I just baked this bread using sour dough. Why is there a large hole in it? What can I do to prevent this from happening next time?

Pre oven: enter image description here

Post oven:

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Is this rye bread? And is the texture of the crumb (where there is no hole) OK? May 13, 2018 at 2:27
  • @rackandboneman no, there is no rye (only flour). The texture is fine, apart from the whole.
    – smoksnes
    May 13, 2018 at 17:25
  • A similar thing happened to me a few months ago but the cavity was 80% of the shell, leaving nothing edible. It was my first time using a Fibrament stone. Perhaps I didn't heat the stone enough. I did do slashes. I placed the dough on the stone and covered with a large stainless bowl, thinking that would create the necessary steam. I tried again a week later; the cavity was smaller, cut it was still a flop. Now I'm gun shy and haven't used the Fibrament since. I'm back to the cloche or Dutch oven method.
    – Arlo
    May 15, 2018 at 21:46

2 Answers 2


You got close, it looks like you had good gluten and structure, I think there's a maybe more than one thing you can do to prevent this:

  • This looks underproofed: You have bigger air holes on the top of the bread than the bottom, especially apparent on the bottom right of the bottom picture. A bit longer in the basket would have let the dough open up a bit more. It's possible you over rather than underproofed it, but my money's on under
  • A large air bubble may have existed in the dough, before shaping it knocking it back a bit would be good
  • You need to slash the top just before baking. Bakers use a special knife for this but you can use a carpet knife or a box cutter instead. A quick slash or two a couple of centimeters (about half an inch) deep will let the loaf open up, and large air bubbles on the top can't form because the air can escape. I do a cross cut in the center of the loaf, 1/3 to 1/2 of the diameter of the bread

One thing also, if you don't have steam in the oven the crust will form too quickly and you won't get oven spring, resulting in a tight loaf. Put a pan of boiling water in a few minutes before you put your loaf in to bake, then take it out after 20 minutes if it hasn't all boiled out. This has nothing to do with the big hole, it's just a tip.

  • Some carpet knives and box cutters come with blades coated in a grease that I would very much doubt being food safe... May 13, 2018 at 2:30
  • That's a good point @rackandboneman, a quick clean with some dish soap will usually take care of that, and any residue won't be enough to notice.
    – GdD
    May 13, 2018 at 8:04
  • What is the name of the proper knife used for it? May 13, 2018 at 8:22
  • 1
    @user1997744 it is called a lame.
    – moscafj
    May 13, 2018 at 11:05
  • A fresh razor blade might work, though even they tend to have mystery coatings at times these days (I would assume them to be reasonably safe though, given that blood stream contact must be assumed in the worst case)... Actually... a bit of edible oil on a blade could help here, especially when using some other very sharp generic knife (eg a sashimi knife).... May 13, 2018 at 13:05

This looks like "flying crust". See http://artisanbreadbaking.com/problems/. The cause is usually that your loaf was allowed to rise for too long in too dry an environment.

Make sure that you proof the loaf in a humid environment. I cover mine with a large clear plastic box, which does the trick.

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