The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread denser and gummy at bottom of loaf?

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katyajini's picture
katyajini

Bread denser and gummy at bottom of loaf?

My loves of bread baked in loaf pans are getting better :).  Something I see from time to time is that the horizontal bottom 10% of the loaf is denser, harder and sometimes even gummy.  Why does that happen?  I have been able to knead and make the bread without adding more flour and the resulting bread is open and moist, not wet or gummy.  Maybe my correlation is not correct but does a wetter dough give denser bottoms? Or am I not kneading enough for a wet dough?

On the other hand when I am making bread from very wet dough like ciabatta, the bread is not perfect but I don't see a denser section at the bottom of the loaf.  Lifts right up.

 

Did it ever happen to you?  What might I do about it?

 

Thank you so much 

 

 

 

 

 

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Hi, I wonder could you perhaps be handling the dough a bit too roughly when sealing the seam underneath, thus creating an area of denser dough?

I have only ever had gummy crumb when I have under baked, could your oven be baking unevenly? Or perhaps more heat underneath the bread, a hotter stone etc might help.

But, since you say your ciabatta comes out fine, I think it unlikely that your oven is not heating evenly. However, ciabatta does not require any real shaping, which is what makes me ask if you could perhaps be sealing too firmly? I am also wondering, and this is really only me thinking out loud, I don't know if this would be true, but if you have created an area of denser dough, would that area because of its density also take longer to bake, leading to the under baked gum mines you describe?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

205 F on the inside and let the bread cool completely there will no gumminess inside.  A dense loaf on the bottom is a shaping issue.  Don'l cut corners - pre-shape the loaf gently while getting rod of the large air bubbles, let it rest for 10 minutes.... then do the final shaping.  Your problems should disappear if your oven is actually at the temperature i says it is at.  Mine is 25 F low last time I checked with an oven thermometer - so was the mini oven on the counter.

Happy baking

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Thanks to both of you!

I never could have thought that denser or gummy bottoms might be a shaping issue!

1)  I have been routinely baking to about 200-201 F but maybe not 205.  I thought the instructions are 185 so I am doing pretty good.  I will wait the extra few mins to get 205 and probably it will make a difference.

2) I don't have a stone and am going to get one soon.  I bake by placing all the loaf pans on a baking sheet and putting that on the center rack.  I read Peter Reinharts instructions to do so.  I don't get how that is supposed to affect the quality of the baked loaves.  But I do find that the bottoms are not well browned by this method but maybe, just maybe, the rise in the oven is more uniform and not lopsided. This time I will bake on lower third and without baking sheet.

Do you know why loaf pans are often placed on a baking sheet for baking? 

3) I am not quite clear what I am doing inadequately during the shaping but the shaping step is one of my weakest links and where I am most ignorant. I also get a lot of tearing of the gluten skin/surface at the top of the loaf during the final rise specially if seeds and nuts are present.  Maybe that is part of the same problem.  I will give more relaxing times and go gently but firmly.  Lets see!

Thank you so much friends!

   

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo


I think that the tearing to the skin during the final proof, suggests a shaping issue further. You may be over tightening the skin and so it tears instead of expanding. You might find doing nothing other than being a bit more gentle will solve your problem. 

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Thank you so much!  This shaping issue was a real pointer for me.  I looked up some videos and paid a lot of attention to the process today when I made some loaves.  I did noticed where I was making mistakes.  Practicing over the next few loaves should get me somewhere.  This was a big step in my bread baking growth.  :) :) 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

For Whole 100% grain breads with a high percent of rye,  I dust them with bran, or coarse rye, and when the bread rises in the tin, the tops naturally tear and crack.  When the cracks appear it means they are properly risen and ready for the oven:-) No shaping required for them either!

katyajini's picture
katyajini

As I am paying close attention to shaping the bread is rising higher and looking better! I still am clumsy and mess up but its working!  Thank you!

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

I am glad things are going better for you. I still feel very clumsy too, and putting theory into practise is always harder than I think it will be! As long as I keep seeing progress I am happy.