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The "caves" in the bakery and pastry shop


The "caves" in the bakery and pastry shop
Maybe you've already done this? You want to make a brioche or a cake with fruit inside, you decide to proceed with your usual recipe, but also to add in the dough pieces of fresh and raw fruit, or whole fruit, for example pieces of apples or pears, good idea.

When you bake it, everything seems to go well, you may notice that it puffs up more than usual, but nothing to worry about, on the contrary it's quite good news.

It's only when you cut it that you discover the problem, the pieces of fruit are not surrounded by dough, they are in a kind of cavity of the dough, much bigger than them, and so it's quite ugly all this empty space around, and moreover not very pleasant to taste.
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Last modified on: March 27th 2021

Keywords for this post:PastryBakingCookingBreadCakeHollowBubblesHolesCave
The "caves" in the bakery and pastry shop

What happened?

It's very simple, you have intuitively added pieces of fresh and raw fruit which contain a lot of water. During the baking process, this water was transformed into steam by the heat, and this steam, which can't get out, pushed the not yet baked dough, therefore soft, around each piece of fruit, and formed this hollow that the bakers call "cavern". Once the dough is cooked, the cavern remains in place, even when cooling, and therefore gives this unsightly aspect.

It happens as soon as you add something containing water to a dough, and it is much more pronounced when it is a leavened dough (brioche, bread, because of or thanks to the gluten network) or flaky dough, and much less on travel cakes (cake, cookies, ...) easier to steam through.

This also applies to salted food for example for a sausage in brioche you would have the same problem.

saucisse briochée avec cavernes



How to avoid this?

There are basically 2 solutions: Either you remove/reduce the water in the first place, or you do something to allow the cooking steam to escape.

Removing the water, or at least reducing it is quite simple, for fresh fruit for example we cook them slightly before. For example for apples and pears, in a little butter and sugar, you can even caramelize them, which gives a whole new (delicious) taste to your cake.

pré-cuisson de fruits



For a sausage, same treatment, either you cook it in the oven, or you poach it before incorporating it.
This is the secret of very aesthetic brioche sausages.

saucisse en brioche sans caverne



For a galette des rois for example, it is about 2 discs of puff pastry with cream in the middle, we pierce a small hole, the chimney in the center of the galette to allow the steam to escape. Without this chimney you will have in the oven a kind of huge puff pastry bell, and full of emptiness.

création de cheminée dans une galette des rois




It should be noted that for all this, we are more on a question of aesthetics and mouthfeel, the taste is not impacted.


In summary: To avoid cavities in your cakes, reduce the water brought by your inserts, or provide an outlet for the steam generated during baking.

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