The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

problem with bread density

arvivlx2's picture

problem with bread density

hello all the bakers.

i usually bake one bread per week. every week a new bread, mainly from Wild Yeast. here's my problem, sometime the breads i'm getting are very dense and have few large bubbles inside with the rest feel like dough. sometimes the breads come out like i love them, with many many bubbles all over the crumbs and the feeling is a bit gelatin. i normally bake similar breads, ones with flour, water, sourdough and salt, occasionly rye or whole wheat. i dont know why sometimes i getting breads like that and sometimes like this, there are so much variables... i'm sorry if i'm not clear enough, english is not my stronget skill.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Different breads have different densities. One flour will produce a dense bread while another will produce a lighter bread. One type of kneading or mixing will result in a dense loaf while another will result in a light loaf. One day your starter will just not want to do what it's supposed to do while another day it'll have you trying to rapidly cool the ambient temperature in your kitchen.

It is as you say: there are so many of variables, all of which contribute to variable bread density.

It's not a failure if the density you achieve is the density the loaf is supposed to have, however: while you may not like dense bread, that doesn't mean your efforts were unsuccessful. Maybe the loaf is supposed to be dense!


Chuck's picture

What helped a lot for me was:

  1. Measure ingredients very accurately. This means weighing everything on an accurate (probably digital) scale. Even when I was weighing everything -but on a spring scale that was often off by 5 grams or so, and making only one small loaf, I realized the very same recipe made the very same way was coming out totally differently each time  ...and I eventually found most of the problem was the measuring inaccuracies.
  2. Be careful not to "knead in" so much flour that it upsets the recipe. It's pretty easy to goof up by flouring your work surface and your hands heavily and repeatedly. I now carry this to extremes: I use oil (not flour) for my work surface and cool water (not flour) for my hands.
  3. Learn an accurate way to judge when the bake is done. Most likely start by measuring internal crumb temperature (use an "instant read" thermometer), then supplement with other considerations. Even small changes in loaf size or shape can make a significant difference. Today I scaled up my 250 gram loaf up to a 400 gram loaf, and without thinking used the same old clock time for baking - I shouldn't have: the finished loaf "felt funny" from the outside, and when I sliced it. my serrated knife had a gummy residue on it.
Maverick's picture

One of the problems is that you are using a different recipe every week. With all the other variables, this make is more difficult to adjust the bread to your liking. I would suggest making the same bread, post the results, let us analyze it, and try the same recipe next time to see if the results improve. Keep making that bread until you get it the way want it. Once you can do this a couple times in a row, only then should you move on to the next recipe. Then repeat this process with the next bread. Once you have a couple breads that you are confident with, you can always come back to those while trying to tweak the current one you are working with. Over time you should have a good collection of breads you can bake.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Many times, the starter can be out of balance and needs a little work first.  Give us the gory details of it's eating habits and maybe that's all you need to turn out a different crumb.   That's the first place I look when trouble shooting.   Weather changes are always testing our starters when the seasons change so it is good to keep track of temperatures.  If you're cold, chances are good that the starter is cold too and will slow down and eat less.  Once we know more about the starter, the sooner we can help.