The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough crumb gummy and moist

Eric March's picture
Eric March

Sourdough crumb gummy and moist

Hello! First time posting here! 

I've been struggling with dense, gummy sourdough loaves for a while. I finally got some decent rise on my most recent attempt, and thought I had it! But when I cut into it... alas, still pretty gummy inside.

Since most of the troubleshooting articles I've read are like "It's either over or under proofed. You either added too much water or not enough water. Your starter is either too weak or too strong." I thought I would try my luck posting for help!

For what it's worth, my process on this one was:

1hr autolyse:

470g bread flour
200g AP flour
450g water

Add 150g whole wheat starter

Mix in stand mixer w/dough hook for ~10 min
Add 15g salt, mix for 2 min

Bulk fermentation for 4 hours, one series of stretch/folds per hour

Pre-shape w/45 min rest
Shape + proof for 2 more hours

Pre-heat oven to 500 F, add loaves and water to steam, turn down to 440 F and bake for 15 min.
Release steam, turn down to 420 F and bake 15 min more.

Would be grateful for any advice!

pmccool's picture

Assuming your starter is at 100% hydration, the dough hydration works out to about 70%.  That doesn't seem excessive for the flours you are using.

You must have a very active starter.  I doubt that I'd be able to do an adequate bulk ferment in just 4 hours with mine, especially with hourly S&F.  That's an area you might want to look at again, just to be sure that you are getting adequate fermentation.  And you don't mention fermentation temperature, which will affect fermentation time.

The overall bake time seems short, especially if you are making a single loaf with the dough.  I'd anticipate something closer to 45 minutes, whereas you are baking for 30 minutes.  A too-short bake time will definitely leave more moisture in the bread, which could lead to the situation you describe.

I hope some of this is useful for you.


mariana's picture

Hello Eric! 

I agree with Paul that you probably need to ferment it longer, unless you ferment it for 4 hrs at 35-40C.

You do not indicate temperatures anywhere or your starter's hydration, but still, whether it's a 50% hydration starter or 200% hydration or anything in between, the inoculation rate is so low, aproximately 1:10, that there is no way your bread dough will be ready in four hours at room temperature (17-27C range).

  No starter will be ready (mature) in four hours at room temperature if fed 1:10, pretty much the same is true for the bread dough, when you mix a little startervwith a lot of bread dough,  especially if you consider that you also added salt along with the starter which slows things down.

From my experience, inoculating bread dough 1:5 (80g flour in starter and 400 g flour added to it to make bread), for example, takes about 3.5 hrs of bulk fermentation at 27-29C to be ready for dividing it, shaping, proofing and baking. 

Eric March's picture
Eric March

Thank you both, will definitely try fermenting longer (and leaving it in the oven longer) next time and see if that helps! Very much appreciate the advice. 

Using a 100% hydration (all whole wheat) starter, for what it's worth!

susierose's picture

Just out of curiosity, how long is your autolyse? And, are you bulk fermenting in the refrigerator or at room temperature?