The Fresh Loaf

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shiny/wet/gummy crumb

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angiechia's picture
angiechia

shiny/wet/gummy crumb

Hi all

I have been getting bread with a crumb like that - shiny/wet look. Somewhat gummy and chewy to taste, like eating rubber. Loaf feels very heavy in the hand too. I have searched the web and seen others with similar problems but there were no solutions at the end of the discussion.

Wonder if anyone who have managed to counter this problem? And what has been done?

Is this due to undermixing? Overproofing? Steam? Oven temp? Or flour type? Or anything else?

Thanks so much!

 

 

 

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hi, Angiechia

From the look of the crumb and your description of the texture, i'd go with overproofing. What was the dough hydration? was it a wet dough to work with during the mixing stage? A wet ,overproved dough will be slightly gummy, chewy and heavy. 

all the best,

Khalid

ghazi's picture
ghazi

I had that exact problem when making a batch of AP bread. Remember I left it out overnight for bulk ferment and it was over puffed in the morning. That is what I got a (too) chewy crumb that people say was too wet + heavy

It was quite a wet dough too

 

angiechia's picture
angiechia

Hi Khalid

It is 71% hydration, with the following formula

liquid levain 100g

Bread flour 165g

Whole wheat flour 100g

Water 174g

Honey 8g

Salt 6g

Yeast a pinch

I did an autolyse for the flour and water. After half an hour, all else goes in. Yes the dough was very wet, so had to do S&F over 3 hours. I forgot how long was the final proof, but I think it's definitely more than an hour at my room temp of 30C.

Bake temp is 250C for 20 min then door open for another 5 minutes.

I am also not sure if it has to do with the steaming. I use lava rocks to create steam, steaming once after loading the bread. I also leave the rocks inside the chamber throughout the baking. Should I remove them midway instead?

 

angiechia's picture
angiechia

Hi Ghazi

So in the end how did you conquer the crumb texture? For me, a little chew is good but this is like eating rubber. Besides steam, I was also suspecting over or under proof? If overproof, it does collapse? And if underproof, the centre has not had a chance to "expand" yet?

ghazi's picture
ghazi

I just haven't had another loaf turn out like that , made sure it doesn't go over when fermenting. Although I do remember thinking could it be too much liquid? A huge chunk is down to fermenting properly

Your oven temp and baking is fine, im really not the best person for this sort of technical advice though what I can say is just watch more closely during bulk ferment using finger test and it should stay where it is, if only spring back bery slowly you know its had enough time to rise.

Wish I could help you more, it is a very undesirable result out of lots of things that could happen to a loaf of bread. I do remember thinking I don't want this to ever happen again.

People on this site are very technical and could guide you in the best direction

angiechia's picture
angiechia

Hi Thanks, Ghazi

do you mean the bulk fermenting or the final proofing? Correct me if I am wrong, but I was under the impression that the longer the bulk ferment,  the more flavourful and open crumb can be achieved. You do the poke test for the bulk ferment as well?

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

an internal temperature check. Seems like a short time in the oven??

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

didn't bake as dark as the top for some reason.  I would make sure to bake this to 205 F on the inside middle and  make sure the loaf is completely cool before slicing. 

Did you get good spring and bloom/  Can't tell from the photos.  IF not, is was also over proofed.

Happy Baking

ghazi's picture
ghazi

I figure its a good way to always check if a dough is ready to go to next stage, whether bulk ferment or final proof

With wetter dough it gets tricky, then it comes down to feel and experience of baker.

Of course the slower the fermentation the better flavor, though these factors include less yeast and colder temps (fridge).

My only other concern would be baked too high a temp for too fast, so inside has not set. Though this is getting technical and im not the best person to give you advice in that arena. I'm 99% sure as Khalid stated that it is over proofing, just because it happened to me exactly the same and I can remember that my dough was bulk fermenting from around 4pm until the next morning. Given the right temps I might have just done it but it was doomed when I saw how much it grew

Try the recipe again keeping an eye on the fermentation stage and let us know how you get on

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

like 3 to 4 hrs.  with ww flour. 

Would like to see a photo of the bottom outside crust of the loaf.  Inside crumb bubbles look awfully flat at the bottom indicating lack of heat.  What can you do about getting more heat under the loaf?

