Experimenting with Andrew Whitely's really simple sourdough formula I continually get a split at the shoulder of the loaf. I thought I might not be proving long enough or too long, so I've done two loaves with significantly different proving times. The picture shows 2 loaves: the one on the left proved for 16 hours and the one on the right proved for 8. The difference in proving time doesn't seem to done anything. Next step, I suppose, is to try a stronger flour.
Here's the same loaf without the seed crust. It's been slashed but still split at the shoulder.
THey look delicious! Unless you are trying to win a prize I would not worry about anything except flavour! However, if you are genuinely concerned, and you have experimented with proofing, it sounds like it could be that your dough is too dry OR that you need to refresh your sourdough for longer. How long are you refreshing your sourdough before you make the final bread dough to proof? What kind of flour are you using?
I'll second virtuousbread.com's appraisal: seemingly delicious bread you've got on your hands / in your contented belly. Regarding the tear, I suspect that oven spring is the cause, for I don't see any scoring on top of the loaves (the seeds may be concealing any cut). The last surge of yeast activity when the loaves are placed into the oven leads to a final rise; this is oven spring, abrupt and apt to tear a loaf if a slash or two is not made atop the loaf to accommodate the expansion.
Hope that helps!
As Saccharomyces suggests, I also think you might need to slash the loaves to release some of the pressure when they "spring" in the oven. If it's quite a rye-y bread, some folk suggest poking it all over with a skewer prior to baking instead of the more traditional slash. I've not tried this, but I believe they do it for some of the German ryes.
Thanks for the responses everyone.
The loaf on the right was slashed. As mentioned, it's difficult to see the slashes through all the seeds. The slashes weren't very large, so maybe I'll try larger ones.
The bread is almost 100% wholemeal wheat with only a small portion (40g) of rye from the starter.
When I tried the loaf on the right (8 hour proof), you could see it was seriously under-proved - very dense, almost undercooked, despite baking for the usual time for this loaf.
I can't remember the exact refreshment time for these loaves but generally I refresh approx. 12-24 hours before making the dough. My starter is a rye starter, 200% hydration.
i use andrews recipes a fair bit and a 200% hydro rye starter, I normally use starter about 5-6 hours after refresh when its really frothy.
theres a section in his bread matters book regarding sourdough probs aswell if this in of no help.
I think that "really simple sour dough" looks wonderful -- where's the recipe you're using? I ain't worried about shoulder rips or whatever it is, the bread's gorgeous! Trish of Paekakariki
Trish, here's the formula:
Mix and knead and place in a greased tin. Prove for 10-12 hours. Bake in 230*C oven (reduce to 200*C after 10 minutes). Leave the loaf a day before cutting as the crumb is quite sticky.