The Fresh Loaf

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Help with crumb.

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cinciman22's picture
cinciman22

Help with crumb.

I have made a few no knead breads cooked in cast iron pots but the inside crumb is somewhat gummy and not as dry as you would expect in a bread.  Could this be from not cooking it long enough or too much?  I recently read a post on breadtopia that if the internal temp gets above 210 then it can turn out gummy.  The last white bread I cooked was with lid 450 for 25-30min and 15-20 with lid off.  The crust was not the hardest but still crunchy.  Thanks you your thoughts/ideas.

ValerieSara's picture
ValerieSara

I have the same problem and have been trying to get the answer for almost 2 years.  I even spoke in detail with the kind author of a no knead book until, after many experiments using her suggestions, she conceded that it was the nature of the beast.


I have tried the no-knead method on a stone with no pan involved and it's the same beautiful looking loaf with a great crust, great holes, only to be ruined by a too moist interior. Even leaving the finished bread in the turned off oven for several minutes does not do the trick.


I am anxiously awaiting any help, along with you cinciman22.


Thanks,


valerieSara

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I've never made a no-knead bread, but one of my daughter's made a lot of the recipe published by Cook's Illustrated. At first she liked it but after a while, she thought it had lacked both good flavor and texture, and went back to making kneaded bread.


--Pamela

rcrabtree's picture
rcrabtree

I should probably read up on no-knead breads before answering this, but it seems to me that trying to cook bread in a cast-iron pot that has not been preheated would have this exact result.  What was your procedure?  Any time I've used my cast iron cookware in the oven, it is usually to finish cooking something that I've started on the stovetop, and the pan is always hot already before going in to the oven.

ValerieSara's picture
ValerieSara

You are supposed to preheat the pan and the cover for at least 45 minutes.  I have tried it with preheating and not preheating, because someone said to give a cold pan with cold cover a try.  Exact same results:  Pretty to look at. Gummy crumb.


The author of the book told me to try decreasing the H2O a little. Same results.  Then she suggested to increase the flour, try a different type of flour, try adding vital gluten, try a different internal temp and, believe it or not, the list goes on. But nothing, to date, improves the crumb of this bread.  It is more like a ciabatta, imo.


I have a top of the line Miele oven.  I am confident that my oven is not the culprit.


ValerieSara

teteaulevain's picture
teteaulevain

A gummy crumb is usually the result of an underbaked loaf... so try baking a little longer.  If the crust starts taking on too much colour, reduce the oven temperature once you have removed the lid.  In my experience, you should probably preheat to at least 475 or 500F for this method and then reduce the temp thereafter.


Beyond that, using a flour of excessively high protein (13+) can produce a rubbery, gummy crumb.  What flour are you using?

ValerieSara's picture
ValerieSara

I am certain that it is not a result of underbaking or the oven not hot enough or not preheating the pan long enough.  Preaheating, with pan and cover, to 500 F for 60 minutes should do it, but it does not do the trick.  Perhaps it is the flour. The flours I have used:


Gold Medal AP, King Arthur AP, King Arthur Organic Artisan, King Arthur Bread (the worst for this particular bread), Pillsbury AP, Hodgson Mill, Bob's Red Mill and I have experimented by adding 1 part cake flour/also tried 1 part pastry flour, to the flour mix.  I have seen some French and Italian flours on the KAF site, but have never tried them. They have other fancy flours that I have not tried, either.


I will glady try any flour or tips that you suggest.  Thank you so very much.


ValerieSara


 


 


 

teteaulevain's picture
teteaulevain

It appears that the majority of the flours you are using are on the lower end of the protein range and if you are blending in cake/pastry flour, that will lower the obsorption capacity of the flour further.  What does your dough feel like?  Does it have plenty of muscle to it... or is it more slack?  In my experience, the dough should have lots of strength and the texture should be tacky but not sticky.  I suggest that you try cutting back on the hydration slightly.  Can you post photos of the loaves that you are baking?


Simon

tsinct's picture
tsinct

I made this bread many times and always felt the interior too moist, even though clearly baked enough. But I think its the recipe itself, not the cast iron pan, oven etc. I have given up trying.

ValerieSara's picture
ValerieSara

The dough is very slack and sticky...It's WET because it is a no-knead bread:  Artisian Bread in 5 Minutes and  Jim Lahey of Sullivan St. Bakery.  The very nature of no-knead bread is wet, wet dough.  As far as pictures, if I get a new camera, I will post some.  But as far as how it looks, it looks beautiful and so does the crumb:the color is good as is the formation, no streaking, etc.  As I said, to me, this type of bread should be in the category of a ciabatta.  I have reduced the water per the advice of the author, but still the texture is gummy.  You do not think that the type or brand of flour is the problem, then?  Could you recommend a flour?


I would love to get this to a decent crumb, because it is such a timesaver! 


Off topic but btw, Jim Lahy's no-knead Panettone is fabulous, best I have ever tasted or made!


Thanks for all your suggestions in trying to help me solve this silly problem.  I should just stick to my old tried and trues!


ValerieSara

teteaulevain's picture
teteaulevain

Your flour is definitely not the problem... all the flours that you mention are of excellent quality.  A ciabatta (especially one crafted using a long fermentation) will have an particularly chewy and moist crumb -- partially due to enzymatic starch conversion.  This does not mean it's under-baked, it is merely the character of ciabatta.  I don't think you have anything to worry about.  Of course, there is no reason you need to make "no-knead" bread using a ciabatta-style hydration.  I make a 60% w.w. miche loaf of 70% hydration with very good results.


I adore panettone...  but it's been a few years since I've gotten around to making it.


Simon

ValerieSara's picture
ValerieSara

OK, perhaps this is the clear solution. Really reduce the H20 per your 70% hydration suggestion.  I can't imagine that the hole formation will be grand, though.  If that's so, then that's the trade-off I guess.


Simon, would you be willing to give me your recipe, and do I free-form the loaf or use the cast iron pan method?


Thank you!


ValerieSara

ValerieSara's picture
ValerieSara

Hi tsinct!


Your comment may end up being what I may do!


BUT Simon has brought us some promising news!


I will continue and conquer this thing, maybe, haha!


 


Thanks tsinct!


ValerieSara