The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Hello all + Crumb Holes

Srishti's picture

Hello all + Crumb Holes

Hello from Yakima, Washington,

Thanks for having me on this site. I am an amateur baker, newly in love with baking breads. I discovered TheFreshLoaf a few months ago, searching for Potato bread, and found Floyd's Baked potato bread, which turned out delicious. Then I was quite taken by the NYT No-knead bread discussions! And today I saw Jim's "French Folding" method. I loved it. And finally I decided to join the site and Signed in :) I am quite excited.

I like to bake mostly 100% Whole Wheats. I love all those pictures here of the breads with the Big Holes in the bread Crusts. I tried the NYT recipe with WW, but have failed to get any holes :(

What can I do to get these? My husband, though, says that he likes my breads without holes just fine as the butter etc. would just drip through the holes :P But I just want those holes.

Thanks again


Srishti's picture

hello Jim,

Thanks for the tips! I am just a beginner.. Don't know much about shaping! I will try the linen cloths definitely.

The reason for my holeless breads could be because I like to make 100% Whole Wheat breads? I read on this site that the bran cuts the gluten etc... Also somebody mentioned that one might want to add some gluten to the dough in a WW brerad?

Would that little bit of gluten really help?

Thanks a lot to everyone and Floyd for such a wonderful work.


JMonkey's picture

It's really tough to get big holes with 100% whole wheat bread. The best I've been able to do is with a 50-50 white to whole wheat flour ciabatta. I did get some big holes when I tried a no-knead whole wheat bread with a ridiculously high hydration -- 93%. But it failed to rise very much, and I essentially had a thick pancake.


I'd imagine you could make a 100% whole wheat foccacia that would have big holes, but it's only going to be a couple of inches high.


I agree, though, that wetter is much better. For white breads, water is about 55% to 72% of the flour weight, though some recipes go as high as 80%. That's a really, really wet dough, and it's tough to handle.


With whole wheat, I start at 75%, with most of my breads today around 80% or higher.

andrew_l's picture

I use 50% whole wheat and 50% white bread flour, about 75% hydration. Minimal knead - really just the folding (like paper into 3 to go in an envelope) at the end of the first half hour, second half hour, second hour and third hour. Trying not to degas at all, then gently fold and shape when it has benn proving about 8 hours. With the minimal kneading / handling, you can get excellent big holes in the crumb. The starter, which lives in the fridge as a stiff starter until I use it to make a dough, when it is converted to 100% hydration, also developes big holes!
It can be done...

Srishti's picture

Thanks you all people, I'll give it another shot soon. I am going to start a sourdough starter today (sourdoLady's OJ starter). And in a week or 2 give it another shot.

Though I have to admit, that all I can think these days is bread. I have read so much contents on this website that it's all crumpled up inside my head. Haven't had time to organize it all (in my head) by actually doing some real baking :P (Just been baking in my imaginations) ha ha.

Thanks again


jbaez13's picture

Hey Srishti,

I see that you've already gotten alot of advice from everyone else, but is it okay if I pitch in? LOL Well, I was having the same problem just about 2 months ago when working with doughs with a high percentage of whole wheat flour. I asked a baker friend why I was getting such dense crumb and he told me that over kneading or mixing whole wheat flour will cause the hull of the wheat to tear the gluten strands, making them much smaller and not have the abilty to support the weight of the dough rising. Good luck!

Srishti's picture

Hello jbaez13,

Thanks for your tip.... Any help is always welcome and appreciated.

Well, yesterday I made baugettes from BBA (ALL WHITE :P ). I made the pete fermente the day before... Took it out of the fridge about 9 in the morning. Had it sit around till 11 to get warmed up. Made the final dough. Ony Kneaded it until I could do the windowpane test. Then it sat around until doubled which was 3pm. Then I shaped them and let sit until 5 and baked them.

The outcome:

Beautiful color. BUT, No HOLES........................Even on white bread ... NO HOLES.

And as promised in the book, to me it didn't taste much better and plainold Wonder Bread.... (Not that I have ever tasted Wonder Bread....) But it didn't have that special taste of Baugettes. Probably because of the absense of Holes the proteins didn't get roasted enough? Decent crust.

Also after baking the loaves kinda got opened a bit at the seams....

Anyway, I think, I will stick to the good whole grains :)

No news form OJ (That's my baby starter, I named him OJ) , He's on his 6th day.... no bubbles at all. It's really sour smelling. The recipe is SourDoLady's. But no bubbles. Maybe I'll add 1/4 tsp of Applecider vinegar to it? It's alll whole wheat + OJ for the first 3 days.


Thanks all