More rich deep bottom heat would be my next try at the same dough.  

angiechia's picture
angiechia

angiechia's picture
angiechia

Hi Mini Oven

sorry I seem to have some technical prob with inserting pictures - they turn out like giant.

anyway, that was the base of the same loaf. It's abit blurred, but that's the best of several shots I have taken. Not sure if you can make anything out of it?

angiechia's picture
angiechia

Mini Oven

May I ask what is the science behind extending the autolyse period?

As for the bottom heat, I am baking the loaves on a marble slab. And using lava rocks to create steam. I steam after loading, but will probably try to steam before load to see if there is any difference.

Ghazi

I find checking when the dough is ready is so difficult. Sometimes when I poke at different parts of the dough, I get different result - ie spring back, slow spring back and deep indent all on the same loaf at the same time! Probably got to do with the way I do the shaping. That's why I keep telling myself a bit more, a bit more and that's prob how it ended up overproofed? Other than the poke test, is there any other better or surer method?

Dabrownman

I did check the internal temperature - about 210F when I remove from oven. So should be cooked? But you are right, there isn't much oven spring, and the loaf feels very heavy. A side question - does oven spring have to do with the way the loaf is scored?

But definitely, thanks to all your comments. I will definitely try to bake longer, and proof a bit shorter to see if there is any difference.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

keeps the loaf expansion - bloom, where you want it rather than blowing out the side or where ever the loaf is weakest.  What makes for good spring and bloom is getting the loaf in the oven at 85-90% proof instead of over proofing, high heat and steam.  I preheat at 288F and once the oven hits that temperature then I put Mega Steam on the bottom rack under the bottom stone.  I have a top stone as well over the loaf.  Mega Steam is 2 of Sylvia's Steaming Pans with a rolled up kitchen towel in them and 1 of David's Steaming lava rock pans  - all are half full of water.

The stones lag the oven temperature by 15 minutes so by the time they get to 288 C the oven is billowing in steam.  Once the loaf goes in I wait 2 minutes and then turn the oven down to 260  C and then 2 minutes later down to 240 C.  Once the steam comes out 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the loaf, then I turn the oven down to 220 F Convection this time. 

Using marble and preheating so long your loaf looks way too pale on the bottom like it is lacking heat.  Is you bottom element working?   

ghazi's picture
ghazi

I have the same problem with checking if dough is ready for final proof. At moment all of my dough's are wet 75 -80% so im finding it very difficult.

Just a note on the gummy crumb, it happened to me again yesterday with a 100% wholewheat. It was way too shiny and sticky looking, again it was an 80% hydrated dough. I seem to think its over proofing but cant really tell since I do wait for the dough to rise in bulk after S & F. Ive heard that with SD baking its no need to wait until (double) in size as with procedures with instant yeast. Just down to how the dough feels as long as gluten has been developed enough

I recently got happy because I found high protein flour locally, although saying goes too good to be true ususally is because it was so cheap. Around 13.6 protein but still more protein doesn't mean better bread and it smelled like cereal to be honest, most probably mast produced bleached stuff.

Oh well thought id let you know make you feel a bit better that your not alone.

Mini oven gives great advice and I think the underlying theme is don't be afrain to play with your dough. Cutting into it more like surgery to find out what you can do to help:)

 

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

oven....should be at least 60 minutes....longer if the marble is thick. I would preheat at 250 for an hour and once loaded reduce to 220 and bake for 30-35 minutes without opening the oven.

angiechia's picture
angiechia

Hi fotomat

my oven is turn on literally all day, from the time I start mixing the dough, so that's at least 4 to 5 hours preheating before the first loaf is sent into the chamber. I was baking at 250C though, think will try to go lower but longer bake

angiechia's picture
angiechia

another question - what if the crumbs are open at the base but more dense at the top surface? Does this imply underproofing? And still the shiny look

nmygarden's picture
nmygarden

Hmm, plenty of preheating time, and thermal mass in a marble slab, yet evidence to suggest underbaking. Do you feel confident that your oven is reaching the set temperatures?

angiechia's picture
angiechia

I am guessing that I might have started too high, and generally because our bakes here favours the less dark crusts, I might have pulled the loaves out sooner. Also this is a matter of being impatient and too wanting to do too much in too short a time. At one point, I was attempting four kinds of bread. But my oven can only load one loaf at a time. So there is fear that the next loaf is going to go overproof, ... and hasten the baking process of the earlier.

