The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why is an open crumb desired?

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davidg618's picture
davidg618

Why is an open crumb desired?

After all, there is little or no flavor, nor mouthfeel in a hole.


Seriously, I've been trying to understand why artisan bakers (at least most, it seems) want their lean dough products to have a very open crumb. It seems, to me, to sometimes take on the atmosphere of the search for the Holy Grail (play-on-words intended). What I'd like to know is what does an open crumb contribute other than an increased opportunity to wear the contents of your sandwich on your tie,  or in your decolletage or lap?


I've found a few indirect answers searching TFL, and wider on the Web, but nowhere wherein the question is asked and answered directly.


David G


 

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

It might have something to do with 'crunch appeal', but I've never really known.  I, personally, prefer a bread, especially sandwich bread, to be not quite so leaky.

jowilchek's picture
jowilchek

I wanted open crumb to sop up pasta sauceMVC-855F.JPG


After many ciabatta trys, todays is the first with a nice open crumb and I was proud to serve with my pasta. (I also came up with the formula myself after trying 3 others that failed.)

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

David--


I think open crumb is a factor in mouthfeel.  The combination of strong gluten bubbles and air has a particular feel some people enjoy.  I suppose these people also enjoy honey in their laps. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


My personal belief is that a bread full of large air pockets and little else is sub-optimal.  I prefer holeyness in moderation.


Perhaps the quest has to do partly with the love of questing.  Everyone wants to achieve something.


Good question.


Glenn 

Caltrain's picture
Caltrain

Irregular holes is probably what people are going for when they say "holey grail", not necessarily simply big holes. It's the dynamic and range of holes that gives you that soft and full mouthfeel. Many bakers would probably consider only big holes to be something of a problem, albiet hardly a terrible one.


Even then, what you put on bread matters. Ciabatta makes fantastic sandwiches when sliced length-wise; the crust seals in the juices and keeps them off your shirt. Other times the bread is suited for dips, slices of cheese or meat, or butter. In other words, bread isn't always for sandwiches and there's certainly space for dense yet soft sandwich bread. Pain de Mie and rye comes to mind.

Bread Breaddington's picture
Bread Breaddington

I have not entirely understood this myself. 


I believe that, while an extremely open crumb becomes impractical when it comes to the actual eating, because such a thing is hard to accomplish it has a certain appeal.


I've seen some lovely looking breads around here with such a crumb, but when it gets down to it, I wouldn't really want to eat those very open breads, aside from as a novelty.


And I get the feeling that in reality it's not so simple as "the more open the better", but rather in the "artisan" baking community generally a more open crumb than the average bread is preferred, simply.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

"Open" is a matter of degree, with pan de mie at one end of the continuum, and something like ciabatta at the other.


All other things being equal, open crumb stems from higher hydration, and that does have an impact on mouth feel - a cool sensation - and shelf life. Higher hydration breads also seem to have better tolerance for freezing, at least that's my impression.


Prof. Calvel also related the open crumb he desired in baguettes to chewiness, which he liked. Certainly, most breads with more even, dense crumb, like pan de mie, have a "soft" crumb, while breads with more open crumb tend to be chewy. Obviously, the flour used and enrichments have an impact on this variable.


From the commercial baker's perspective, I think there are two considerations: One is customer demand. The other is cost. Flour costs more than water. If bread is sold either by weight or by the piece, a more highly hydrated dough is less costly to produce.


Personally, I don't have a consistent preference. I like lots of different kinds of bread. Some have a very open crumb, and some don't. 


That's my $0.02 on the subject.


David

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

And air costs less than either.


Ok - Carbon dioxide produced by fermentation costs less than either.


Mary

proth5's picture
proth5

you accept the premise that an open crumb is about "getting the fermentation right" (and I'll accept the word of those who tell me this) the open crumb in a lean bread is an indication that you have gotten the maximum flavor from the fermentation process (which, presumably, is what we want to do.)


