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And how can I avoid them? This happens a lot when I make just regular white bread and almost every time I make cinnamon swirl bread. The top swirl creates a really big gap no matter how tight I roll the dough. Thoughts?

Swirling hole of mystery

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2 Answers 2

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It's typically a problem with large pockets of air in the dough before you bake it.

For the cinnamon swirl bread, try to make sure that you're not getting air trapped when rolling it.

For other loaves, you want to make sure to punch it down well after the first rise, and make sure you aren't trapping air in it if you're doing a stretch and fold when shaping it.

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Interesting question! You probably have seen other ideas on-line: adding starch to your filling, rolling tightly, pulsing the filling finely, painting the dough with egg wash, piercing the dough, and the “Russian braid"—-all useful techniques and ones that I use.

There is yet another possible solution, which no one seems to have suggested (as best I can tell). I have just ordered some confectioner’s erythritol, but haven’t conducted any expensive experiments yet. It seems that erythritol is the only non-hygroscopic sweetener out there. As you may know, a big part of gapping is the moisture-content of the filling. The wetter the filling, the more water-expansion occurs during baking—-often resulting in those those horrible holes (even if the taste is great). Unlike sugar, which sucks moisture out of the dough and results in steam, erythritol does not work this way.

I make a lot of Romanian-style filled brioche: “cozonac.” I want to try to make my dough with regular sugar in the dough itself and make a filling with less “water-attracting” erythritol. I suspect that this would eliminate/lessen the steam build-up during baking and, thus, get rid-of the holes. Erythritol is only 70 percent as sweet as sugar, so the filling will need proportionately more sweetener.

It may just be the fix you need!

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    Sugar does not “suck moisture out of the dough”, and the bubbles in bread are not caused by steam (the interior does not reach boiling temperature during baking).
    – Sneftel
    Dec 1, 2022 at 11:19
  • If you've ever baked cinnamon bread and seen gaps on the inside, this IS the result of steam from the filling and the extraction of sugar from the dough, proper. "Bubbles in the bread" are quite another matter.
    – Jim
    Feb 8, 2023 at 0:30

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