Cracking during baking


Hi guys,

first time posting on here. So I've just put my 2nd attempt at a spelt sourdough loaf on the cooling rack, the first edition had a great flavour and shape etc. Unfortunately both loaves have had a huge split along both flanks, which makes it very difficult to cut/very crusty. I'm looking for some tips on preventing this from happening during my next cook. Is the oven too hot? That is the only thing I can think of, that the bread is rising too fast or something....


Below are some links to pictures of the 2nd loaf, and the ominous 'splits'



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farinam's picture
farinam 2014 February 3

Hi Patrick,

A loaf will split at a point of weakness or of high stress and if the skin of a loaf gets too dry too early in the bake this will often be at the base where there is a 'sharp' corner causing stress.

Yours is interesting it that it appears that your loaf hasn't actually risen much and the slashes have opened little if at all which would seem to confirm that the skin of the loaf has been too dry too soon.  This could be because it has dried during proving or because the atmosphere in the oven was very dry.  The lack of rise could be due to over-proving as well.

You didn't give anything in the way of detail of your recipe and the temperature and time that you were working and baking at so further comments will be fairly general.

Make sure that you loaf doesn't dry out during proving by enclosing it in a large plastic bag, covering with a damp cloth or covered over a tub with some warm water.

Check the sealing of your oven and consider adding steam to the first part of the bake.  There are a number of methods that are used to do this ranging from misting from a spray bottle through to trays of boiling water or even throwing in ice-cubes.

It would also seem that you have slashed the loaf more in an across direction.  A better result is often obtained by slashing only at a slight angle to the long axis of the loaf and with the blade at a low angle to make an under-cut.  This provides a controlled point of weakness for the loaf to fail at and expand to.

Get familiar with what a properly proved loaf is like and try to learn to apply the poke test.  In any case, slightly under-proved is better than over-proved.  And be aware that the pace that things happen is quite strongly dependent on temperature so go on what the dough is telling you rather than following the clock as described in some recipe or other.

And another thing, keep on practicing, it is quite amazing how after a few repetitions, less than perfect results get better and better with nothing more than your improved sense of look and feel.

Good luck with your projects.


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