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Gluten Free sourdough flying crust issue… Looks like a handbag ?

adelgadorey's picture

Gluten Free sourdough flying crust issue… Looks like a handbag ?

Hi everyone, I was hoping you might be able to help me figure out what's going wrong with my gluten free sourdough loaves—they have a giant pocket of air at the top and the bottom is flat and gummy… I'm using the Cannelle et Vanille recipe, which uses a wet brown rice starter (140g of brown rice flour to 190g of filtered water as a ratio). The starter is wet and smells nice and yogurty (I've noticed it doesn't increase in size as much as it used to, though)—the recipe says to use 280g of cold starter from the fridge, add 160g of the rice flour and 225g of filtered water, then leave overnight until bubbly. That part's all good, it's bubbly in the AM. Then, you mix the flour blend (210g of oat flour, 120g each of tapioca and potato starch, and 120g of sorghum flour) with salt and add the starter, along with a gel-like mix of 700g of filtered water, 25g of flaxseed meal and 40g of psyllium husk powder. You mix on medium speed with a dough hook until it comes together, then turn out onto a floured surface, cut in half (so, two loaves) and shape. You leave it proofing for 3 hours, seam-side up, and then 30 minutes before baking you turn the oven on 500 degrees with 2 dutch ovens inside, heating. In 30 minutes, you turn the dough into the hot dutch ovens, adding a few ice cubes before covering, then bake at 500 for 50 minutes, then lower the temp to 450 degrees and take the covers off the dutch ovens and bake for another 45 minutes.

The flavor is really, really nice. But the loaves are have the huge gap and the texture, of course, is gummy at the bottom…any ideas on why this might be happening and how I can fix it? It's driving me up the wall!


Nikoleta987's picture

I think maybe the dutch oven is not okay with the ice cubes, maybe a Jena bowl instead?

I just started to get myself into baking, so sorry if this is a silly reply...

schlappette's picture

Hello!  I have been baking this bread almost weekly for the past year, and I'm glad to see someone else using this recipe.  You're right, the flavor is fantastic, and I love that her recipes do not use xanthan gum.   I have also noticed a "flying crust" issue several times in my loaves, and, through some trial and error, I have been chalking it up to a too-long proofing time.  

That said, I have also altered Aran's published method to suit my own needs, and I believe my loaves are turning out much better than my first go-round with the Dutch oven.  So I'm afraid I can't help troubleshoot the recipe as written, but I can tell you how I've changed my approach.  Here is what I do now:

  • • Often I will extend the sourdough starter "proofing" time to be 2-4 days, but at least 24 hours.
  • • Proof the formed loaves for only 2 hours at a slightly higher temperature (80º or 90ºF if possible).
  • • I ditched the Dutch oven method after the first attempt  (temp was too high, bottom was gummy, and the high heat discolored my Dutch oven's enamel) and started using two preheated unglazed cloches instead.  No ice cubes necessary.
  • • I lowered the baking temp to 465ºF and bake for 100 min, under the cloches the entire time.  So, no temp change, and no lid lifting.
  • • Unchanged: ABSOLUTELY HEED her advice to wait until the loaves are completely cool before slicing into them!  Otherwise the insides will turn gummy, and they cannot recover.  That is the only part I don't like about this bread.  I miss impatiently cutting off a hot crusty heel and slathering it with butter and crunching into it. 

I will also say that we just got a new oven after our 20-year-old one conked out, and I am very, very happy with its performance, though it's only turned out one batch of bread so far.  Time will tell if the old oven was to blame for some of my flying crusts!

Here's last week's loaf, and the first out of our new oven:

I hope this helps!

Brian Stendel's picture
Brian Stendel

I seem to be having the identical problem. It was suggested that I over-proofed but it was just 3 hours on the counter and I reduced that 30 minutes with similar results. I used regular brown rice flour as I couldn't find Superfine. Might that be the problem? Did you use Superfine. Have you solved your issue?

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

But another thing to consider is taking it out the oven too early. 

Brian Stendel's picture
Brian Stendel

I used the Canelle et Vanille recipe which calls for 95 minutes total bake time (500F then 450F) and removed it after 88 minutes because it was getting scorched. One responder to the original post here made major modifications to the timing and succeeded. I'd like to know if the original poster worked it out. I make great non-GF sourdough but want to get this to work for when my Celiac daughter can get back to Canada.

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

It has to be over proofing. I once decided to try my hand at gluten free and know that when it comes to gluten free dough often the only sign of over proofed is when it goes in the oven and baked. They can be deceptive. So cut it back and with a bit of trial and error it'll be fine. My other rule of thumb for a good gluten free bread is 18g of powdered psyllium husks for every 500g of flour. My aim was also to limit as much of the add-ins which make up for no gluten and wished to steer clear of some of them. I found psyllium husks can work very well in their own. Adding some sort of starch will help but is optional. Then use enough water so it's as hydrated as possible but still holds itself together. You should be able to pick it up as one piece of dough but at the same time it needs as much water as it can handle.