The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dense sourdough loaf with large holes

lynnZ's picture

Dense sourdough loaf with large holes

Hi! I'm new to sourdough and have been trying the Tartine Country Bread recipe. I'm hoping I could get advice as to why it is turning out dense and with large holes.

For one loaf I use 450g bread flour, 50g wheat flour, 375g water, 10g salt and 100g starter. I use my 100% hydration starter when it has doubled (about 7 hours), bulk rise for 4.5 hours at 78 degrees and then refrigerate for 14 hours. I do 3 turns thirty minutes apart at the beginning of the bulk rise.

Does this bread look like I haven't developed the gluten enough? Am I perhaps not using my starter at the right time? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

BXMurphy's picture

Hi, LynnZ!

If you don't mind, I'll suggest that you have underproofed the loaf.

I suspect this because of the dense crumb, especially at the bottom and other areas throughout. Also, the large tunnels are another symptom common to under-proofing.

I think you have plenty of gluten. Maybe try doing a few more stretch and folds during bulk ferment. Don't go beyond three hours. Then, shape it up (lightly) and into a basket, banneton, or pan - lined with rice floured towel - for a proof of three-four hours.

I'm doing a Tartine right now for the first time. I found The Sourdough Journey's videos to be immensely helpful. Others might, too.

This baker does experiments using the Tartine recipe. Notice how he focuses on the bulk fermentation and eventually comes to the conclusion that the yeast makes the bread, not the baker.


lynnZ's picture

Thanks so much for your feedback and suggestions! I will definitely watch the videos and give your recommendations a try.

semolina_man's picture

Deflate the dough before shaping. 

Deflating redistributes the gas in the dough and bubbles are more evenly sized and evenly distributed. 

How would you describe the flavor? 

RedPentacleB's picture

When I do Chad's Tartine I start my levain early in the morning, start the dough early afternoon when the levain is ready, shape the loaves before bed, and refrigerate them in bannetons over-night. In the morning, I check the loaves and if they aren't any bigger than when I put them in the fridge, I'll take them out and let them rise a bit before baking. If they are already bigger, I'll bake right from the fridge.

Last week I made a loaf for a friend (the lighter one). In the picture below, both loaves are the same weight. The one on the left was baked right from the fridge. The other was placed above my oven while the first was baking and allowed to rise for an extra hour. Notice the size difference. Sorry, no crumb to show with these, but the one one the left was less open than the one on the right.