Exploding bake


Hello all


First post here, so I hope all is good with you.


I've been baking for a couple of years and recently decided to give sourdough a go. A few false starts on making my own starter and now have one that works pretty well.

Quick method check.

Last thing at night I put 100g water, 100g strong white flour and 100 g starter, mix, cover and leave overnight

First thing in morning, add 150 g water and 225 g strong white flour, mix and cover and leave while I am at work.

Around 7 in the evening I'll add 250 g strong white flour and 1/2 Tbsp salt, mix and kneed for a couple of mins, rest for 10 mins and then kneed, repeat twice more and then leave for 45 mins. Kneed, shape and leave for 45 mins covered with cloth.

Oven: max, boiling water in tray

Cover loaf with flour, slash on four sides.

Bake: Max 20 mins, Gas 7 20 mins. Done


Except the last three loaves have exploded out on one side, the side of the oven door..


Why? Slashes not deep enough, too close to edge...


Thank you for reading



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farinam's picture
farinam 2012 January 8

Hello Hank,

Welcome to our world.

Based on the numbers you have given, your hydration is quite low at 48%.

Bursting like that usually occurs when the skin of the loaf has set before internal rising has had time to complete and there is sufficient rise to create enough force to tear the skin.

I am not sure about the significance of your step to cover the loaf with flour - is there a particular reason for that?

The other thing is, I imagine that with your gas oven flat out, the temperature could be of the order of 260C which is maybe a bit high for such a long period and could be contributing to the problem.  I would think in terms of reducing the setting to GasMark 8 just before  you put your loaf in and maybe reduce to 7 a bit earlier and then to 6 for the last 10 minutes.  The slightly lower temperatures might retard the skin formation enough to prevent the split.

You don't say whether you take the steam bath out, but if I use one, I usually take it out after 12/15 minutes.

The other thing I would think about, if the numbers you have given are correct, is to increase the hydration of your dough.  You can go to at least 70% and still have an eminently handleable dough.

Let us know how you go.


Hankjam 2012 January 9

Hello Farinam


Many thanks for your reply.


I've got a loaf going overnight and will take what you say and give it a go, not so hot (your suggestion) and bit wetter (64%).


I may have been not too clear about "covering with flour", dusting really.


I have had some difficulty with the proving stage with wetter doughs. Sometimes I''ve tried a proving basket but had trouble getting it out without losing the shape and when I left it on a baking sheet, it just flattens out.... so I went to the drier dough.


Take care



Old Possum's picture
Old Possum 2012 January 9

Hi Hank -


You may also have an oven with a hotter spot in the front so I would rotate the loaf half way through the bake to even it out. Otherwise I agree with Farinam about starting out with a slightly lower temperature.



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