Sourdough Help? Irregular holes/crumb

Heather AA


I have been using this recipe below for about a year with great luck.

All of a sudden my last couple times baking I am getting irregular / monster holes in the center of the bread / under the crust making it almost hollow.  I have no clue what I am doing wrong.  I didn't change anything that I was doing prior.....  Can anyone help?

172 users have voted.


Chleb29 2017 January 10
I've been using that same recipe for a few months and just started having the same exact issue with the huge holes and tunnels through my loaves. I've suspected it has something to do with my overnight cold proofing (8-10hrs), since I didn't seem to have the issue when I'd proof at room temp for 4 hrs, but I really don't know for sure. I've also suspected something in the shaping, like too much dusting with flour, air pockets, etc. Are you doing the cold proof? Do you then bake it straight out of the fridge or do you let it warm back to room temp? Do you dust with much flour when you shape? Maybe we can compare notes and sort this out!
Heather AA 2017 January 11

Hey!  I was doing cold proofing and baking straight out of the fridge for months with no issue.  Then all of a sudden I was getting the huge holes / tunnels.  Last round I proofed at room temp for 4 hours and had the same issue.  I don't use too much flour for dusting.
I also suspected maybe I was too gentle with the loaves and left too much air inside but this time around I handled them more.....still got the holes.

I'm suspecting maybe it's something wrong with my starter, but just guessing. 

Before that recipe was making the most perfect loaves.  I left a comment on the recipe site hoping maybe I can get some replies.



Chleb29 2017 January 11
I was thinking the same thing about being too gentle, so I gave today's dough a couple of quick slaps after they were shaped this morning. I feel like I've seen a couple places where some folks suggest it may be due to underproofing, though, so I'm letting this batch proof for a while longer. I'll let you know if something miraculous happens.
Jibsman's picture
Jibsman 2017 January 14

I had the exact same result on a loaf the other day. I figured out I had oversprayed it with water before baking. So it seems you may have too much moisture?  Just guessing here...

farinam's picture
farinam 2017 January 11

Hello Heather,

My thinking would be that holes that large and as localised as that are due to a fault in shaping of the loaf that traps large air bubbles that then gather more volume during the fermentation in proving.  The big expansion goes on during baking.

Your loaf looks rather 'flat' other than the 'mound' due to the large bubbles but your dough looks to be well developed with the nice smooth bubble interiors.

Without knowing in more detail the conditions in your kitchen, among other things, it is a bit difficult to say but there could be a hint of over-proving with the 'flat' loaf and the pale looking crust.  Has you kitchen been warmer of late?  That can have a significant effect on fermentation times.  It is far better to work by look and feel than the clock unless you are working under controlled conditions (which is often the case for recipe writers).

As far as shaping goes, make sure that you pre-shaping produces a nice tight skin and when you are doing your final shaping perhaps try a 'rolling' action using the friction of the bench rather than a folding action to reduce the possibility of trapping air.

Good luck with your projects.


andytlr 2017 January 14

I had this happen to a copule loaves in a row. Changed my shaping technique and they've been better again. You say you didn't change anything but I wonder if these recent loaves just happened to have really big bubbles that could've done with degassing at shaping and your standard shaping technique didn't pop them.

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