The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

I can't achieve an open crumb and I can't understand why.

icantbakeatall's picture

I can't achieve an open crumb and I can't understand why.

I've made dozens of sourdough boules in my Dutch Oven but have never once gotten an open crumb. What can I be doing wrong? I just can't figure it out. I've tried high hydration, low hydration, wheat, white, low/high gluten, shaping the dough carefully, less/more fermentation, baking straight out of the fridge vs waiting vs no refrigeration at all, different temps and times for baking. I can just never get an open crumb. In fact it always seems a little bit too moist/dense for me. How can you get an open crumb? I really appreciate your help!

My typical recipe is this:

  • ~200g starter
  • ~600g flour
  • ~xxxg water (I vary it; I used to measure but now just do it by feel. In the past I've tried anywhere from 70%-85% measured)
  • ~salt

I'll usually do 3 stretch and folds and then let it sit until I feel like its ready which I've gotten pretty good at. Then preshape, rest ~20 mins, final shape-->banneton-->refrigerator for usually 12 hours.

phaz's picture

So many factors to consider, so little info to even begin to consider any of them. In other words - more info needed - and the more the better. Enjoy!

texasbakerdad's picture

Could be lots of things BUT, you listed all of the different things you have tried and that says something. Commendable. Keep it up.

Things that are not on your list, that you should check:

  • Is your sourdough culture doing its job?
  • Are you overproofing or underproofing?

Have you had success with open crumb using commercial yeast? If so, then, you can probably safely blame your sourdough... and if you are blaming your sourdough, you should really blame yourself... :-) I mean, because it is sourdough, it does what you tell it to do :-)

Really, though, I would need more details about your previous bakes to help you narrow down what is going wrong.