The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gummy bread?

franzi91's picture

Gummy bread?

hello everyone

i am new to artisan bread baking and i have been trying to perfect a certain bread. its one of those no knead recipes out there and whenever i bake it, it looks really nice on the outside, but it is always gummy/sticky on the inside with a raw flour taste/texture. there are some what large irregular holes in the bread and it looks pretty but the taste/texture is not so pleasant.  

the recipe i use is

3 cups flour

1 5/8 cup water

1/4 tsp. yeast

1tsp salt.

then i let it rise overnight. then i fold it once or twice and let it rise for two more hours then stick it in the oven at 450 in a cast iron pan with a lid over it for 25 min. then i remove the lid and let it bake another 25-ish

at least this is what the recipe is telling me to do.

does anyone know what could be causing it to come out this way? the dough is a fairly wet one... could that be the problem? or should i lower the temp of the oven and bake for longer?

as i said, im pretty new to artisan bread baking and i dont really know how all the factors contribute to how the loaf will come out yet.

thank you for any advice.

cnlindon's picture

Cutting the bread too early????  If you cut the bread before it has time to cool it will be gummy and raw tasting in the middle.  If that is not the case then it sounds like you need to bake it longer than the recipe is calling for...this could be because your oven temp is not as high as it is reading on the dial.  You could check your oven temp with a cheap oven thermometer.

Just some ideas...



LindyD's picture

An instant read thermometer would also be helpful to check the temperature of the bread. I think you'll want an internal temp of 200F-205F.

Which NK recipe are you using? There's certainly a ton of them out there. Are you preheating the cast iron dutch oven for 30 minutes?

The New York Times started the no-knead movement by publishing Sullivan Street Bakery's recipe. Jim Lahey calls for a bake time of about an hour.

Since then there's been some variations on the theme, including the Cooks Illustrated version with beer and vinegar (actually quite yummy).

I'd go with a longer bake time and make sure your oven is actually at 450F. Let us know how it works out.

franzi91's picture

thank you so much for the advice. my stepmom and i really suspect that our oven does not get as hot as it says it does. i will definitely get an oven thermometer and give updates on how it works out..
a friend of mine passed the recipe on to me, but i think it might be the new york times one.

also yes, i put the pan in the oven as it preheats.

ok so i will try again.

kmp's picture

I recently tried the same recipe (it is the NYTimes version) but with 3 cups of whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour.  I got an extremely wet "dough" at the end of a 20-hr ferment; really wasn't foldable, but I did my best, let it proof for about 2 hr, and tossed it in the oven (450 preheated for an hour).

I got a flat loaf that did not rise at all; strangely enough, the crumb wasn't all that bad, although no big holes, lots of smaller ones, but the loaf was definitely a bit soggy even after 55 min in the oven.  I toasted slices and made breadcrumbs.

I tried again yesterday/today; this time, based on some notes on this site, I used 16 oz of flour (half all-purpose, half WW) instead of 3 cups (which, the way I measure, turns out to be about 13.5 oz, so with 1 5/8 cups of water was nearly at 100% hydration). I added 1.5 cups of water, then one extra tablespoon to fully hydrate.  The sponge seemed more active (more bubbles) and it was much easier to fold.  I did the stretch and fold 2 times, with a 5 min rest, then 2 more times, then "shaped" the slack dough and let it rise for 3 hrs.  Pre-heated the oven to 500 and baked at 450 for an hour - to an internal temp of 213F.  STILL came out somewhat soggy; seems there was a bit of rise, but still a pretty flat loaf.  The crust was delicious though; I've never gotten such good crackle.  This one is edible... but still disappointing.  I may just make one of the other highly-hydrated bread recipes that I've been reasonably successful with, and plop them into the Dutch oven to see what happens. 

swtgran's picture

I use just about the very same recipe and get the most gorgeous, delicious loaf.  What I do differently is:

I use only 1 1/2 cups of water, stir it, cover it with sprayed plastic wrap, let it rise until all bubbly on top the next day, about 12-14 hr.  Then tip it out onto a well floured board, do a stretch and fold one way and then the other.  Cover it with the same sprayed plastic wrap and let it rest on the bread board for 15 minutes. 

