The Fresh Loaf

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Disappointing Results - Help?

alienbogey's picture

Disappointing Results - Help?

Yesterday I baked some loaves of San Francisco Sourdough incorporating some new techniques.  I've had very good luck with this recipe in the past and although the bread tasted fine and the crumb was surprisingly good considering the sad outside appearance of the loaves the session was a disappointment.  I did one fat torpedo-shaped loaf and for the first time tried proofing two loaves in baskets.  All three loaves rose beautifully during proofing.  The problems:

The first basket-proofed loaf was a joy to behold, so full of air it was like a balloon.  I thought I was being careful in transferring it to the peel, but when I inverted the basket and it came out it deflated like basketball with the needle valve stuck in.  It baked into a sad hockey puck.  Advice on removing from basket?

The second basket-proofed loaf was just as risen as the first and I was ten times more careful transferring it to the peel, but the dang basket cloth stuck to the loaf.  The first loaf's cloth was a flat dishtowel (no nap), this second cloth was a napkin, both were dusted liberally with flour before placing in the basket, but the first loaf (the hockey puck's) released perfectly and the second stuck to the point that I completely wrecked the loaf getting it off (pooooooooooofffffff..... went the loaf as it deflated ).  Thoughts?

  The slashing of the torpedo loaf was terrible.  I tried a ceramic kitchen blade coated with cooking oil and it just kind of mangled along, partly deflating the loaf.  I got negative oven spring from both the torpedo loaf and the hockey puck - the slashes actually collapsed a bit (see photo).  Despite a light coating of spray oil on the loaves as they proofed (per BBA) they both had a thin skin by the time I slashed - how can I avoid that?  I suspect I got no oven spring because I proofed too long?

As I said the bread tasted fine and crumb was okay, but I had been hoping for big oven spring and grins from the slashes because I had pre-heated my baking stone along with the oven for the first time.

Bad SlashBad Slash 


colinwhipple's picture

My dough-handling skills are really bad, so I line the basket with parchment paper and just lift the loaf out holding the edges of the paper.  It is then easy to place it on the peel, and slide it from there onto the baking stone.

The ease of slashing is very dependent on the hydration of the dough.  Wet doughs are harder to slash.



home_mill's picture

Sounds like possibly they were over proofed, something I do all too often.

dmsnyder's picture

The deflation when you transfered the loaf is the hint. Next time, bake when the loaves are less than twice their original volume.

Paddyscake's picture
  • Over proofed, as already suggested.
  • Re the loafs having a skin, did you cover them while proofing with saran wrap or plastic bag ?
  • Try slashing vertically , rather than horizontally. See Floyd's lesson on slashing
  • It still looks tasty! Keep us posted with your results


GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture

I think this loaf looks yummy no matter what.

Susan's picture

Sprinkle a little over your floured linens and you won't have any trouble with the loaves releasing. Divide the recipe and make only one loaf, and make it over and over again until it comes out exactly like you want. Slash lengthwise, not across, for baguettes and batards. Yep, you over-proofed, cut back on the time.

Have fun.

Susan from San Diego