The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Constant Failures

hardough4010's picture

Constant Failures



I've recently taken up baking and I am loving it.  I had beginner's luck with Dan Lepard's Farm Tin House loaf (the one with the sponge)  in the Short and Sweet book.  It rurned out fantastic  but I have tried i tseveral times since and it has been a disaster.  i have changed nothing and followed the recipe to a tee the way I did the first time  but now  theloaf keeps bursting at the bottom of the loaf!  ( i form it into a boule) This did not happen the first time.  It was perfect! It even crackled coming out of the oven!!

I notice that when it is finished  with the bulk fermentation, there are visible big bubbles under the skin of thedough.  Does this mean I have let it stay too long?  The recipe says  only 30 minutes and I do a blanket fold halfway.

Should I not leave it to proof for long after that?  I just do not know what to do. I have tried reducing the final proof time (the recipe says 1 1/2 hrs or until half size)  I have also left it for that time.

I am beginning to get discouraged

Thanks for any help.


wally's picture

Really!  I'm not familiar with that particular recipe, but from your description it sounds as if the bread is very underproofed when you bake it - hence the blowout at the bottom of the loaf.

I have a hard time understanding a fermentation time of only 30 minutes, unless this is a high percentage rye.  But again, I'm not familiar with the recipe.

If you can in the future, just include a shot of the loaf along with your commentary.

Good luck,


linder's picture


I experienced a similar problem with the no knead bread recipes when I did not let them proof long enough (3 hours) after the dough was removed from the fridge. 

Also, I had problems in the beginning with shaping that caused problems with boule blowouts.  I now work at being sure the underseam at the bottom of the loaf is well-sealed and add tension to the boule as shown in videos of boule shaping.  It helps to have one area of your work surface free of flour where you can do the  'tightening' over the surface of the boule. 

Are you scoring the loaves?  You probably are, but if not, consider some scoring to 'release' the tension of oven spring in a controlled way.

Hope this helps



lazybaker's picture

Do you use a proofer, or do you have to rely on the room temperature to proof the dough? I don't have proofer, so I have to rely on room temperature. Varying room temperature will affect the proofing time. I have shorter proofing time when it gets really warm. The proofing time is longer when it's cooler.

Maybe try do the poke or nudge test-- where you nudge the dough with your knuckle to see how the dough bounces back. If the dough bounces back too quickly, then allow it to proof more. If it slowly recovers, then it's time to bake it. If the indentation is still there, then it's overproofed.

It sounds like the boule was underproofed.

FlourChild's picture

Agree it sounds underproofed- was it warmer temps the first time you made it, and now cooler temps?  Fermentation slows down a lot as temps drop- even 5 degrees can throw a schedule out of whack.  Start looking at volume increase (for bulk fermenation) and as others have mentioned, the poke test for the shaped proof- these will be more helpful than watching the clock :)

hardough4010's picture

Thanks everyone for all the helpful advice.  It certainly does make sense. I have been away on holiday so haven't been able to make a loaf but will be making a loaf this weekend so will report on results.  Sorry about lack of pics but I only thought to seek advice  on here after my unsuccessful attempts were long gone.

@ wally

The recipe is from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet book.  It uses a sponge which is to be left for 4 hours plus.  Then it is added to the remaining flour with butter added.  This is left for 10 min. The dough is then kneaded (a la Lepard style) after 15 and 30 min.  It is then shaped and left to increase in size for about 1 1/2 hours.before ging in the oven. 


Understand the shaping issues.  I am still working on this.  This is actually a farmhouse loaf but I don't have any loaf tins and I prefer boules anyways.  Yes I have been scoring. 


What is a proofer? I have been doing the finger test but I have been getting it wrong


Thinking about it, there have been some variations in temperature.  I will be doing another one this weekend so will report the result and will be a lot more observant.

lazybaker's picture

I'm bad at defining things. A proofer is like an incubator.