The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hard and chewy sourdough bread

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Regicollis's picture
Regicollis

Hard and chewy sourdough bread

I recently baked some loaves with sourdough and a formula of 20% whole grain wheat, 5% whole grain rye and 75% bread four at a hydration of 70%. I placed the dough in the fridge overnight to develop flavour.

The bread has a really great, almost peppery sourdough flavour. However it did not turn out as I hoped it would. Firstly it didn't raise much, although I got a decent oven spring. The crumb is very dense although my starter seems to be active. Furthermore the bread has become really hard and chewy which is a shame since it tastes so good.

What seems to be the problem with my loaves and what can I do to get a softer, more airy bread?

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Regicollis,

I would suggest, as a first measure, you try omitting the overnight retard from the process.   Temperature has a massive impact on rates of fermentation.

Best wishes

Andy

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

In addition to Andy's advice I would consider adding more water to the dough. 70% water seems low to me with all that bread flour and 25% whole grains. If you develop a stiff dough it won't raise a lot.

Soft crumb and stiff dough don't get along very well.

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

My 100% whole grain sourdough bread remained moister and softer for longer when I changed:

oven pre-heated to 450F, 20 minutes at 450F followed by 40 minutes at 350F

to:

oven pre-heated to 450F, 20 minutes at 400F followed by 30 minutes at 350F.

Regicollis's picture
Regicollis

I put my loaves in an oven preheated to 250C, gave them 10 minutes at 220C with steam followed by 25 minutes at 200C with the fan on.

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

I also have steam present for the first 20 minutes, and exposure to moving air for the last 30 minutes.  My temperatures approximate 205C (previously 230C) and 175C.  It might be worth trying slightly lower temperatures for your bread.