The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

What give crumb a grey colour?

JonJ's picture

What give crumb a grey colour?

Made a bread where the crumb has a noticeable grey colour.

Can't figure out yet what causes it - the recipe used is 'loosely' based on Alan's recent baguette post where he used Hamelman's seeded SD recipe.

So, could it be:
- The approximately 17% rye flour used (together with an AP flour).
- Used soaker of ground flaxseeds (brown).

Might also add that the levain did overflow its container from the overnight feed and needed to be refed 1:1:1 before using in the bake, but more likely in my opinion it was the rye or ground flax...? I'm actually thinking now it might very well be that bag of AP flour too - it is normally has a very white appearance unlike the usual cream coloured flours I use.

Here's another pic in more natural lighting (I guess the colour is fairly subtle, but it really stood out under LED light last night)

Dan_In_Sydney's picture

Yes, the rye.

Of note, you have double the quantity (by %) of rye that Alan uses. (And, because rye flour is pretty much a free-for-all in North America* perhaps you mighti also have a darker rye than Alan uses.)

* - Rye's a free-for-all in Australia, too, but then all our flour is like that because our only classifications are focussed on export and thus applied to wheat only and not flour, so rye's not special in that regard for us.

Benito's picture

Jon I’ve seen that grayish hue when I’ve baked breads with some rye in it as well.  Funny that my 100% rye wasn’t grey at all though, it was totally brown.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The shadows on the white plate are grey.  The crumb looks tan or light brown to me.  Rye, seed hulls, yeast water.  (What happens to any boiled soaker water and seeds?)  Lovely crumb colour.  You no likey?

JonJ's picture

I was really liking the bread in every way, taste, crust, crumb, crunch, until my teenage son said, "Dad why is it a weird colour?" Go figure! 😄

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

make a very colorful crumb.  So he was asking a scientific question?  

  1. Bran has a tendancy to stain and release colorants when wet. 
  2. Also seed hulls.
  3. Rye endosperm is not white like wheat can be.
  4. Wheat crumb is not chalky white but translucent meaning that small amounts of colorant can have a big impact. Some colorants can change in baking temperatures getting lighter or darker.

Any of these and more variables can influence the color of the crumb .