The Fresh Loaf

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Crumb analysis

Tone1402's picture

Crumb analysis

Hi All,

Wondering for some advice on my crumb/lack of spring. I'm trying to work out how to read my crumb and bakes in general, I dont have a clue if this is over or underproved. I mostly keep to the same method as below but each time try to change one thing and observe a difference - I'm awaiting delivery of another banneton so I can double up and have a control but until then I have to go between bakes. For this loaf the main thing I did different was try to degas a little more during final shaping as I want a more organised regular crumb. Not really after the whole tartine look at the moment. 



90% stong white canadian bread flour 

10% strong wholemeal flour 

20% levain (@100% hydration, fed 1:2:2, active)

73% warm water (didnt measure but approx blood temp)

2% salt


Autolyse 2 hours

Add levain and Raubard (spelling?)/stretch and fold in bowl for 5 minutes 

Rest 30mins

Add salt and further Raubard/stretch and fold 4 minutes. Placed a small portion of dough in aliquot jar as previously advised on this site

Stretch and fold at 30 minutes 

Lamination 30 minutes afterwards

Strong ish coil folds half hourly for another 2 hours 

Further 30min rest - achieved a window pane 

Preshape and 20min rest - dough not sticky or tacky, bubbles on surface and jiggly when shaking bowl etc. Aliquot jar showed some clear rise. Probably under 50% but need to work out a better way of measuring - think I need a taller more narrow jar to see rise more easily and measure.

Total bulk = 4.5hrs, dough temp ranged from 25.7 to 26.2°c

Final shape - did more of a letter type fold then rolled up north - south. Sealed edges and used scraper to create more tension in dough 

Prove at room temp 30 mins

Overnight retard in fridge 15 hours (dough temp 4°c at surface). Didnt rise much and felt a bit flat in hand when placing into Dutch oven before scoring.

Baked 25mins lid on and 20mins lid off

Overall result is just one where nothing expanded greatly, nowhere near other attempts whereby I followed basically the same method, albeit here I was intentionally firmer on the dough during shaping. On the plus side it tasted absolutely delicious, a nice tang to the crumb. I'm wondering if my shaping wasnt very good as can see some large holes in crumb, whereas around the edges you can see fermentation and I wouldn't say it's very 'gummy'. 


So my question is, is this the result of under or over proofing, as well as potential poor shaping? If it was underproved I'd expect better rise given there is clear fermentation? It was no less underproved by the end of bulk than previous more successful loaves. I cant see it being overproved since as I said, it hardly rose in the fridge. Perhaps I'm answering my own question here. I had a loaf the other day which was almost exactly the same as this, with regards to bulk length/temp/fridge reyard, just with softer hands on shaping, and that loaf expanded beautifully in the oven. I'd love your input guys!