The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crumb expectations

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

Crumb expectations

I used 70% KA whole white wheat and 30% KA AP. I know whole wheat crumb is usually less open, but I’m wondering if this is what I should be expecting or whether I can get a more open crumb if I adjust something? 
thanks for any pointers 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Keep in mind that whole wheat ferments quite a bit faster than white flour. You might try fermenting the dough less. I think that will be a great improvement. 

Also, you may find that a flour with more gluten (Bread Flour) will improve the over all dough strength. The larger bits in whole wheat flour should benefit from the stronger flour.

I think your very nice ear indicates good gluten development. Very nice bread!

Danny

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

So do you think it looks over fermented? With my previous bakes I was worried I wasn’t fermenting long enough. I’ve been trying to learn the feel and look of the dough and final bread, moreso than trying to rely on timing. So I’m trying to figure out what the telltale signs are. I’ve seen some people post under-fermented loaves on here and mine haven’t looked like that. But I guess I’m unclear what the signs of over-fermentation are. I’ve read that it’s really hard to over-ferment, and for each bake I’ve done the finger poke test to make sure the dough is ready. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The reason I think the bread is over-fermented is because the crumb looks tight and the profile of your bread looks somewhat flat and not doomed. The bloom (area where the dough split open near the score) could have opened wider. Note - your bread is very nice, but it seems you are looking to perfect your breads. 

Try greatly (within reason) under-fermenting your dough and test the results. I use the term “under or over fermenting” deliberately. Fermentation occurs during the bulk ferment and also the final proof. You can over ferment at any stage.

Take a look at this post. You may find something of value. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/61181/tip-have-faith-oven-spring  Don’t get caught up in the steam injection. Recent test are indicating that dough that is covered is baking very well when compared to highly steamed dough in a side by side comparison. What I believe today may change tomorrow. I am constantly testing and evolving...

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

You’re right. I’m definitely tryin to perfect it. I do think the crumb is tight and somewhat heavy and dense feeling too. It is custardy for sure though and also very delicious. I guess when it comes to recognizing when the dough has fermented the right amount I must be having a hard time recognizing the signs. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Fermentation limits are something all bakers strive to perfect. Once I started fermenting much less, my breads starter rising much higher. I was super surprised...

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

So what signs are you watching for when it comes to deciding when to shape? I’m all for shortening BF and/or proof time, just don’t know what to look for. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Watch you BF until the dough slightly  dooms on the top. Don’t wait for big bubbles. A 30-50% in volume is good. The shape and refrigerate right away. After 8-16 hours score and bake the cold dough is a preheated oven. If you have a stone, cover the bread. If you don’t have a stone bake in a covered vessel (dutch oven, etc) if you have one.

Autolyse the flour and water for 1-3 hours. You may also want to us slap and folds if mixing by hand. A total of 300 with a 20-30 minutes rest in the middle.

If you try some or all of the suggestions let us know how things turned.

Danny

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

I will definitely try some of those suggestions. I think what makes implementing the method hard is that I’ve started with a totally different method than you’re talking about. I used the Tartine wheat loaf recipe with an overnight autolyse in one bowl while my leaven is building in another. Then I mix in the morning and bake in the afternoon. Switching the whole system feels daunting. Looking at the spreadsheets feels daunting. Haha

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

An overnight autolyse will make your dough extremely slack and difficult to handle. You’ve chosen a very difficult process that is more suited for advanced bakers, IMO.

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

Omitted the overnight autolyse and also fermented less time by about 3 hours. The results are worse than before. I haven’t sliced it to see the crumb, but even less oven spring for sure and very little caramelization. Ugh. I’m feeling pretty down about it... any pointers are welcome, as usual. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Tisoy, how would you describe your baking skills? Are you experienced with whole wheat sourdough?

Is it important to you at this time to bake breads with super high percentages of whole wheat? Have you been successful baking sourdough with white flour?

It will help to know your experience baking sourdough in order the better help you.

Danny

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

These are my first attempts at sourdough, or bread of any kind. Whole wheat has definitely been my goal, as I try to be as health conscious as possible in general. After this attempt, the good thing is that now I know what underfermented bread looks like. Haha. So next I just need to split the difference. I used colder ambient temps and shorter fermenting times and probably should have just adjusted one at a time. Typical rookie move... I have considered trying a lower percentage whole wheat to see what that gets me. It’s just that I can only bake once a week usually. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Tisoy, why not start off baking an easier bread and succeed at that. I think this will be your fastest route to get to where you ultimately want to be.  Nothing beats success! 