Traditional lean breads are not meant to be loaded up with drippy ingredients on a crosswise slice - either they are eaten plain, ripped into tiny pieces and adorned with oil or butter (of course, I will pretend not to know you if you ask for butter with your baguette basket in Paris), or sliced in such a way (think lengthwise - like a tartine from a bagette) that the filling will not drip.


On enriched breads where a lot of the flavor derives from other ingredients, getting maximum flavor from fermentation alone is not so important, and these breads are usually baked in pans and meant to be eaten in crosswise slices where dripping is not desired.


It is about flavor, but it is a lot about standards and traditions.  Each bread has a character (or at least it does in tradition bound bread cultures) and we strive to achieve the standard.  An open crumbed torpedo shaped lean bread ia a baguette - a tight crumbed one is a hoagie roll - different characters to the crumb - different breads.

davidg618's picture
davidg618


Can you tell me the science of maximum flavor = maximum openess, or point me at your experts whose word you accept? Furthrmore, a neophyte, (in the secular sense) I've never read that an open crumb is about "getting the fermentation right". Please point me there too if a different reference.


And thank you for sharing the difference between a baguette and a hoagie roll, I like learning something new every day.


David G

proth5's picture
proth5

exactly said maximum openness = maximum flavor.  I can maximize flavor through combinations of flour or enriching ingredients.  Open crumb is about getting fermentation "right" and it is fermentation that brings a lot of flavor to lean breads.  Subtle difference, but important.  There is no equation.


I quote from Solveig Tofte who was captain of the BBGA Team USA for the 2008 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie.  The quote appears in "Breadlines" the BBGA publication - viewing the article requires BBGA membership.  She had been trying to get her baguette to have a more open crumb and was trying ever higher hydrations and not having 100% of the success that she needed to have. She realized that evre higher hydrations were not the answer.  The answer was "getting the fermentation right." She came to this realization while she was attending coaching sessions for the competition, so presumably she came to this realizaton through the efforts of her coaches who included, among others, Craig Ponsford.  I'll take the word of either one of those people.


I always equate this bread baking thing to the purebred dog business (I used to show dogs, so that makes the most sense to me...)  There is a breed standard for every breed of dog.  Your dog may be the cutest dog in the world and may display the seeds of greatness - but if it doesn't meet the breed standard - it won't win "best of breed."


Hope this helps.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If you want an open crumb, e.g., in baguettes, you will indeed get a more open crumb with optimal fermentation, everything else being equal. That's true.


But, I would not say that a crumb that isn't open is a sign of poor fermentation. Good hoagie rolls are not badly fermented baguettes.


If we know how to exercise it, we have control over crumb structure through our choices of ingredients, hydration, mixing, shaping and baking. I would not include fermentation in this list, because I think dough is either well-fermented or not. Variations in fermentation temperature and time are to vary the flavor profile, not the crumb structure. (Which is not to say they have no impact on crumb structure.)


David

proth5's picture
proth5

is a gift from the gods, but I will not go so far as to say the fermentation times and temperatures have so little effect on the crumb structure.


Mixing methods have an impact, yes, but I can actually take the same dough off the mixer and if I ferment it differently I will see differences in the crumb structure (why do we retard doughs? - to change the fermentation and change the crumb structure.)  I know because I've done it.  I can ferment at too high a temperature and get a less open crumb.  I can ferment too long and predictably  (yes, I can look at the dough and say "that's going to be a mess when baked" - and it is) get a less open crumb. (I can also overmix and get degradation in the crumb - which is my current challenge as I move from hand mixing to the spiral mixer.)  I can add too much yeast, or too much pre ferment and get a vastly different crumb because it ferments differently.  I have done tests where I have kept just about everything else as equal as one can in normal kitchen conditions and the rate of fermentation makes a great difference in the crumb.


If you want to (mostly)discount fermentation - go ahead.  But in my hands, at my altitude and with my formulas, it makes as difference. I've seen it.


