Cuts didn't swell the way I would have liked.

I can't seem to get that final rise in the oven. I would expect and prefer the cuts to show a more prominent rise.

This bread is - 310g water - 501g bread flour (13%protein) - 12g salt - 20 grams fresh yeast.

Cold water and other ingredients. Machine pounding it for 14 minutes. First proofing 1h50 minutes. Second proofing 45 minutes. Kitchen temp is about 24C, 76F.

I brushed it with oil before second proofing, covered it in clingfilm. It is dry here at wintertime.

The actual bread was quite nice.

The odd picture is just to acknowledge that most frying pans seems to be coders.


4 Answers 4


You have only 62% hydration for a dough with lots of protein, and then you put it for whole 14 minutes in the mixer.

You must be aware that gluten is a strong elastic mesh before it is baked. When you pull at it, it pulls back. Similarly, when the steam and other gases in the bread try to expand in the hot oven, the gluten keeps them from expanding too much. It is like pumping up a bicycle tire - the harder the tire rubber, the less it expands, even if you pump lots of air into it.

You must be aware that 1) French bread recipes at 60% hydration are meant for AP flour at ca. 10% gluten, not bread flour at 13% gluten (the flour variety for bread flour is not common in Europe), and 2) 15 minutes of kneading is typical for hand kneading, not for machine kneading. The combination of low hydration, high gluten flour and long machine kneading will give you a very strong gluten which will be quite resistant to expansion during rising.

If you want to have softer, larger loaves, you should work with more hydration. I frequently use 70% even with AP flour, it is still quite easy to work with with a good technique. You can also consider less kneading and/or using a softer flour.

If you want a stiffer, denser bread, you cannot get more rise. It is normal for these recipes to stay less risen. In this case, keep everything as it is, and eat the bread the way it is now - I see nothing especially wrong with it.


To encourage oven spring, you want to have a steamy environment in your oven for the first 5-10 minutes of the baking period. This will delay the setting of the crust, allowing better expansion.

For more details, see:

Good slashing can also help, allowing the dough to expand where it has not formed a tight net of gluten strands holding the loaf closely together. You can see some examples of the effect of different slash patterns at:

What effect do different slash patterns have on bread oven spring?

See also: * Why doesn't my bread rise in the oven? (Not first rise)

  • The manner of the slash makes a difference too. A slash down vertically into the bread rarely gets good results. A more oblique slash results in more pronounced 'ears' and generally a better looking loaf. Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 22:23
  • I did vertical slashes. Not sure wether that made the whole difference though. The slashings SAJ shows are amazing. Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 22:32

Since steam has already been covered, I'll skip to other points (but yes, steam, you need steam).

One of the most important points is that you don't want your bread to be absolutely fully proofed before you bake it. Instead of getting the maximum volume while proofing, you want to have a few inches of expansion left that will happen in the oven. This will help to really open up your slashes.

High oven heat helps to generate more steam to expand your loaf in the oven and give you cleaner cuts. This works in tandem with steam though, so if you can't get some steam into your oven it won't do you much good.

Finally, your cuts need to be deep enough to really open up. You could basically think of them as expansion joints. In a properly proofed loaf, if you cut one inch deep, you can get 2 inches of expansion (each side of the cut is one inch, so when stretched out, it allows 2 inches total). You're not just creating a weak spot in the outer gluten sheath of your loaf, you need to actually cut down into it a bit. I've seen some bakers cut over a quarter of the way through loaves when scoring. If you have trouble with the dough dragging on your blade, you can dust your loaf lightly with flour. Rice flour is frequently used for this.

So, the takeaway: try a slightly shorter final proof, a hotter oven (provided you have steam), and deeper cuts.

  1. Steam, has already been mentioned.
  2. Put your bread in a bread basket for proofing.
  3. For my taste it is too much yeast for that time.
  • How will a basket make any difference for oven spring?
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 15:54
  • In the basket the bread will keep his tension and will not flow. There will be more power left to rise while baking. And this makes a nice set off crust.
    – Sam
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 14:06

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