Crumb Structure....

Hi fellow bakers...

Just wondering if you bakers out there prefer to have your breads with a nice open crumb structure (i.e...big airy holes..like that of ciabatta) or a tight crumb structure (i.e...very small holes...like that of pain de mie). Very little has been mentioned about how bakers would like their crumb structure of their breads to be. Just curious. I prefer my breads to have a medium crumb structure....with nice medium open airy holes.

Doughman

14 comments

Thanks for the insight.

Tony

Pallid Crust? then it’s not a manifestation of overmalted flour but somewhat related to heat damaged flour where a portion of the enzymatic activity was inhibited due to heat denaturization of the biomolecules( enzymes). The Panomalt guy is partly right that supplementation of your flour with his product would improve baking performance.

On the other hand pale crust had something to do with excess bulk fermentation or sometimes excess dough proofing.
Take note that sourdough is a rather slow dough and would benefit if there is some diastatic enzymes in the dough so that it will be robust enough to withstand prolonged fermentation.
You also related that the dough is tight and tends to be absorptive then its likely a result of partially heat damaged flour.

Now you’re asking: how can you make your breadmaking skills robust to withstand varying conditions of your ingredients?
For sourdough you should use enough starter/levain and ensure that your starter is vigorously active before you use it for your purpose. Ensure that you use enough water to hydrate the dough properly….
Other people can pitch in to share their ideas …

That's right ... the crust was pallid. The salesman recommended I use panomalt but I was unconvinced because his suggestion was not backed up with any explanation. Maybe he wanted me to keep the flour and not return it ... don't know. The lab guy mumbled, in whispering tones, something about farmer's forced drying and enzymes. I use only organic flour so no Monsanto drying techniques allowed, I guess. But what is a sociologist baker to do. I'm not a cereal scientist. Is there a universal solution to flour variations? Probably not (sad). The current flour is tight tight. But it responds, at least. The colour is good and the flavour is excellent, although it absorbs more water ... more adjustments!! Never ending.

Cheers, Tony

In the case I refer to, I think they put in too much. My starter would not budge and the test breads would not spring or open up in any manner. The colour was pallid and very unappealing. What's a good falling number (range?)? What does it refer to? This part of bread is quite new to me. I've never had this experience in all my years. A local miller has referred to it but she never could explain what it means. Do you know?

Cheers, Tony

A flour that is overmalted or had been overtreated with malt amylase results in grayish crumb and not pallid ( pale looking).
Besides if your bread did not spring there might be something wrong with your flour aside from the maltogenic activity.
If you mean by pallid looking is the crust color then it may even indicated lack of maltogenic activity.
Think about it…. The considerable increase in malt treatment will likely increase oven spring
As the alpha amylase will promote dextrinization and softening of the structure making it loose and easier to expand by the oven heat during the initial stage of baking.
However if the excessive looseness is not compensated by flour strength it will likely collapse of shrink in the later stages of baking.

BTW
The crust with overmalted flour when baked browns a lot…and the crumb is sticky…it does not rise much or it may rise a lot in preliminary stage but collapse in the middle or late baking stage…

Therefore I doubt about the Canadian millers claim….if it is really the reason…
Falling number range for good flour ranges from200 to 300 seconds…above that its considered high falling number meaning lack maltogenic activity…below that its due to over treatment with barley malt or excessive addition of sprouted grains( barley or wheat) to adjust the baking quality of the particular flour.

It must be kept in mind that some flour millers add small portion of sprouted wheat to their sound wheat to bring the falling number a slightly down and so improve the breadmaking performance.

Cool

Here's an interesting link. Although it's specifically Canadian, the technical information if transnational in scope. I've had a couple of batches of the damaged flour and I can tell you it's no fun. I was at a loss and blamed myself for about a week and then started my own studies and figured out it was the flour. When I called my supplier, they told me that the batch of flour I was using had been sent to their lab for analysis. They subsequently confirmed that the flour was defective. Although he never said what the cause was, it sounded very similar to what the article below spells out - to many sprouted kernels mixed in with sound wheat kernels at the time of milling. I wondered why they hadn't called to inform me!! I did not recognize either my dough or my bread with this defective flour.

The next load was better but still sluggish and the gluten was still very fragile. Sometimes our mistakes are beyond our control. Check out the link. Hope I posted it correctly.

Tony

http://www.grainscanada.gc.ca/newsroom/ ... 9-27-e.htm

[quote]
I am trying to make the most of a heavy loaf of walnut bread with a mix of malt flour and strong flour. Of all our breads, this little beauty it fragile as it proves in the baskets and does not grow much or pop in the oven. I would like to get more life into it and think the malt is somehow requiring something...Kurt
[/quote]

Malt flour if its a non diastatic type does not improve the oven spring..It is just for color and flavor....

