Crumb structure


Hi there -

I am searching for some info regarding the crumb structure in SD 50% Rye/Wheat bread.

Larger holes - more open crumbs in the top half and more dense crumbs in the bottom half of the loaf are the result of under-proofing or over-proving?

Thanks in advance for sharing this info.



224 users have voted.


George_K 2011 January 28

 I think it's a nice looking loaf that could have benefited from a slightly hotter oven at the start of the bake, as well as a hot(ter) stone; It looks to me as if the dough has had time to spread horizontally - little initial 'bounce'.

I heat the oven to it's max (about 250 Cel) and then reduce to 210 after about 5 minutes of baking. That initial burst from a very hot stone encourages more rapid vertical expansion - I've also found that a fan forced oven gives me more even heat and therefore more even density.

Hope that is of help.

esbkk 2011 January 29

Hi George -

Thanks for your help.

Unfortunately, the max temperature the oven reaches with the stone on the secons shelf (from the bottom) is only about 240C., or 246C. on the third shelf.

I wish for a thicker stone, but the only ones available here are the Pizza Stones imports from the US, and even those are never easy to be found. I could get a 2cm-thick granite slab, but having read a lot about the chemicals used during polishing, I have so far shied away.

The recommended baking temperature for a very similar recipy (German) is 220C. for the first five to 10 min and then 180C. for the remaining 35 to 40 min. What I have done so far was to set the temperature to max and as soon as I put the loaf in reduced it to 180C.

In future, I will leave the pemperatue at max for the first five minutes and only then reduce it to 210C. for the remainder or until the internal temperature of the loaf reaches 110/120C.

I can only but try ....  

rossnroller 2011 January 29

Hi esbkk

240C is quite adequate as a max starting oven temperature. It's a good idea to pre-heat your pizza stone for about an hour before you begin baking, though, as that ensures it is good and hot to provide maximum spring during the first 15 minutes or so of the bake.

I leave the oven at max temp for the first couple of minutes, during which I spray water twice inside the oven just to make sure there is plenty of steam initially. Each time you open the oven door to spray the temp drops, which is why I don't alter the temp gauge during this time. (My main source of steam is a soaked towel microwaved for 4 minutes then quickly transferred to a pre-heated tray in the bottom of the oven...used to do the icecube thing, but have found that the towel is much better, and safer - though less effective - than water poured on lavarocks, bolts etc).

After the second spray I turn the heat down to 225C until the 12-15 minute mark of the bake, then down to 215 for 10-12 mins depending on the browning I want, then finish off @ 200C for about 10 mins. These baking times alter for different dough formulae, loaf sizes and shapes - I'm just suggesting a rough guide. I keep notes and tweak until I have the baking times right for each type of bread I bake.

Anyway, you might find it's worth trying these hotter baking temps, although it depends how you like your bread. I like an open crumb and a crust that is not too dark, substantial but not a jawbreaker, yet with sufficient caramelisation to have developed some nice deep malty tones. Baking longer at lower temps tends to produce a thicker crust.

Of course, there are other factors involved in how the bread turns out, but the baking is certainly a major one.


esbkk 2011 January 31

Hi Ross - I repeated the recipe with one change, replacing the 2% stone grind whole wheat flour with 2% soaked bulgar wheat - I finally decided that I don't really like the grittiness of the stone grind whole wheat flour! But I followed your recommendations regarding the temperature to-the-letter and think there is a change of the crumb texture on the bottom half of the loaf. I preheated the oven/Pizza stone for about 90min - generally I preheat only for about 60min - and I am not sure whether the extra 30min has made a difference. Unfortunately, I have no way of checking the temperature of the stone, but would imagine it should be the same as the ambient temperature of the oven, even after only 60min. The crust is slightly thicker and darker, yet still softish with a lovely taste. The crumbs and taste(especially) are nearly perfect, just the way we like our bread, and I almost like to believe now - after almost one year of experimenting - that I won't be able to improve much more using a 50% rye flour dough. Good baking ... Eberhard

rossnroller 2011 January 31

I didn't realise your dough had a 50% rye component. I've never made a bread that high in rye, so this is unfamiliar territory for me. Happy to hear, then, that my baking suggestions may have actually been of help. I'm sure with your own tweaks you will get even better results in time, although it sounds as though you're already well satisfied. Excellento!


esbkk 2011 February 1

Hi Ross - 

Your baking suggestions certainly have been of help, furthermore, I believe that staying away from pure wheat flour bread has lowered my blood sugar levels and I will continue to tweak my efforts, even though I am certainly not a health-freak!

I actually like sourdough breads with a high rye content and always on the lookout for different rye flour recipes ... 



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