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lizztwozee

Developing a Bread Lip

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Greetings, baking experts! The photo below is taken with two loaves of bread, baked at 450 degrees, at 63% hydration, using bread and AP flour, with a little whole wheat thrown in. The one on the left does not have the spectacular "lip" like the one on the right. Any thoughts as to how to plan for this? A few differences in the process: the "lip" loaves seem to happen in the back of the oven, where it's just a bit hotter, and this one may have been baked just a bit less proofed than the one on the left. I bake on a stone, which takes up almost the entirety of my rack, and with an infinite control (commercial electric oven) set to "high". Any thoughts?

Lizz

bread_comparison.jpg


Lizz

---

"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

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They both are slashed in a long "smile" with a baker's lame, 45 degree angle, then undermined a bit.


Lizz

---

"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

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I just learned from the Bar Symon thread that this is called the grigne. Never thought of it before.

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Lizz,

I am not a baking expert and I don't have an answer for you. I hope I am not annoying with my question, could you please explain to me why the lip is preferred to the non-lip?

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Producing that gaping split along the centre of a loaf looks most effective when the type of bread is going to show a great contrast between the grigne and the rest of the crust as in this picture of oat & honey:

oat & honey 03 small.jpg

I usually use a scalloped bread knife for this. Make a bold slash in a straight line slightly off centre with the blade held at an angle of about 45 degrees towards the centre of the dough.

Mick


Mick Hartley

The PArtisan Baker

bethesdabakers

"I can give you more pep than that store bought yeast" - Evolution Mama (don't you make a monkey out of me)

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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's all about heat distribution. When I look at the picture of the two loaves, the left sides of each are amazingly similar. Given that, I want to rule proofing out.

Yes, there may have been a difference in proofing, but why did they both behave the same on the left side, and so radically different on the right? Oven location has already been implicated, so I say let's go with that as the primary suspect.

I think the next step has to be a controlled study with the same dough batches, the same proofing, the same everything. I'm homing in on my baguettes in a similar way. Once you're getting a good result (which it certainly appears you are), you have to tip-toe around in a methodical fashion to find the path to perfection.

And one of the most amazing truths I found from the internet is that no one can ever give you advice suited to the oven you're using. Or in the way you're using it.

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Am I a Philistine for thinking the one on the left looks about 1000x more appetizing?


"Degenerates. Degenerates. They'll all turn into monkeys." --Zizek on vegetarians

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I always thought the quality of the "bread lip" was determined by the depth, angle, and length of slash, and not much else. My first impression when I saw the loaves in the OP: the bread on the left was slashed with a more shallow cut.

Ideally, the slash should bake into an overleaf, a fold above the loaf. Bigger is not always better. Slashing is beautiful, but its purpose is to even baking as gases are released, and to give an even, symmetrical shape to the loaf. Yes?

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I often wondered why two or three loaves from the same batch, proofed the same amt of time and slashed in the same manner would behave so differently from one to another in terms of grigne (otherwise referred to as "ears" but hey, "lips" works too). I thought it must be because of uneven temperature. However, I'm happy to say I've been able to achieve consistent results by changing my steaming method. Now I can load three baguettes into the oven and all will develop a good grigne.

So Lizz, I think your bread looks properly proofed and scored, so you might want to play with your steaming technique (am happy to share mine if you're interested).

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Yes, please share! I have a beat-up old cookie sheet that I place in the bottom of the oven, and allow to preheat. When the bread goes in, I pour about .25 cup of boiling water on it, and spill a little on the oven door as I'm closing it. I have a Vulcan electric, that has an opening at the back, so the steam goes right out, but maybe a bit hangs around to fall on top of the loaves. I've also tried spraying the tops of the loaves, but that dissolves the flour veil, so I'm not so keen on it.


Lizz

---

"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

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Bake under a cloche for the first 2/3rds of the bake - find a basin or casserole that you preheat and put over the loaf when you put it in the oven.


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Achieving a good ear--partially it's about a good slash, but also about catching the loaf at the right moment. If the bread is under-proofed, it will open up wide like the left hand loaf in the photo above. You want it to open up, but not so much as to wipe out the scoring. Only baking the same loaf, over and over, will give you enough "feel" to know exactly when to score it; you're baking in a home kitchen, so the ambient temp will vary according to the season, the exact spot where the loaf is rising, the temp of the dough, etc etc. I tend to be impatient during the final rise, and I usually end up with delicious, holey, loaves, but sadly, no grigne.

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Thanks, all for your excellent advice. I'm pretty convinced it's the rise that creates the more forceful oven spring. I mistakenly shaved 1/2 hr. off the rise on the 6 loaves that went in together, and came out with the super-grigne. I love the idea of the hot cloche, jackal -- I have read your posts with fascination. Great idea.


Lizz

---

"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

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Lizz,

I've used just about every trick in the book to achieve steam (including the cloche or other tenting technique). The steaming towel approach has worked best for me. I like the crust better, it's easy, and I can bake three 20 inch baguettes at the same time - hard to do with tenting. I might add that my oven is a 50 year old electric - nothing fancy!

I have a stone on the bottom shelf - on the UPPER rack, I place two large aluminum bread pans that I fill halfway up with lava rocks (I suppose the rocks are optional but since I have them from previous steaming approaches, it certainly it can't hurt - they add thermal mass)- one pan is to the left the other to the right of the stove. This all gets preheated a 45 minutes or so. Just before I slash the bread I saturate two dish towels into boiling water and then quickly place them on top of the two bread pans and close the door. Then I slash the bread and quickly load it in the oven and splash a little of the boiling water onto the towel/rock). Set the timer for 12 minutes and then remove the steaming pans. You'll see that they are still generating a lot of steam when you take them out.

I would have thought that it'd be problematic to have the steam source on the top rather underneath the bread, but it works great. Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you.


Edited by teapot (log)

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