You want your dough to have a life...then
What you need is a diastatic malt syrup or flour to attain that..

Cool

Yes you need vigorous enzymatic activity..Some Australian bread making flours are enzymatically deficient unlike most US flours.

Its just unfortunate that such malt flour or syrup is difficult to get in Australia....
In fact
I have visited some micro brewery shops in OZ and the sales people are ignoratn about it.

Laughing

Thanks bc for the suggestions. I ave not considered the lactic angle, but all the other things are in place. I will check it out and let you know. Cheers, k.

[quote="kurtlayne"]
...but then I will have to come back...

I am trying to make the most of a heavy loaf of walnut bread with a mix of malt flour and strong flour. Of all our breads, this little beauty it fragile as it proves in the baskets and does not grow much or pop in the oven. I would like to get more life into it and think the malt is somehow requiring something...Kurt
[/quote]

oh come on kurtlayne you know you want to come back

Wink

the malt will just colour up the loaf and add some flavour ,ide reccomend checking the blend to make sure its diastatic treated.

you could add some sugars or for a bit of a nice flavour the molasses syrup. But ide try getting more yeast activity out of the mother/baby you are using for it to be more alive ,so go for more lactic acid rather than acidic and if you are making a rye loaf ive always found a hard compound preferment is the way to go as it has a more concentrated yeast level to the acids and you wont weaken the recipe youve developed in a few ways either.

[quote="Doughman"]
Hi Bcooper,

I've come across artisan breads where the crumb is tight, dense and not open...the crust
feels a bit soft, a bit rubbery and not crusty. I'm just curious if bakers check the quality of their breads once in a while to see if it meets their standards and the standards for their customers. Are bakers conscious of how much hand pressure to put when they hand shape their breads during their preshaping and final shaping? Are bakers checking the dough after it has been mixed to see how much extensibility and elasticity it has? Are bakers checking the quality of the flour they're using in their dough?

Doughman
[/quote]

I guess it all comes down to how professional /educated/passionate about your chosen proffesion you are. Working in a team enviroment where its impossible to do it alone ive found myself constantly let down by other bakers no matter where ive been baking and with such a touchy product like hand moulded naturaly levained sourdoughs for example i think the customer would have to expect an inconsistancy to some extent ,anyway if your an artisan your product may slightly vary from day to day anyway through the creative freedom that the label most the time comes with.

Hi Bcooper,

I've come across artisan breads where the crumb is tight, dense and not open...the crust
feels a bit soft, a bit rubbery and not crusty. I'm just curious if bakers check the quality of their breads once in a while to see if it meets their standards and the standards for their customers. Are bakers conscious of how much hand pressure to put when they hand shape their breads during their preshaping and final shaping? Are bakers checking the dough after it has been mixed to see how much extensibility and elasticity it has? Are bakers checking the quality of the flour they're using in their dough?

Doughman

...but then I will have to come back...

I am trying to make the most of a heavy loaf of walnut bread with a mix of malt flour and strong flour. Of all our breads, this little beauty it fragile as it proves in the baskets and does not grow much or pop in the oven. I would like to get more life into it and think the malt is somehow requiring something...Kurt

doughman you deffinatly love the art of bread making ,enthusiastic people are hard to find and im glade your making posts when others obviously cant be bothered to.do you think its lack of knowledge or interest?

I myself like my sourdoughs to have an interesting crumb with a medium airated gluten structure to retain a moistness yet have the holes there to give a light feel to a wholesome heavy dough,this is obviously given with a hydrated dough that has been given a bulk ferment for an educated amount of time (15 minutes in a humid bakery for a naturaly fermented dough does it for my nursed levain ) a further resting in a tub of half an hour and a traditional envelope turn and rest for another 30-60 minutes depending on yeast activity afterwoulds gets a nice elasticity and interesting structure.

crust - i like mine to be crusty and chewy at the same time with a full , dark golden brown colour. I add the salt half way through the mix so it gives the gluten a good conditioning before the salt tightens and strengthens the network.

at home with hand kneading you can do the same as long as its a wet dough that will encorperate and disolve the salt into the dough. i always turn my home made doughs twice (periods inbetween to rest the gluten) with a nice sticky dough so you have the gluten elasticity at a good strength.

i feel the need to tell people that its best to keep your sour levain content at a 20-40 % max to your recipes unless the acids weaken your gluten and you end up with really avarage looking crust and crumb. unless your going for that look ....take my advice! im getting sick of seeing poor quality bread.

oh ,and please someone come work for me

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