And why - why - would one of America's top bakers attribute crumb structure to fermentation - not hydration - not shaping - if it were such a small factor?


Since I have yet to create a hoagie roll (in Denver, in my kitchen)that equals an Amoroso roll from Philadelphia - the true test of a good hoagie roll - I do not know what alchemy transforms the same few ingredients to that ambrosia - but I  am sure fermentation (the thing that gives us flavor - and crumb structure) is a factor.


Respectfully,


Pat

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I did not say fermentation is not important. Au contraire. I said that fermentation is not a variable that should be manipulated for the purpose of changing crumb structure. It should always be optimized.


I hope we can agree that we agree on this.


David

proth5's picture
proth5

"Variations in fermentation temperature and time are to vary the flavor profile, not the crumb structure" I really don't know how else to intepret it.


What is "optimized" anyway?  Retarded fermentation?  "Long cool" fermentation? Sticking the bread in the proofer? So I'm not manipulating fermentation when I retard a dough?  What, then, am I doing?


I know - absolutely - that I can impact  both crumb structure and flavor by changing fermantation  times and temperatures - that I can have drastic impact on crumb structure by changing percentages of flour that are pre fermented.  I see it every week. "Should" I do it - that I don't know.  But I know there is an impact.  To me each batch of bread is a trade off.  We have time/space/practical constraints within which we must work.  The goal is a balanced loaf with the right characteristics for the bread we intend to bake.  I have tasted bread that would later be declared the best in the world - and yet, it was not yet perfect.


I'll agree for the sake of the children, though.  Although I do enjoy actually having a passionate conversation about baking techiques.  Kinda miss it.


Pat

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

What I said was:



fermentation is not a variable that should be manipulated for the purpose of changing crumb structure. (Emphasis added)



I know that fermentation does impact crumb structure, but, when you want to impact crumb structure, changing your fermentation procedure is not the method you use. Or is it?


David

proth5's picture
proth5

the fermentation is absolutely one of the things I manipulate to get the crumb I want.  I will reduce yeast, change the percent of flour pre fermented, change fermentation schedules and techniques - all to manipulate the crumb.  Then if I don't get the taste I want, I'll back off.


That's why I'm liking the pain de mie so much.  You can load it up with yeast, mix it like the dickens and the crumb still comes out ok.  All I need to do is worry about the taste. (Which is not enhanced by mixing it like the dickens or loading it up with yeast - but at least I'm not fussing with the crumb...)


How do you think the infamous proth5 baguettes were developed? Years of tweaking factors to get the crumb right.  And they taste good, too...


Pat

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Please picture light bulb flickering above my head.


David

bnom's picture
bnom

Surely your baguettes are famous, not infamous . . .  :)

jowilchek's picture
jowilchek

I have a formula that I like the crumb on, but would prefer a little more intense flavor...that being said should I ferment longer period, let my pre ferment age more, or change something totally different. I like this formula but think the flavor could be more intense. What would you adjust first?

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Along with some additional readings, I'm beginning to get a glimmer of understanding. For me, understanding is knowing enough of the underlying chemistry and physics, that I can then relate what we put into the dough (ingredients, and their ratios), and how we manipulate the dough (mixing, kneading, temperature, time). Please, I'm not approaching bread baking as a scientific study. For me, cooking and baking has been my "walking meditation" for many years. However, about two years ago, I was moved to improve what I could already do, especially in bread making, more specifically lean doughs, although I also bake with enriched doughs. My initial question, was focused on lean doughs, direct and indirect yeast doughs, and sourdoughs. Needing to know a bit about the science is just the way my mind works, and my confidence builds. I'm certain that there are other learning approaches, likely more fun and effective, than mine.


My goal is modest: learn to consistently bake a few different breads (lean doughs) with consistent flavor, mouthfeel, and (lastly) eye appeal that my family and friends enjoy enough to ask for more. After nearly two years, I can say with some confidence that I can turn out baguettes, and one sourdough formula that adequately meet that goal. Now, building on the sourdough formula (primarily white flour), I'm working on a modest 40% whole wheat variation. I've reached a point wherein I've got the flavor right--two versions: one my wife likes, a more acid one I like). The crumb is satisfactory on the mild flavored loaf, but disappointing on the more sour one.


