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No pronounced ear, nor a satisfying crunch on the outside: Where did I go wrong?

xphantasma96's picture

No pronounced ear, nor a satisfying crunch on the outside: Where did I go wrong?

Hello everyone,

So it's been nearly 3 months since I've had my sourdough active, and I've been trying to make sourdough bread once or twice every week or so. I wanted to share the latest loaf I baked, because I'm trying to understand where I went wrong.

For your information, my dough is the following: 80% French T65, 10% Whole Wheat Flour, 10% Buckwheat Flour, 20% Starter (1:2:2) and 2% Salt.

I baked the loaf in a preheated oven, with a baking steel (since my oven can't fit any form of dutch oven or double tray), at 230°C (highest temperature that my oven can go to). I also poured boiling water into two ramekins that were preheated with the oven, and threw couple of ice cubes when I loaded the loaf into the oven:

Out of all the oven springs, this one was by far the best I've had. Though, I keep noticing that my oven can't contain the steam for long, as it keeps escaping from the sides. So, I had to spray water every now and then.

This was the result:

As you can see, while it has puffed nicely and has good browning, there wasn't an ear that developed while baking. And, while inspecting the loaf, I noticed some sort of a burst on the side:

And finally, once I cut into it, I noticed two things: the crumb was by far the best out of all my loaves (I'll let you all be the judges), but the crust wasn't as crunchy as I hoped.

I would very much like to have as much feedbacks/informations, and I thank you in advance.
MTloaf's picture

Steam or humidity to me. That and too much top heat compared to the bottom caused it to seal up and inflate until the pressure was released. Maybe try a tin foil tent at the beginning of the bake to prevent the crust from forming too quickly.

dpierce's picture

Definitely do what you can to capture stream for at least the first 20 mins of baking - cover the loaf with something, seal your oven, etc. I bet there are tons of ideas or hacks on YouTube - I’ve seen videos of people who were experimenting with different methods, or made a mistake resulting in lack of steam, and this was pretty much how their loaves turned out