The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Translucent Crumb

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louie brown's picture
louie brown

Translucent Crumb

This subject arose on another blog. As an initial blog post, I offer these photos as illustrations of my idea of a translucent crumb. I hope that the photos adequately show this characteristic.

I am not a science guy. I can't tell you how it happened. I can say that these breads, a 100% whole wheat sourdough and a basic sourdough boule, were roughly 70% hydration, mixed by machine, bulk fermented for about 4 hours at about 80 degrees and proofed overnight, formed, in the refrigerator. They were baked on preheated stones, with steam but no cover. The white flour is KA AP; the whole wheat, Bob's Red Mill.

I find that the stretch and fold breads that I've been making lately, baked covered but without steam, produce a somewhat cake-ier crust and, of course, the beautiful open structure. Guests and gift recipients are more impressed with the stretched and folded breads, but I think the former ones taste better and are more fun to eat.

Comment and criticism invited.



LeeYong's picture

Beautiful loaf! What recipe did you use for this whole wheat sourdough loaf? I think the crumb on this loaf is great - it's not to tight - is it chewy?

Happy baking!


louie brown's picture
louie brown

Many thanks. I don't have a formula beyond the basics described. I usually pull together things from my own experience as well as what I have learned from reading. I have been a lurker here for quite a while. It is a fabulous resource. One thing I am learning is that a little more precision is to my advantage, even if it does run counter to my inclinations.

I normally wouldn't pursue a 100% whole wheat loaf, except that it is a challenge; I prefer a mixture of flours.

The translucent crumb is springy, with a slightly gelatinous feel (see Paul below.) You could say it is chewy, but in a good way. Together with a crust from steam, it is a hearty experience.

nicodvb's picture

so is the gelatinization due to the cooking methodology? Was it completely covered by aluminum for the whole time or did you uncover it after a while?

Your bread looks very very good to me!

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Thanks, Nico. These were baked uncovered, with steam for the first ten minutes from a preheated brick placed in a baking pan, over which boiling water was poured. I got this method originally from the first Julia Child "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and have been using it ever since. I got my brick from a construction site. I bake on unglazed ceramic tiles which I bought for a dollar each, iirc, from the surplus some guys had when they were building a pizza oven.

pmccool's picture

indicates that the starch in the flour was completely gelatinized during the bake.  That's a good thing that a lot of bakers shoot for.

You have some lovely bread.


louie brown's picture
louie brown

Thanks, Paul. I do my best to retain some of the science, but my brain leans heavily to whichever side is the other side.

ehanner's picture

That's about as good as it gets.