Giant mousehole on bottom

(t3kcit) #1

When I started my culture early this year I had some great success doing no-knead breads and rye breads.
But then at some point all my breads started to get the same problem: no oven spring or having a single giant mouse-hole at the bottom. Here are some (not that great) pictures:

I’ve been using a romertopf or a cast-iron dutch oven. Usually I did 25-30 minutes with lid and then 25 minutes without. Previously after the first 25 minutes I got nice oven rise, but now when I lift the lid the bread looks wrinkled and wet.
I have tried changing hydration levels (I used to do about 80%, tried going down as far as 65%), and (drastically) varying proofing times. I’m not quite sure what the issue is. I usually use autolyse for an hour to overnight and tried to vary this time as well. I’m using King Arthur bread flour.

Any suggestions are very welcome.

(MieshaNeveu) #2

What about master range ovens? local ones?

(Melissa) #3

Wow this is a mystery. Mouse holes in my experience are either lack of fermentation or a very gluten-challenged dough e.g. when I did a amaranth porridge einkorn bread recipe, I had to bring down the porridge amount to get out of mouse hole land. (Or to improve the gluten situation, I could keep the porridge amount high, but switch from whole grain einkorn to hard red wheat.)

Did your problems coincide with a drop in house temp? Maybe it’s underfermentation?

If you look at the final photos in the recipe, you can see my mouse holes. They’re in the middle though, not the bottom. A strange difference.

(Melissa) #4

Addendum to my reply:

Have you checked the oven temp with a thermometer? Perhaps the oven control panel/temp regulator is dying?

(t3kcit) #5

Thanks for your feedback. I haven’t checked the oven thermometer. Would you think it’s too cool? My house temperature actually went up when this first started happening.
But I think my sourdough might not be active enough? That’s my best guess for now.

The gluten shouldn’t be an issue, I had this happen with using just white bread flour which should have plenty of gluten. And it’s always a single giant bubble at the bottom…

(SingKevin) #6

This is going to sound crazy, but could it be technique driven… any change in how you are forming the boule?

The air pocket on the bottom left side of the photo almost makes it look like you have folded in a large air bubble into the bottom of the dough.