Too much Spring?

Hi All and Greetings from New Zealand. I have been baking using my own starter for a few months and have had some success. Recently however I have had the problem of 'too much' oven spring (see photo). I'm using a mix of wholemeal and white flours and after proving the dough goes in the fridge overnight, wrapped in floured cloth. Out after 12 hours and left for two more to warm up. At this stage the dough does seem to have 'crusted' a little and the surface is a bit tough. In the oven at 240C for 10 mins then reduce to 210 for 20 mins. Doesn't seem to matter whether I use a stone or not, always get some split and sometimes the whole loaf nearly splits in two!  Tastes good, but would like to hear what I may be doing wrong. Cheers.

Homebrew 60

20 comments

hmmm, I also get crazy oven spring, like doubling in height or more, but never to the point of splitting. I can score up to an inch deep, and it just fills in when baking. the dough getting crusty as mentioned may be the problem. the crust is starting out hard, before it even gets in the oven. if not soft the oven spring has nowhere to go, so to speak, so the loaf splits. being cool and dry in a fridge will dry things out faster, adding to the problem. most will put the dough it's a plastic bag and seal it for the fridge. that should keep drying to a minimum. are you using some steam the first 10 minutes or so of baking? that should slow crust formation, allowing a full spring before the crust is hard enough to split. and after all that, i have to say that I have heard, here in these forums, that a good sourdough should open up like a flower. looks like you got it!

Thanks phaz, I did wonder whether the dryness was the cause. Baking today so will try plastic bag and maybe even oil the dough too??  Yes I do spray water in the oven beforehand but may try a tray of water to see if I can get better conditions?  Cheers.

Homebrew 60

I usually toss in a half to 3/4 cup hot water in the broiler pan set on the bottom of the oven. dough goes in first, then the water so the dough gets that big hit of steam right off. I have a gas oven and that will last about 10 minutes. good luck, and let us know how it goes!

You might try covering the dough with a plastic cover like this.

Dough cover

Then I would let it proof longer (30 min. to 1 hr.) when you pull it from the fridge. Then try spraying the crust with water just before you place it in the oven.

Nice looking bread over all!.

Hello Homebrew,

All good advice re keeping a humid atmosphere while proving and the early stages of baking to keep the skin soft and stretchable until the heat rising gets going.

One other thought would be to make your slashes under-cut rather than vertical as they seem to be.  Just incline your blade at say 30 degrees to the surface rather than at right angles and you don't have to cut particularly deep either.  Just enough to create a weakness to facilitate rising but not so great as to allow too easy a separation.

Good luck with your projects.

Farinam

Thanks everyone for the tips - today I baked two small, all white flour, loaves using the information and guess what?  They both split on the BOTTOM for some reason!  In fridge overnight and out for two hours, kept surface moist, plenty of steam (I think) and looked good to start with, then after 10 mins or so I saw the bottom lift off the stone.  Crumb not very open either so maybe need longer proof?  13C in the kitchen first thing this morning before the heating kicked in so took a while to warm up?  Tried to upload photo but the add photo bar is missing!

 

 

Homebrew 60

what may help is baking at about 210C for the entire bake. that will also delay the crust a little more, along with baking time. photo - I believe you have to start a new thread to add a picture. that's the only way I found to upload a pic, but I do this from a mobile device, may make a difference.
site error

Hi phaz,

There have been problems with the site for some time now.  Maedi is trying to sort it out.  I gather it is an ISP problem.

On the subject of inserting photos, it is possible to just copy/paste into an entry.  If you look at the html code for the entry when you do this there appears to be a heap of gobbledegook as all of the bits in the image are converted to text equivalents but the picture comes out alright when the page is viewed.

Keep on bakin'

Farinam

thank you farinam,I didn't know I could do that here. my site error post was due to a double post, and I was just trying to remove the duplicate, and that got a little messy. I never know if it's site, or my device,I tend to use a lot of experimental software. I'll remember the copy/ paste for the pics!

Yep, I think your still under proofed but you may also have some loaf forming issues. Are you forming and placing the loaves in a bannatons? Are you forming before or after fermintation in the fridge?

