The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

What leads to a nice open crumb with big holes?

icantbakeatall's picture

What leads to a nice open crumb with big holes?

I have finally made sourdough a few times with my own starter and while the crumb is better than the breads i made with commercial yeast (imo), it's still not as nice as I'm seeing people here make (even people who post their first sourdoughs). What am I doing wrong that I'm not getting an open crumb? Thanks a TON!

Meat5000's picture
Meat5000 (not verified)

Hi there! Ive been at this a few months and for what I can ascertain its down to the style of mix and knead. I make sandwich loaves and use a method of twisting my forming gluten strands together and folding it, several times. I get a uniformly structured tighter crumb, bouncy and fluffy.

Sourdough examples and things like baguettes seem to be using this Stretch and Fold method which tend to leave less tangles and larger holes.

Knocking down and second kneads also have a tightening effect I would say.

BaniJP's picture

A balance of extensibility and elasticity, meaning its stretchable, but still strong. For that you need higher hydration (70-80%) and strong flour (13%+ protein). Plenty of stretch & folds to strengthen the gluten network and to trap a lot of air. Good techniques and most importantly, a lot of luck (at least in the beginning),

But - many will point out that those holes are just for aesthetics, as toppings just fall through. Though less mixing means more flavor due less oxidation, don't get crazy chasing the hol(e)y crumb ;)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Having no fear of dripping butter, jam, mayo, sauce and oil or any number of bread toppings on your shirt and clothes.

I just couldn't resist.  :)

suave's picture

It's almost entirely skill and experience.  You need to get your timings right, and you need to learn to develop and handle the dough.  Don't believe those who will tell you to dump more water in, it won't automatically create open crumb.

Yippee's picture

Among all the factors that he listed, I'd rank 'getting the timing right', i.e.,getting the fermentation right, as the highest priority. I also second that higher hydration won't give you open crumb by default.