The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Anyone know whats wrong with this bread?

majcowdisease's picture

Anyone know whats wrong with this bread?

Hey Guys!

This is the first sourdough bread I've made and I've seen to have gone wrong somewhere. This is the recipe which I followed to a T I ended up autolysing the bread for 3 hours and I also folded in the salt on the 2nd fold as I forgot to add it early, so maybe I didn't follow it perfectly to the T. Everything else I did exactly like the recipe said. The bread inside seem a little wet and soft, almost as if its underbaked, mildly gummy.

I was wondering if anyone can tell me what they thought could have gone wrong with it?

Honestly any tips and feedback would be greatly appreciated.

StephanieB's picture

Is this a whole wheat loaf? It looks like it. Other people have more skill than me with whole grain bakes but Tartine's method doesn't work on my whole grain breads. It's hard to see from the photo, but it does look like the crust is lighter colored, could your loaf actually be under baked?

VRini's picture

specifies all-purpose or bread flour. It looks like you substituted whole wheat flour which totally changes the results.

The bran in whole grain flours messes with the gluten development so you don't get the open crumb and eye-popping oven spring that you may have seen in a lot of pictures of artisan-style loaves.

Did you cut into the bread right out of the oven? That might explain wet, soft and mildly gummy. You should allow the loaf to cool to room temperature if possible. Most people can't seem to wait more than two hours, like me.

Otherwise what I see here is pretty typical for a first time effort at making a whole-wheat sourdough from a beginning baker. Keep researching, learning and working at it  and eventually you'll get something you like.

Ambimom's picture

We all go through this when you first start. Everybody's environment, equipment, and ingredients are slightly different.  Bread is a living thing.  You'll learn what is optimum for you by baking more bread.  It's a learning curve.

First of all, whole wheat, rye, flours are much heavier than AP white flours so you have to adjust the moisture in the recipe. 

Is your oven calibrated?  You think you are baking at a particular temperature, but it is probably not as high as you believe.  No problem.  Just keep the bread baking a few minutes longer the next time.

Did. you cut into the bread when it was still warm?  Don't.  Never slice a bread until it is fully cooled.  If you do slice when warm, the interior becomes kind of gummy.  I know the tendency is to eat it straight out of the oven...and you can but the texture will be different.

StephanieB's picture

And I'd like to add it's a hell of a lot better than my first try using a high percentage of whole grain flour, honestly I think you're off to a good start!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

not sure which.  Crumb looks good!  :)

idaveindy's picture

is that the picture does not match the recipe in your link.  Did you post the incorrect link?  Or did you upload the wrong picture?


Any-hoo, the bread in the pic looks great.  It may be your first sourdough loaf, but it looks like you have baked bread before.

Welcome to the TFL club!  (While some of us may be half-baked, no one is crummy.)


Benito's picture

That’s a good one Dave!


dbazuin's picture

Looks fine to me to. 

Have you eaten sourdough whole wheat bread beore you bake this?

notre panem's picture
notre panem

A moist crumb is the result of high-hydration. If the crumb is gummy then you either didn't bake long enough or cut it too soon. When fresh bread is cut too soon it looses its chance to fully steam and cook inside. Any food taken out of the oven continues to cook for several minutes. With bread that can be at least an hour in some cases, especially with dense loaves such as whole wheat. I like to bake bread the night before so that in the morning it's safely ready to eat without me hovering over it every minute drooling. From the looks I can see a crust that isn't quite there yet. Next time leave it in the oven until you smell the bread burning on the crust. Not charing beyond recognition but a noticeable bread burning smell. This is usually from the flour used to proof the dough reaching its final stage of protecting the loaf. You can also invest in a thermometer from home depot or the like that has a needle small enough to stick into your bread and accurately read the temp. You'll have to find another source for the ideal internal temp as I use the traditional "hollow knock" test for my loaves. Then leave the oven door open for 5-10 minutes to really seal a crunchy crust. Leave bread for hours before cutting to ensure that the crumb fully cooks and then cools. If you don't want to eat this loaf, slice into cubes and make crutons for salad or soup by baking it on a baking sheet and covering with seasoned olive oil, or grind into bread crumbs if you use crumbs. Bread is never really wasted and natural yeast means mold will be a long way off.