Round Boules Vs Batards in Wood-Fired Oven Issue

Hi There

I am new to this forum.

I am having issue's with baking round Boules in my wood-fired oven. I seem to always get an irregular shape, never a nice round boule. I used to bake in my househould oven using a dutch oven which gave me a perfect round boules everytime. I understand that the reason for my perfectly round boules in the dutch oven was the ducth oven shape itself but when I finally built my brick oven I continued to make boules and batards, but I always get strange warped round boules.

I use a 70% hydrated dough which I slow ferment in cane bannetons in a fridge overnight. The batards are the same and they bake beautifully, they keep there shape and have a lovely crust and fantastic open ears.

My round boules though always seem to push out to one side and always look a bit pear shaped. They never push straight up and open up in a nice way. I was wondeing if it was my scoring, I use a proper blade and cut a cross in them.

Any advice on this would be fantatsic.

cheers

Gavin

 

3 comments

Hi Gavin,

Just some thoughts of things to try.

Try lowering your hydration to about 67%

Shorten your final proofing 30 min.

Finally, but least likely, review your boules forming technique.

Those are things I would try.

Try only one at a time so you know what worked.

Good luck!

the scores will distort the shape from a perfect circle

 

a photo would be useful.

I had a similar problem (I’ve even posted a picture of one of my breads, which "tore open" on one side). Here are some thoughts about the issue. I’ve made each of these mistakes at least once.

- Perhaps there is a spot in your oven where the heat doesn’t flow. If you have an infrared thermometer can can take readings. I’ve found that when you bake more than one bread at once, you can really see if there is a difference between center and side, front and back, etc.

- Perhaps there is more flour on one side of your boules, or the surface of the dough has dried up. This leads to uneven rise in the oven. The pressure will make the bread crack at a weak spot

- Make sure you slash the dough on top, not on the sides. Make sure you slash the dough right before baking, and not in advance.

- Observe if the slashes expand fast, then "dry up" in the first few minutes before the bread rises. That would indicate overproofing, I think.

- Make sure you don’t drop the dough too heavily on the cooking surface. I used to damage some of my breads by making them slide down from a large cutting board. They were literally plunging to their death. The "impacted" side gets compressed.