Good, underproofed, and overproofed crumb examples
Hey everyone! I've been actively learning to bake sourdough for the past month and got my share of loaves with all kinds of proofing gone right and wrong, and wanted to share crumb photos of 3 loaves with the same recipe (about 75% hydration, 85% AP flour, 10% whole wheat and 5% rye) but different proofing — one just right, another clearly underproofed, and the last one clearly overproofed. Hope it helps another beginner like me!
Just right — the one at the top — is easy to recognize by looking between the big wholes. The "smaller" bubbles comprising most of the loaf are still clearly visible, making it airy, light and very pleasant to eat.
Underproofed — in the middle — is characterized by super-dense crumb between the big holes. The crumb is gummy and can be undercooked in places because of the density. This is the most common type of crumb beginners make (myself included).
Overproofed — the last one — didn't get any oven spring, so it's quite flat, and you can see that all the bigger bubbles collapsed, leaving only smaller ones. The texture is still airy, and despite flatness, it's as delicious as the one with the right proofing, even if not as instagrammable. That made me realize I shouldn't be afraid of overproofing!