Your comment of "getting the fermentation right" was an Eureka! moment for me. It helped me ask the right questions to seek out the further readings mentioned above. That alone, was reason enough to ask the question. I've got enough additional information now to formulate next steps. Thank you.


David G


 

proth5's picture
proth5

To add to this discussion think of other things we do to preserve/enhance the taste of our bread - like gentle mixing (so as not to destroy the carotenoids) that have as a manefestation an open crumb.  Folds, gentle (but thorough) degassing.  All of them add up.  "Everything must be perfect" - I'll attribute that to "my teacher" - whose name I will not give...

judsonsmith's picture
judsonsmith

While mouthfeel is an important quality of an open crumb, I feel that the flavor of a well-fermented bread with an open crumb is superior to one with a denser crumb. Maybe this is due to more aromatic gas being picked up on the nose from an open crumb... I'm not really sure! Mix some well fermented baguette dough with adequate hydration (at least in the mid 60% range), shape some delicately enough to preserve a good deal of fermentation gas - and shape some aggressively - expelling as much gas as possible and producing a denser crumb. Proof and bake in the same way and see which you like better!

varda's picture
varda

but the bread I'm making seems a lot better when I get it.   Open crumb has not been my grail.   My grail is fermenting properly, shaping properly, slashing properly, and when/if I get all those things (with the particular high hydration sourdough I've been making) then magically I also get open crumb.   And when I fail miserably then usually the crumb ends up being pretty condensed and tight.   But that is of course for a particular type of bread.   Not high % rye for instance. 

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

... fermenting properly, shaping properly, slashing properly


What is 'properly'?


Is it what YOU want? Or some other standard? 


And who sets those other standards?


Mary

varda's picture
varda

I want to make a pain au levain batard that looks like Larry's with nice open slashes and beautifully risen and caramel colored crust.   And I want to make a boule like ananda with a perfect cross on it that looks painted on even though it's actually scored.   That's what I mean by proper.   One has to have goals.  -Varda

Chuck's picture
Chuck

A common complaint about "too open" crumb is lots of big holes leads to "leaks" in sandwiches  ...things like dripping mustard on your shirt.


That comes from slicing artisan breads the same direction storebought pullman loaves are sliced: vertically. Just slice the bread horizontally instead - then there'll be a crust with no holes at all between your clothes and the stainey stuff inside the sandwich. Those big holes will become like the "nooks and crannies" advertised for English muffins, rather than something out to sabotage your clothing.


(It only makes sense to me that if the bread I make is very different from the storebought stuff, lots of things about it -including the best slicing direction- will be different.)

fthec's picture
fthec

Why no butter for my baguette basket in Paris?  There are few better things on earth than a great baguette with a thin gilding of unsalted butter.  I could swear I had that often in Paris.  Of course, that was 12 years ago so maybe I've forgotten.

proth5's picture
proth5

If you had a tartine or something else for breakfast, then, yes.  Jam/honey might also be added.  But with a meal such as lunch or dinner?  Oh no.  Oh no.


If you asked  for the butter - well, then I would have to pretend I didn't know you.  Don't ask me what I had to do to obtain a glass full of ice for a fellow Coloradan  visiting the Luberon who wanted it - I obtained said glass full of ice, but at what cost! Oh! The humanity!


I was last in Paris  2 years ago - too long! Too long!  I must go back and investigate this situation!

flournwater's picture
flournwater

What the technical "purpose" of open crumb breads might be is a mystery to me, but my open crumb ciabattas and baguettes are delightfully chewy and much tastier than my standard sandwich loaves.  To my mind, it's a badge of competence when your finished loaf has beautiful open crumb or a denser, less open crumb, and that the crumb you ended up with is the crumb you intended when you started.  Achieving a certain crumb through simple good fortune rather than personal skill in formulating a bread dough and handling it properly is not a sign of skill.  Purposefully obtaining the crumb you want  -  that's skill.

