heavy bread


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Hi, I have a starter from my original bread course at loafonline.co.uk  (around 8 months ago) - refreshed overnight, from a fridge stored starter as I tend to bake sourdoughs every couple of weeks, as my wife is not over keen...

It refreshes ok  - I have, after some advice from farinam, added rye flour to give it a bit of a kick start, and last time, wholemeal. The preferment has very tiny bubbles on the top, almost like soap suds. Smells ok.

So, I made some white and wholemeal loaves last week - the white in a tin/pan, wholemeal on the stone.

The white had what looked like under proved areas, at the base and sides - see pic. It wasn't too dense, tasted ok.

The wholemeal is so dense & heavy - tastes ok.

I've attached pics of both.

Any ideas? I tend to bulk ferment for around 5-6 hours, shape and prove for maybe 2 - 2.5 hours, dependant on size of loaf. The oven is pre heated, with the stone, slowly at first, then up to maximum (around 240) - add boiling water and spray, then after 8-10 minutes, reduce to around 200 for 25-30 minutes. Electric fan oven.

Since the advice from farinam, my white loaves are not sticky, but that may just be atmospherics, not my skills improving...

I love the tang of sourdough, but not the density I am getting now. Is it just the wholemeal - needs more water?


Thanks in advance...

248 users have voted.


farinam's picture
farinam 2011 October 27

Hi Simon,

Good to see you making progress.

Generally wholemeal breads are more dense since the bran and other roughage interfere with the gluten structure making it less strong.  Also wholemeal absorbs a lot more water and it is best to work at higher hydration for a similar dough texture.  You might have to increase your hydration by ten percent or more.  I have known people to work up to 90% but I would try 80 and 85 first to get the feel for what your flour requires.


CaperAsh 2011 October 29

I autolyze (aka soak) usually for 8 hours. I find it makes the whole grain dough far, far softer.


I also find it makes quite a difference whose whole grain flour I use, i.e. I get quite different results with same technique from different brands.


That one in the shot looks like it might have been under baked, but the focus is not clear. It certainly rose beautifully for a whole grain loaf.


It is very hard to overbake bread. I'd try an extra 10 mins or until crust really darkens, or wait until at least 200F using probe thermometer.

Au Levain 2013 July 11

I know this is an old post, but did you ever get to the bottom of the heavy look bread?


I ask as I'm at the same stage, the bread like yours [I'm sure] has a delicious taste, but I'd like to get a more open texture, as it's looks just like your samples.


I use:


500g strong bread flour
250g starter [equal flour/water]
300g buxton spring water
15g salt

I mix flour, starter and water, then leave 1 or 2 hours, mix salt, leave another hour, then stretch, rotate 90° stretch again until I've gone all the way around.
I leave and hour and repeat the four stretches. I repeat the 'hour and stretches' two more times.
After which I prove for around 5 hours.

Finally bake at 230°C for 30 mins, and 10 or 15 mins at 200°C


Cool and eat, usually a bit with every meal!




Au Levain


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