Large air hole


I've been making sourdough bread for over a year, with good results, but recently I've had problems with a large air hole at the top of the bread, just below the crust.  The only thing I've changed is to move a metal baking tray to a cloche. I'm slitting the bread at the top in the same way, so would expect gases to be able to vent.  The cloche is supposed to keep the top of the loaf moist so that it doesn't harden too quickly, so perhaps this isn't working. I've noticed that the cloche base doesn't get as hot as the metal tray did when I preheat it.

I'm inclined to blame the cloche for the problem, but could I be under or over proving the bread?  The cloche is certainly not as hard work!  Any advice would be welcome.


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farinam's picture
farinam 2014 March 18

Hello Don,

One possibility is that it comes about from your loaf shaping.  If the dough hydration is too low then sometimes the layers do not rejoin leaving air trapped that then expands in baking giving separation of the layers.  This can also be brought about by using too much flour on the bench (best to use none if you can manage it and the bare minimum if you have to).

I think that there is little gas migration during baking, only expansion due to heating, so mostly the gas is in situ and will only have a little added by the extra fermentation until the yeast is killed off by the heat.

If you haven't changed your recipe or flour recently, it is possible that the potential was always there for the bubble but the delayed crust formation under the cloche has allowed for greater expansion and separation of layers.

Hope this helps.

Good luck with your projects.


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