The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Crumb/TEXTURE

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Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

Sourdough Crumb/TEXTURE

How do you get the irregular holes in sourdough bread? My sourdough bread has a nice regular crumb/texture, but it does not have those irregular holes that "store bought" bread has. Any suggestions?

The FORMULA is the FIRST LOAF from DISCOVERING SOURDOUGH.

STARTER

Starter    384g of 100% starter

Water     126g (that makes the starter 166% hydration)

DOUGH:                                                                                                                                                                 

Starter    510g (starter @ 166% hydration)

 Flour      1021g                    

Oil            17g                                                                                                                                                                      

  Water      454g   (warmed 1 minute in microwave)                                                                                             

Salt            23g

Dough is mixed on slow for 2 1/2, then let rest for 30 minutes (autolyse) then the salt is sprinkled on top and then mixed again for 3 minutes on slow. Dough is then put into a proof pan and placed into a proof box at 80 degrees F. Each hour the dough is stretched and folded for a total of 5 times (5 hours proofing). Then divided and panned. Pans are put back into the proof box at 80 degrees F. When volume has increased 1 1/2 times, usually about 1 1/2 - 2 hours the loaves are slashed and spritzed. Into an oven preheated to 500 degrees F. Spritzed 3- 4 times during first 10 minutes. Temp is reduced at 15 minutes to 425 degrees F. Out they come at 200 degrees F internal temp. Usually about 40 to 45 minutes.

I get good oven spring in the first 10 minutes, the color of the finished loaf is a nice brown/tan color. Bread taste great. At least I don't get complaints. But, like I say, the crumb does not have those irregular holes. Pray, what am I doing wrong?

Any suggestions?

Bruce, SHB with challenges

Brookings, OR

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

looks like your final hydration is 64%. Generally 75%-ish gives more open crumb.

Delicate handling during S&F and shaping is important too, so as not to degas the dough.

Steam in the oven during the first 20 minutes (ish) of baking will keep the crust from hardening early and permit a more open crumb.

Big holes in the crumb can be elusive, in my experience. They will not improve the flavour.

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

I had a typo, the 66% should have been 166%. That's what the FIRST LOAF recipe/formula calls for. I do handle the dough delicately. Pull gently, fold it over, pull gently, fold it over, each side (4 times). And then back in the proof box. Like you say, those big holes are elusive. Thank you.

Bruce

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

Unless I'm mistaken (happens all the time!) I calc your final hydration to be 64% (just below). Used the weights to calculate, not your starter percentages, so your correction didn't change the calculation.

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

Thank you Les, I'm still learning about the BAKER'S PERCENTAGES. And not doing too well. Challenged.

 

Bruce

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

another factor is the vigour of your starter, some folks (me included) feed their starter twice in the 24-hour period prior to making the levain. Others around here even feed three times in the 24 hours prior to mixing levain. 

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

You might have a very good idea. I've only been refreshing/feed one day in advance. Thank you. Consider it part of my next bake.

 

Bruce

MichaelLily's picture
MichaelLily

I concur with the 64% hydration calculation.  Another factor could be the loaf pan as opposed to a hearth bake.  I think a combination of high hydration and a hot hearth contribute a lot to the open crumb.  I always use 85% hydration or higher for regular white sourdough bread.  Even then I don't always get a wildly open crumb.

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

Thank you Michael, I'm going to give "raising the hydration" up a bit. Maybe not to 85%. Lil by lil.

 

Bruce

mariana's picture
mariana

 

 

Hi Bruce,

Each hour the dough is stretched and folded for a total of 5 times 

I suggest that when you stretch the dough, stretch it to the thickness of approximately 1/6 of an inch (4 mm, 0.4 cm). Then fold. 

 

 Round it up, tucking the sides under, to create a smooth tight surface, and place the dough back into the bowl for the fermentation

This will kind of stretching and folding will trap plenty of air during folding and give you that nice 'holey' texture of the sourdough crumb. 

best wishes, 

mariana

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

Mariana:

Thank you for your reply. I haven't heard from you since you helped me with your formula of Raymond Calvel's Pain au Levain. Stretching the dough that thin isn't that over-handling it? I've always been told to GENTLY handle dough so as to now collapse the gases. I was concerned that I might be not gentle enough with it at this point. But, I've come to respect your suggestions and knowledge, so I will do as you say.

 

Thank you,

Bruce

mariana's picture
mariana

Hi Bruce!

Stretching the dough thinner than that would be over-handling it. And if you stretch thicker than that, you won't get the maximum benefit of the stretching - good bread volume and soft holey crumb, crisp shattering crust. Stretching doesn't collapse the gases, the air cells in the dough. It only stretches them, makes their walls thinner and stronger.  

 

best wishes, 

mariana