Sourdough looks great after baking but still has an overly gummy/tacky crumb.

Andymacnevin

Hi

i'm to the forum and fairly new to sourdough bread (in fact baking bread in general) 

After many failures I feel like I am finally getting close to getting things right with sourdough. My main issue is texture of the crumb. It still seems a little too gummy/tacky. The crust is ok and I finally seem to have cracked getting oven spring to some degree. 

I was wandering if anyone could look at the pictures I've posted and tell me if it seems like my crumb looks open enough. I know that's probably subjective to some degree but I don't have many points of comparison. 

Also any advice on reducing gumminess of the crumb would be hugely appreciated. 

if it helps I am baking to the following schedule:

-Mix dough 

-30mins rest 

- stretch & fold

- 2hr rest 

- stretch and fold 

- 2hr rest

stretch and fold 

- 1hr rest 

- pre-shape

- 1hr rest 

- shape

- place in Banneton in fridge overnight (12-16hrs) uncovered 

thanks everyone 

Andy

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Replies

Jibsman's picture
Jibsman 2021 December 6

Wow! I don't see any responses!  I wish I could help, but I have the same issue, with my bread looking just like yours. It is great if I toast it to remove some of the moisture. I've used all kinds of recipes and they mostly turn out the same. Gummy. The latest recipe is The Perfect Loaf "My Best Sourdough Recipe". Photos attached.

How do you bake the bread? Be specific! Maybe we can help each other.

I use a cooking scale to measure my ingredients, in grams. This verifies the correct amounts for all ingredients. I print out my recipe and check and double check each ingredient as I add it. I use 2 dutch ovens. Put the dough on parchment paper after forming then refrigerating overnight. Place the cold dutch ovens in the cold oven and heat to 450 degrees F. After an hour, pull the dutch ovens, place the dough on parchment in the ovens, spray with water and replace the lids and bake ~20 minutes. Then remove the lids and bake for ~30 minutes, until the inside temp is 208 degrees F. (per the above recipe) Pull the loaves and let cool 2 hours. You need to let the bread cool completely or it CAN be gummy. Since this is my main problem I really make sure it is cooled completely.

Many of my loaves have a crust that is like leather. Very tough. Not "crispy" with the crunch you get from fresh sourdough in a restaurant or bakery. Especially the bottom. I have a bread knife and have to SAW the bottom, then pull to get it to split. I would put something between the bottom of the dutch oven and the dough, but can't think of anything that wouldn't cause other problems. Maybe a heavy duty cookie tray in the rack below?

I have great luck with King Arthur's Rustic Sourdough Bread if I use commercial yeast. Great rise, not gummy and very crisp crust; not thick like the leather from the other recipe. But it doesn't have the great holes I look for!  I haven't tried without the commercial yeast lately, so I may try that again.

Note: I just read about DOUGH TEMPERATURE. I'd never read or heard about the importance of dough temperature before. The idea is adding the water at a certain temperature to get the dough temperature to 78 degrees F. during the folding cycle, up until you put it in the fridge overnight. I will certainly take this into consideration the next time I make sourdough.

Is there anyone else on the site that can help us? I'm saddened that no one responded to your plea for help!

Buzz 2021 December 9

Hi,

You don't say much about your recipe, but you may consider adjusting the hydration level of your dough. Most sourdough recipes are at about 70% hydration and use a moderate amount of starter.  If your recipe calls for starter in "cups", I would respectfully suggest you try using less, and add a bulk ferment at a higher temp than your fridge. Bulk fermentation can add really great development to your dough and increase the openness of the crumb...meaning put the whole lump of dough (2 loaves worth) in a large bowl, covered, in a warm place for 12-14 hours.  The temperature wants to be steady and between 72-76 degrees.

After the bulk ferment, then shape your loaves and do the final rise.

Experimentation is worth the effort and every adjustment you make should be documented.  You will become a much better bread baker through trial and error, and your palate will be pleased along the way.

Randy 2021 December 13

I have exactly the same problem with the gummy/overly tough texture and after seeing your replies I wonder if it isn't just how homemade sourdough is.  I've tried fermenting in fridge vs on the counter, cook in pre-heated dutch over (lid on first 20 minutes) vs on baking sheet, draing the excess hooch from the starter vs adding hooch from one batch to another to increase the hooch, use oil in the dough vs butter vs no fat, kneeded with a stand mixer vs very short kneed by hand, bread flour vs all purpose...all with exactly the same results.  Like you said, it make great toast (far superior to toast from store bought) but for eating by itself or for sandwich, too tough.  Yes, hydration level is high and dough is very sticky when working with it. I even tried a lower hydration level and the dough less wet but still overly chewy.

VsmLondhe 2022 February 17

Hi. My loaf was also dense the last time (and first time) I baked one.  My dough was really wet. And I baked it on a baking sheet. I have since gotten a Cast Iron (no Ceramic CAst Iron) dutch oven. Does anyone know if sifting the flour would help, like it does with other baked goods?  Also, would using a silicone baking mat in the casst Iron or under the cast iron help?  Lastly, do you bake in Parchment paper or directly on the cast iron? Thanks.

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