The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

"Plastic" texture problem with white loaves

bridgend_steve's picture

"Plastic" texture problem with white loaves

Hi all,

I'm new to this group (and fairly new to bread making) and I'm hoping that you can help me with a bread problem. I've been following a recipe for a basic white loaf from the book "Dough" (great book BTW) and although the resultant loaf is fairly springy and has plenty of air holes, the texture of the bread is sort of plastic and shiny in appearance, rather than soft in texture and matt in appearance.

I'm following this recipe:

- 500g flour

- 350g water

- 10g salt

- 10g fresh yeast

conventional oven at about 220C for 25 minutes.

Any suggestions?



pmccool's picture


The formula you are using produces a "lean" dough.  In other words, it contains no sugars or fats that would soften the finished bread's crumb.  Consequently, the "plastic" texture you describe is the normal gelatinization that the flour's starches undergo as result of baking.  It's perfectly fine and, in that style of bread, desirable.

If you want a softer crumb in your bread, consider adding fats (lard, butter, shortening, vegetable oil, milk, eggs).  Some sugars, honey in particular, are hygroscopic, meaning that they attract moisture.  This also has the effect of softening the bread's crumb.  

There's an entire category of white breads containing milk.  They generally fall under the French heading of "pain de mie".  Do a search for that topic and you will find lots of recipes to choose from.  Enjoy!


P.S. If you are after big holes in your bread, you'll have better luck sticking with lean doughs.  Enriched doughs tend to produce breads whose crumb is characterized by myriads of tiny, even holes, which are very even and smooth in texture.


bridgend_steve's picture

Hi Paul,

thanks for that tip. I followed a recipe for Pan de mie from the dough book that involved adding 50g of whole milk. It certainly "improved" the texture although it did not completely remove that plastic/shiny appearance. I guess that's the difference though between home-made bread and the supermarket stuff?



pmccool's picture

since most home-made breads have a slightly coarser texture than, say, a Wonderbread variety from the store.  And, if you look closely at the crumb of a home-made white bread, there is usually some degree of translucence which seems to be missing in most of the store-bought breads.  I'm not sure if the eye simply perceives the smoother crumb of the store-bought bread to be whiter, or if there is more opacity.  The next time a get a chance, I'll try to remember to look.

I forgot to mention in my first post that you can add cooked, mashed potato to white breads.  That will also tenderize the crumb. 


crust's picture

Is 'Dough' the one by Richard Bertinet ?

If you like that try 'Crust' by the same author.  Don't buy your baking accesories there though ( very expensive) - use e bay !


Kizzle's picture


I'm clueless, so if this makes no sense at all, you know why...

I found a recipe for "Casserole Bread" in the Bread Baker Bible, that I call "Lazy Bread." You proof the yeast, add the flour and salt, mix, rise for 40 minutes until doubled, and then POUR into a pan and bake. It's fast, and it makes bread you can eat, but it has a "plastic-y" appearance, particularly where the dough meets the pan (the top is more "natural" looking).

Could this be due to the relative speed with which this dough is shoved into the oven? It's been way too many years since I went to the Wonder Bread factory on a school field trip. I don't know how long they let their dough rise, or how many times, but if commercial bread uses a "no rest, no knead" type process, perhaps it has an influence on the crust texture?