The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gummy/Chewy Sourdough

Pg0581's picture

Gummy/Chewy Sourdough

I finally got a "decent" loaf of sourdough on my third attempt. I used Trevor Wilsons method of making a loaf at 65% hydration, which I found a lot easier to handle being new to this. So my question now is, although I got some rise out of this loaf it turned out to be on the chewy/gummy side, what can be done to make it softer, more "normal'?

From what I've read this could come down to the starter (Rye/Unbleached, all-purpose) I'm using I believe what I have is a strong starter. When I refresh it and let it sit out at room temperature I'd say it doubles within 8 hrs (I'd just need to actually confirm that), but the bulk fermentation of this loaf did take 10 hours and I don't think it had expanded the 30% it needed too. And from what I understand this can lead to chewy/gummy bread? 

Thanks in advance 

Loaf 1:

Loaf 2:


Bread1965's picture

I think you're over fermenting given the 10 hour bulk unless your room is pretty cool.. Try this.. feed your starter AP flour only for a few feeds and see how it reacts. You won't taste the difference in the final bread - at least I don't - over using rye and bread flour for starter feeds. You'll find your starter becomes more active. Have the starter in a warm place too - say between 75 and 80 degrees if you can. And be sure to feed it just after, if not when it looks to start falling down. So maybe feed it 1:4:4 if you are going to feed every 12 hours.. 

As to the bread making times themselves.. provide more details as to when you add the starter, move through bulk and into proof, etc.. rather than subjective generally comments about what you should do, giving us your time line will give us a more focused way to give you specific advice..

You're in the ball park of making great bread - you just have to dial it in a little.. you are so close!


Pg0581's picture

Okay, I'll try feeding my starter with all-purpose and scrap the rye. In terms of room temperature, the day I do a bake, I keep the dough in the oven with the light on which brings it up to that 75-80 degree range which is why I was suspecting maybe the starter isn't strong enough... based off of what I read. 

And sure no problem, here's my timeline with the method I used:

Evening before ~7:00 PM - Mixed pre-dough (436g Bread Flour, 24g Whole Wheat Flour, 290g Water, 10g salt) 

~7:30 PM - Refrigerated

~11:00 PM - Removed pre-dough from the fridge and let rest at room temperature (~75-80 F) until the next morning

Next day ~ 10:00 AM - Added 50g of starter to the pre-dough (Rye/AP Starter)

~11:00 AM - Bulk started (75-80 F) 

~1:00 PM - First fold 

~3:00 PM - Second Fold 

~5:00 PM - Third Fold; not much movement observed so left it to sit longer

~9:30 PM -  Still hadn't moved very much; did last fold and pre-shape  

~10:00 PM - Final Shape & Proof 

~11:30 PM - Score/Bake 






the_partisan's picture

Looks underproved to me, and I can see that you only did a 1.5hr proof? I usually proof for at least 3-4h when using similar % of starter. I also prefer to mix everything minus salt, and add salt after 1h and do the final mix. This will give you a stronger dough than overnight an autolyse I believe.

Schedule from my latest loaf (pics: This used a bit more starter than in your recipe, 80g for a 800g dough. Levain was 50% white 50% whole wheat rye, 125% hydration.

8:00am mix everything minus salt until incorporated well, easiest way is to add water, dissolve starter, and then add flour.
9:00am add salt and develop gluten by kneading/mixing
9:30am finish mix
9:30am-2:30pm - folds every 30 min - 1h, irregular intervals
2:30pm pre-round
3:00pm shape
6pm bake

Pg0581's picture

Nice looking loaf :) 

In the other bakes I have attempted, I've mixed everything minus the salt as well but this particular one suggested doing it overnight and since I hadn't had any luck yet I figured I'd follow what was called for. And yes, the proof was short, the method I followed did say to proof for 3-4 hrs but given the time of day it was and how it didn't move much during the bulk stage I figured I'd just give it a shot. 

I started switching my starter over to all-purpose today, so I'll keep feeding over the next few days and see how it goes. Once I'm off shift, I'm hoping to try making another loaf again next week. 

Here's the method I followed if you wish to see it:






WatertownNewbie's picture

Along with the comments about proofing, two other things come to mind.  What is happening between 10:00 am and 11:00 am?  More to the point, how much are you working the dough before launching the bulk period?  Kneading by hand for an hour?  (Probably not.)  Kneading to the stage of developing some good gluten?  (I hope so.)  That is one thing.  The other is how long you are baking.  If your loaf is not fully baked, you could have some dough that simply needs more time in the oven.  Do you check the internal temperature?  If you are not seeing at least 205 F, keep it in the oven longer, and something closer to 210 F is better.  (And don't slice the loaf until it has cooled.  Slicing too early will lead to a conclusion that your loaf is gummy when in fact it just needs to cool some more.)

Happy baking.