First suggestion would be Kristen’s Basic Open Crumb Sourdough. NOTE - you may want to skip the lamination for the first few bakes.
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/61572/community-bake-featuring-kristen-fullproofbaking

Then after you perfect that, move on to Maurizio’s 50/50 Whole Wheat Sourdough. 
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/56742/community-bake-maurizios-fiftyfifty-whole-wheat-sourdough-everyone-welcome

Should you decide to bake one or both of these breads, make sure you post your progress with images.

What do you think?

Danny

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

I guess when I started I’d hoped all the reading and watching I did would translate to success. It obviously hasn’t. I’d considered taking the route you suggest but decided against starting with an entirely different technique and recipe from what I had already used. I’ve watched Kristen many times on YouTube and even tried implementing a few of her ideas into the recipe I found myself “married to” simply due to the fact that it’s how I was introduced and it’s what excited me about baking sourdough bread in the first place. I’m also curious why you chose that particular 50/50 recipe as compared to Kristen’s?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Kristen’s bake was our most successful Community Bake. Even novice bakers reported great bread.

Kristen’s formula uses 20% whole wheat and Maurizio’s bread calls for 50% whole wheat. It seemed like a logical way to increase the percentage of WW.

 

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

Right, I’ve followed that community bake thread quite a bit actually after having found Kristen on YouTube. Been thinking about trying that recipe. She also has a 50/50 recipe though and I was wondering why you recommended that other 50/50 recipe over Kristen’s. Just curious. Sorry if I’m annoying you with so many questions BTW. Been saying to my wife nonstop since becoming obsessed with sourdough that I wish I had a baker friend or anyone with expertise who i could call and get help from. Starting from scratch can be daunting, to say the least. I did the same thing when I became obsessed with BBQ a few years back. Now that I’m confident there, I’ve found me new hobby. The learning curve here seems to be much steeper though. I used the BBQ forums a lot when I got started there and was hoping for the same here, it’s just not nearly as active here as it is in bbq. And bread seems to be way more complicated. So thank you again for your patience and for trying to help. It’s very much appreciated. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Maurizio was featured in one of our Community Bakes. The CBs have a lot of information and accompanying images that should provide a lot of help. His process is a little more simple. He doesn’t use lamination.

Community Bakes are our best way of sharing kitchens with bakers of every skill level, the world over. You’ll find many “baking friends” there. Any new post to those old CBs while be monitored by others and you can expect replies and help for your bake. New Community Bakes generally take place 3 - 4 times a year.

I am an avid meat smoker and have been so for years. I use a Cook Shack smoker and a BGE pit. Guessing you are aware of https://forum.cookshack.com/ .

Danny

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

That’s really good to know about the CB threads. I wondered whether anyone would pay attention to older thread activity or not, so that’s reassuring. I’m not familiar with cookshack, but BGE is what I use and have spent a ton of time on eggheadforum.com

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

I forgot to mention the timing aspect I’m having a hard time with. With the Tartine recipe which I actually got to via Cooked, the process starts the night before with the levain build. Then the rest of the process finishes the next day. If I remember right Kristen does an overnight proof which kind of complicates my tight schedule and I’m having a hard time seeing how to adjust it. 

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

Just read that post of yours and watched the videos. That loaf blew my mind... do you get the same results whether you’re using white or whole wheat flour? 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

No, whole wheat is much more difficult to bake with large oven spring. Here is one of my better whole wheat breads. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/61367/whole-grain-sourdough-match-made-heaven

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

Another amazing example! So now I can really compare. Mine isn’t even 100% and my crumb is definitely more dense than yours was there. I think it’s possible that part of the problem is the mixing bowl that I’m using. The sides are very sloping so I’m not as able to revognise the rise as I would in a straight sided container which is recommended I know. If I could recognize the rise, I’m sure I’d move along more quickly. I definitely noticed more tightness in the dough by the time I shaped it this time. 

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

And I definitely notice the dome you’re talking about comparing your loaf to mine. Now I have a couple more things to look for. 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I think the crumb on your bread is a good as it gets for 70% whole wheat. Anytime you get above 30% WW you will sacrifice a more open crumb and a get a lower profile. Mastering fermentation with all the variables of time, temp, and ingredients is where the challenge lays. Folding and shaping is the other critical part that comes with experience.

