The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

doughy crumb

eat.bread's picture

doughy crumb



My breads seem to be universally coming out a bit doughy every time.  I am paying attention to time and I am taking their temp with a polder instant read thermometer!  I"m confused.  I let them sit out on the cooling rack for a least an hour, often more, but they still just seem slightly underbaked.  I"m cooking to around 205 degrees.  what is too high?  what should I do or try to remedy this?  I am baking on a stone too, with about 1 cup of steam




OldWoodenSpoon's picture

A doughy crumb is, in my personal experience, almost universally an under baked or under proofed loaf, although with an internal temperature of 205 degrees (must be Fahrenheit), it sounds like it should be done.  It is difficult to speak in anything other than the most general of terms though,  without some more information.  If you can post your formula, and your process, we can be of more help.

Please don't take this as an interrogation, because I don't mean it that way.  I, and others that will want to try to help you, will want to know as much as possible about your bread making in order to help you better.  Here is a list of questions that elicit information that could make a difference in the advice you might get.

What is the hydration of your dough?
Is it sourdough or commercial yeast (ADY, IDY, fresh?)?
What is the flour composition?
How do you mix it, and for how long?  Use autolyse, stretch and fold or a mixer, bread machine?
Do you do a "window pane" test, or, how do you judge gluten development?
How long do you bulk ferment? 
What shape loaf and is it a pan or free-form?
Proofing?  How long, to what test for completion?
How hot do you bake, and for how long?

The more information you can provide, the better the help and advice you can receive.

Hang in there Emily!  Give a bit more information, and you'll get lots of help I predict.

Chuck's picture

I found that initially my in-oven thermometer misread too high by 5-10+ degrees Fahrenheit, causing me to take loaves I thought were done out of the oven when in fact they were still significantly underbaked. I found the reason/fix was real simple: If as is usual the probe is an 'L' shape with the long part stuck deeply into the loaf and the short part sporting the cable, be sure to rotate the probe so the short part points up; otherwise the metal probe, which conducts a little bit of heat, will be fooled by the heat of your baking stone travelling along the metal probe and will read too high.

(Also be sure the probe is stuck into the loaf all the way to the bend in the probe. Typically they already are, so this is probably not the problem. But I'm mentioning it anyway.)

Get an "instant read" thermometer and use it on your finished loaves as soon as they come out of the oven a couple times to cross-check your Polder.

(Also, too much of some yeast growth enhancers like "diastatic malt" [often "sprouted barley"] can cause an enzymatic reaction that dramatically breaks down the crumb, leading to a pronounced "gummy" texture. Such things are not often used by home bakers, so they're not high on the list of suspects  ...but it happens often enough it seems I should mention it like this anyway. A gummy crumb can also happen even without using any additives at all with bad flour - i.e. flour that comes from a small mill and was ground from wheat that had been mishandled; watch out especially for flour that's described as "locally grown organic, and cheap too".)

paulm's picture

I agree with OldWoodenSpoon that more information would result in a better diagnosis but I have experienced a wet (doughy) crumb with higher hydration doughs even when cooked until an internal temperature of 205 degrees (using an instant read thermometer).  I found that if I turned off the oven but left the bread on the stone with the oven door cracked open, it would dry out the crumb without over browning the crust,

Chuck's picture

Sorry, I just realized I'd previously overlooked the glaringly obvious:

The internal crumb temperature that indicates "done" varies for different kinds of doughs! For some styles of very short doughs it might be as low as 180F. For pure lean doughs (just flour, water, salt, yeast) I've never found acceptable results at less than 208F, and my own personal preference is for 210F (at sea level of course).

("Done" is subjective. The crumb temperature method of judging doneness allows you to be i) very accurate and ii) repeatable. It does not though mean there's "one right temperature". Find the temperature that works for you, and bake to that same temperature next time even with a different loaf shape or size to get exactly the same crumb.)

yozzause's picture

I was taught during my apprenticeship a loaf of bread was considered baked when the centre of the loaf reached 212 deg farenheight which is the boiling point of water, i believe that this was to do with the starch globules bursting and setting.Perhaps the gummyness has to do with incomplete setting.

 Just to add that the oven temp to achieve this is likely to be between 400-450 deg F.

