Today, we’re diving into a common home bread baking issue: how to prevent your loaf from splitting as it bakes. Whether you’re a seasoned bread baker or new to baking at home, these tips will help you achieve that golden-brown uncracked crust every time.

Let’s get baking.

Why does bread split as it bakes?

Bread splitting happens when the dough expands rapidly and unevenly during baking, causing the surface to tear.

This can result in a split, cracked crust, which might not be the look you’re aiming for [note that this is different to deliberately cutting your dough to create a pattern before you bake].

Your loaf may taste just as delicious, but it likely isn’t looking exactly as you planned – a wonky rise and split underneath or to the side instead of a well-risen loaf.

 

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Top tips to prevent bread splitting as it bakes

Use a loaf tin

For beginners, using a loaf tin can be a game changer. The tin contains the dough as it rises, preventing it from spreading outwards and splitting during baking.

This controlled rise produces your loaf with even crusts and, fingers crossed, a neat, domed top.

The Epsom Bakehouse wholemeal loaf online class product

Shape your dough well

Whether you use a loaf tin or not, shaping your dough well is key to stopping splits in the final crust.

After your dough has risen, it’s important to shape it in a way that builds tension on the outside surface.

Deflate the dough, then stretch and fold it to create a smooth, taut top. This smooth surface helps the dough rise evenly and reduces the chances of crust splitting.

Stretch out the gluten strands in the dough

Gluten protein in your bread dough is stretchy and elastic. Gluten acts as the structure and scaffold of your final loaf.

When you stretch and shape the dough, you create tension in this gluten network that supports the shape of the dough as it rises and bakes, preventing weak spots that can lead to splitting.

 

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