The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

missing holes?

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TeaIV's picture
TeaIV

missing holes?

Hi! I've been baking for a little while (about 3-4 months), and have been baking fairly often. One thing I have noticed is that I never, and I emphasize NEVER, get big holes in my crumb. even when I made Ciabatta (or anthing with poolish), and I don't degas it, I still don't get very big holes. my bread rises properly, but has a very tight crumb. does anyone know what can cause this? does it mean i'm doing something wrong?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

how you initially mix up your dough, and every movement, don't leave anything out and tell us if you use any equipment. 


A mixer adds to a fine crumb, also occasional or stirring of the poolish.  You are not doing anything wrong, you're talented at creating a fine crumb ("never" or always, means it's become a habit) and there are readers out there who would love to know your secret to a fine crumb.  Something in your method is being repeated in every recipe, what could it be?   Take notes for later when you've had enough of "holes."


Crumb has to do with the lining up of webbed gluten strands in the dough.  When the stands are closely lined up, the result is a fine crumb, when they are more chaotic, a variety of bubble sizes appears.  Of course the amount of gas being produced by the yeast has a lot to do with it.  Fizzled out yeast will also result in a fine crumb.  The goal is to get both yeast & gluten working for you.


It can also be that your proofing times are too long, so any help and detail you can give will be helpful.


Mini

SteveB's picture
SteveB

"A mixer adds to a fine crumb..."


How do you explain this?:


http://www.breadcetera.com/?p=162


SteveB


http://www.breadcetera.com


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

So you're saying the way one uses the mixer is the "trick."   Good news for the mixer savy!


Nice holes too!  


Mini

plevee's picture
plevee

I tried this for the first time last week using Susan's (wildyeastblog) recipe for Norwich sourdough. It really worked! I got the most open crumb I have ever achieved even with very wet doughs.  Patsy

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Every time I try to use Olive Oil in my Ciabatta recipes I get a heavier, tight crumb result.  But my method involves two sessions of 32 interations of folding the dough back onto itself (using an oiled bowl and spatula) before final proofing.  The "breadcetera" recipe handles the dough differently.  I get nice crumb, good hole pattern/size without the oil.  I'm gonna try the "breadcetera" method ... the images are enough to entice me to that end.  Thanks for the tip, Steve

Jw's picture
Jw

not to discourage you, but I had that for about one year. Then I started to write everything (exactly how long I knead or wait, etc). Also, it was quite depending on the type of flour / water balance. For my the answer was in very active kneading (2nd time around), proofing times and temperature. So my advice: make a baking log (blog?). Jw.

TeaIV's picture
TeaIV

well... it can't be that my proofing time is too long, because Usually I proof it less then is called for in recipes, or if I bake in batches, the later batches will have proofed sufficiently and the earlier batches not proofed enough. it only makes a small, but noticeable difference. I probably need to proof a bit more.


after reading the posts, I think it has to do with my kneading. when I think about it, I usually don't knead enough. next time, I'll try kneading more.


 


just an idea: does the hydration affect the holes in the crumb?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

very much so

TeaIV's picture
TeaIV

how exactly? would a more hydrated dough yield more holes or less holes? or does it depend on some other variables?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but I think it has more to do with the mixing of the dough. One does need enough water to mix it all up.  I do tend to mix my final dough by hand and just let it sit for longer than 30 min. and depending on the flour, longer.  It never was a problem and seemed that as long as this rest was under an hour, the bread came out just fine.   (I do tend to prefer mixing it wetter and holding back any extra flour I think is too much.  After it has rested or autolysed, I may knead in the extra flour if I think it's important.  So in that respect, hydration plays a big role although the outcome of the finished dough may be lower.)


Steve seems to think so too but uses an electic mixer, I use my hands.  I guess we should have two different discussions or directions, those who use mixers and those who don't. There are special methods for both.  (...three, the people who use both mixers and hands!)


Anyway we've discussed this quite often and here is another TFL forum on the subject:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/8638/big-holes


There doesn't seem to be an end to theories ... but getting to know your flour, when the gluten is developed plays a major role.   Under developed gluten doesn't help your bread and each flour has it's own timing as to when it's developed.  I know, more variables...   Try SteveB's method if you have an electric mixer.  I personally like a little more substance between my teeth but his bread sure is beautiful and he's on to something. 


Mini


 

TeaIV's picture
TeaIV

thanks for the help. I use my hands as well (not when I mix though). usually when I mix, I have to add a bit more water for some excess flour as well, and I try to add more when I knead.