just when you think you've got it...


My last couple of loaves were really nice. the most recent one is still in the oven for about 15 mins, but I can already see that I didn't get ANY oven spring. Grumble.

Anyway, thinking about my oven spring, or the lack thereof, what is better:

1. preheat the oven so that it's piping hot

2. preheat the oven so that it's hot, but more cozy.


in my mind, not making it very hot should allow for a better spring, though experience showed me otherwise. would anyone out there have an answer to my dilemma, hopefully before 7pm Melbourne time, as I am putting another loaf in the oven then for a friend.


Thanks a million,



115 users have voted.


Mr_Punchy's picture
Mr_Punchy 2012 July 6

Hey there Olivier,

I have two sandstone tiles (actually pavers from the hardware store) and I turn my oven on to its hottest setting (mine goes to 260C).  I have a baking tray (my one is cast iron, but any will do) sitting in the bottom of the oven, and as soon as I put the loaves in, I pour some boiling water into the baking tray and shut the door.  Then after 30 seconds I open the oven door and spray the inside walls of the oven with a water sprayer.  Then I spray it again and again after 30 seconds each. Then I bake for 15 mins at this high temp and turn the oven down to 190 and bake for a further 30mins.  Works great every time.  

Good luck!!!

Mr P.

Cielkaye 2012 July 6

Hi Olivier, I am also in Melbourne, in Carlton North. I have tried the method mentioned above by Mr Punchy and I know a lot of people swear by it, but I get more consistent results using a stinking hot cast iron casserole (with lid) or a clay baker called a romertopf. Peters of Kensington sell them dirt cheap online. I preheat mine to 250c for at least half an hour, and then bake for half an hour with the lid on, then 10 to 15 minutes with the lid off.


I have also found that wetter dough gives better oven spring, as does a loaf that has not been allowed to overproof.


There is lots of info here about both these things on this website. I followed Farinam's advice, being that the time taken for your starter to reach its maximum growth is generally the time it takes for your loaf to proof. In my case this is about 8 hours.


Also, as I am using quite wet dough, I find that putting the loaf (just shy of being fully proved), in its banneton in a lightly tied supermarket plastic carry bag in the fridge overnight allows a very wet loaf to hold its shape better and be slashed before getting it into the oven. The loaf continues to rise in the fridge.

Mr_Punchy's picture
Mr_Punchy 2012 July 6

I agree with Cielkaye too.  I sometimes use my Le Creuset casserole dish as a bread "Dutch oven" and it works great.   I use quite a wet dough too, around 70% hydration.  And the overnight retardation of the loaf creates a wonderful golden crust and amazing flavour.

Olivier 2012 July 6

Thanks guys,

I am going to try my LeCreuset with the cooking instructions from CielKaye. My dough has been resting the whole day in the leaving room, not in the fridge. My hydration is 67.5%, I hope it will be enough. Do you put flour in the casserole to stop the bread from sticking?

Cielkaye 2012 July 6

 Olivier, I upend the dough onto a piece of baking parchment and load it into the pot. No dusting etc necessary. Use enough paper so you don't burn your hands.

Old Possum's picture
Old Possum 2012 July 7

I usually dust my "peel" (actually a flexible chopping sheet)  with semolina and then turn out my loaf from the banneton seam side down onto the semolina'd peel and then slide it into my roaster, spritz it with water and pop on the lid. The flexible sheet makes it easy as my roaster is oval. Bake covered for 20-30 minutes depending on size of loaf and then 10-15 to finish. I get great spring. Otherwise the parchment works but can scorch. 

gongoozler 2012 July 8

 I put my loaf into a La Cloche clay baker in a very hot oven (270C) and get plenty of oven spring. I believe that the key thing is not to overprove. Use a "poke" test as I have found that timings can vary quite a lot depending on conditions, temperature etc.

I. too, use a suitably sized piece of baking parchment for conveying the loaf from bench to roaster.

Happy baking!

Olivier 2012 July 11

Hi there,


went great, thank you for your help! I didn't take any pictures this time, but will next time and post them.


take care and thanks again!



ps my mate loved the bread

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