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Old 10-25-2007, 11:24 AM
MoonshineBaker's Avatar
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Default Burnt Bottoms of Bread

Here's an e-mail exchange with James Bairey on the issue of burning the bottoms of bread I've baked:


> James,
>
> I left a phone message this morning and this is a follow-up about burning the bottoms of loaves I'm baked in my Casa100. I've sent Tammy some pictures of the finished oven. It's a real delight to use. The burned bottoms have occurred twice before.
>
> I've looked around the "Forum" but haven't really seen any thoughts on this issue. Any ideas you might have would be appreciated.
>
> Here's the details of how I bake:
> I'm using the 65% hydration bread technique by Maver that was in the Forum. The thermometers are your BonJour for external temps and an instant read one for internal temps. I'm using oak and madrone to fire my Casa 100 until the dome is white for about an hour- the temperatures with just coals present after 2 hours are 900*F on the dome and 800*F on the sides; the coals were removed. At 3 hours since the fire was started and 1 hour after the coals were removed - door kept closed to even out the heat, the dome temperature was 640*F and the floor was 600*F. I cleaned the floor with a damp cloth and misted water into the chamber several times. Two leaves ( about 375 grams each ) went into the center-back of the oven about 10 minutes later; the center floor temperature at that time was 555*F. Got great oven spring when I checked it again in 5 minutes- misted once again. At 30 minutes in the oven, the loaves had a dark brown crust and internal temperature of 175*F - the bottoms looked a bit burnt even then. I removed the loaves at 40 minutes with an internal temperature of 199*F; the crust was a very dark brown and the bottoms had 1/8" of burnt crust. Floor temp of the oven was 510*F.
>
> I'll keep on experimenting - but any input you can give would really help me bake a better loaf.
>
> Thank you very much,
>
> MoonshineBaker

And his reply:

Hi

I got your voicemail also. I would definitely recommend posting this in the forum -- there are a lot of bakers in the group and I am sure you will get a lot of good tips. Your oven looks great!

Here are a couple of things that come to mind for me.

If you are baking a high hydration dough (65%) in a pretty hot oven (550ºF+), you might want to dry either a ciabatta or baguette. Those are thinner, and lighter shapes that cook faster. Jim W. pops out high hydration French Baguettes at his bakery in about 8 minutes. If you leave your loaves in the oven at that temperature too long to finish cooking the crumb to 205ºF, you will definitely burn the bottom.

If you want to stick to the large loaf and a boule shape, you should let the oven temperature fall further, and consider a lower hydration dough.

Those come to mind for me.

Glad to hear you are enjoying your oven -- and definitely add this to the forum. We can all learn from this.

Regards,
James
>

Last edited by james; 10-25-2007 at 11:33 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-25-2007, 11:32 AM
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Default Re: Burnt Bottoms of Bread

Hi all,

Great topic. I've moved this to the Hearth Bread section -- looking forward to hearing what our bakers have to say.
James
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Old 10-25-2007, 11:54 AM
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Default Re: Burnt Bottoms of Bread

Hey Moonshine, Welcome!

I have a Pompeii oven I built myself, not one of Forno Bravo's excellent ovens, but I have had a pretty big problem with burning the bottom of the loaves as well.

There is a thread that mentions this problem here:
http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f11/...ough-2308.html (Hamelman's Sourdough)

In general, It sounds like you need to let the oven cool even more. I have had to let my oven equalize for up to 3 hours before I can bake if I have fully fired it for pizza and I am baking larger loaves.

What shape were these 375g loaves and what recipe (a heavy wheat or rye or a lighter dough)?

I have been making a sourdough and have done baguettes at 550, but other shapes, I have had to let the hearth cool to 500 or so. I still get excellent oven spring.

I also have found that if I have been making pizza, the side of the oven where the fire was tends to scorch much more than the other side. It really takes a long time for that heat to equalize.

I am sure others will feedback, but know that I burned the bottom (and sometimes the whole loaf) of many loaves before I figured out how my particular oven works. It can be very disappointing to work so hard on a loaf only to burn the crap out of it...

Keep experimenting...

Drake
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Old 10-25-2007, 12:16 PM
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Default Re: Burnt Bottoms of Bread

Moonshine,

I must say this is a bit of a puzzle. I bake 1 kilo round loaves at 550 on the floor all the time, and the bottoms are not burnt, more like white. They normally take 22-24 minutes to reach an internal temp of 205+.

However, every oven has its own personality. Such a long bake at that temp for such relatively small loaves to reach under 200F is very puzzling indeed. It's the length of time that's causing the burning. Are your certain of your measuring equipment? For the time being, let the hearth temp fall to 500 before loading and vent your steam halfway through the bake. Also, the closer the loaves are to the sides of the dome, the hotter they will get and the thicker the crust will be. I'd move the breads closer to the door of the oven, where it's always a bit cooler. It may be that one hour for real equalization is not enough. Give it another 15 minutes or so.

James is correct. I commonly bake baguette on a 650 to 700 hearth for about 8 minutes to an internal temp of 205+. But, and it's a big one, I've been baking bread in my oven for years, and, as Drake points out, in the early stages there were more than a few burnt offerings. I'd just keep at it until you figure out how your oven performs.