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

First of all, not all lean breads ask for the same degree of "open-ness" in the crumb. For instance, a country loaf would have less and smaller holes than a baguette. Why? it's in the shape. A baguette is thin and long, which means it has a lot more crust than a round country loaf (much more and harder crust than a sandwich loaf). In fact, in each bite, you would have a mouthful of hard crust, in that case if you have a hard crust AND a solid crumb, what's your mouth feel? Solid and chewy and tough. On the other hand, if your baguette has a lot of holes, then there's a great contrast between hard/crispy/chewy crust and airy crumb, which leads to a "light and balanced" eating experience. The same thing applies for ciabatta, higher ratio of crust, crumb needs to be more open to make the eating experience balanced. This is easy to prove: I have baked many "failed" baguettes with solid crumb, it simply taste worse than the holier ones - in terms of texture only. Howeve for country loaves, some bites would be crumb only, so yes, the holes can be smaller and less. With a huge miche, most bites probably would be crumb only, therefore miches tend to be even denser.


 


Secondly, airy crumb (different degree in different lean breads as established above) means two things to me: proper fermentation which leads to bigger volume in the final breads, AND less kneading which leads to less even crumb. Both "proper fermentation" and "less kneading" contribute to more flavor. I frequently bake Asian style sandwich breads that requires intensive kneading which leads to a crumb that almost has no pores, not to mention holes. Let me tell you, those breads NEED to be enriched in order to have good flavor (or any flavor). With hearth breads that only has flour, water, and salt, you dont' want to knead that much, and you do want it to grow higher (unless you think hocky pucks taste better) and bigger, which automatically leads to more holes by simple physics.


 


Lastly, I do think one can only claim "I prefer breads with no holes" or "I think open crumb is unnecessary" IF one can achieve hole-y and unhole-y crumb reliably, therefore has compared different textures consistently. I am not that skillful. When I get open crumb, the breads taste better than the ones that has solid crumb, so open crumb is indeed holy grail to me FOR HEARTH LEAN BREADS. For Asian style sandiwch breads, my holy grail is soft, even crumb with no "pores".

merlie's picture
merlie

I have never even thought of making a sandwich with an open crumb bread  - e.g.ciabatta. But dunking slices in a bowl of homemade pureed soup  - could eat the whole loaf myself that way !! Luckily for my waistline my husband prevents that from happening....


                     Merlie

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I live in N. Central Florida. I can see my neighbor's steers grazing looking out my window. Likely, I am among only a handful of sourdough starter owners within a twenty-five mile radius. Trial and error, TFL, a growing library of bread-baking books, and the amorphous Internet are my only "teachers". Preferment, is not a word in neither my neighbors' nor more distant friends' vocabularies. I haven't been in France since 1966, and, except for De Gaulle airport, Paris never. Like it or not you are my only readily available mentors.


David G

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It depends on how the bread is eaten.  I don't think all breads should be open crumbed and I don't think all breads should be tight crumbed.  What I do think is that one should have the ability to be able to make both and all the variations in between.   Anytime one chooses only one type of crumb to make, a whole world of other crumbs is left unexplored. 


I have bitten into some very fine 60% rye breads, soft like a cake but compact enough to almost call gummy, yet the mouth feel was like bread flavored cheese cake and fell apart with no wadding or toughness.  It could hold up under cold butter spreading stress and yet was no effort to bite off.  Made a great open sandwich and also one could wave it in the air to stress a point in conversation.  Wonderful!


Mini

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

(bread) could hold up under cold butter spreading stress ...


No need to spread butter if there are holes - slice it. The butter, that is. Cold, salted butter can't be eaten by itself so it needs good bread to hold it, if there are holes in the bread the slices of butter just need to be bigger to briege the gaps.


Bliss ...


