The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Bread 'ripped'?

mnkhaki's picture

Bread 'ripped'?


 I just made 3 french baguettes, and scored them on top. To give a more indepth insight this is what I did:

  1. Made a poolish last night.
  2. Combined all ingredients about 16 hours later (this afternoon)
  3. Let it ferment for 1 hour, turned it, then ferment for another hour
  4. Divided and shaped it into rounds, bench rested it for about 15 minutes
  5. Then preshaped it into 3 baguettes
  6. Rest for about 35-40 mins
  7. Preheated oven during the final rest to 450
  8. Scored the bread, put in oven and steamed 3 times in the first 7 mins approx

During the third steam, I noticed the breads kinda 'tore' close to the bottom and not where the scoring was on top - any idea as to what may have led this to happen?



Update: It tastes great but - why the tear?

I've added pictures for a better view. Excuse the quality since it was taken from my phone!

Pic 1 

crumb bum's picture
crumb bum

Hey Mn

Looks to me like the seam on the bottom moved a little to the side and may have not been sealed well enough.  It also looks like the bread might have been a little underproofed causing the blowout.

Da Crumb Bum

mnkhaki's picture

Da Crumb - thanks

 Thats what I thought but then the second loaf had seams well intact at the bottom but still burst on the side. I'm hoping its the proof - Maybe I'll go longer next time, like an hour... I do believe it could be proofing as you suggested. My instincts were to wait a tad bit longer, like 15 mins, more.

 Someone suggested that it crusted quickly, or the oven was not steamed enough... so confusing!

mnkhaki's picture

I noticed in your other post recently you also have the book by Hamelman... and thats exactly what I followed on Page 101.

scott lynch's picture
scott lynch

I normally suspect under-proofing as well, but I have another hypothesis.  I find that I get a lot of deformation when I crowd loaves in the oven.  It appears that either the mass of one insulates a portion of the other or the steam coming off it allows the asymmetry to develop.
In either case, what I think I may be seeing is that for one of these reasons, your crust is slow to form on the side that is shielded from oven heat, so you are getting oven spring way beyond what you would see on the rest of the crust.
Just a thought.  You might check it by taking note of the positions of the loaves and where they blow out.

JIP's picture

I recently got this book from the library: Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads. It is "Dough" by Richard Bertinet. It comes with a very short DVD that has some shaping and kneading tips that I have found invauable to shaping baguettes. I tried to follow the guide in a few books and they really proved tricky to follow and I always had a similar but I guess not as extreme seam blowout problem until I saw this DVD. Personally I am not a big fan of alot of the recipes in the book but the DVD is great if you can get it from a library I would strongly suggest it. Another possibility on your blowout problem but I definately think you have a seam sealing problem might be your cuts, how deep are they?.

mnkhaki's picture

Hello JIP..

My cuts on the top were about 2 inches long x 1-2 mm deep...

pseudobaker's picture

My understanding with baguette slashes is that they should be longer - like 4-6 inches long, overlapping at the ends, to allow for the maximum oven "bloom".  I did a Google image search for "baguette" and here's a pic I hope illustrates what I mean:

As far as proofing goes, your dough will be adequately proofed once it doesn't spring back when you poke it with a floured finger (the dimple from your finger will stay in the dough).

Good luck!

mnkhaki's picture

Pseudo Baker - thanks. Do you know what depth it should be cut, like roughly - 2-3 mm deep?

The image of baguette - if only mine looked like those. Maybe one day!

pseudobaker's picture

I try to cut mine at an angle - 45 degrees or more horizontal.  This results in an "ear" which is desireable (apparently).  As to depth, I have found that up to 1 cm is a good sized slash, as long as your dough doesn't collapse (which will happen if you go too deep).

weavershouse's picture

In  the book ARTISAN BAKING Glezer says "when you put the loaves on the stone or pan place them as far apart as you can because breads that are close together will "burst", that is, crack open at the sides instead of expanding at the slash". Hope this helps.                                                                                                                                 weavershouse

pseudobaker's picture

I made 2 loaves of the Polenta Bread from ABAA last night and found they were too close on the parchment paper.  After 10 minutes of baking, the loaves were sufficiently solid that I could go in and gently separate them.  They then continued baking.  Maybe something like this could help you if you find your loaves are too close together...