I have since convinced myself to either do 1 a day, or give at least an hour in between mixing the next dough.

Anyway, to answer your question - no I am not confident of the chamber temperature. Have yet to invest in a thermometer.

Does the last picture I post also suggests underbake? Not underproof? Does underbaking also cause crumbs to be dense at the top? And dense crumbs at the base suggests insufficient bottom heat?

 

 

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

private message with your address and I will send you a thermometer.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

your rising loaf.  Get yourself a sharp knife and cut into it.  Look at the bubbles forming inside the dough.  Before you cut, flour your hands (or wet them) and lay both hands onto the dough without degassing it.  Try to feel air pockets in the dough.  Then cut it open to check your hand feel with what is actually happening in the dough.  Train your hands to see under the surface.  Stick the dough halves back together and wait a little longer to repeat.  

Soaking ww flour will give the bran bits a chance to soften and less likely to cut your gluten strands while the dough is stretching and rising.  

That last picture looks like the dough wasn't degassed well, so the shaping resulted in the tumble of big holes in strange places.  While I'm at it, look at the areas of consistent bubbles, that is the crumb you are after, correct?  If so, degas more.  Then the loaf crumb will be more uniform.  Watch out for and prevent drafts and cold spots in the dough.  They can also result in topsy turvy crumb after shaping.   When the dough is rising quickly with this kind of bubble distribution, the big bubbles are throwing off your hands judgement of fermentation, degas and reshape.  Don't be afraid to cut the dough and check on it.  Stick it back together after you took a peek.  

angiechia's picture
angiechia

Hi Ghazi

I made a few changes in the bread making and got slightly better results. The crumb is still slightly shiny, but much better than before.

These are what  I have changed

- a bit lesser water in the mix

-baking at lower temp but for longer, so that's 230C for 30min, then another 10 door open as what fotomat has suggested

After the fermentation, dough feels really soft and spongy, so fragile. I degas only slightly by patting off the huge bubbles that I can see forming on the surface. But Minioven is right - I might have been overly gentle, to protect the bubbles, some of the huge ones could have given me the false impression. I have not tried cutting through the dough, will certainly do that  to see if my judgement is good. Practice is what I need.

Why would you want high protein flour? I am using 13.5% and am finding the crumb to be too chewy. I tried replacing with 20% plain flour  (10.5% protein). Slightly less chewy but I still prefer something a tad bit softer. I am going to using a higher % of plain flour. Hopefully I can achieve the soft + slightly chewy crumb.

btw, how about crust? It is crisp and hard right after bake, but it tends to become soft within half an hour? Is this "normal"? And when I eat it much later in the day, or the next day, crust is really hard and chewy. What do people do to have it easier on the teeth?

 

%

ghazi's picture
ghazi

Keep bread wrapped in greaseproof paper better cheese wrap paper if you can get. I find this keeps best for 2-3 days. You will always get more of a chewy crust after the initial baking day. I actually like the toughness that lean bread exhibits on its 2nd or 3rd day (best for dipping in soups). Enriched breads with butter milk etc.. store wrapped in greasproof then cling film will keep crust soft for 3-5 days

I like to use high protein flour for longer fermentation, enabling gasses to be trapped sufficiently inside dough. I find the best is 12.6% which I can get from grocery although not the cheapest I use sparingly and treat myself to Spelt bread every now and ten becasuse I just love baking and eating it so much.

Whern working with softer "plain" flours I find putting the dough in the fridge helps to tighten up and maybe just maybe this will be the snswer to using local flours here for longer ferment. From Autolyse through to bulk ferment always keeping dough cold seems to be working. Still experiment stages

I really think its down to solid fermentation and handling and  know when im going to get a good batch of bread from the feel and look during handling. Another important factor of course is the amount of water each flour can absorb as a rule of thumb stronger flours can go into the 80% + range where softer ones should stay in the 60- 70% range. Rye on the other hand is a different story all together and can go up to 100% (clay) please try Mini Ovens 104% rye bread with walnuts and chia. It is exceptionally good and keeps for about a week at room temp here in the hot middle east.

It might have been you baked for too high initially 250c without turning down, don't forget our home ovens are much smaller then industrial bakers so they get much more hot just think of the space inside. Glad to hear your getting more desirable results, it is the best feeling in the world when it does turn out. After all if it was so easy wouldn't it be boring?

Ghazi