Mean while,  spray a bowl, that it can just double in, with non stick spray.  Sprinkle it with wheat bran.  After the 15 minutes, kind of scrape, pick it up and try to gently get it into a rounded shape and try to place it in the bowl with the seam side down.  I let it almost double in size.  I like the seam side down so that when I plop it into the pot it makes kind of a creased, slashed like, rustic looking bread on top.

Take a piece of parchment and kind of shape it around the sides of the cast iron pot and then remove it, attempting to keep the shape and set it on the counter. 

Pre heat the oven to 450 with the cast iron pot and lid beside it, in it. 

Once the bread has risen, pull out the pot, place the sort of formed parchment in the pot carefully, but it doesn't have to be perfect, then plob the dough in it and immediately put it in the oven and put the lid on.  Do these steps quickly so the pot stays hot. I bake it at 450 for 15 minutes, then turn it to 425 for 15 minutes, then bake it with the lid off for 15 minutes.

I found that if I didn't turn the temp down it got too brown in the cast iron. 

Except for the water amount and the technique our recipes are the same, but these changes may be helpful.  I make this about once a week and sometimes more.  Good luck.  Terry 

AnnieT's picture

Terry, I made a loaf of the Almost No Knead bread today and wanted to share my method with you. Not really my own invention but it is so easy. I line the banneton or bowl with the parchment paper - just cut a square and place the dough in the center. Then lower that into your bowl and pleat the parchment flat all round. Then when your cast iron pot is heated gently lower the parchment and dough into it. No burnt fingers, no deflated dough from being dropped. No need to grease the parchment and it will pull out easily if you want to remove it when you take off the lid. Give it a try, A.

swtgran's picture

Thanks, Annie.  You must be more coordinated than I am.  When I tried that, I ended up with the parchement making all kind of creases in the sides of the dough.  I will give it another try, though, since that would save washing a bowl and then I could also use a better size and shaped basket I have. 

Now that I have done it a lot more times, I might be better at handling the dough and paper.  Those first couple of times with slack dough can be pretty intimadating.  Terry

AnnieT's picture

Terry, I just really mash the folds flat against the sides of the banneton. I don't know how I have the nerve to offer advice to anyone after what I did yesterday! I made my usual (Susan's) sourdough and being busy with the Almost No Knead bread I didn't bother to get out my instructions. Did the stretch and folds, shaped the boule and placed it in the refrigerator - even got up early to take it out for the 2 hour warm-up. THEN I remembered that I had completely forgotten that the dough gets to rise until double before shaping! The banneton had been sitting on the little propane heating stove (where the pilot light gives a nice gentle warmth) for about an hour. So now it is on the kitchen counter and I will just leave it there to see what happens. I have to be at my grandaughter's class for a couple of hours, then get my hair cut, so it will be at least 4 hours before I get home. It will either rise - or it won't! That will teach me to read directions even though I have made the same recipe so many times. Good luck with the parchment, A.

LindyD's picture

I cut a length of parchment in half, then place the two strips in a bowl forming a cross. Dough goes on the parchment and can be easily lifted out of the bowl when it's time to move it to the heated dutch oven. You just hang on to the ends of the four strips. Works like a charm.

franzi91's picture

It seems like I'm not the only one who had problems with this recipe. Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I'll try easing up on the water next time I make a batch, which seems like it should help.

holds99's picture

I frequently bake Rustic Country Bread (KA recipe with poolish) in a Dutch oven ( 2 lb. boules) and I preheat the Dutch oven, with lid on, in a 500 degree (kitchen) oven before putting the loaf onto the Dutch oven and putting the lid on.  I carefully remove the very hot Dutch oven with mits and load the boule into the pot on top of the stove then place it back into the oven, lower the temp. to 450 deg. and let it bake for 30 minutes, then remove the cover for the final 10 minutes of baking to get the top nice and brown.  The preheated Dutch oven with the lid on creates the steam that helps keep the loaf moist during the initial baking (oven spring) and give it great rise.  Removing the lid after 30 minutes lets the steam out and allows the crust to crisp up and get brown.

If you're putting your loaf into your Dutch oven (without preheating it) and then placing it into the oven that may be your problem.

Edit: Here's a link to my post.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

franzi91's picture

ive been making sure to preheat the pan i use. perhaps i do not get it hot enough...




lovely fresh loafers, i have another question. i thought i might post it here instead of creating a new thread....

 when i make french baguettes, i can never seem to get them from the cookie sheet i let them rise on to the baking stone i bake them on without burning myself or doing what i just did-ruining 1 1/2 baguettes trying to coax them onto the stone.

does anyone have any tried and true techniques?