zolablue's picture

I've been drooling over that polenta bread recipe.  I am crazy about anything with polenta and for whatever reason have just put off making that recipe.  In the book it is gorgeous bread. So please tell me how did it taste?  Is it fabulous?  Were you able to cut the swirl in it?  I'm a terrible slasher and I have yet to figure out what I'm doing wrong.

pseudobaker's picture

Zolablue - the polenta bread is delicious.  I used Bob's Red Mill cornmeal, as I didn't have any polenta on hand, and it worked just fine.  The spiral slash is easier than I thought, and looks so attractive.  I'll take a pic in the morning for you.

pseudobaker's picture

Here's the Polenta Bread from ABAA.  The starter I used in this one was made with organic raisins (was originally a batter starter and then converted to a firm starter) and did just as good a job raising the bread as my MG firm starter.  The spiral slashes weren't too difficult to do - I used a razor this time (usually use a sharp bread knife, but it doesn't go around corners too well), slicing a little bit at a time and then turning the baking sheet around.  Not bad for a first attempt!


Della Fattoria's Polenta Bread

zolablue's picture

Now I remember why I haven't made this yet.  It calls for high gluten flour which I cannot find here.  I can order it from KA but, darn, I just placed another order from them which has already shipped besides the fact they are SLOW!  I found some Bob's Red Mill "high gluten wheat flour" but not sure this would be the right one.  Do you know?  Or anyone? 

pseudobaker's picture

You know what?  I just used bread flour and it worked fine.  Next time, if I think of it, I'll try to get the high-gluten flour, but it tasted and rose just fine without it.  I didn't take a picture of the crumb, but it was lovely.

 So bake away - it's a great loaf, even without the high-gluten flour.


zolablue's picture

Thanks, I'll go for it.  

KipperCat's picture

Zola, does it call for a higher gluten flour than bread flour? Bread flour is high gluten, as compared to AP. I keep a jar of gluten in the fridge for WW baking anyway, so when I want to boost the gluten count of my flour I add 2 or 3 tsp. of gluten per loaf of bread. Not very exact, I realize. Somewhere I saw an explanation of exactly how to figure how much gluten to add to your flour to boost the proten content to a certain level. I don't remember where I read it though.

zolablue's picture

Great job on that bread!  I'd love to have some right now.  I will try the recipe soon.  I am nuts about polenta and always keep the very coarse ground stuff on hand.  Yum!

bakker_be's picture


as stated several times already, the ripping you see is most often caused by either being underproofed or being too close to each other. Based on your pictures I'd say that your loaves were a bit close.

Regarding the slashing question I've seen in this thread and numerous others: the best tool for these is not really for sale (at least not in Belgium or France). You have to make it yourself as follows:

  • get an old-fashioned rasorblade gilette
  • get a flat steel or wood "stick" of about 20cm (8") long and 0.4cm (0.16") wide
  • thread one end of stick through the outer notches of the blade so you obtain a slightly curved "knife" with the rest of the "stick" serving as handle

Use this "knife" to make slashes by holding it's handle horizontally, the belly of the curve facing down. You need to make your slashes at an angle of about 30° along the length of your baguette, each slash starting roughly at about the 2/3 of the previous one. Slash rather firmly, but not forcefully.

A couple of points of attention for this technique:

  • these blades are devillishly sharp. Be careful and store out of reach of children or "clumsy" persons ;-)
  • if your dough surface is really moist, let it "dry" a little bit before slashing. Surface should feel a bit like slightly sweaty skin (yuk, not really an appetizing metaphor, is it)
  • when you notice that the sides of your slashes begin tearing, its time to turn the blade around, to use another of it's 4 corners as your slashing edge.

These tips come from my own professional experience of almost 20 years, but they cannot replace practice of course ;-)