A smear of unsalted butter? Might as well paint some tasteless oil on the bread.

G-man's picture
G-man

Not to open up the butter issue again but... while I see your point when it comes to regular unsalted butter, nothing in the world beats unsalted cultured or "European style" butter.

Sjadad's picture
Sjadad

Fortunately, we can have either, or both types of butter.  So we don't have to choose.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I just made a 100% spelt bread with an "open crumb" - due to my inattention when mixing a larger batch in my 20-quart Hobart.


The dough was too wet, making not only handling a pain in the butt, but, also, the breads spread in the oven, and stuck together.  And the larger pores made cutting the bread more difficult, the slices broke easily.


At least the bread tasted good.


Karin


 


 

ww's picture
ww

I don't think that a holey crumb is a goal in itself - and of course, to begin with, we're talking about breads that characteristically have an open crumb. I very much agree with Proth5 that each loaf of bread should be about balance - trying to coax the maximum out of your conditions and ingredients while trying to achieve an overall balance within the profile of your bread. Then of course, you have the personal preference factor.

Personally I like the gelatinisation, the glistening ring around the holes. I even hold it against the light to admire them (yes pardon my kooky ways). I feel they are sweeter and I relish those bits, esp when combined with some boldly baked crust, yum.. And people who complain abt leaky sandwiches, there's a reason we have a variety of breads. For a variety of accompaniments and eating styles. A pain de mie dipped in olive oil? Not quite, but a ciabatta, that's a different story :)

And I'll back proth on the no butter policy in paris. Some hotels may serve you butter (probably sick of people asking) but as a rule, the waiter may fetch you some if you ask but you don't want to know what they're muttering under their breath:) I think butter with bread is an anglo-saxon thing.

mht's picture
mht

I'll have to disagree. A bit of bread with some demi-sel is as French as it gets.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

It was in France, Orleans to be specfic, that I learned to love bread with thick slabs of unsalted butter.


cheers,


gary

proth5's picture
proth5

Well, any excuse to make sure I make it to France this year (as I said, been away too long.)


I know when I was at the Dear Old Place in Bievres trying to get my graduate degree butter only appeared for breakfast and I don't know if it was my training in NOT buttering bread at lunch and dinner or just the venues that I frequent, but I've been in many, many places in France over the years and I can't recall having butter on bread (or it being offered to me) late in the day.  I was there just two or so years ago for a little baking trade show and we were eating our bread unadorned. (And free, too, you couldn't walk the aisles of the place without being handed some kind of delightful bread!)


So forgive my perspective - yes a good slab of demi sel on bread (in the morning) is a delight.  I will get to the bottom of this because inquiring minds want to know!!!!


Happy Buttering!

saltandserenity's picture
saltandserenity

Well all I can say on this subject is that you know you're a bread freak when this long thread of conversation over open crumb absolutely fascinates you on a Monday morning!  Thanks for the discussion eveyone.  it has long been a question I have had.  Although it has not been answered definitively, I still enjoyed the stimulating conversation.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

 


Hi davidg608,


I'm late to the debate but I'm with those who claim that 'open crumb' and 'big holes' are not one and the same thing, although they can sometimes be mistaken for each other! 


To me, as to other posters, what matters is that whether the bread is large or small pored, the faces of the individual 'pores' are open and well developed, glistening even. 'Poreless' breads, like some Asian breads that txfarmer refers to, may have strands rather than holes, but they are also glistening and 'shreddable'. All this shows good dough development. Compacted, very uneven or very wet crumb is a different matter, indicating that the dough development needs adjustment. 


I write because you ask which experts have been helpful. As a relatively new baker I found Australian sourdough expert John Downes' insights into sourdough hearth breads very useful.


