The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lack spring tight crumb help

LevaiNation's picture

Lack spring tight crumb help

Dear bread community, 

Sorry to overload the forum with pics and questions, but I'm alone here in my little village and this loaves are challenging me.

This last batch lacks a healthy oven spring. They feel heavy and tight. I scored the loaves and they didn't really pop up at all, and I'm not sure where I'm failing. My only guess is over-proofed dough.

Levain fed @ 9am

Autolyse @ 3pm, Final mix @ 4pm. 74% hydration. 15% whole wheat, 5% Rye.

4 Folds in 3 hours. Dough doubled by 11pm. Reshaped and shaped. Retarded in fridge by 11:30pm.

7am. Loaves look flat in baskets (this happens often when I cold proof). Load on to hot baking sheets and bake with steam @ 450f for 20 minutes, 400f for another 15.

And this is the result. Not the worst, but def not my best loaves. Where? How? and Why?

Thanks for reading,



Bread1965's picture


Your loaves look beautiful. I'd be proud to pull them out of the oven.

Maybe it's not that you're doing anything wrong at all. But rather you're not baking the bread you want. If you're looking for a light and fluffy bread you need to play around with flours. Try adding some spelt into the mix. Search the board for spelt bread recipes and try one of them. You'll be surprised by the difference different flours can make.


Bread1965's picture

Tight crumb is the result of many things. But I believe folding and shaping technique plays a big role in creating a more open crumb. Trevor Wilson has put out an e-book called Crumb Mastery - google and you'll find it.. Look at his sight - breadwerx and his book. Getting a more open crumb is something I'm struggling with too, so I'm trying to use some of Trevor's advice on how to improve it.

LevaiNation's picture

Well thanks. They are pretty delicious. And yes, I would love to be able to play around with alternative flours. But it’s pretty limited around here (pacific coast of Costa Rica). I can get my hands on some super expensive rye, but mainly it’s white and whole wheats available.  

Still, I’m aware of my sour dough possibilities. Not necessarily looking for something super light and fluffy,. just Bring this loaf closer to it’s lift potential, giving it a little more room and release. 


aroma's picture
aroma days gone by a tight uniform crumb showed that you had knocked back effectively whereas large holes in the crumb showed that you hadn't.  Personally, I prefer a uniform crumb in daily bread - it's better for spreading.


LevaiNation's picture

Im with you. It’s a fine line. Don’t want any big caverns, but some lively pockets here and there. And a good burst. 

tgrayson's picture

Lack of oven spring suggest overproofing....perhaps they're taking too long to chill in the refrigerator. You might consider a short stint in the fridge after preshaping, then do a final shaping before putting them back into the fridge. Or doing the later part of the bulk fermentation in the fridge to get the temp down.

LevaiNation's picture

Super interesting suggestions. I’m in the tropics here. Everything happens at around 80f (27c) and up. So by the tome dough starts to proof, the party is ON, 

The tricky thing is maintaining a somewhat normal life and sleep cycle. Juggling family, work, kids, surf, fermentation. :-)

Ill post some results soon. 

AndyPanda's picture

I'm pretty new to sourdough (learned about it here in the forum) and my early attempts looked like yours. Very tasty but not much spring and a tight crumb.    Since then, I have been doing several sets stretch and folds with 30 minutes rest (at 80F) between each set of folds ... then I shape the loaf and cool it down by setting an ice pack near it. Depending on how hot your space is  (my space is cold this time of year) you may need more or less ice pack and in an insulated box or something.  For me, in my cold kitchen, it is just an ice pack on the counter next to my rising dough - but my goal is for it to take about 12-15 hours to rise.   Then it goes into the oven while it's cool and it has massive amounts of spring.

I suspect that the stretch and folds create small air bubbles and I suspect the cold dough means more suspended gas in the dough that expands when heated (just a guess).