Return to the Cooking Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Sourdough Crumb/texture

Posted by shirl36 (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 17:46

I am not unhappy with my sourhdough results. It taste good, very moist, but I never get the holey texture that I see other sourdough pictures posted, and I like that look.

Am I not proofing long enough, dough not wet enough?
I am sure this is another pilot error. My starter is a year old but very active, even previous starters I have used always give me the same results.

Just awhile back Ann t posted pics of sourdough.....all those hole in the bread.

Pic of yesterday's sourdough baking...this is the look I always get. Appreciate all comments......Shirl

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture

Your bread looks good to me.

I am not sure why big holes = good tasting bread.

Holes improve bread texture and mouth feel, but I think there is a limit.; Not enough holes means dense unappetizing bread. OTOH, too many big holes will not improve texture, it just means less good tasting bread to enjoy.


Here is a link that might be useful: Holes! holes! --- You can't eat holes

RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture

I only have book learning, and haven't even started making sourdough bread yet (just starters, experiments and stuff to do with discard), but this is what I've learned from those books: The big hole open texture is achieved when the gluten gives out. It's like a bubble bath. All the holes start as little bubbles and sometimes the stuff (dough or soap) between the bubbles gives out and the bubbles combine into bigger bubbles.

There are three ways to achieve that which are all about weakening the gluten:

1. Use AP flour, which has a lower protein content than bread flour, thus less gluten.

2. Use more water. It's easier for the dough to rise if it's wetter, but that also means that it's stretching the gluten more and some may break. (Ann T's recipe seems very wet to me when I've sort of tried it, so this might be her secret.)

3. Let it go fluffy. Sometimes, it's just patience. And more patience. With single rise doughs, it's easy to underestimate the rise. You might need to go past double to get full stretch. Try to wait until it looks like it's about to pop. Make sure you give your loaves plenty of room to rise after shaping too, and be sure they're really and truly doubled.

My big sticking point with breads is making sure they have enough room and leaving them to rise until they fill it. At a certain point I get impatient. Then, if it gets a good oven spring, I get bread flopping over the sides of the pan. :)

RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture

It might be that you just need a lil more fuel for the fire? Try adding a little extra sugar in the mix to help the yeast make your bubbles in the bread, and when doing your final shaping of the loaf right before baking, be gentle with it and give it a little extra time to rise some more before putting it in the oven.

RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture

Plllog, You don't want the gluten to give out. You actually need a strong gluten structure to trap the "bubbles" and contain them. I use high gluten flour in all of my breads with at least a 72 to 82% hydration. And I bake in a 500°F oven on a preheated stone.

When you are shaping the dough into loaves, you want to handle it carefully so as to not deflate the bubbles.

You can find lots of websites that explain it better than I can.

I don't know who this guy is, but he explains it as good as anyone.

Here is a link that might be useful: LINK

RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture

Yeah. Those were supposed to be "or"s. :) If you go for the heavy hydration, you need strong gluten. That's how I figured out my organic wheat was too weak...

RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture

Wetter is better, when it comes to the holey texture, but as Ann pointed out, you don't want to deflate all those bubbles while handling the dough.

Check your local library for a King Arthur Flour video - The Baker's Form - ARTISAN BREADS. A video is worth even more than a picture, and this video shows how to handle the dough gently with a dough scraper. How you handle lean dough is entirely different than how you handle regular panned breads.


Here is a link that might be useful: Artisan Breads - video

RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture

Plllog, I made a sourdough rye recently with organic rye, lower in protein, and it was very well hydrated. And it was quite holey.

RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture


I was having trouble making my lower gluten flours work with your level of hydration.

Currently, I'm getting ready to make a more Euro recipe that calls for less protein with less water for crusty/holey. It reads more like the kind of bread I'm used to making. We'll see what happens. :)

RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture

Guess I'm the lone dissenter here. I don't like big holes in sourdough. I make my own and it looks a lot like the OP's. That's fine for me because I find the holey loaves to be dryer. If you want to butter the holey bread, it ain't gonna happen. Jelly or jam would make a mess too, so forget toast.

RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture

For something that was so dynamic in baking years ago, it's too bad the misnomer for naturally-leavened breads - "sourdough" - has been reduced to one perceived type of bread. The truth is, the same things that determine the crumb of bread made with baker's yeast apply just as equally to naturally-leavened breads.

--When you want a loaf of panned sandwich bread with a close crumb to hold spreads and fillings, you add the fat early in the mixing so it "shortens" the gluten development for a close crumb.

--Add the fat towards the end of kneading for a more open crumb that is perfect for toasting. All those small holes that hold the butter and jam, yet gets nice and crispy when toasted/grilled, unlike sandwich bread which is awful when toasted/grilled.

--Want a network of large holes? That bread is made with well-hydrated lean dough - no fat.

The last 25-30 years has reduced what was a common leavener in every home (starter) to a single loaf of bread. My grandmother used starter all her life to make panned loaves (they never called it sourdough bread - it was just "bread" - white bread, dark bread, rye bread, oatmeal bread, Anadama bread, etc.), dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, waffles/pancakes, quick breads, cookies, donuts, bannock, biscuits, cornbread, fruit cake, chocolate cake, and probably other things I can't think of. They lived in the northern bush country in Ontario, Canada until after WWII, on a self-sufficient farm.

My friend who was nearly 100 when she passed away a couple years ago, originally from Missouri, used nothing but a type of starter called "Everlasting Yeast" for making all her bread. Her mother began the starter and gave some to each of her daughters when they "set up housekeeping". She shared some with me in the late 1990's and was still making her bread each week.

Modern versions of starter - "Herman", Friendship Starters or Amish Starter, are all based on things my grandmother and all her contemporaries used it for, with a modern twist. Some starters were just flour and water, some included potato water or potatoes, sugar/honey, some included dairy products..... But they all result in naturally-leavened breads and baked goods.

Check out a 1959 copy of "Sourdough Jack" Mabee's "Authentic Sourdough Cookery Book". His book does have a recipe for "Sourdough French Bread" (San Francisco Style), but he lived in the area and the book is full of all kinds of other things made with starter - besides bread.

In "Adventures in Sourdough Cooking & Baking" by Charles D. Wilford (copyright 1971), has even more recipes not bread related.

"Sourdough Breads and Coffee Cakes - 104 recipes for using homemade starters - by Ada Lou Roberts (copyright 1967) is another great book for recipes as well as a large number of interesting starters.

Just a touch of history and reality....


RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture

"Guess I'm the lone dissenter here. I don't like big holes in sourdough. I make my own and it looks a lot like the OP's. That's fine for me because I find the holey loaves to be dryer. If you want to butter the holey bread, it ain't gonna happen. Jelly or jam would make a mess too, so forget toast."

Nope, you aren't alone, Beachlily.
I agree with you 100% !

I, too, prefer the "less holey" breads,
I WANT them to be like the OP's picture.
All my breads are 'panned',
'cause that's what we prefer!

"I am not sure why big holes = good tasting bread."

They don't! ! ! !


RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture


RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture

Shirl, as you can see from the responses there are many here that would be happy to eat your loaf of bread. I'm sure it was delicious.

But I understand your desire to want to bake a more "artisan" style loaf of bread. I get more satisfaction out of trying to created an artisan style loaf than a simple traditional loaf of white bread.

There is more involved in creating a loaf with a great crust, a texture with holes, preferably with a shine, and a great flavour. You get to play around with starters, different levels of hydration and longer fermentation.

I would suggest that you get hold of Ken Forkish's book - Flour Water Salt Yeast. Maybe your library has it. And start with his Saturday White Bread.

You can find the recipe here

You might check out some of his videos too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ken Forkish

RE: Sourdough Crumb/texture

For me, whether I want holes or not depends on what type of bread and what I'm using it for. A sandwich bread is best with even, smaller holes. Those big holes are best in a crusty bread eated plain or possibly with a little butter or oil across the top -- or used to scoop up left over sauces. It is a crunchy, chewy, toothsome experience not meant for spreads or toasting. Same way we have different pasta shapes. Lasagna wouldn't be the same if we made it with spaghetti.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Cooking Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here