The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Please help assess my crumb

Dough a Dear's picture
Dough a Dear

Please help assess my crumb

I have recently started baking no-knead bread and would like some help to assess the crumb of my bread please. This was the straight up Mark Bittman NYT recipe, to which I added about 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar. 

Is this considered a lousy crumb structure? In my own novice opinion, it certainly doesn't look open or airy, like the sourdough breads baked by artisan bakers. I did bulk fermentation in the refrigerator for about 15 hours, then shaped and proofed outside for about 1.5 hours. I noticed that the dough didn't rise as much as the previous time, perhaps it would be helpful to take a look at the shape of the overall loaf as well. 

I was wondering if the cheese had weighed down the loaf somewhat and prevented it from rising as much as it could have. Or maybe it was a temperature issue, I baked in a tabletop combi oven at 220 degrees C. 

Having said that, crumb was tender and slightly moist from the cheese, and it tasted and smelt really good. Thank you in advance for any help you might be able to provide. 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I think this looks like great bread, and if you like it - it is indeed great! That's the only thing that counts. Some people like open crumb, some don't, there is no universal judgement what crumb is good or bad.

If you specifically want open crumb then probably adding cheese is no going to help that, though.

yozzause's picture

Hi i think you have your answer there "not like sour dough baked by artisan bakers" i suspect its because they dont use no knead method, You would have to be pleased with your result and if it tastes good its a winner.

kind regards Derek

yozzause's picture



semolina_man's picture

I bake longer and probably hotter.  To me your loaf looks undercooked.  The cheese had an effect on oven spring.  15 hours is a long time for fermentation and likely also contributed to reduced oven spring.   These are opinions and everyone finds their own way in baking.  

Open crumb is aesthetic only, an affected characteristic, and in my view detracts from degustation.  

My opinion is to watch what the people are doing, who know what they are doing.  To wit: German, French and Italian baking artisans.