The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help! My loaves have gone weird

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ediestar's picture

Help! My loaves have gone weird

I have been making no-knead sourdough rounds with a starter I made last summer for the past year.

The bread has been amazing, especially the crust, until recently.  It is still very good, but the crust

is no longer a smooth and uniform.  Now the top of the bread cracks and breaks as it rises, and the crust

has gotten chewier and thinner.  I have ruled out the flour.  Now, I am wondering if my starter might have

gone bad? The bread still rises, though...

Any thoughts would be appreciated!



jsk's picture

that you are not covering the dough well while proofing. If the shaped dough is not coverd well by a plastic wrap/ towel then it forms a "skin" wich is basicly dried dough. This prevents crispy hard crust and can result in a breaking crust.

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

No I don't think your starter went bad if it still makes the bread rise.

some things to try to get your bread back.

as you build your starter use less starter so if you use 100g starter 100g flour 100g water switch up to 100g starter 200g flour 200g water for your build.

second use less starter in your final dough. so if you are using a 40% starter ratio knock it down to 30% or 20% starter. remember to add flour and water to your final dough to compensate for the less starter

I think this will help.

hutchndi's picture

Your post is a little vague, are you sure you are doing everything exactly the same as in the past? Same brand of flour? No changes in method, stones, steaming, , retarding, etc, even a seemingly small one? Have you checked your oven with an oven thermometer, and if so do you have comparison data from your earlier bakes? Do you incorporate allot of fresh flour into your dough during all the stretch and folds or shaping and bech rest, that can do it, I know from experience.

ehanner's picture


hutchndi has it nailed I think. When you say you have ruled out the flour, what do you mean by that? If you made your starter last summer and have baked with it since, you are probably just going through the seasonal temperature change and the starter and dough will act differently in warmer weather. The crust will get less than crusty and more like chewy after a few hours.

I see you are in WY. You could be in a dryer climate all winter, making the change to summer more dramatic.


hutchndi's picture

Other than temperature related proofing time issues, thats a factor I wouldn't have even thunk of Eric, mostly because I do most of my baking in the cooler months. Something to keep in mind when I do decide to heat up my kitchen this summer....I am right next to Narragansett bay here so usually a tad bit cooler than inland usually, but it does get pretty humid, probably altering flour characteristics. I love a good crust too, but usually by the middle of summer I am so hankering for a hunk of fresh sourdough I don't notice the little differences to much anywho.