The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crumb doesn't open up for 50% wholewheat with biga @ 80% hydration

CeciC's picture

Crumb doesn't open up for 50% wholewheat with biga @ 80% hydration


imageimageBiga ferment for 12 hrs

500g white bf

340g water 

0.4g yeast

Main dough

500g wholewheat dread flour

460g water 

22g salt

3G yeast

20g flaxseeds

10g sesame

20g pumpkin seeds

all seeds toasted and add at the first fold.

after mixing the final dough I give it 4 s&f within the first hour. 

total bulk ferment time was 3 hours

divide and shape proof for 45 mins which seems a bit overproof

the cumb is moist but it doesn't open up at all. would that due to lack of gluten development or overproof or is becoz of the addins? this got me thinking all night. 

Luckily my yeast water 90% English muffins gives me a good spring.

BreadBro's picture

Honestly, that's a pretty good crumb for the amount of whole wheat flour and seeds. In general, breads with more than ~30% whole wheat are going to have tighter crumbs. You could play with the hydration a bit and up it toward 90%, but I think you've got a pretty nice looking loaf there.

You could try soaking the whole wheat + seeds overnight and mix it with your biga. This is how Peter Reinhart does his whole wheat breads - it's called the "epoxy method," If you search the forums, you might find some info about it. The process makes exemplary whole wheat breads.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and it is open!  ...and roasted seed too!  :)

If I was the size of an ant, I'd be all over the openness of it.  Lovely!

For Fluffy, see the first comment or site search for soft tear (or fluffy) whole wheat 

CeciC's picture

Thank you so much, I want to have big holes like a ciabatta.

Im not after fluffy bread like jap sandwich bread, maybe I should bake that next week

dabrownman's picture

Autolysing the whole grains would help but this crumb is about as good as it gets for this kind of bread. Bet it tastes great too. Well done CeciC and

Happy baking!

CeciC's picture

Great Idea!!

Coz my last 75% ww sourdough has a more open crumb than this. The main different apart from the sourdough levain is the autolysing process. 

This one has a shorter shelf life than sourdough one, it started to dry out on the second day. 

golgi70's picture

And agree with all.  That's a lovely crumb for 50% wholemeal bread.  How did the dough feel?  If it felt it could handle more water that is an obvoiius option.  

Also spreading the stretch and folds may help as well.  You may even get away with just 3 stretch and folds at 40 minute intervals.  I'd even play with just 2 @ 50 minutes but when doing them do one then turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat for each fold.  So a double stretch and fold so to speak.  I've been finding that spreading the s/f's out and doing less subdivides the crumb less and helps open it up at the end. 

If you hydrated all the wheat at 100% and all the white at 70% respectively the total hydration would be 85% and your loaf is at 80%.  Plus the small amount the seeds soak up.  But different flours handle different levels of hydration hence asking how the dough felt.  

Again I think the bread looks fantastic


CeciC's picture

the dough feels a little drier after I added seeds. sigh!! I believe it should be able to handle a little more water. To me this dough feels like a 70% hydration white. I think autolysing n increasing hydration would definitely help.

I experienced problem with developing Gluten for a very wet dough. Ive attempted a Pain Au Bacon yesterday with overnight fermentation, when I added caramelised onion it became super wet feels like a poolish. Then I did a few more stretch n fold. Its still very runny. Is there are paticular technique that I can get around this problem? 

When they s&f then flip the dough over, when it has a very high hydration I can hardly flip it as it stuck to the side of the bowl. 

Thank you for your help!!


carblicious's picture

I'm just going to agree with all the above TFLers, that's an open crumb.  With 50% whole wheat, that looks great.  Nicely done.

CeciC's picture

Thank you

Janetcook's picture

I agree with all that has been said above. Really nice looking crumb.

One suggestion, but it comes from me and I bake using 100% whole grains only which behave differently, is to not let it prove quite as long.  This will give you more spring but will change your crumb a bit too.  

I generally only let my loaves rise about 75% before baking. If I go longer I get less spring.

Good Luck,


CeciC's picture

Cool Im gonna give it a go this fri