The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough crumb question

Mgoblue's picture
Mgoblue

Sourdough crumb question

Hello! I’m wondering if I can get some feedback on my sourdough crumb. I’ve only baked 4 loaves in the last 2 months, but they’ve had wildly different crumbs. Similar number of foods for each (5-6x over 3.5 hrs), an hour autolyse, then levain added, then salt added. Both loaves rested for 4+ hrs and was cool to the touch. 

I used the coil fold method for the most recent loaf and ended up with HUGE holes in the bread. It almost seemed like too many holes and not enough actual...bread? Other than the folding method being different, the only other major difference was that I let it sit for an extra hour after adding salt because I had a work commitment. 

The other loaf was clearly more dense internally (less airy) and I utilized the stretch and fold method. The doughs felt similar, although I think the more dense loaf seemed to feel “tighter” when I shaped it for the banneton. 

Has anyone noticed a major difference based on shaping method, and/or what’s causing the massive holes in my bread?

 

 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Hi mgo!

Those photos are too small.  It looks like you linked to the "thumbnail" photo and not the actual real photo.  I see "thumb" in the filename:

https://www.thefreshloaf.com//files/u158505/thumb_C8629A51-653B-4D48-A661-68132C487DE4.jpeg

Benito's picture
Benito

I agree with Dave, larger photos would really help, it is hard to tell what the crumb is like, is it really tight and gummy or pretty good in areas between the large alveoli.

That being said, from the small top photo I'd say that one is under proofed.  It needed more time in bulk fermentation or final proof or both, or warmer temperature during bulk to get more fermentation.

Mgoblue's picture
Mgoblue

Sorry for the super late response as I never got notification of new messages :(

I reattached a larger photo, I think your comment about underproofed makes sense. We’re heading into winter temps so I’m trying to figure out how to manage bulk fermentation.

My kitchen temp is around 66 degrees and my whole house is relatively chilly. The best I can do is the microwave or oven light trick, but open to suggestions on how to manage baking in cold temps!

phaz's picture
phaz

66 isn't too cold, things will just take longer - the usual. Add a little yeast, cooler temps won't bother it. Enjoy!

Benito's picture
Benito

Yes it is underproofed.  You can certainly find a warmer place as you’ve suggested like the oven with the light on, that is a good trick, just check the temperature because with the door closed it can get really hot in there.

Mgoblue's picture
Mgoblue

Thanks for the feedback! I prepped another loaf yesterday and did bulk fermentation via the microwave light. Also let it sit longer (5.5hrs vs 3ish) and did more stretch and folds to help the dough along. 

The crumb definitely looks better, still has a few larger holes but nothing crater like. The bread had a good ear and rise, and tasted good (albeit not sour at all). Are the larger holes still a sign of underproofed dough?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

have more tme to ferment as well.  

Some tricks & ideas:

Let the dough container float in some warm water, or sit on a warm hot water bottle preferably a thermos type box.  I have a styrofoam box w/lid from tropical fish delivery that works well.  I even sneak in the aquarium heater on occasion.  Right now my only house heating is the kitchen wood stove and it radiates very lopsided heat on anything nearby.  Always have to keep an eye on things.  But a great source of warm water.

The stereo cupboard in the living room gives off a nice gentle heat and I've cleared one shelf, added a tray in case of accidents for my proofing.  

I could bag the bowl and slip it under the covers in my waterbed.  It has a nice gentle heat too.  

Think warm spots.  Where ever warm water is being used.  

Oh, and if you use a dish washer. Slip the bowl in after removing enough clean dishes to make room.  Opening the door should lower the inside to a safe temp and the extra dishes will hold the heat longer if you need to.  Some experimenting is needed and might be a good idea to put a thermometer in there.  

phaz's picture
phaz

Here's one that's pretty common these days -  the router. Although it may get a little too warm - they can heat up. Enjoy!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

.May be left from the bulk rise.  When shaping, pop any big bubbles you see, they will only get bigger with time and give you a false sense of volume.  Popping them will encourage you to proof longer and get a better distribution of middle sized bubbles/cells.

Mgoblue's picture
Mgoblue

Thanks for the tip, I wasn’t actively popping the bubbles while shaping. I’m hoping to bake another loaf this weekend to try it out again!