Jim
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:33 PM
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Default Re: Burnt Bottoms of Bread

I find it a bit puzzling also though I have not gotten as brave as Jim to do baguettes at such a high temperature although they are usually the first ones in and the surface of the floor is between 560 and 600...I would allow a bit more time for the temperature to truly stabilize...you could try damp mopping the hearth prior to loading as well as a short steam...it tends to absorb the energy for a short bit and reduce the scorch in my experience...doesn't seem to affect the finished product any either...as far as the internal temp is concerned on the finished loaves I would ask also is your therm accurate?...not criticizing but 30 minutes to 175 with hearth of 550 seems long...2 pounders in our oven are usually ready in 24 minutes in that temp range... closer to 30 minutes on the second load..
Have fun learning...it will almost become an obsession!
Best
Dutch
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Old 10-25-2007, 11:17 PM
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Default Re: Burnt Bottoms of Bread

Quote:
Two leaves ( about 375 grams each ) went into the center-back of the oven about 10 minutes later; the center floor temperature at that time was 555*F
Well here is your problem they were "leaves" instead of loaves..

Seriously,something doesn't add up here, 40 min is an eternity for that size what was the crumb like? I'm not to hip on the internal temp tec. as I have never used it. I would say from your description that at 30 min they were done. 2 loaves are going to bake faster than a full oven because the hearth has alot more available heat unlike a full load where each loaf is sucking heat but still your temps (if readings were right) are not that hot. Your time however is very long for that heat and that hydration, hence the burn in my opinion.
Dutch makes a good point I would let it stabilize longer. Moping will cool the surface but it recovers very fast if the heat is still cycling and not stabilized.
Jim also makes a good point in that every oven has its own personality and even several at a time for example hot spots and cold spots.

The mass amount of info out there on hearth baking, even if you read it all, in my opinion can still ONLY help you better diagnose problems you WILL encounter getting to know your particular oven. Don't get discouraged, as I said book knowledge will help but there is no substitute for the experience of doing exactly what you have done. "its gonna happen again" is a good mind set to be in while getting to know your oven. When I started I kept a journal of each encounter (good and bad) and a guesstimate of why, that way I could go back and look at it. When I switched from the small oven to the large the same thing happened to me as you. As many have stated over and over again these ovens have a distinct personality, don't fight it, learn to work with it, it will be your best friend when you do.
I wish you luck on your next try. Post your results good or bad..
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Old 10-26-2007, 07:38 AM
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Default Re: Burnt Bottoms of Bread

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrakeRemoray View Post
<snip> I also have found that if I have been making pizza, the side of the oven where the fire was tends to scorch much more than the other side. It really takes a long time for that heat to equalize. <snip>
One thing that I have found that helps in the equalization of the oven is to spread the coals and embers out over the floor as I let them die down. I usually leave the coals spread out for about a half of an hour. Then I remove all that I can, brush everything to the rear of the oven, close the door and then stabilize the oven to about 500F.

J W
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Old 10-26-2007, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Burnt Bottoms of Bread

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions - they've been helpful!

I made another batch of dough following Maver's 65% hydration concepts. This time my dough was 70% hydration: 1400 g water; 700g fresh ground whole hard red winter wheat, 1100g Guisto's Baker's Choice, 200g high gluten flour, 30g sea salt and 50g of levain from my last batch of bread. It took about 30 hours to get the dough ready for baking following Maver's technique. I made Batards- longer and flatter than the last rounder batch with the burnt bottoms. I fired up the oven with 8 pieces of madrone and oak and let it burn to coals over 4 hours. The coals and ash covered the bottom of the oven farily well. After cleaning out the ashes & coals, cleaning the floor twice with a damp cloth, misting with water and then letting the oven equalize for 20 minutes the floor temp was 565*F; the bread went in after another misting of water. Great results! Good oven rise, darkened but not burnt bottoms, a golden brown crust with internal temp of 204 in about 30 minutes. It's still cooling - so I don't know how good it will taste and how open the crumb structure will be.

Again, the feedback is appreciated.

Last edited by MoonshineBaker; 10-26-2007 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 10-26-2007, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: Burnt Bottoms of Bread

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonshineBaker View Post
Great results! Good oven rise, darkened but not burnt bottoms, a golden brown crust with internal temp of 204 in about 30 minutes. It's still cooling - so I don't know how good it will taste and how open the crumb structure will be.
Excellent. I thought there would be good advice on this. Can you take photos? I'm really glad this worked better the second time -- someone might nominate this for Best of the Month (BOTM).

James
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Last edited by james; 10-26-2007 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 10-26-2007, 04:33 PM
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Default Re: Burnt Bottoms of Bread

Here is a photo of the four loaves of bread, Batard shaped, from today's much more successful baking. The other photo is a half section of a loaf. The internal crumb is nice and "holey". The gluten flour and whole wheat make the bread a bit heavy/dense. However, in my humble opinion, it tastes very good with full whole wheat flavor.
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Burnt Bottoms of Bread-20071026_img_0013.jpg   Burnt Bottoms of Bread-20071026_img_0059.jpg  

Last edited by MoonshineBaker; 10-26-2007 at 05:19 PM.
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