The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oven Spring Help!

citygirlbaker's picture
citygirlbaker

Oven Spring Help!

Hi all: 

I've been trying to better my oven spring with my last couple of loaves, but I'm always missing the mark. 

See below for my loaf this morning.  My starter is vigorous, I preheat my oven at 500F and bake 450F in my Dutch oven, and this time I even sprayed my loaf with water to promote steam.  I use 450g KA bread flour, 50g Giusto's whole wheat flour, 10g salt, and 83% hydration; bulk ferment for around 3 hours (dough grows about 30%, is aerated, and even floats by the end of bulk), and I finish the dough with a 12-hour cold rise.  This time I baked straight from the fridge because I heard that helps with the spring, though I could have done a better job scoring.

I'm happy with the crumb but really wish it rose more.  I'm thinking I need to work on my shaping.  Thoughts?

Many thanks! 

Abe's picture
Abe

...of an under risen loaf. Can you post it please? 

citygirlbaker's picture
citygirlbaker

Here is a side profile of the same loaf above!  

Abe's picture
Abe

Looks great to me. 

citygirlbaker's picture
citygirlbaker

Ah thank you!  Maybe I'm fussing over nothing... 

Abe's picture
Abe

It's got good oven spring and it's even got lift from the base of the loaf. I think you've gotten the most out of it. 

texas_loafer's picture
texas_loafer

Crumb looks great. It may be that 83% hydration causes the loaf to spread from the time you remove it from the banneton, score it and get it in the DO. High hydration is not imperative for open crumb. Maybe try to drop it about 10%. I think you’ll be surprised. Below is a 73% hydration loaf KAF BF with 15% WW and 5% rye. Also retarded for 12 hours in the fridge and baked in a DO.

You can also score deeper and at a shallower angle. That can help the lift. 

citygirlbaker's picture
citygirlbaker

This is super helpful - the dough did spread / flatten quite fast when I popped it out of the banneton, but I didn't think to attribute it to the high % of hydration.  I will lower the % next time and see if I have any luck with an even higher rise. 

What a fantastic crumb + rise you got there! 

Thank you!

Dave Cee's picture
Dave Cee

75% hydration now works well for me and 15~16mm deep score down around 2:00~3.00 o'clock position gives a great ear and "bloom". Best wishes. Dave the rookie.

citygirlbaker's picture
citygirlbaker

Got it - thanks so much! 

Benito's picture
Benito

I agree with the others who have said that your hydration of 83% might be a bit high given the relatively low whole grain.  At a lower hydration you would probably get better structure and shaping to allow even more oven spring.  On the other hand, what you’ve baked does look really great already.

Benny

citygirlbaker's picture
citygirlbaker

I took everyone's suggestion and lowered the hydration level from 83% to 77% this time.  I shaped the loaf as a boule and included walnuts, and while the oven spring improved, it was still not as high as I had hoped. 

Wondering if the following could have impacted the spring:

  • I didn't stitch during shaping because the walnuts made it more difficult to do so.
  • Including walnuts, which could have potentially "tore" the gluten.
  • Scoring way on the side, as opposed to towards the center of the loaf.  Would this make the rise uneven?

Otherwise, delicious loaf - loved the toasted walnuts! 

Benito's picture
Benito

Scoring definitely affects the shape, score more centrally for a more even shape. Then weight of the walnuts affects the rise. The profile of the l0af is good I’m not sure stitching would have made the oven spring better, it might have made the crumb tighter. 

citygirlbaker's picture
citygirlbaker

Thank you so so much Benito! Super helpful again. 

BXMurphy's picture
BXMurphy

 Hi, CityGirlBaker!

It looks to me like you are making some great bread over there! I really like the looks of your earlier loaves.

If you don't mind, your last one looks like you are tending to the over-proofed side. I say this because I notice the crumb looks like it is separating from the crust at the upper right-hand of the top half. It also looks like the loaf is on the flat side with some dense areas in the crumb. This suggests the gluten network is collapsing such that it won't hold gas bubbles, if any remain.

I'm no expert by ANY stretch of the imagination and hesitate to offer my insight as you are a better baker than this humble rookie. However, I've been devouring The Sourdough Journey on YouTube.

Tom Cucuzza out of Cleveland, Ohio, reports from the "World Headquarters of the International Consortium of Sourdough Science and Research" (AKA his kitchen) in When is Bulk Fermentation Done? - Episode 4: "Overproofing Problems".

I love this guy! He's a newer baker who runs some of the best experiments on sourdough baking I've ever come across. His videos run an hour to an hour and a half and are very high quality in terms of production values.

Sure, maybe he can tighten them up for busy people but his show notes bring you to different parts of the video if you want to skip ahead.

I don't know the man but for newer guys like me, I can't get enough of his experiments, his Bulk-O-Matic metrics (and stupid quirks that you might notice here and there), and thorough (and I mean anal-rentitve!) explanations.

For you and on over-proofing, the video I linked to above might be helpful. He says he's a chronic under-proofer and this time strives to get to the over-proof side in this experiment.

Please don't think ill of this humble new baker as I remain...

Yours,
Murph

citygirlbaker's picture
citygirlbaker

Thank you so much, Murph!

Super insightful.  I actually hadn't even considered the possibility of overproof, which could have for sure been a culprit.  I usually bulk ferment for ~3 hours in an 80F setting.  Perhaps too warm?  The dough looks/feels aerated, has lots of active bubbles on the side, and has significant growth in size by the end of the fermentation. 

BXMurphy's picture
BXMurphy

Hi, CGB!

Once again and in advance, I beg your forbearance of this humble newer baker.

I don't think you mentioned how much preferment (starter/levain) you are using.

A three hour bulk ferment strikes me as being on the shorter side while 80°F (27°C) is perfect for the majority of sourdough bakes.

I think standard operating procedure is to preferment 10-30% of final dough. You can certainly bake your starter or levain straight up if that's what you like.

You will surely know after a while that "starter" and "levain" are just fancy names for "dough" that is used differently.

Beyond that, I was wondering if your chunks of walnuts are too large and tearing at the gluten. Have you tried softening them in water for an hour or so? Maybe powdering them a touch?

I don't think your hydration is a problem; just the process. My favorite The Sourdough Journey guy came to the conclusion, after all of his experiments, is that the yeast makes the bread, not the baker. We just get in the way. He has found that fermentation is key. Not too much, not too little.

I have been so emboldened as to bake the Tartine Country Bread this weekend at an impossible (for me) 85% hydration. THAT should crush my spirit!

All my best,

Murph 

citygirlbaker's picture
citygirlbaker

Thank you again, Murph! 

I'm currently working with the Tartine method, so 100g levain to 500g of flour (450g BF + 50g WWF) and added 1 cup of chopped walnuts this time.  I do think the walnuts make a difference in terms of gluten, so I think I'll need to try again this weekend without walnuts and see if I can get any improvement in the oven spring.  Will keep you all posted!

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

First loaf - fussing over nothing. 

 

Second loaf - you made many changes and therefore you will get a much different result.  Walnuts and scoring are the main changes that affected the result.  Add-ins, particularly very large chunks of walnuts as in the second example, affect dough performance during baking.  Reduce the particle size (chop more finely) and reduce the mass of add-ins as a percentage of flour weight.  Add the particles toward the end of gluten development (kneading, stretch-fold, etc.). 

citygirlbaker's picture
citygirlbaker

Thank you Semolina! 

That all makes sense.  Will try again in the coming days!