The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

,gummy bread

mary t's picture
mary t

,gummy bread


I certainly hope some one out there can help me.  I have been baking for the past 50 years but I have never tried artisan bread until I found this site.  I went out and bought Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day.  I made the basic recipe just as it was printed and the the first loaf was fine, but much too small so the next time I made it double the size.  I baked it longer but when it cooled and I cut it it was gummy inside.  Eatable but gummy.  I tried the recipe again doubleing it  and using a fouth to bake and I had the ssme problem.  I did bake it in a Le Cloche.  I left the lid on for the first 20 minutes and took it off for the remaining 20.  It came out of the oven beautiful and it even snapped cracled and popped, I was thrilled.  But then when I cut it the same thing happened gummy but eatable. that is if you like gummy bread with a crust so hard you could use it to resole a shoe.And because I thought I had underbaked it before I relly let it get brown brown.  So I got on this site and looked under recipes and make the one with the 3 cups of flour and 2 t salt, 2 t yeast and 1 1/8  cup water. I made it exactly as printed but the same thing happened.  I thought Maybe my dough was too sticky but then I watched that lady  make the chibatta on u tube and hers was way wetter than mine.   Does anyone know what aI'm doing wrong.  It has affected my self confidence to the point where I don't even want to bake my regular bread again.                                                                                                                                                               

Janknitz's picture

ABin5 dough is kind of "sneaky"--it gives every impression of being done when it's not.

Get yourself an instant read thermometer and stick it into an inconspicuous spot when you think the bread is done.

You need the center to be at least 204° for artisan style breads, 180° for softer breads.

The thermometer will save you much grief!

Yerffej's picture

I second the thermometer suggestion.  A slightly over baked loaf is no big deal.  A slightly under baked loaf is no good.


breadnik's picture

I agree with the previous two comments: temperature is the key. I suspect that the problem is not just in your underbaking ("gummy crumb"), especially since you say that you "relly let it get brown brown," but in your overall baking temperature.

I used to encounter this too when a) either the initial temperature was too high or b) I baked at this initial high temperature for too long. This results in nicely baked brown crust but doesn't leave enough time for the crumb to bake through. I'm assuming you're baking at something like 475F for the first 20 minutes and then, without the lid, for another 20 minutes at what temperature? I'd lower the initial temp a bit, say, to 450, and keep the bread under the lid for 15 minutes instead of 20, and then lower the temperature to 350 (325 with convection) and bake without the lid for another 40-45 minutes, until the internal temperature is in the 185-195F range.

Good luck,

JoeV's picture

Temperature and time are critical with artisan breads. I have made hundreds of loaves of this style of bread (no-knead bread), and every one comes out perfect using a cloche, or for that matter, ANY enclosed baking vessel. Here is my recipe:

3 cups bread flour or all purpose flour (I use unbleached all purpose flour for this bread)

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (or 1/4 Cup of fresh sourdough starter)

1-1/2 teaspoons table salt

1 1/2 cups warm water 


I leave this covered on the counter to ferment for 12-20 hours then shape and allow to proof for another hour. I put this dough into a preheated cloche in a 450F oven and leave covered for 30 minutes, then remove the cover for another 10 minutes at 400F. If you check the loaf with a thermometer, it should read at least 200F. You will then get results like this loaf using the 1/4t of instant yeast:

or these loaves using 1/4C of sourdough starter...

IMHO, Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day is just a knockoff of the original No-Knead bread made famous by Mark Bittman of the New York Times, and I have found innacuracies in their recipes and methods, depending on the printing of the volume you own. I have the book but prefer to not recommend it. This is just my opinion, and your mileage may vary.

The secret to the flavor of true artisan loaves is time. The longer the dough ferments, the more opportunity the flour has to release the complexity of its flavor. I also replace 25% of the white flour with either rye or stone ground whole wheat for another dimension of flavor.

Try my method and see if it does not make a difference. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Also, be sure that your oven is reaching the temperature on the dial. I have seen ovens change as they age, and will heat either hotter or colder. If you think this may be a problem, have your appliance repairman check it out.

Lastly, I NEVER cut into an artisan loaf for at least one hour after removing it from the oven. This is step #11 of 12 steps in bread baking, and is critcal to finishing the baking process. Cutting too soon will release the internal steam and stop the cooking process, leaving you with a gummy crumb, and often a collapsed loaf. Like meat, bread continues to cook when removed from the oven.

alonedawg's picture

Very useful commentary.  i have recently had a spate of gummies and suspected the flour but really know i have not baked long enough.  So thank you.  Question: What are the "12 steps of baking" to which you referred?