced loaves that had split a bit, as well as having a few overly large holes...but nothing like what you've pictured.   I've got two loaves on the table right now, waiting to go into the oven. I can see continued fermentation on one of the loaves via a growing bubble in the center of that loaf - even though it was pulled out of the refrigerator about 90 minues ago.

Haven't found what I thought PR wrote, but will keep looking.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks Lindy, I think that's a direct hit.  I was already suspicious of my fermenting.  I'm sure my shaping is nice and tight, although it's interesting that both people here and Leader say to watch it.  I'm really certain that in my case it's not the shaping.  I'm doing the same recipe today, but giving it plenty of fermentation time in all steps of the build.  This is all so interesting!!!  Someone pointed me to a local bakery today and it was kind of like heaven - lots of artisan breads and I didn't know that the bakery existed.  It's in the basement of their house.  I was able to chat with the owner for  a bit and it was a thrill to be able to speak and understand the same bread language.

Let us all know how your Northwoods bake comes out.

:-Paul

SteveB's picture
SteveB

LindyD,

I think you may be referring to p 90 in BBA where Reinhart says that proper scoring can prevent formation of "the room where the baker sleeps":

http://tinyurl.com/3ok2ss

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Wow, Steve, that's some impressive Internet technique!  Thanks!  I think, in my case, it was the basement where the baker burned his buns off.

:-Paul

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Thank you, Steve, for finding the page and giving the correct quote.  When I was paging through the BBA, I became distracted by looking at all the breads I'd love to bake and forgot about my initial quest! 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi Lindy,

Same ingredients and hydration, but much extended fermentations:

crumbnottunnel

100 gram petit baguettes

:-Paul

LindyD's picture
LindyD

They look very tasty, Paul.  No more sleeping bakers!

My Northwoods sourdough (actually Hamelman's "Vermont" SD) split again:

I will admit that because of time constraints, I used my refrigerated starter without refreshing it, but I don't think that's what caused the splitting. 

In retrospect, my earlier loaves were in the oven about an hour after being removed from the refrigerator.  They didn't split.  Will go back to that method next time and see what happens.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hey Lindy,

>In retrospect, my earlier loaves were in the oven about an hour after being removed from the refrigerator.  They didn't split<

I don't know what you mean by that.

I haven't done any larger loaves like that.  I'm sure I'll have the same problem once I do, though.  I'm really interested in how you fix this.

:-Paul

Pablo's picture
Pablo

OK, I understand now, they went in the oven an hour after coming out of the 'fridge.  Sometimes language is confusing.

Coincidentally I had a small version of the same problem today.  I did 4 baguettes of different sizes to determine my favorite and one of them has that split on the side, although much less than yours.  This dough was out of the 'fridge 7 hours including the 3 hour proof.  It is a much lower hydration (62%) than I had been doing before (74%), due to a calculation error on my part, but they look good, we'll see what the crumb is like.  It's sure easier to handle! 

baguette crackbaguette crack

:-Paul

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I was just reading Bread Science today by Emily Buehler and she said splitting like that is caused by underproofing (the yeast is too fiesty when it hits the oven, it's got to go! go! go! somewhere) &/or not scoring deep enough on large loaves to allow the internal rising to get out.  Interesting thoughts, I thought of you and these loaves and I wanted to share her insights with you.

:-Paul

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Sorry, Paul....my sentence was clumsy.  You are correct in your interpretation.

Your baguettes are beautiful and that tiny crack isn't going to affect the taste at all.

Happy-Batard's picture
Happy-Batard

Two words....chocolate mousse. If you could do that again and stuff them you have created a new bread treat.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Paul, if you don't mind, I'd like to suggest that next time when you score that you keep your cuts lengthwise down the center of the loaf and not at a diagonal angle across the loaf. Keep the cuts shallow, holding the blade at a 30° angle, so that you are cutting a thin flap of dough, and overlap the cuts by 1/3 of their length.  You will be amazed at how much better your slashes will open up during the bake.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Cool.  Sounds great.  Do you happen to have any photos?  Worth a thousand words and all that...

:-Paul

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Sorry, but I have none. I'm in the middle of a kitchen remodel and right now I have no place to work--heck, I don't even have a kitchen sink! I think I have seen others post pics of this slashing technique on TFL. It is also in Hamelman's "Bread", if you have a copy.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Eek!  That's taking "mise en place" a little far, eh?  I hope it fulfills your kitchen dreams.

I live in Canada and have things from Amazon shipped to a US address.  I have the Hamelman book waiting at the shipping joint for my next trip, which is a week from Tuesday.  Actually we're taking a trip to visit family and one stop is in the Bay Area.  I'm picking up 100lbs. of Giusto's Old Mill flour (ww reduced bran - all the germ and 20% of the bran) while I'm there.  I'm very excited.  It's 12.5% protein and I've been using 10% protein unbleached white since I became obsessed with bread August 19 (I have the blog entry to prove it :-), it's going to be interesting to see the differences.

:-Paul