The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What is wrong with this bread??

Lauraclimbs's picture

What is wrong with this bread??


I have been baking since the start of 2012 and using exclusively SD starters for the last 2 months. I have been primarily sticking to Tartine's book, having great success with their Country Loaf and good progress on the Whole Wheat Country Loaf.  This photo is of the first loaf of bread I made without following a specific recipe. I knew I wanted to make a 100% whole wheat sourdough sandwich loaf, so I found a recipe from this site and improvised significantly because a large part of its instructions didn't make sense.

 ANYway, I am not satisfied with this loaf and am looking for some feedback from people. What is with the little flap on the right side of the bread? When I proofed the bread, instead of rising right out of the loaf pan, it rose up some the poured over. Does this mean the dough was too wet? Not developed enough? Over proofed? It proofed for around 3.5 hrs at 78degrees so I really doubt this is the problem.Also, there is not a uniform 'sandwich style' crumb. Is this because I did not press enough air out of the dough?

Looking for as much feedback as possible. You guys are my resource to learn from!

thihal123's picture

Mm...interesting question! I'm a novice baker so don't have any wisdom to impart. But in my little experience, it did seem that very wet doughs (which is the kind I like) tends to flop over more. I don't really know....I'm subscribed to this topic to see what the experts have to say!

Yerffej's picture

The first and simpliest answer is that the pan was too small for the amount of dough that you used.  That is easy and readily rectified. 

This is nice looking bread that you made even if is not exactly what you were looking for.  I am more than a bit in the dark without your recipe so I can only offer so much here.  If a more even crumb is what you are after, I would leave the recipe unchanged and deflate the dough more after the initial fermentation and prior to panning the dough.  This is where that old fashioned 'slap the dough down' thinking comes in as that techniques is designed to give a tighter more uniform crumb.  

Sourdough baking can be a bit challenging and you seem to have a good command of the process.  Change only one thing at a time, keep notes, and be happy with what you have done as it looks very good.  How is the flavor?



JeremyCherfas's picture

Nice looking loaf, and yes, I'm sure the flap is just where the bread spilled out over the top of the tin. Agree with Jeff, that without details of the recipe after you had "improvised significantly" it is hard to be precise, but when I am specifically looking for large holes I usually use a higher hydration. So if you want a denser, more even crumb, I suggest you use less water. Aim for a hydration of about 60%.


All at Sea's picture
All at Sea

I bet that bread is lovely and moist and soft.

Agree with YerffeJ, too much dough for the size of tin - hence the overflow. Easily remedied. Personally I wouldn't reduce the hydration much - wholewheat is a thirsty flour and you don't want to get a tighter crumb at the cost of having a dry loaf.

I'm guessing, looking at that loosely knitted crumb structure, you implemented SFs when working the dough? If you want a more uniform crumb then use the Richard Bertinet technique and do so for about 10 minutes. That will regulate your crumb far better than SFs.  Follow your bulk ferment with a firm pre-shape, degassing the dough a little more enthusiastically than you would if aiming for a big open lacy structure, will indeed help too.

You're only a skip away from the effect you want, so good luck, but am sure you won't need it.

All at Sea


nhtom's picture

You didn't knead in enough flour.  The dough was too moist.

golgi70's picture

I make a 100% WW dough at my job that has had a similar problem.  The problem occurs for me when I've over mixed the dough before the stretch and folds.  I have gotten it under control and I only mix until the dough has come together and can take a tug without instant tearing.  I let the s+f's/bulk ferment develop the gluten the rest of the way.  I've also incorportaed some vital wheat gluten and I soak my wheat for 12 hours to soften the grain before mixing.  Not sure this will solve your problem but I've ran into the same troubles.  



Lauraclimbs's picture

Thanks for the reply! When I made this loaf, I DID mix the dough a bit (slap and fold 3-4 min) before allowing the dough to bulk ferment (with s&f every 30-45 min). It is interesting to hear that you had similar results with a similar technique. I too soak the grain for 12 hours before making the dough, but I have never tried vital wheat gluten. Do you think it is crucial? Also, are you making a sandwich loaf?

golgi70's picture

The 100 % wheat we make (its actually not 100% because we add a 9 grain soaker of high proportion) has been a long work in progress.  At first soaking the wheat helped substantially to open the crumb a touch and leave the "brick status" that the bread was stuck at.  I think the only way I could have avoided the VWG was if I had time and space to retard the loaves, which I don't.  So I went with the addition of VWG.  Ever since the loaves have bounced upward and not flattened out on the top, almost to the point that I need to decrease the amount of dough in the tins.  I don't think the VWG is absolutely necessary but it makes it easier to get the loaf I was seeking without any compromise.  In fact since the change the bread is a better seller.  And finally, yes its a sandwich loaf.  

happy baking