The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crumb tweaking

carlosnyb's picture

Crumb tweaking

Yay, my sourdough wasn't so dense this time!  Part of it was, my starter has been more active (born before Thanksgiving).  Yikes, blurry photo, but it's clear enough I guess.

1:1:1 mixed in one bowl, with salt (2% of 3 parts flour weight) sprinkled on top
0:1:1 mixed in another bowl

rest/autolyze 20/30 min

added 1 part flour on top of the 1:1:1 mixture, poured the 0:1:1 on top, mixed it all to shaggy mass.  Set aside covered for about 3-4 hours, did 4 sets of 4 stretch-and-folds unevenly divided like an hour then 20 min then maybe an hour then maybe 15 min.

Shaped boule and put it in banneton w/microfiber cloth in it.  Didn't have rice flour so ground up some brown rice in coffee grinder, added flour just in case.  Maybe I let this set a little while (1-2 hours?) before putting in fridge for the evening.

Next day 12 hours later, put cup of water in microwave and cooked it 2 minutes, used microwave as proofing chamber.  Took out bread once or twice to re-cook some water in microwave to get temperature up.  Proofed 3-4 hours.  Slid into my hands and tried to remove excess flour, threw it on cast iron lid of dutch oven as stone/pan uncovered, I wanted to see what softer crust would be like.  500 for about a half hour, then 15 minutes more on 425 with foil over top.

I remember being a few grams more on water figuring well it's better to be more moist.  I was out of KA all purpose so used grocery brand bread flour.


So, previous loaves with KA all purpose (and a little less active starter) and maybe not waiting long enough, were a bit denser, but still good.  What's my best bet for getting the crumb a little tighter?  Less stretch-and-folds?  More?  Less proofing?  Different flour?


BreadBabies's picture

This is mostly about how to achieve open and irregular crumb, but all the knowledge can be applied in reverse if you're looking for uniform crumb.

There are a ton of ways to change your crumb...but your lowest hanging fruit is probably to degas it a little when you pre-shape and shape.