The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Advice on uneven bloom

Josh_F's picture

Advice on uneven bloom

I'd appreciate advice on why two loaves using the same formula, technique, and baked simultaneously rose differently: one with an excellent, beautiful bloom and one not so great. My formula is for a 40% whole grain loaf as below:

Levain 400 g (20% of flour); Bread flour 450 g; Whole wheat 275 g; Rye flour 75 g; Salt 17 g ; Yeast 1 g; Water 530 g (73% hydration).

For this round, I allowed 4 hours of bulk fermentation before dividing and shaping. While the shaping was similar for each loaf, I reshaped one of them by reforming a dough ball, but I don't think I was too heavy-handed or that I severely degassed it on reshaping. The loaves were then retarded at 40 F overnight.

They were are baked at ~460 F on a stone with initial steam from a pan of lava rocks. As shown in the photos, one seam sealed on baking but the other broke open, allowing a beautiful bloom. Is this due to random variables that are beyond my control? Or is there something I can change in my technique to get both loaves to bloom consistently? At this point, I'm considering adding a bit more commercial yeast, but also wonder if this has something to do with my shaping technique. I welcome your advice.

AlanG's picture

Your two loaves look exactly like the two that I baked last week.  I always put this down to angering the sourdough gods in some manner.  I routinely bake two 500 gm batards at the same time, and they are formed from single amount of dough that has been retarded  for 18 hours.  This was the first time in a long while that this happened.  It could have been because the shaping was uneven between the two or the scoring was insufficient. 

MTloaf's picture

Arrange them in the oven so the ear side is next to the oven wall so the ear can shield the expansion line.