The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What have I done wrong to get this kind of crumb?

quinny's picture
quinny

What have I done wrong to get this kind of crumb?

The openness of the crumb of this loaf is very uneven. Anyone know what could be the problem? I also noticed that the final proof (retarding) did not proof much at all. I should have taken a photo to show but I forgot. The bread look ok from the outside though.

Ru007's picture
Ru007

What helped me was dabrownmans advice to preshape the dough let it rest and then do the final shaping before retarding the dough. That helps get rid of some of the big bubbles.

Like BakEr said, bake straight from the fridge if its had a full proofing before it goes in the fridge, that's what I do.

What is the recipe you're using?

Good job though, looks like you got a good crust on this one and I'm sure it tasted good!

quinny's picture
quinny

I did that, but I guessed I didn't do it right. The final shaping was not very good. One of the 2 loaves were not round.

I use the recipe from Tartine Bread. It's a sesame loaf, but I added 30g of sesame oil to it.

Trevor J Wilson's picture
Trevor J Wilson

It looks like your dough simply hadn't risen enough before you baked it. Possible reasons could include length of time of proof (either bulk and/or final), temperature, and starter activity. Or some combination. Without knowing any more details it's hard to say where exactly things went wrong. For your next bake I'd suggest . . . 

1) Make sure your starter is active. It should be able to at least double (preferably triple) in volume in 8-12 hours.

2) Make sure during bulk fermentation that your dough has risen 30-50% in volume before you shape it. Though you can certainly shape earlier if you're gonna retard your loaf, letting the dough get some air in it will help you make sure the process is well underway, and the air inside the dough will help provide shape and structure to your loaf allowing for a "fuller" and rounder final shape.

3) Make sure your loaf has risen well during the final proof. Let the dough dictate when it's time to bake, not the clock. It can be difficult to judge when a loaf is at peak proof and ready for baking, but the finger poke test can give you a starting point -- it's not a perfect way to judge, but it a good enough starting point to get you going. Just stick your finger a half-inch or so into the dough, if the indentation springs back quickly then the dough is not ready. If it doesn't spring back at all (or worse, the dough deflates) then it is overproofed. If it springs back oh-so-slowly then you're good to go.

Cheers!

Trevor

quinny's picture
quinny

Thanks for your insight, Trevor. There is something else I am not quite sure about. When I finish shaping my dough, I flip it upside down and put it in the proofing basket, so the seam side is up. This process is a little bit confusing. I always find the seam open up and spread to fill the bottom of the basket. But I think maybe the basket is too big, or I didn't shape the dough enough, or I didn't let it sit on the counter top long enough. So that seam is kind of seal and would stay like a ball of dough and not an unshaped mass (sorry, don't know how to describe it right). Then, when it is retarded in the fridge, the dough just spread more. Definitely something's wrong here, do you know what is?

Trevor J Wilson's picture
Trevor J Wilson

From your description it sounds like you aren't getting the seam sealed at all. This usually only happens with extremely stiff dough -- which your Tartine recipe is not -- or if too much flour or oil is coating the surface of the dough when you're trying to seal the seam.

Tartine dough is very wet, and many bakers new to handling such wet dough compensate for the stickiness by coating the bench and dough with too much flour. This can cause difficulty in getting the seam to seal right since the dry caked on flour prevents the dough from adhering to itself.

Too much oil coating the dough can cause the same problem. This usually happens when someone over-oils their proofing bowl. When they turn out their dough for shaping the entire surface of the dough is covered in a film of oil and, again, the dough is unable to adhere to itself to form a nice seal on the seam. The answer to that is to go lighter when oiling the bowl, and if you do happen to have too much oil on the dough then just gently pat it dry with a rag or paper towel.

I see from a previous comment that you added sesame oil to your dough. Did you add it in with the water and flour? Or did you add it in during the folds?

If you added the oil during the folds then there's a very real possibility that the oil never became fully incorporated into the dough. Once gluten has started to form it can be very difficult to mix in oil by hand, especially with a method as gentle as stretch and fold. So if you tried folding the oil into the dough, then my guess would be that the oil never incorporated fully. Which means that instead of working itself into the matrix of the dough, it instead just spread out all over the surface creating a non-stick layer that would keep you from being able to form a good seal when shaping.

But without being there in person to see what's going on, or pictures, I'm really just speculating.

I will say this however, if you are new to baking then starting off with a Tartine loaf usually isn't the best idea. Tartine dough is very wet -- it can be difficult to handle even for experienced bakers. For newer bakers it's a good idea to start with stiffer doughs and gradually work your way up to the wetter doughs as your handling skills improve. 

Cheers!

Trevor

quinny's picture
quinny

The oil might have affected the dough a little bit more than the last two times I made the Tartine Loaf. But it was very similar before. At first, I didn't know what went wrong, but I thought the seal didn't look right. So, the second time I made it, I let the shaped dough sit on the counter top for about a minute before I put it in the fridge. But it still looked like that. So, I thought it might be ok like that. However, I did not add any oil for the first two times. ( I added the oil when I add the ingredients after the 1st fold, and I did not oil the bowl at all.) But I might have added too much flour, when I shape it.

But let me ask you this, I shape the dough by folding it as described in the book. And then, I cup the dough with my hands to round it out. I made may be 4-5 moves, and then I stop. Does this sound right to you? Or should I really round it to make sure the seams are completely sealed.

Trevor J Wilson's picture
Trevor J Wilson

It's hard to say anything about your shaping technique without seeing you in action, or at least seeing a picture of the loaf right after you shape it. But it's possible that perhaps you just have too much flour on the bench. If you have a lot of flour on the bench while you shape your loaf then it's not going to be able to seal properly.

When shaping, the dough needs to be able to stick to the work surface a little bit -- that's what allows it to grab hold and stretch the surface out to form a nice shape. You can't develop any tension in your shaped loaf when it's slipping and sliding on an overly floured surface. And you definitely can't form a tight seal on the seam of your loaf under those circumstances.

Again, without pictures it's hard to say for sure what's going on. But maybe this will help . . . 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIIjV6s-0cA

It's a video of Chad Robertson demonstrating how he shapes a loaf. Fast forward to the 3 minute mark. The method shown here is a little bit more advanced than the method he shows in his book, but it'll give you an idea of what to look for when shaping. Notice how little flour he uses, even though he's working with a very wet dough? That kind of skill takes a long time to develop. 

Keep at it and you'll eventually get it. It all comes down to practice. Best of luck, my friend.

Cheers!

Trevor

quinny's picture
quinny

Thanks a lot Trevor! I won't give up.

quinny's picture
quinny

Judging from that video, I definitely need a smaller proofing basket, and he didn't round out his dough at all. As for flour, I will try to use less next time. Thanks.

possum-liz's picture
possum-liz

Your proof times look good to me. With the exception of the big holes, your crumb is good.I think the fault is in your shaping. You may have been a bit too gentle and left some bigger bubbles in the dough.

quinny's picture
quinny

I also suspected that, cause I am always afraid of handling it too much.