The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can crumb be too open and irregular?

julie99nl's picture

Can crumb be too open and irregular?

I've been having a lot of trouble with my baguettes lately. So I decided to set on a quest to go back to basics and just make a good boule and when that goal is achieved go back to baguette. I decided I would set a goal of 100 bakes of a recipe and the recipe would not be any I know, just something I come up with and do all entirely on feel. I tend to get too hung up on exact times in recipes instead of reading and feeling what my dough is doing.

Today was bake 1 and I'm quite happy with the result, however a comment from a friend and fellow baker was that the crumb was too open and irregular.




kendalm's picture

but I would tend to agree with your friend. This looks like it could have been degassed more because you gave some really tight spots and then the top of the loaf is cavernous. i think if you strive to correct this you will be more pleased - one thing to point out - there's a lot of advice floating around about being really gentle not to pop bubbles which I think is poppycock (and I say that within the context of baguettes and related loaves).  A great crumb is a product of physics converting tiny bubbles of co2 into bubbles many times the original size. Personally the best crumb happens with fairly aggressive degassing. If you're a baguette enthusiast just watch some videos of pros doing it, they will really flatten the dough before shaping. Back to the original point - if you want what most would consider great structure then more consistency would probably be preferred. Btw you got a ton of rise here - the loaf is really bulbous and as such me thinks you need to proof a bit longer (maybe 10-15 minutes) and slap those air pockets out !

julie99nl's picture

I completely agree on the under prooving. That is my first comment when it came out of the oven. There is also tearing in the scores. My talent for scoring is dreadful, but the final proof definitely needed more time.

Interesting thoughts on kid glove treatment of dough. One comment that I always have in my head from my bread and pastry instructor...Stop being so nice and cuddly to your dough! It was in reference to another dough, but applies here in a way. I'll certainly think about it the next time I bake this one.


Thank you so much for your comments!

HansB's picture

I agree about the personal preference. For me, I like an open crumb on breads like ciabatta and baguettes. I like a more closed crumb on bread that I will use for sandwiches. Not too much fun to eat bread when mustard, mayo or jam leaks everywhere! The end use of the loaf determines the crumb structure that shoot for.