The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wet Crumb

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A_W's picture
A_W

Wet Crumb

I know this question has been asked a lot, but I just can't seem to find my answer and TFL was on it with my last problem so here it goes again.


 


I have been getting great bread.  Everything looks as it should.  My only real problem is wet crumb, some even describe it as "oily".  I have been checking my temps after cooking, around 200-210 F, so that should be right. My recipe is as follows.


600g flour (Usually all white, but my last loaf had 2/3 WW and still wet on the inside)


420g water


1/4-1/2 tsp yeast


1-2 tsp salt


(things are still in the works here but my results have been the same regardless of salt and yeast amounts)


I make a poolish, let that ferment for 24-72 hours.


Autolyse and mix in the rest of my ingredients.


Bulk rise, stretch and fold.


Second rise, preshape, shape (usually 2 batards) and proof.


I bake at 450 for 15min with steam, followed by 400 for 10-15 min dry. I use convection, I find I get beter results.


I let it sit for at least 30 min.


 


I have made wetter doughs and actually had less of a wet crumb, so that doesn't seem like the issue.  I have also cooked with higher temps but this seems to get my bread to the "right" internal temp too fast and my crust lacks.  Should I lower my temp even more?  Let it rest longer before I devour? Less time with steam? Hotter internal temp?  Too many variables so I put this one out to TFL gurus. Thanks so much, I would make you a loaf but I have a feeling you have plenty of bread as it is. Alex

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Alex.


I can see several factors contributing to your wet crumb. I don't have quite enough information about your recipe to be certain about all of them, but here they are:


1. You must ... It is mandatory that you ...let the loaves cool completely before cutting them. For your size batards, 90 minutes is probably the minimum time this will take at 70F. 2 hours would be better. This alone may "cure" your problem.


2. Your dough is something over 70% hydration. I assume your poolish is the standard 100% hydration. I don't know your final dough hydration, because you didn't tell us how much poolish you use. Anyway, this is a slack dough, so it does need to be baked a bit longer.


3. Your bake time seems just a bit on the short side for loaves of that size baked at those temperatures.  You might want to at least leave the loaves in the turned off oven for 10 minutes after you think they are done. This will help the drying process.


4. Generally, breads made with a high proportion of whole grain flour need a longer bake. The dough may seem drier when you knead it, but more water has been absorbed by the flour. It's still there.


I'm also struck by how long you ferment your poolish. If this is at room temperature, I would expect a lot of the gluten to have broken down by 24+ hours. This may contribute to poor crumb texture, especially if the poolish has a high proportion of the flour in the dough.


I hope this helps.


David


 

A_W's picture
A_W

Thanks so much.  I think the first place to start will be my cooling time.  My best loaf so far was not eaten for a while after the oven.  The reason my cooking times as are they are is that my bread is starting to get quite dark and my internal temps are above 200 even reaching 210 F.  How can I adjust my times without burning my bread?  If I go much cooler won't my crust suffer?


 


On the Poolish front I let them ferment in the fridge at 5C and I have never had one fall, is this still too long? I am going to have a loaf tomorrow so I will report back on the long cooling time and see if I need to rework my cooking times. Thanks again.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Alex.


Personally, I favor a "bold" bake. A darker crust is darker, in large part, because more of the simple sugars released from starch through enzymatic action has caramelized. This is a major contributor to the flavor of the bread. I like it that way. Your taste may be different, of course, but I'd encourage you to consider that a darker crust may be a tastier crust.


Here's an example of what I shoot for on a San Francisco-style SD:


SF-SD variations_Boule0400.JPG.jpg


 


If you still favor a lighter crust, try baking your loaves covered with a stainless steel bowl, aluminum foil roasting ban or a cloche for the first half of the bake. The crust will end up lighter, and there are other nice effects. You can search on "steaming" or "magic bowl" to find references to this.


 


Regarding your poolish: If it is all bubbly and hastn't fallen, it's probably fine. However, I would still be concerned about degraded proteins if you let it go over 24 hours.


 


Keep us posted on your solution to your wet crumb. I am confident you will find it.


 


David


 


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

sounds great to me!  It's not cake and that's great! 


Hmmm  A softer dryer crumb?  First thing that comes to mind is milk and/or oil.  Start out by substituting some of the water in your recipe for milk.


Mini