Slashing Cold Overnight Loaves

This is a repeat from a now discontinued blog.

This bake was done to show what can happen with loaves that are proofed overnight in the fridge, and the effect of different types of slashes.

Loaves proofed overnight in the fridge have a tendency toward two things, a thick dryish skin,and even after a warm up period the core of the loaf is colder than the surrounding dough. These two factors can have a dramatic effect on your final loaf as you will see following.

It is my belief that:-

1. The colder core will cause a tear in the loaf due to the outer section and skin cooking before the colder core has time to expand.

2. The type of slash is important to control both the final shape of the loaf and its crumb structure.

The loaves were mixed as a single batch of dough starting at 3.00PM in the afternoon. They are all white bakers flour at 12.5% protein and the dough is at 64% hydration. The dough was bulk proofed in a proofing box at 25C until 7.00PM at which time they were shaped and put in cloth lined bannetons, and placed in the fridge at 4C.

At 6.00AM the following morning the first loaf was taken from the fridge, and the other loaves were taken out at 1 hour intervals (45min baking time and 15min oven reheat time).

Each loaf was allowed to warm up for 3 hours, which is a bit longer than I usually allow as I wanted to maximise any initial slump without actually over-proofing, and I didn’t want to produce a tear from baking under-proofed.

The oven and baking stone were heated to 210C, and 15min before putting each loaf in to bake the oven was turned up to 230C and then turned down to 210C after the first 5min of baking. On putting the loaf into the oven, 6 ice cubes were put into a tray in the bottom of the oven, and the top of the loaf was sprayed with water 3 times in the first five min. Total baking time was 45min.

To show the flexibility of a one day loaf, which in theory is the same temperature right to the core, I post the following picture. This loaf was made with the same recipe and method as the others, without the overnight in the fridge. Note the good shape and no tearing.

new_image-0007.jpg

The following pic shows the overnight loaf with the traditional “Vienna” style of slash, you will note the tear and the rounded profile caused by the cooked bands of crust holding the loaf tightly. The loaf has not expanded to its full potential as you will see from the crumb pic shown later.

new_image-0002.jpg

The following pic shows the effect of a slash down the centre line, it has allowed the loaf to spread and it has allowed the crumb structure to open up, pic shown later. There is still some tearing.

new_image-0003.jpg

The next pic shows a slashing halfway between the previous two, it has allowed some spread and opening of the crumb, there is a small tear but the loaf has held a better shape.

new_image-0004.jpg

A good comparison of the three loaves can be seen following. The centre-line slash has allowed a wide spread which actually shortened the loaf.

new_image-0005.jpg

You can see the difference in the crumb structure in the following two pics. The first is the tightish crumb which has not been allowed to expand in the “Vienna” style slash and tight crust. The second is the more open crumb of the centre-line slash.

new_image-0006.jpg
new_image-0001.jpg
As you can see, the type of slash you put in your overnight loaves can indeed affect the final result, both in shape and crumb structure.

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Published in: on June 28, 2006 at 2:53 pm  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. [...] Talking about learning something from every bread I bake…. this bread baked straight from proofing in the fridge had a long tear along the bottom, just like Bill said in his blog. And, according to Jack, that won’t happen if I made a deeper cut. [...]

  2. [...] Slashing the dough is more than just a way of making your loaf look professional or distinctive. One use of it in times past was to distinguish your loaves when they were baked in a communal oven. But they are also a way of controlling the growth of the dough when baking. The more oven spring that you have, the more likely it is that your loaf will burst or split, with a resulting uneven appearance, or unsightly ‘hump’. So creating a weakness in the surface allows you to direct where the loaf will expand most. However the number and direction of these will also affect the crumb of the loaf. See Bill’s blog on slashing loaves. The fancy french term for the slash in the top of a loaf is a ‘grigne’ (lit. ‘grin’ ) [...]

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  5. I can tell that this is not the first time at all that you mention the topic. Why have you decided to write about it again?

  6. This is very hot information. I think I’ll share it on Twitter.


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