Texture of my sourdough


Hi All,

I have been baking sourdough off and on for a couple of years with inconsistent results. The loaf crumb has the appearance and texture of a cellulose sponge, with a crust that is leathery. Also the dough starts off fine but during the fermentation the characteristics change and the dough becomes very soft. Before putting the dough into the oven it has spread rather than risen. There is oven spring which improves the look of the loaf, like a ciabatta.

I was wondering if the two problems were connected, due to the very long fermentation. When baking with commercial yeast with the same hydration and shorter fermentation the loaves are fine.

My recipe is as follows:

White bread flour 1000g

Water 540g

Salt 23g

White flour starter 300g @ 150g each flour and water

Taking the flour and water in the starter this makes a dough with 60% hydration.



285 users have voted.


farinam's picture
farinam 2014 September 6

Hello twoxmelles,

From the description of what is happening, it sounds as if your dough could be over-proved.

Perhaps if you could give some more detail of how you prepare your dough and then develop, shape and prove it with the times (and temperature) at each stage it might be possible to give some better advice.

Also you could have a look here to see the sort of procedure that I use but, as I say, this is only one of many ways to do things.


Good luck with your projects,


Twoxmelles 2014 September 7

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Hi Farinam

I started making up the dough a 11:00am after kneading for 10mins returned to the bowl to rest for an hour at 21°C. I did a stretch and fold then back into the bowl while I went to work.  Returned home at 10:40pm the bulk fermentation was over 9 hours, then the dough was shaped into three loaves and place in the fridge over night. They were taken out and allowed to warm up for about three hours then baked at 210°C (fan) for 10 minutes then 190°C for 20 minutes. On testing they didn't seem finished so I left them in the hot oven for further 10 minute with the door propped open.

farinam's picture
farinam 2014 September 7

Hello Twoxmelles,

I think you are definitely taking far too long in your development and proving uness your room temperature is extraordinarily low.

I would be thinking that you should be looking at say four hours total for dough preparation and development before shaping.  Then, if you do retard in the fridge, the amount of time out required is only until the loaf is properly proved.  Things don't stop happening in the fridge, they only slow down so the necessary proving could very well be complete in the fridge.  If it is well proved while in the fridge, it can go straight from the fridge to the oven though most people would usually take it out and leave on the bench while the oven comes to temperature (which, if using a stone, could be up to an hour to be sure that the stone is heated through).

For loaves of that size and at that temperature 35 to 40 minutes should be sufficient though if the problem was with brownness then overproving will give a pale crust due to the lack of sugars.

Let us know how you go and good luck with your projects.


Twoxmelles 2014 September 9

Hi Farinam,

I had another go yesterday taking about 7 hours from start to finish. The results were much better, the dough stayed firmer  The texture was better but not exactly what  I was hoping for, not as soft as I want. More practice required.

Thanks for the good advice

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