Happy Baking

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

I initially wondered if this was the case, but Danny showed a wheat loaf he had that had a much more airy crumb and I think I’ve seen them other places too. Not to say that it was as open as a typical white loaf, but more airy than what I’ve been able to produce for sure. Did you look at that one he put on this post? 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

@tisoy

1. I'm with MTloaf, most of us whole-wheat bakers would be totally satisfied with the crumb in your main photo on this post. Before I saw Dan's photos, I never thought such oven spring and open crumb was possible with high percentage of WW.  If you look at the photos of various boules or miches of mostly-whole-grain loaves that show up on the right hand side bar of the main page, and click through  to see photos of the crumb, virtually none of them get as much oven spring/expansion and open airy crumb with mostly-whole-grain as Dan does.

You are very skilled/lucky to get the expansion and "ear" you did in your above photo so early in the game.  Congrats!

2. Dan does put a lot of time and effort into each loaf.  Both in the handling/working of the dough, and goes to great lengths to steam his oven, even rigging a special valve and tubing/piping from a stove-top pressure cooker, to pipe steam into his oven.  He also does 150-300  "slap and folds" or "french kneading".  See his youtube channels for video of it.  Famous chef/author Richard Bertinet also has a Youtube vid on the same thing.

 I've learned some things here on TFL, with a big thanks to Dan,  to break down steps into mix just flour/water, soak/autolyse, mix in levain, wait, stretch and fold, wait, mix in salt, wait, stretch and fold, etc., etc.  But the problem is I don't really want to keep coming back to the kitchen/dough every 30 minutes to tinker.  Yeah, it's fun while learning, but then I get bored. And I gots stuff to do.

I'm going to start going back, at least partially, or part time, to K.I.S.S., like I learned in the "Artisan Bread with Steve" youtube channel, which is kind of like Lahey. Or maybe, break out my KA mixer, and just mix and develop gluten all at once up front.  I know a lady who uses a Bosch-like (I forget if it's an actual Bosch or a similar set up) mixer, who lets it rise just once, not a separate bulk and proof, and the only time she touches the dough is to put it in the baking pans.  It goes from mixer to baking pans, rises, and into oven, She makes a 100% home-milled hard white whole wheat (with 1/4 cup of rolled oats per loaf) that is an excellent sandwich bread, Granted, it is with commercial yeast, and about 3 tsp of it per loaf.

Or, to keep it ultra simple, I might go back to making just bannock, pita and tortilla flatbreads, it's the same flour.

3.  You might hate me for putting this idea in your head, but here goes:  baking bread in the BGE.   The heavy ceramic shell BBQs are (theoretically) perfect for it, radiating heat from all around.   And the perfect "excuse", as if you needed one, is you won't have to heat up the house to bake in the summer.

Bon apettit, mon ami.

P.S. Next food hobby for ya:  milling your own grain at home.   Now that's healthy. 

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

for your response. I appreciate the kind words about my loaf. I’m definitely trying to perfect the process and have just been trying to get as much input as I can, so thank you so much. Danny has given a ton of advice in the short time I’ve been here. I had no idea he had a YouTube channel though... I’ll have to check that out. Also, I confess I’ve already tried one loaf on the BGE and it didn’t caramelize very well at all. I may try it again in the future after I’ve gotten better at all the other steps. 

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

I primarily use my phone to access this site, and don’t see a a sidebar with pictures to click through that you’re referring to but have been searching for more examples of high WW breads to compare to mine to get an idea what I can and should be looking for and haven’t come across much. 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Here are Dan's latest videos, newest to oldest: 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7mXjnPpTDoVJxRdrG3ZeYw/videos

Here are some older one's: https://www.youtube.com/user/jwtful/videos

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

Trying to upload an image but the feature isn’t playing very nice. Any suggestions? I’m using iPhone. I didn’t have a problem uploading images for original post, but in a comment isn’t working. Media browser window isn’t fully in view so I can’t hit any buttons. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo


I was able to upload this image using iPhone and the Chrome browser.  But it is much easier to see using an iPad.

Dan

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops
tisoypops's picture
tisoypops
tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

The second picture is from closer to the end, away from the middle