The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Diagnosis Help: Deflated, Yet Open Crumb?

vanessaren's picture
vanessaren

Diagnosis Help: Deflated, Yet Open Crumb?

Today, I baked my first loaf that was truly a “flop.” I’m still learning how to identify different results and the factors that led to them. 



Here is my recipe:

400g High Extraction White Flour

100g White Bread Flour 

320g Water

150g Liquid Sourdough Starter 

10g Salt

 

Here is my method, with significant changes in bold:

 

Levain Build: (20g starter, 75g flour, 110g water)

Initial Dough Mix: 7 hours, 40 mins later. (I usually add my levain after waiting 6 hours.) Salt is added after 30 min rest. 

Bulk Ferementation: 3 hours 37 mins total, with three folds at 30 min intervals. Ambient temperature has increased with weather, temps around 78 F/ 26 C inside. 

Preshape, Bench Rest, Shape

While shaping, the dough felt extremely pillowy and soft. I did not excessively press the air out, because I was curious to see what would happen. (lol)

Proofing: 12 hours in the fridge 

Bake: 25 minutes covered, 25 minutes uncovered. Used Dutch Oven for the first time, bottom was completely stuck, prying the loaf out resulted in it deflating even more. 

 


The texture of the bread is soft, open, and it feels very light in the hands. The crust is thin and much too fragile. I usually have a significantly browner crust as well. This one’s color refused to darken. 

Any insight would be greatly appreciated! Could this be a result of over-fermentation, overproofing with higher temperatures, or something else?

 

Thanks!

 

 

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Tell us about the bake. What kind of oven. What temp and how long did you preheat the Dutch oven for?

vanessaren's picture
vanessaren

I baked it at 240 C w/ a cold DO. (I suspect this may have been why it stuck?) I just have a standard (yet very small) oven, which has worked great for my previous loaves. 

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

That's what i suspected is why the loaf stuck.  But the bottom still shouldn't be burnt at those temps and time.  are you using the dutch oven on stove top or are you fitting the dutch oven inside your oven as a steaming device?

check out my post on starting your loaf in dutch oven on stove top and then finishing it in a small oven.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/64722/toaster-oven-sourdough-big-success

-James

vanessaren's picture
vanessaren

Inside the oven, but at the lowest rung in order to fit it inside....

 

I have never heard of that, but will certainly check it out; thank you !

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

Hiya!  Sorry to hear about your bake.  I think we've all been there one way or the other.  What kind of DO did you use?  If you placed the dough directly on the bottom of the DO without any parchment and/or semolina or greasing it (if using a clay baker), the dough will definitely stick, especially if doing the cold start method.  Also, having the DO so close to the bottom of the oven probably did not help matters.  Additionally, the color of your crust and the large caverns visible underneath your score makes me think this dough may have been over-proofed as you did't get any caramelization on the outside crust (the bottom doesn't count ;-)).  

vanessaren's picture
vanessaren

Thank you :)

 

It’s an enameled cast iron DO. I wanted to test it out without parchment paper for the first try, but foolishly thought it wouldn’t stick THAT badly! Oh well, now I know. 

Thanks for the input on the proofing! Even without the sticking issue, I felt there was still a problem with the pockets of air and uneven shape of the loaf. 

Do you think it would have been better to try to press down the dough and expel more of the air while shaping? Or is that not so important for the irregular holes? I’m never sure how gentle is too gentle!

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

If the dough is over-proofed, shaping isn't going to fix that situation.  Regarding your general shaping question, I think you want to be gentle and try to preserve as much air as possible if you are hoping for a more open crumb.  But, you still need to create some tension in the dough and shape properly in order to have a nice result.  There are ample vidoes online to help.  Sourdough is a different dough compared to yeast doughs, where you might see instructions to 'knock back' the dough--with sourdough, you don't want to get rid of all that nice air you just spent hours building up.  Additionally, a lot of folks tend to over ferment/proof their doughs, so you might try cutting back on some of your times and reducing your over-all start to finish time, and see if that doesn't help.  You just want to see about a 30-50% increase in volume during bulk fermentation, not that the dough has 'doubled' as some recipes instruct--that's too far.  Then you should be ready for shaping and final proof.  This way, you've preserved some energy for the oven and should see some nice oven spring.  Keep us posted!

vanessaren's picture
vanessaren

Thank you very much for all of the advice! Gonna check out some videos on shaping right now :) 

I’m making another loaf tomorrow, so I’ll try reducing the proofing time and see how it goes! 

vanessaren's picture
vanessaren

I think I may have over-corrected slightly and reduced the total time a bit too much, but I’m happier with this! 

phaz's picture
phaz

Flat, pale to gray crust - classic over proof/fermentation. 10F change in temp will change timings a bit, or more. Just one of those things to watch out for and try to compensate.

vanessaren's picture
vanessaren

Definitely will keep that in mind from now on! Thanks :)