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I've been using this setup for 60% hydration dough:

20 mins in cloche, covered, 500° 10 mins in cloche, covered, 450° 20+ mins uncovered, 450°

For all intents and purposes, the cloche works like a Dutch oven, trapping moisture:

enter image description here enter image description here

(You can see in my second photo my rescue attempt)

I've got a baking sheet with water to maintain humidity in the oven as I bake it.

The problem I'm running into is that when I score the bread (1/4" - 1/2", single cut along the centre, trying my best for a 45° angle, immediately before it goes in the oven), the score actually glazes over, becoming part of the crust, and preventing the score from doing it's job of 'ventilation'. The first time this happened, my dough blew out. The next two times, I've caught it happening in the first 5 mins and re-scored it after it's been in the oven.

So, two questions:

  1. Is scoring bread after it's baked for a few minutes a common thing? Do bakers do this?
  2. If not, what can I do to my baking method to prevent the score from crusting over?
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    What angle are you cutting it at? if you just cut down, it's not as effective as cutting a flap that can open up as the bread bakes ... and you often want to cut much deeper than a 1/2" – Joe Jun 4 '17 at 17:50
  • @joe trying my best for a 45° angle. – brandonscript Jun 4 '17 at 17:51
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  • What do you think is supposed to happen? The score is there to allow the expansion of the dough and then it IS part if the crust after is sets. Perhaps you think it should expand more? I would suggest that covering the loaf with a cloche is not going to allow the moister in your pan to reach the loaf. The dutch oven method is dependent on the steam generated inside of the cloche. Once the crust is set the moister has done its job. – Alaska Man Jun 4 '17 at 20:33
  • Hrm. Interesting thought. Before I tried the pan + water for steam, the crust was hardening so quickly under the cloche the bread was blowing out. But now I'm seeing it so wet that the crust is glazing over the score instead of glazing beside it, while the score expands gently. – brandonscript Jun 4 '17 at 21:28
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It looks like there may be some misunderstanding about how the cloche is supposed to work, and what scoring will/should look like. I think the bread in your photo looked like it didn't need any further scoring. I think it looked like a great result, since there aren't any visible blow outs on the bottom. If you preheat the cloche in the oven, and put the bread in, with one or two deep scores, you should get some spring and steam from the oven as the water escapes from the bread inside the cloche. This is what causes the wide opening of your score. The fact that it doesn't look like the "leaf" or "lip" that professional bakers get is mostly due to practice with the angle/depth of the score, and likely the amount of steam that is in the oven. The cloche will create some steam, but not as much as is in a commercial oven with steam jets. I don't see anything wrong with your pictured loaf. It may be different from what you were expecting, but I think it is perfectly fine. There was probably no need to do the second scoring.

  • Sadly I wish it were true! But I’ve tried it without the second score (just a single before I put it in), and it blows out every time. – brandonscript Sep 5 '17 at 13:57
  • I guess it must need a deeper score then. – Jennifer S Sep 6 '17 at 14:55
  • I’ve been out of town a lot lately and haven’t been baking, but I’ll definitely try a deeper (perhaps more angled) score next time. – brandonscript Sep 6 '17 at 14:58

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