The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crumb Improvement Help?

kqa100's picture
kqa100

Crumb Improvement Help?

Hi everyone,

I've been baking for about a year and a half now, and I've finally stumbled upon Kristen's "Fullproof" basic sourdough recipe. As you can see, it's producing a loaf with some serious spring! But now I'd like to work on the crumb. I'm not displeased with this crumb in any major way, but I'm now at the point where I'd like greater control over the outcome of my breads, and it would be great to be able to open this crumb up and even it out just a little bit. I'm not sure how to go about doing this. I'm super gentle when I shape the dough (I'm shaping into boules) and so I am thinking, maybe, that the difference lies in my starter. I don't do Kristen's whole big feeding routine. I keep about 40g of 50/50 WW/KA Bread flour starter (100% hydration) in my fridge of which I pull out about 15g and feed 1:2:2 or so the morning I want to make the dough. I let it rise warm (84 degrees or so) until more than doubled, about four hours. Then I follow Kristen's recipe more or less to a T:

255g KA bread flour, 70g whole wheat flour 
65g levain
253g water
8g salt

All the following done at about 75F:
Mix flours and water, let sit for four hours
Add levain, mix, let sit half an hour
Add salt, mix, let sit half an hour
Four way stretch and fold, let sit 45 min
Laminate, let sit an hour
Coil folds on the hour until six hours from addition of levain (usually 3 coil folds total)
Tip out, shape, directly into basket, let sit for about a half hour, then into fridge overnight (my fridge is a little warmer than 38 degrees so it does rise a touch in the fridge)

Baked the next day straight from fridge; 450F for 20 min covered in cast iron pot then 12-13 min uncovered. 

Any insights on how I might get a more even distribution of slightly larger holes would be appreciated in the extreme. Many thanks!!

~Kim

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

It looks so good that I'm almost ashamed to suggest anything.  But, since you asked so nicely.... Maybe try: pre-shape - rest 10 to 20 minutes - final shape.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

If the crumb was missing the large cells, it would be perfect in all respects for me. I like your lacy crumb. I admire extreme open crumb, but it is not my personal preference. Any baker who can consistently bake a crumb like Kristen’s get my respect big time, though. Great looking bread...

By the way, we hosted a Community Bake with Kristen a while back. If you want to photograph and document your Basic Open Crumb SD, others will see it (including myself) and we'll be happy to chime in with any help available. The bakes never shutdown.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/61572/community-bake-featuring-kristen-fullproofbaking

 

kqa100's picture
kqa100

I didn't realize that the community bakes were "always open," as it were -- I was tempted to post there, as I've read the posts on that thread about four billion times, but I wasn't sure. 

I'm totally with you on the basic satisfaction with this crumb. I'm absolutely not complaining about it, and it makes for excellent toasts and sandwiches! But I'm going to venture and say that you of all people ( ;-) ) will understand the need to try and develop new skills and abilities, even if it's not what you'd go for at all times. My problem generally speaking is that I make good bread, but I don't seem yet to have the ability to change things about it (crumb structure, mostly) at will. So that's what I'm trying to figure out! 

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

I agree with Dave and Dan above. Crumb looks great. Make sure no big air bubbles trapped during lamination and folds. Pop large gas pockets.  Preshape to give crumb more of a swirl pattern and better chance of evenly distributed  bigger holes. Really great looking as is though. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

“ Preshape to give crumb more of a swirl pattern and better chance of evenly distributed  bigger holes”. I am interested to learn more about this. Please explain more.

Thanks,
Danny

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

In preshape, I do a letter fold and then roll it up. I’ve noticed that the gluten layers and the gas bubbles along with it gets rolled up in a swirl. and again in final  shaping. It’s kinda like what you want to do in a hokkaido milk pan bread. My theory is that when the bubbly layers are rolled up they have better chance of being evenly distributed than a loaf that just has outside layer gluten stretched tightly. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I think the method you are describing is similar to what Kristen (FoolProofBaking) is using. Is your shaping the same procedure as your pre-shape?

Do you have any crumb shots of dough that was pre-shaped and shaped that way?

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

I do preshape and shape the same. But haven’t really put too much thought into aligning the dough so that the roll is along the length of the loaf.  Will check computer to to see if I can find any photos tmw. 

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

This one was sitting in my bread box maybe a couple days old so dried out a bit.  Doesn’t have the big holes here. but you can see the layers/direction of the gluten layers in a circular pattern.

kqa100's picture
kqa100

I'd done Kristen's method of shaping once or twice, tucking the ends in to kind of force it into a ball, but I hadn't gotten the proofing down at that point so it was tough to see if that made any difference. So I went back to the ol' "flatten it out just a touch and then pull the sides in at 5 or 6 points" method of boule-shaping (Kristen does this too, on the rare occasion she makes a boule). Maybe I'll go back to trying the roll-it-up method. I think that the big bubbles in my bread are definitely due to shaping issues. 

Thanks so much for your insights here, ciabatta! Much appreciated.