The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Uneven Crumb

swedishflish's picture
swedishflish

Uneven Crumb

I recently baked a loaf that was 100% bread flour, 78% hydration, and a 100% hydration whole wheat starter. It bulk fermented for 4.5 hours at room temperature. I did 3 stretch and folds every 15 minutes then 3 more stretch and folds every 30 minutes and finished bulk fermenting for 1.5 hours. The oven spring is not too bad but the crumb is uneven and a bit gummy.

How do I fix this?

phaz's picture
phaz

If not doing an overnight stint in the fridge, knead the dough - 10-20 min with mixer - 30+ by hand. 

To even out the crumb - handle the dough roughly when shaping to distribute the holes more evenly.

Enjoy!

swedishflish's picture
swedishflish

Yes I let it sleep in the fridge for about 12 hours. I try again with the shaping. Thanks!

Benito's picture
Benito

The crumb being a bit dense and also gummy, it sounds like it is a bit underproofed.  What temperature did it bulk ferment at?  Also, how much levain did you use, ie what percent pre-fermented flour?

It looks like for the amount of levain you used and the temperature it was at, it needed more time in bulk fermentation.  

I agree with Phaz if you can pop any obvious big bubbles of gas being trapped while stretch and folding and then again during shaping you can reduce the large holes.  Also gently patting down the dough during pre-shaping and shaping cal also reduce those large holes.

Benny

swedishflish's picture
swedishflish

I bulk fermented at about 72 degrees. I used 500 grams of bread flour and 125 gram of levain. The starter was fed twice a day for about three days to get it strong enough.

Benito's picture
Benito

For a 100% white flour bread with approximately 9% pre-fermented flour with bulk fermentation at 72ºF the 3.5-4 hours is not long enough for the dough to fully ferment.  You’ll want to find a warmer place to bulk at, oven with the light on and the door propped open a bit so that it is closer to 80ºF.  Even with that , 4 hours might not be enough for an all white flour dough.  White flour doesn’t have all the nutrients of whole grain and will be slower to ferment than whole grain.

 

swedishflish's picture
swedishflish

Is it possible to bulk ferment at 72F but longer? Maybe about 5 or 6 hours? That's about how long my starter doubles in size at 72F.

Benito's picture
Benito

Definitely you can ferment at lower temperatures and go for much longer. People do that to adjust the flavour. I believe temperatures less than 78ºF flavour the lactobacilli That produce the acids over yeast. 

phaz's picture
phaz

You'll have to play with starter amounts to go longer at higher temps. Higher temps = faster everything, but if ya start with a smaller amount of starter, everything will take longer. Cut it in half and see what happens - go from there. Enjoy!