The Fresh Loaf

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My Tartine bread does not have open, irregular holes in the crumb?

Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

My Tartine bread does not have open, irregular holes in the crumb?

I made Chad Robertons Basic Country Bread for the first time and everything turned out good except the crumb did not have big open irregular holes.

Any suggestion what I did wrong?


richkaimd's picture

Here are four first thoughts:

1.)  How acquainted are you with making slack dough/high hydration breads?  2,)  Are you accustomed to preventing the de-gassing of your dough?  3,)  Was your oven temperature as high as it ought to have been as measured by a thermometer?  4.)  Did you allow your dough to rise enough before baking according to the recipe?

Bread Head's picture
Bread Head


1. I just started to bake 3 months ago.  I started with the Jim Lahey "No Knead Method" and that is all I have been doing.  My dough that I usually work with is 80% hydration.  What I noticed on my no knead loaves is around the edges of the bread I get the open irregular holes in the crumb??   Not that much in the center, do you know why?

2.I am not accustomed to preventing the de-gassing of my dough.  I just try to handle it as lightly as possible with the one stretch and fold I perform on my no knead bread.

3.My oven preheated at 500 degrees   (that's its max)  and when I put the tartine loaf in I dropped it to 450 like the book directed too.  I bought an oven thermometer for making my no knead bread.  I noticed that when the oven beeped, ready at 500 degrees the thermometer only read 425 degrees.  The oven was way off.  That is why when I make my no knead bread I preheat the oven for at least an hour!

4. I am not sure if I let it rise enough? Here is what I did;

    The series of folds that chad robertson calls "final shaping"  (page 58)   I did...............then I pulled & pushed the dough around the work surface to make surface tension and to make it round.

    After that I put the dough in floured towls in bowls and then in the refrigerator for 11 hours to bake the next morning.  When I did bake them the next morning I pulled each one out of the fridge 30 minutes prior to putting it in the oven. I personally don't like using the fridge but I don't know how to make tartine bread without using the fridge because how long every step takes??

Thanks for all your help, and please explain in detail for I don't understand a lot of this stuff yet, but would really like to.  That is why I joined TFL :)  


richkaimd's picture

First, you are a brave soul to starting baking with such a slack dough.  I strongly recommend that you buy yourself a text book (I recommend DiMuzio's Bread Baking).   Texts are intended to teach students from the ground up; cookbooks have no such obligation.  Some do; some don't.

Second,  if your oven's thermostat's not working correctly, it's not likely that leaving the oven on longer will get it hotter.  Check it to see whether you're right that it just keeps getting hotter using the thermometer..  Actually, it might just stop at 425.

Third, don't bake that or any bread unless it has risen to almost double.  Some breads require more, but only a few. 

Fourth, I think that the larger and smaller "holes" in your bread may be due to poor mixing of your dough during the bulk rise stage.  Stretching and folding well should prevent this.  Keep trying.

Fifth, when I make the Tartine Basic Country Loaf, I left it rise the second time in a medium-sized bowl lined with parchment paper.  I then bake it as if it were a no-knead loaf, using a Dutch oven.  It comes out fine.  To get it into the Dutch oven I pick up the dough using the corners of the parchment paper and just drop the whole thing, paper and all into the Dutch oven.  No muss, no fuss.  and I never loose any of those prescious gas pockets that make those wonderful holes we all talk so much about.


judyinnm's picture

Take dough directly from fridge to hot dutch oven, slash, then cover and set in 500 degree oven turned down to 450 for the 20 minutes, uncover and let brown for 20-25 minutes. Tartine is pretty much foolproof, following Chad's instructions. 

Gadjowheaty's picture

Sorry to resurrect such an old thread, but same problem, which is maddening - if you happen to see my earliest posts, never a problem before with moderate hydration breads (probably following Hamelman, been a long time).

When you say allow a doubling, do you mean bulk, or final proof.  I may be getting this wrong - I’d thought I’d read somewhere for these breads, only 33% to 50% bulk rise.

Secondly, I may be going way to roughly in golds during bulk.  Because these feel so slack, and I’ve had experience that by bench rest and final proof, no strength, in doing anywhere from a dozen folds (5 minutes post mixing - typically 2 hour autolyse), to 6-8 folds every half hour, these folds are substantial and I take a good amount of dough - and then hourly to the end of bulk.  From 2 hours on, I’m increasingly gentle and make fewer folds.  At 76F, I find it takes about 6-7 hours to reach 133-150%.  Perhaps this is when I need much more bulk fermentation?

proofing is typically 1.5-2 hours only, at room temp if 68 or so. Pretty afraid of overproofing and ending up with a blown tire, which has happened.

Bake, Tartine.  Very happy with flavor, the chewy “tear » of the crumb, spring and crust, which I do like raking right up to the edge of burnt.

hydration - 80

flour - my own parsing of T80 at 63% Central Milling’s Baker’s Craft Plus (11.7%), 37% Hi-Pro WW medium, also from Central.

Salt - 1.9-2.2%.

Levain, moderate-mature, 25-27.5%.

Pics next post (I hope.  iPhone acting goofy when I try to insert pics.  Thoughts? Many thanks.