The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need a little help-first post, whole wheat+rye and dried fruit/nuts among others

calebconditphotography's picture

Need a little help-first post, whole wheat+rye and dried fruit/nuts among others

I need a little help here.  I'm a bit more skilled in the photography dept. than in baking, so I'm having issues getting the kind of crumb I want.  I'm getting there, but I think I'm deflating my breads a bit too much before the proofing stage.  I figured the whole grain+fruit_nut bread would have a crumb like I ended up with, but the white loaf on the bottom was really only shaped and slightly keaded before proofing.  I did the whole folding technique vs. punching down and solid 10 minute kneading.  I also made a poolish that sat out overnight.  It ended up more like a ciabatta and less like a boule texture wise.  Any advice?

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xaipete's picture

Hi. Well I don't know exactly what formulas and techniques you are using, but I can give you a few general hints.

1) Dried fruits get gently folded in at the end and esp. if they are raisins you don't want to squash them.

Caveats from Dan DiMuzio:

Add the TOASTED nuts and mix them half-way in at the very end of the mix -- first speed -- and only then do you add the raisins, also 1st speed.  Stop as soon as the raisins are evenly mixed in.  Broken raisins aren't just unsightly -- they are naturally high in calcium proprionate, which will inhibit yeast activity.

2) Whole wheat flour has bran in it. Those bran particles can also tear the gluten strands while kneading so you have to be careful that the flour gets really hydrated before kneading and also not over-knead it.

Give us your recipe or formula and technique and I'm sure there are many members who can help you.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

First of all Welcome to Fresh Loaf! 

Crumb, yes, can be a little tricky.  It helps to know if these are straight doughs (using commercial yeast)  or sourdoughs (using a developed sourdough culture) and recipes involved (link, book & page#.)   I've found that mixing and handling of the dough is key, so any extra information helps. 

Beautiful photos.  I'm almost willing to accept the flatness of the rye loaf as it works so well in the cairn composition.


SylviaH's picture

Hello and welcome to TFL, Caleb!  You do have some lovely photos.  I think the most success you will have baking your loaves is to set your mind on one kind of bread you would like to make and give it your best and maybe not trying to make such a variety at once, you will find it a little easier to reach your goals!

Happy Baking!


calebconditphotography's picture

Thanks everyone.  Yesterday I started a new poolish (all white with a bit of rye) and let that do its thing out all day on the counter, then added more unbleached gold medal to it, did about 8 minutes of light kneading and let it slowly raise in the fridge overnight.  I formed one third of it into a baguette shape today and just finished eating about half of it.  It turned out so much better than yesterday's effort.  The extended slow raise and more gentle kneading made for a much better crumb.  I'll add pics in a bit.