LindyD's picture

I use parchment for just about everything, including baguettes. Right now I have four loaves of a very wet ciabatta on parchment, which will go into the oven in about 20 minutes.

For baguettes, I put the parchment on my peel (or couche, depending on what recipe I'm baking), the baguettes on the parchment, and when they are ready to be baked, I slide the parchment on to the hot stone. No burns and no more baguettes hanging in between the rack and the wall of the oven.


holds99's picture

Lindy is right, parchment lined bakng pans should solve the "sticking" problem for your baguettes/batards.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Golden's picture


Did you ever figure out why your bread was gummy?  I'm using the Jacques Pepin recipe which is similar to the no Knead bread recipe except it does not preheat the pan because the dough is already in it.  I've tried lowering the heat and baking it longer, I've tried using a probe thermometer an got the internal temp to 219 and still it's so gummy I can't eat it.  Any suggestions?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.



imjlotherealone's picture

transfer directly to the baking stone. Are you crazy? That's definitely going to burn you and mess up your baguettes. Use a peel, or, if you don't have one, a large enough cutting board or thick piece of cardboard will work too. Transfer to the floured peel first, then slide onto the baking stone. 

franzi91's picture

ok so i shape them on the parchment, and then bake them on it too?

sounds good to me :)

swtgran's picture

My NYT no knead dough is wet enough that I can not shape it and put it on the parchment.  Like I explained above, I shape it and put it in a bowl sprayed and dusted with wheat bran.  I let it double then flip it, gently, into the preheated pot I line with parchment I sort of molded before preheating the pot.  I just pull the hot pot out and set the parchement in the hot pot, then tip the bread in, put the pot in the oven and cover with hot lid.    

carefreebaker's picture

Can 2tb. more water in the dough make the difference in the outcome between gummy and not gummy baked no knead bread?

The internal temp of the bread is 205.  Do I need to reach 210?

I tried baking at 475.  I usually bake at 450.  30 mins. covered, 15-20 mins out of DO.

I can not figure out why my loaves are now turning out gummy.

I use AP flour.

thank you for your thoughts


jdi's picture

I have a similar problem as my artisan bread gets it's inside gummy after 4-5 days even though it has been baked to an internal temperature of 205 F or over and having also been left to cool completly b4 slicing. What gives ?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How gummy?  How does the bread smell?  Anything like ripe melons?  When you press two freshly cut pieces together and then separate them are there fine "strings" between the slices?

Sudden increase in moisture is often associated with a rope invasion and requires diligent cleaning of the kitchen and all surfaces and equipment.  "No stone left overturned."

Raising oven temp to bake usually bakes the crust more and the inside less.  Lower the temperature and bake longer to bake the inside more without burning the crust.

205°F works for rye and sweet/buttery wheat bread but a lean wheat loaf should have an internal temp of 208°F  

Those last few degrees take a while to achieve so add 5 to 10 minutes to your baking time.  Rotating the loaf half way into the bake also helps to avoid hot and cold spots which can bake the loaf unevenly.  Also check your crust color, a lighter loaf bottom may imply the baking loaf needs more heat underneath the loaf.  

Maryjo's picture


My very first loaf just hit the garbage...bummer...Even after following the instructions as close as possible with limited came out beautiful on the outside but after waiting over an hour to slice it ...bland raw and rubbery on the inside... there will be no bread tonight :( .... granted, i don't have an oven stone but i do have a cast iron pot with a lid, i mean..isn't this half the battle? i can afford a stone right now after spending 30 bucks for a Lodge Dutch loaf and already i'm feeling like hanging up the apron... I was so hoping this would work as I love Hot Bread ... What in the world Happened...

knowbake's picture

I used a recipe from American  kitchen for baguette. This required a min. 24 hr. cold rise. I baked to interior temp. of 205 f.  Still the final product was not edible. Nice had and crisp crust.

imjlotherealone's picture

If the inside is gummy, there are three possibilities (excluding a rope infection)

1. you need to bake for longer. If the tops are getting too brown, cover with tin foil.

2. you need to proof longer. If the loaves are not fully proved, they will be somewhat dense and more difficult to bake through.

3. you are overproofing. If you overproof or over ferment, the loaf will either collapse in the oven (the former) or have poor structure (the latter).