Like all statements, his input is up for debate (I see the jam leaking has been covered - I tend to have good tasting oil on open holed breads!). However his reflections on crumb really helped me to feel that 'big holes', although appropriate to baguettes, did not need to be a dominant goal for other hearth breads


http://sourdough.com/blog/johnd/judging-sourdough-bread-and-artisan-breads


Kind regards, Daisy_A:


 


 


 

G-man's picture
G-man

Thank you so much for the link, Daisy_A. I had a lot of fun reading it. There is so much to agree with and also to disagree with, some of it vehemently! If you had told me ten years ago I would be capable of working up any kind of emotion, much less such strong emotions, about bread, I probably would have laughed.

One line that really interested me is the reference to lactic and acetic acids. I guess I never made much of a distinction. I think I may have to go over some of Debra Wink's posts on the matter again and see what I can find out.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi G-man,


Glad you enjoyed the link! Downes was one of the first leading sourdough bakers whose opinions I came across online. He's been quite involved in supporting some UK initiatives also, like Brockwell Community Bake in London and Oxford Bread Group's growing of heritage wheats. 


There are some things he says I think 'You're so right!' whereas with other points I just want to arm wrestle him to the ground (guess he would win. though - he is a baker after all!). However he always gives food for thought...


You're right about bread and strong emotions - it does take you by surprise.


I read a Debra post again tonight. Lots of food for thought. Briefly it said maltose in bread could aid lactic production - on http://www.thefreshloaf.com/keyword/metabolic-pathways


Best wishes, Daisy_A

EvaB's picture
EvaB

I like a more open crumb bread with crispy crust (baugettes comes to mind) because I can't stand the feel of a wad of bread in my mouth, trying to chew! Unfortunately, I tend to heave when that happens, and that isn't something one wants to do in company. My mother dispaired of me, because I didn't like a thick slab of bread spread with peanut butter (double the heave reflex) she was often frustrated with me, when I requested thinner and thinner slices of bread, toasted without anything but a bit of butter on it, and make that a bit, I wasn't one for butter either, liked it, just didn't tolerate it too well. At least not on cold slabs of bread.


With me, its all about how it feels in my mouth and the reflex actions of my tummy when it doesn't feel right!


However I have read the disscussion with interest, and can see that its really dependant on the type of bread being made, so shall try even harder to get the whole process down right, and produce some lovely breads, that I enjoy, the ones with more open crumb, although a good rye bread is also something to be enjoyed, but not in huge thick slabs. More like very nice thin slices, with good stuff, pastrami, sourkraut, and pickles comes to mind.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi EvaB,


Like your post! I take your point about wads of bread. However when you got to the peanut butter bit I just went yum not yuk! Do know what you mean about big, bland mouthfuls, though I associate this more now with commercial breads. 


Now I've done a few month's sourdough baking and am trying to move on again, good crumb development is coming more and more into focus.


I find if my crumb has a good structure and each pore is quite well developed I can cut the bread thin as you like, whether it is low or high hydration. Pictures below are of mostly wholemeal lemon bread at about 55% and Tartine at 77% hydration.


I get thin crispy toast from both and often enjoy both with little or nothing on. Have to say I do like the Tartine toast with organic pb and apricot jam, but I prefer the lemon bread on its own.


I can cut a tin rye super thin too if it comes out right. Find that good on its own too.  You're right. though - also great with pickles and cured meats!


With very best wishes, Daisy_A

EvaB's picture
EvaB

I tried almond butter from the health food store, tastes good, but I simply cannot eat it, gave it to DH, its something to do with the texture I think, because I can eat peanut butter in cookies, but not off the spoon (mom and brother's favourite way) or on bread. I can eat roasted peanuts, peanut filled candies (chicken bones, and crispy crunch chocolate bars the filling is crunchy) and eatmore bars which are a sort of thick gooey dark bar with chunks of peanuts throughout it.


I was always a pickey eater and a trial to my poor mother who tried to feed me the best she could with limited money, but I'd rather eat beans than peanut butter and bread.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi EvaB,


Have to say I didn't really eat peanut butter and jelly (jam) before I came on TFL and read the American bakers posting on it!


