Mushy inside bread


I managed to start my own starter on the second trial, but now I am facing a problem with a bread that is relatively crusty on the outside but mushy and "undone" inside. The kind of undone when the texture sticks to the knife and smells vaguely of alcohol. Now I am at a loss and was thinking there may be two explanations and need a solution. Either the culprit is the breadmaker machine or the dough is too watery. Or both :). Anyways I kind of am doing the stuff my way trying what works. So I do the rye sourdough bread the way I was preparing the starter. I pour some of the starter into the bowl, add water and rye bread flour and let rise overnight. In the morning I again add water and more flour and let rise. I have a quite runny dough at that time which I find very convenient. The three stage procedure  I started with because in the winter days the dough was slow to work. Now in the spring it is quite quick but I gather there is no harm in letting it sit and ferment, on the contrary. At the last stage after I come from work I add only flour to thicken the dough and salt and caraway and mix it. Now I read an old recipe for a german rye bread that said the dough ought to be slack. My mother tongue is no English so I understand the dough is supposed to be on the thin side. The "slack" dough I then let rise in the breadmaker container and turn on the baking. Now it takes an hour and a half to bake and still it looks the way I described above and in the bottom part of the container, that the bread is baked in, there is moisture and the bottom part of the bread is damp. Should I bake the bread in the oven with a better result or is the water-flour ratio wrong? Or any other hiints?I dont want to bake the bread for three hours you know, I guess the crusta would be impossible to cut then :D


What is the flour/water ratio?

I never really measure anythiing. The first two stages I use the classic pancake dough density and the third I thicken the stuff to make it not lumpy but like half way through. When I move it from the bowl to the breadmaker container, the movement is at the verge of "pouring", with a spatula the dough falls in a thick stream. I know this is not very precise but hey, it is a slack dough, right:D.

very slack - my sourdough is just at the point of sticking to the bowl or the hand. I wouldn't be able to pour it, it would fall out of the bowl slowly with a little coaxing from a spatula or fingers. you also appear to have a very long bake time, but that would make sense with the watery dough. try working the dough by hand, with the right hydration, to see what it should be like. become one with the dough!

Hello lotofag,

A slack dough is not necessarily a wet dough.  And not necessarily pourable.

A properly developed slack dough should be of a dough-like consistency (not batter like) and will stretch under its own weight, if you hold it up by an edge, without tearing.  It should be elastic and stay together.

From the sound of it, your dough would not do this.

I would recommend that you get a recipe and a set of kitchen scales and work with a properly formulated dough to get your consistency right.  AFter that maybe you can ad lib.  Reading SourDoms beginners blogs would be a good place to start as well.

Good luck with your projects.


Thanks for all advice. It just seems I will have to take on the trial-errorr path. But I enjoy it. Tried dough with less water and more flour and it just seems the breadmaker is prone to condense water at the bottom no matter what. I am buying a bread form and next time I will try the oven. Skimming through the recipes I found out that may be the sticking inside is not all that wrong. Maybe it is supposed to stick somewhat. But it is hard to reckon. I come from a postsocialist country, with the onslaught of capitalism the bakeries gave up on sourdough so after all those years I cannot remember the taste, besides it was wheat-rye bread. I asked grandma who is way over eighty and remembers stuff and she said that her mother made dough and saved some for later that she used for next time baking and used no wheat at all, pure rye. But that was like ancient times, people had their own grain then, there were millmen who ground the grain in water mills and the bread was baked in large wood-heated ovens that everybody had at home. I guess we just try to mimic something what was then quite natural in our modern kitchens. 

Try working the dough with your hand instead of the breadmaker, you’ll get a better feeling of what’s going on. Adding more flour would not necessarily make a better bread; it will only give you a denser structure with smaller bubbles, like commercial white bread.

Try to check the protein level and, if possible, the gluten level in your flour (if you can find the label -- some organic products are sold in small plastic bags without much information).

Your crust looks quite thick, so I’d check the oven temperature (perhaps your oven, if it’s old, has temperature spikes and your bread cooks too quickly on the outside, then the temperature lowers and the heat is not reaching the center of your bread). Typically for a 800-1000g loaf, you’d set your oven to a temperature that’s somewhere between 190°C and 260°C (upper values for a french loaf, lower values for whole wheat german-style), and cook your bread for 30 to 60 minutes (or longer for some dense recipes).

You can check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer while baking.

If you use a coarse whole wheat flour, perhaps it doesn’t "drink" the water at all.

You can also get mushy bread with a very overproven dough. I’ve had similar results in my first 2 attempts, because I had misread the instructions and let the dough ferment at room temperature for more than 12 hours (!) Perhaps you can taste the bread and post a comment.

I also had similar results with gluten-free attempts, as the flour seems to require higher hydration to be manageable (otherwise it looks like sand or glue), then when it bakes it stays very wet and voila, you get a mushy bread.