We work here in Australia in centigrade now, so boiling point of water is 100 deg C and oven temp is 203-230 deg C. I know Chuck likes working in decimals and with centigrade we have freezing 0 degrees boiling  100 degrees @ sealevel, which is important to some of our TFL members that are not going to have to worry about getting their feet wet with rising sealevels @ 7000 ft 

If you put flour into water and bring it to boiling point you will see the changes take place, from a thin watery solution you end up with a very thick paste.

I have never used a probe for internal temperature checks, i would be concerned with inserting a probe at this delicate point of the bake as a matter of practice but i should imagine quite usefull if problems are being encountered with the structure of the loaf and oven temperature and baking temps were suspect. 

regards Yozza   

JoeV's picture

Lots of good analysis for a loaf of bread. I've adhered to Reinhart's 12 steps to bread baking, and step 11 is all about cooling. In a nutshell, bread should be cooled to room temperature (80F or less) before slicing, to allow gelatinization to occur and the starches to to fully set. If the process is interrupted by cutting the bread, the crumb will seem soggy.

I bake most of my breads at 400F for 30 min., which gives me an internal temp of at least 200F, and usually a bit higher. I cool for at least 3 hours before cutting, and have no problem with soggy or doughy crumb. If your kitchen is cool, be certain that your dough raises to almost double its size before baking.

That's my 2 cents worth.

yozzause's picture

Hi Emily

Just looking at your post again and some of the comments that you have received, i did have a bit of a laugh which bought back some distant memories. When we were in the bakehouse we used to send a new apprentice off to get a cup of steam, and Grumpy a senior baker on the roll oven used to usually oblige unless he was really living up to his name, which was then even more fun to watch as he tried to explain to the boy that they had been had and his time was being wasted by a collective of bakers that you don't usually hear of on a quiz night.

Invariably though the steam was bought back to the table in a cup to be used sparingly whilst doing the hand made stuff! And we usually attributed the hand moulding  or lack of skill to the new boy as not using enough steam or it being of poor quality and suggest they used a bit more!, whoa betide them if they went and asked grumpy for a 2nd cup or suggest to him that he had been given a cup of poor quality steam the first time round. The boys parentage was often bought into doubt at that stage.

Those were the days, RIP Grumpy

regards Yozza. 

hanseata's picture

reminds me of my internship in the surgical ward of an otherwise psychiatric hospital where the male nurses pulled similar jokes on nursing students.

They told them to go to a nearby pub with a bottle of cheap medicinal wine and have it exchanged it with beer. When the student questioned the possibility of such trade-in, he was shown a former patient file with the same name as the pub's owner, and assured that this was indeed a former patient who offered this exchange to show his gratitude.

Soon as the hapless student went over to the pub, the nurses would call there, warning them that a delusional psychiatric patient would show up with a bottle of wine, thinking he could get beer for it, and that they should restrain him until hospital staff would come and get him.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Let the loaf cool completely before cutting and see if that helps.

eat.bread's picture

Thank you all so much for the questions, it is super helpful!  I should add that I have two kids so getting to details on the computer is difficult.


I have been using Hamelman's Bread book really specifically.  I use KA bread flour.  This hasn't been a sourdough issue.  Lately it seems my house is too cold to get my sourdough working properly.


I do a windowpane check but also leave it slighly underdeveloped and then do stretch and folds during the bulk ferment, which is usually around 2 hrs, watching it to double in size.  Then divide, shape and let double.


I do bake on a stone, I have an oven thermo and am baking around 450.  I also have an instant read thermo and am inserting it as properly as I can!  I let them go to at least 205 and still feel like I could have let them go further, it's just confusing to me.


In terms of testing for when it is ready to bake...I watch for it to double, feel how it feels, etc.  Are there tests?  I'd love to know.


Then I let it cool for at least an hour before slicing.


Is that helpful? Thanks!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

with a probe thermometer.  Lol... 

Naw, I take that back...  aim for the middle, lower middle of the loaf, the last part to bake through.  Then goose the thing!  From the top or side.   And if you feel it needs to stay in the oven a little longer, then do so.  If my thermometer takes too long for the needle to reach 205°F then I stick the loaf, thermometer and all, back into the oven where I can read it with the door closed.  Sometimes a very wet or seedy loaf needs a little longer.   Easily add 5 minutes just for the lost oven heat and then give it some more time. 

Go with your instincts. 

An extremely smart and clever TFL member once said (still does)... "If you think the loaf is done, leave it in for 5 more minutes."