The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My first nice crumb

mourner's picture
mourner

My first nice crumb

Hey everyone, I'm Vlad from Kyiv, Ukraine, and this is my first post here — nice to meet you all!

 I just got into baking a month ago, and on my 7th loaf, after reading Trevor Wilson's fantastic Open Crumb Mastery, I finally got my lightest, most open crumb yet! It's also the biggest one in volume by far. Still a long way from a truly open crumb, but improving at least! Previous loaves all have been quite gummy and dense in comparison. Really happy with this result.

This is 75% hydration, 90% all-purpose flour (I don't have bread flour), 5% whole wheat and 5% rye. I think the improvement comes mostly from really pushing the bulk rising to the limit — turns out most of my previous attempts have been underfermented, which is apparently very common when your starter is young and not too active, and you don't have experience to judge dough proofiness yet. I increased levain amount from 10% to 18% to bulk faster, put the dough in the slightly preheated oven so that it's warm (apparently very long fermentation doesn't work well with weak flour because gluten starts to break down — picked this tip up on this forum!), coil-folded it every hour, and fought my impatience trying to put this thing in the oven too soon. Total bulk time — ~9 hours, proof time after shaping — 3 hours.

Thanks for reading! Looking forward to learning more.

icantbakeatall's picture
icantbakeatall

Vlad, this looks amazing. Nice job! I too found that a super long cold proof in the refrigerator helps.

mourner's picture
mourner

Thank you! I haven't tried retarding in the fridge yet because I usually can't wait to bake as soon as possible :)

Benito's picture
Benito

Nice bake, you should be happy and proud.  Do consider cold retarding in the fridge overnight, the cold dough is easier to score and also enhances oven spring.  You can also improve the flavour by extending the proof in the fridge.

Benny

mourner's picture
mourner

I did try retarding overnight yesterday! And got an even better loaf (see comment below) — thank you for the encouragement 🙏

DeeBaker's picture
DeeBaker

Gorgeous!

VRini's picture
VRini

Please write a blog post one of these days about wheat farming and varieties of wheat grown in and unique to Ukraine. The breadbasket of Europe, yes?

mourner's picture
mourner

Thank you! Actually I have no idea about all that, just know that we grow a lot of wheat for export, but there are not many varieties on sale locally — should do some research. :)

mourner's picture
mourner

On my next loaf, I got an even better crumb! Even got a compliment from Trevor W on Instagram. 😊 This new hobby is bringing me so much joy!

Benito's picture
Benito

Well deserved praise from Trevor indeed.  Great ear and oven spring you’ve achieved and very nice crumb, you should be super pleased.  Glad you tried the cold retard, I like to do it every time.

Benny