The Fresh Loaf

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Gummy crumb

Rowyndir's picture
Rowyndir

Gummy crumb

Okay, so I've tried a few recipes, and have been playing with my bulk and my proof and the temperature... Everything turns out gummy. It can great flavour, I get good rise, everything is good, but my bread is still... Gummy. Am I cutting it too early? Is there a simple solution I'm overlooking? 

Abe's picture
Abe

You need to be a bit more adventurous when it comes to the bulk ferment. If you are already giving it quite some time, at the correct temperature, and it's still under fermented then you need to look at your starter. 

Rowyndir's picture
Rowyndir

I hope it's not my starter... I've done everything from a 3 hour to a 18 hour bulk... Ive done them chilly and I've done them warm.... Even my enriched breads managed a little bit of gumminess. I fear that I may be a slave to packaged yeast forever. 

Abe's picture
Abe

So before we jump to the starter perhaps a bit more about your recipe and method...

Rowyndir's picture
Rowyndir

So I have a single sourdough loaf recipe that I think I found on here somewhere

Recipe is as follows:

429g Sir Lancelot bread flour 90%

47.7g whole wheat flour 10%

305g H20 64%

10g sea salt 2.1%

107g starter 22.5%

All steps should take place in a warm area, until cold ferment.

Mix flours and water together and autolyse for one hour minimum.

Add salt and starter and mix until incorporated.

Perform 6 sets of stretch and folds. The first three will be separated by 15 minutes. The last 3 will be separated by one half hour. Total stretch and fold time should be 2H15M. The first 15 minute period starts after incorporating the salt and starter.

Bulk ferment for ~3-4 hours or until dough has doubled in size.

Gently dump dough onto counter and pre shape into a round. Cover loosely with something that won’t stick.

Flour banneton and wait 20 minutes for gluten to relax.

Shape dough and place in banneton. Place in fridge.

Cold ferment for 12-18 hours.

Preheat oven to 450.

Gently plop dough into cooking vessel. Score and cover. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly brown.

Take off cooking vessel lid. Cook for ~20 minutes more until deep and dark golden brown.

Wait at least 1 hour to cool before cutting. Bread should be cool to the touch and sound hollow with the knock test.

For shaping, I generally do the bottom half folded up to middle, left side to middle, right side to middle, top left corner to middle, top right to middle, top down and roll up. Put in banneton and do a bit of stitching if it seems loose.

I mostly have been attempting a two loaf recipe just called beginners sourdough from Bonnie Oharas beginners guide to breadmaking book. I do not have that recipe on my phone here... But it's an all AP flour recipe with only 50g of starter and roughly 24 hrs start to finish. I believe the first 12 hours is all the starter and only a portion of the flour and water. 

 

I also tend to be an aggressive kneader/folder etc... I'm trying to be more gentle, but could that be affecting things? 

Abe's picture
Abe

"Bulk ferment for ~3-4 hours or until dough has doubled in size".

What did you do? Did you bulk ferment for 3-4 hours or until it doubled? Did it double within 3-4 hours? If not how long did it take? Or did it not double and you just proceeded after 3-4 hours? 

"I also tend to be an aggressive kneader/folder etc... I'm trying to be more gentle, but could that be affecting things"? 

No... this is under fermented. If you had kneaded or degassed too aggressively then it'll just be a tight crumb but still an even crumb. 

Rowyndir's picture
Rowyndir

The loaf pictured above is the one I gave 16-18 at bulk and then another 16-18 at cold ferment. So tasty, but I can barely chew it, it's so gummy. 

GlennM's picture
GlennM

I am wondering about the starter amount?  I usually use a variation of the 1/2/3 quantities and get great results.  This recipe would need about 150 gr of starter.  My bulk would not be done in 3-4 hrs though. I usually move it to the fridge and bake 24 hrs later

Rowyndir's picture
Rowyndir

I have tried 3-4 hours, but that never seemed enough. Just kept stretching it longer and longer until I did 16-18 hours last time in order to get it to double. 

Abe's picture
Abe

Whenever you stretch and fold you de-gas somewhat so get them in within the first couple of hours then let it rest. I'm sure that's not the full problem as it seems under fermented so you didn't go over. 

I think your timings are a bit off and you seem to be trying out different things and waiting different times hoping you'll find that sweet spot for when the starter/dough is ready. 

What was your best success so far? Which recipe? 

Rowyndir's picture
Rowyndir

My best success has been the enriched loaf.

You can see the recipe here:

https://myloveofbaking.com/sourdough-sandwich-bread-pullman/

I still end up having gummy dough around the very outer edges, but a small amount. 

