‘Oven spring’ refers to the growth of the bread during its initial baking phase where the loaf is growing before the crust hardens. A ‘good oven spring’ is when the loaf expands to its full potential both by volume and shape to produce an airy crumb texture and an open balanced shape.
Here’s a list of characteristics we can look that shows a successful oven spring. – Blisters on the surface of the loaf – A pronounced ear – A uniform shape with balanced expansion all round – An open crumb interior that has holes which are more or less evenly placed around the whole loaf – A loaf that whistles or crackles as it cools
– Good gluten development – Strong natural yeast presence in the dough – Sufficient strength in the dough – Enough energy left in the dough before baking – Sturdy shape with even, balanced fermentation – Sufficient surface tension on the loaf with strategically scored areas
Get to know your oven by experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. Most ovens manage to give enough oven spring by the 15 to 20 minute mark, but my oven needs a good 25 minutes before I turn the heat down to give the inside of the bread a chance to cook and the crust to darken.