Cracking Crust

I usually take my bread straight out of the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. The "music of the bread" (loud crackling sound) soon starts and within a few minutes the crust develops a number of large cracks, as in the photograph. This does not really matter, of course, but for aesthetic reasons I would like to avoid it - especially when using a ribbed banneton.

I am wondering whether using a shorter baking time then turning the oven off but leaving the bread in it to cool might help? I remember from visits to a glass works that an "annealing line" is used i.e. the glass passes very slowly through a diminishing temperature to avoid cracking.

I bake at  230°C for 40 minutes. Hydration of my dough is usually between 53% and 62%.

Any thoughts?

Gongoozler

1 comment

from what I hear, cooling in the oven add mentioned above would create a crisper crust, which may exacerbate the cracking. I get the same cracking, sometimes more, sometimes less, but always thought it was normal. Seems the higher the oven spring, the worse the cracking is with my loaves. I would also love to hear the theories on why it happens, and what to do. I know the cracking is from internal gases cooling (air expands with heat, and contacts with cold), bit what to do about it is a good question!