Hi Shasta, 

yes I form the loaves in a cane basket (haven't got around to getting bannetons yet) in floured cloth before they go in the fridge.  Probably the forming needs more practise though - some of the instructions are a little confusing on this. I do try to make a tight, round ball though.  Perhaps I need to concentrate on the seal with my little finger!!  Cheers

 

 

Homebrew 60

Hi Shasta, 

yes I form the loaves in a cane basket (haven't got around to getting bannetons yet) in floured cloth before they go in the fridge.  Probably the forming needs more practise though - some of the instructions are a little confusing on this. I do try to make a tight, round ball though.  Perhaps I need to concentrate on the seal with my little finger!!  This is the bottom of the loaf that split - managed to work out the photo......Cheers

 

Homebrew 60

Hello Homebrew,

I think this problem is definitely down to shaping technique in one form or another.

Not sure what dough hydration you are working at but it looks as if it could be a bit on the low side.  This can give problems with getting a good welding between surfaces and you would have to be really firm to get the pinches to seal.

Another potential problem is if you have too much (none is good) flour on your bench while shaping as this can also make sealing the joins difficult as well.

Any plane of weakness in the skin of the loaf will split in the oven as the loaf rises and it will split at the weakest.  This is the idea of the slashes as it gives you control over where the split occurs and also allows you to control the shape of the loaf by varying the pattern and depth of the slashes.

I would consider adding a few more grams of water to your recipe to raise the hydration to make getting a seal easier.  You should be able to go to 70% or more without any problem.

In terms of forming a boule (which is what you seem to be doing at the moment), hands on either side rotating the dough in contact with the bench with a downwards action to stretch and tighten the top surface is the way to go.  At the same time, bringing the outside of the hands almost together under the dough at the end of each rotation should make the seal if the dough is the right consistency and if it is properly developed it won't stick to the bench (or your hands) even without flour.

Good luck with your projects.

Farinam

excellent video on shaping. I found it to be a big help http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=RgqPli_sLLM&feature=related

I agree with Farinam. A little more water, and as little flour on the work surface as you can work with. You want to have one nice seal line on the bottom of the loaf. 

Well, thanks for all the ideas. Sounds as if I need a bit more practice on the forming. Next bake I will try a little more water. Not sure what my hydration is - I usually just add until it 'feels' right. Maybe I should be a little more scientific.......

Thanks again - I'll let you know how I get on.  Cheers

Homebrew 60

Hi Homebrew,

I think, particularly in the early stages, it is well worth while being as accurate as possible with your ingredients by using an electronic scale to get the masses within a gram or two.  Cup measurements are firstly not standard depending on which country you are in and second are difficult to reproduce accurately without a lot of care as to technique, weather conditions etc.  Once you get a feel for it, then it is probably OK to go a bit more by look and feel. 

Even when you are more comfortable within yourself, I think it is worth persisting with the accurate approach given that most of us are not baking day-in, day-out as a professional baker would be and our ability to accurately eye-ball the amounts and textures will be less well developed as a consequence.

Keep on bakin'

Farinam

OK - thanks Farinam, I do try and follow and weigh, then panic a little when the dough doesn't feel right. Next time I'll do it 'by the book' and see. Aaaah patience!

Homebrew 60

Hi Homebrew,

This is a trap that lots of people fall into - I know I did in the early days of bread making.  The dough seems wet and sticky so you add more flour until it doesn't stick and then by the time you have finished it is too stiff.

There are two main factors.  The stickiness does go away when the gluten starts to develop and if you persist, it is amazing how the dough changes. 

The other factor that contributes to the problem when people add extra flour is the time that it takes for the starch granules in the flour to wet and absorb water so it is very easy to add too much.  You might notice that some recipes advise holding back some of the liquid and adding that to adjust texture because that is more controllable than the other way around. 

This time lag in wetting and absorption is also part of the reason for the autolyse stage in preparing a dough.  However, there is an additional factor that comes into play as there is also an enzymatic reaction that gets the gluten development started as well.  If you don't include an autolyse stage in your dough development, then you should and you will notice a distinct difference when you do start to knead/develop your dough by whatever method you use.

Good luck with your projects.

Farinam