Being from the UK I thought jelly was like dessert jelly LOL. Couldn't work out how you got it to stay on the top of the bread!  Now I got a bit hooked on it for an evening snack. Beans would be better! In fact beans are great too...Wouldn't turn down a lovely plate of beans. 


Best wishes, Daisy_A

EvaB's picture
EvaB

choppped onions and butter. Of course a nice thin slice of buttered bread is also good with these. I like almost anykind of beans, but don't eat soy if I can help it, Or at least not often. I don't in particular like Boston baked beans either, or at least non homemade versions, too sweet.


But jam is something I do like, thinly spread on the slice of bread with butter (thin on both of those of course), I make my own jams, because I don't like the jams in stores, they are mostly pectin, and sugar with a tiny bit of jam berries or fruits, much better to have my own, mine are softer ean easier to spread as well, in my lexicon jelly is clear juice, thickened until its almost solid, but not quite, in otherwords it has no fruit in it, only juice of the fruit, and isn't solid like the stuff you get from the store. It should be spreadable without force and depending on the fruit it can be eaten as a desert, snack, filling for cakes or cookies, or as an accompanyment of meats, black currant jelly goes well with many roasts, and of course there is the ubiquitos cranberry jelly with turkey, again I make my own, as I like it tart and not sweet enough to rot your teeth through the can.


Of course my latest thing was crab apple jelly spread on a hot out of the oven croissant! Absolutely delicious. My own jelly from my own tree! Nothing gets better than that!

ww's picture
ww

in case there's any misunderstanding, not suggesting for a second that there's no bread & butter to be had in France. what else did i eat every morning... And yes, the memory of cultured butter.... What i meant was in restaurants, the bread basket (if there is one) is not usually accompanied by butter.


actually when the bread is good, i eat it plain. It yields different tastes with every chew, and it changes with each day too. I find that butter, as much as i love love love that stuff, sometimes gets in the way.

G-man's picture
G-man

I do find it so strange and fascinating that even relatively closely related culinary cultures can have such huge variations in taste. The argument could be made that the French have had a major impact on Western culinary thinking. I know that in every recognized culinary school here in the States, the French approach to food is taught. And yet depending on which state one lives in, even from city to city, tastes vary so broadly. When that is expanded to different countries, the differences become matters worth drawing lines of battle over.


I guess it comes down to knowing your culinary terrain and accepting that things can vary from place to place, or even time to time. One way is not the best way for everyone, it's the best way for that place at that time.


I wouldn't ask a French chef to make a grilled cheese sandwich.


I wouldn't ask an Italian chef to make spaghetti with meat sauce.


I wouldn't ask an American chef to serve bread without butter.

mht's picture
mht


"I wouldn't ask a French chef to make a grilled cheese sandwich."



I wouldn't either, I'd just ask for a croque monsieur. :-)


I think you guys over there might be overestimating French cuisine (and bread making for that matter). Assuming France is one culinary bloc might be a bit risky too. I don't suppose a lot of jamabalaya is eaten in Ohio, or indeed clam chowder in Arizona. :-)

G-man's picture
G-man

And here we can enter into a deep and lengthy discussion that has yet to be definitively solved! I'll keep it short though...

My personal position is that a grilled cheese sandwich can have a slice or two of bacon on it and retain its status as a grilled cheese sandwich. Any other toppings of any kind cause it to become a different sandwich altogether. Were I to put chicken on it, it would be a grilled chicken sandwich with cheese. Beef would be a grilled beef sandwich with cheese. Et cetera.

And yes, the cuisine of France is certainly wide and varied. But you can certainly get a cheeseburger in Ohio that will be similar to a cheeseburger in Arizona, even at a mom & pop restaurant. Some food is regional, some national.

bnom's picture
bnom

A more open crumb means fewer calories!!!  And when you toast the bread, you get more crispy dark edges, and thus more flavor, than a closed crumb bread.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

bnom, if I have a freshly baked, crusty bread with big holes I eat the double amount - with butter!


Karin