The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Troubleshooting crumb

Doughtally breadical's picture
Doughtally breadical

Troubleshooting crumb

  1. I'm sure this has been posted before many times, but as to not hijack someone else's forum, thought I'd post my own. I've been making sourdough since November of 2020, almost three months, and the last 8 or so bakes my crumb is coming out much tighter than previous loaves, despite great oven spring and no density or gumminess. I usually do a 30% or less whole wheat inclusion in my overall flour, so I'm sure that's part of the issue. Almost all loaves are 80%+ hydration and I'm getting really comfortable handling and shaping that level of hydration. My question is: am I over shaping? Maybe degasaing the dough too much in my tension building? Even when I'm gentle, I feel like my problem might be eliminating too many air pockets. Thoughts or advice is deeply appreciated. 
phaz's picture

No advice needed, and only thought is - what's the problem? That looks just fine! Enjoy! 

Benito's picture

As you know the more whole grain in your bread the more difficult a more open crumb will be to attain.  That being said you can attain a more open crumb if you wanted to.  Fully develop gluten at the start of bulk fermentation.  Build lots of tension in your dough during bulk.  Push bulk fermentation further to trap more gases from fermentation.  Build tension in your shaping but without degassing excessively, obviously really good dough handling is needed to do this.

All that being said, there is nothing wrong with the bread in your photo above, nothing at all.  But you can bake a more open crumb but it does take some practice and good dough handling skills.