Abe's picture
Abe

You bake this a few more times? First of all it's good to get a successful bake in after a bake that doesn't go too well and secondly it is something that turns out very well for you. As for the very slight gumminess around the outer edges how about removing it from the pan and returning it to the oven for a nice all over crust. Once you have gotten a few more good bakes then we'll come up with a plan for other recipes. But practicing, and getting used to sourdough, on a recipe that you like and works is good for the learning curve. 

Rowyndir's picture
Rowyndir

Looks like I have some starter to use up, so I'll likely make that enriched loaf again. I just can't seem to crack the code on a flour and water ingredients only bread at this time.

You suggest taking the loaf out of the pan. I bake my boules in a cast iron Dutch oven... Could that be contributing to the problem? 

Abe's picture
Abe

Are you using old starter to raise a bread completely? How old and how much? 

So you aren't baking in a pullman? A Dutch Oven is an ideal way to bake bread but remove the lid for the last 10-15 minutes for a nice crust. 

Rowyndir's picture
Rowyndir

My sandwich loaves are baked in a lidded cast iron loaf pan. My boules are baked in a cast iron Dutch oven. 

I follow the directions. However long with the lid on, followed by however long without a lid. 

I'm using active starter to bake with. 

I'm just thinking that I won't be making any more starter, so I'll use up what I have and retire my wild yeasting for a while. My poor jaw can't handle eating my weirdly gummy experiments for a bit here. Haha! 

Abe's picture
Abe

...when you're producing loaves that look like this

Rowyndir's picture
Rowyndir

I'll be sad to see it go, I'm still gonna make bread, but I was really into sourdough for the boules haha!

but they're basically inedible. Sad face

Maybe my next starter will provide better results. I can't justify the daily care and upkeep of a starter that only makes a bread I want to bake at this time, twice a month. Maybe when I have daily lunches to make it will be worth the trouble. Smiles 

Abe's picture
Abe

It can make any bread. There must be something You're doing correct for that bread but incorrect for other breads. 

Rowyndir's picture
Rowyndir

Maybe I just don't know what a traditional sourdough boule is supposed to be like. Is it maybe supposed to be gummy? Haha

That bread is the shortest timed of the three recipes I've done. Maybe that is the key? Can you even make a boule of sourdough in 6 hours? 

Abe's picture
Abe

For the day you bake the dough (not including the levain build from the night before) I reckon 20-25% levain. 3-4 hours for the bulk. 2-3 hours for the final proof and then baking. 

So it might go over the six hours including the baking but that can be altered to include more levain. 

Sourdough is not gummy. That is either underfermentation or because of the bake.  

Rowyndir's picture
Rowyndir

I was terribly exaggerating I'm afraid... Its a 12 hour to 20 hour bread, that sandwich loaf. 

Rowyndir's picture
Rowyndir

Also, I'd like to add... I'm so sorry for how frustrated I've become. I'm very thankful to everyone for their help.  Especially you Abe. I don't want my frustration to be misconstrued as my not being appreciative. 

I'm beginning to think that I don't have the necessary thought processes for sourdough. I don't know what you are talking about when you offer percentages and spreadsheets. I am also really struggling finding recipes that aren't confusing to me. Every failed attempt is proving costly with no reward. So many loaves in the garbage saddens me. 

Abe's picture
Abe

Percentages and Spreadsheets are fine for when you wish to make your own recipes. In order to learn how to make your own recipes it's a good idea to follow recipes getting a feel for the whole process. Don't just make loaf after loaf hoping it turns out. Without knowing what to change or how to change a recipe it's at best a wild guess. 

How about for now you concentrate on yeasted loaves and save your starter for the sandwich sourdough which has been your best success. Not only is it your best success it's perfection! 

This way you get some good sourdough bakes and don't waste anything. For other breads use yeast. Then perhaps when you've had a little break you can come back to it refreshed. Sticking to one recipe until it becomes second nature will help. Don't just do the recipe but see how the starter and dough looks and feels at each stage. 

Rowyndir's picture
Rowyndir

I'll certainly still be baking. I'm committed to not buying bread at the store anymore.

But... Maybe when my life affords me more time and focus, I can put that into sourdough. Write everything down, be able to watch my dough the whole time etc. I don't have unfettered access to my kitchen area at this time either so that also makes it hard to figure out what's going wrong. We are living with a terminally ill family member and the kitchen is in their part of the house. I respectfully try to stay out of there as much as possible so they can have peace.