Q&A Dense or Gummy Crumb

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Q: The crumb of my bread is dense with small holes, how do I fix this?

A: There are several things that we have found that can help you to achieve a crumb with a nice open hole structure:

1. For white-flour recipes, are you using something other than U.S. all-purpose flour? If so, check this page for water adjustments.

2.  Make sure that your dough is not too wet or too dry, both extremes will result in a dense crumb. You can check to see if you are using the right amount of water for the type of flour you use (click here to check).  And make sure you are measuring using the scoop-and-sweep method, click here for a video of that.

3.  Be gentle! Once you determine that your dough is the right consistency then make sure you are handling it very gently. We find that people tend to want to knead the dough, even a little. This knocks the gas out of the dough and will give you a dense crumb. When shaping the dough be very careful to leave as much of the air bubbles in tact as possible. These bubbles will create the holes in the bread. We say to shape the dough for about 30-60 seconds, but we’ve come to think that even that is too long. Try getting it down to 2-40 seconds!

4. Try a longer rest after shaping: In our first book (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day), we opted for a very short rest time, usually 40 minutes for one-pound loaves made mostly with white flour.  For most readers, that was enough to prevent dense results.  But others found this to be a little dense, especially if your kitchen is cooler than 68 degrees.  Try 60, or even 90 minutes for white-flour loaves, and see what you think.   Whole grain loaves almost always need a 90 minute rest.

5.  Longer-stored doughs may be best for flatbread: If you are using a dough that is close to 2 weeks old or older, you may want to stick to pizza, pita, naan or another option from the flat bread chapters in the books, or from our third book, due in 2011, which will be all about flatbread and pizza.  The yeast will not have its full power and if baked as a high loaf it may come out denser than you want.

6.  Check your oven temperature:  Use something like this thermometer on Amazon; if your oven’s off, you won’t get proper “oven spring” and the loaf can be dense.

The “refrigerator rise” trick is convenient and results in a nice open crumb:

It’s also super-convenient, allowing you to shape your dough and then have it rise in the refrigerator for 8 to 14 hours before baking. This is what you do:

1. If you want fresh dinnertime bread or rolls, then first thing in the morning cut off a piece of dough and shape it as normal. Place the dough on a sheet of parchment, loosely wrap with plastic and put it back in the refrigerator.   If you want to bake first thing in the morning, shape and refrigerate at bedtime.

2. Eight to fourteen hours later, the loaves or rolls may have spread slightly, and may not seem to have risen at all. Don’t panic, they will still have lovely oven spring! Because you don’t handle the dough at all after the refrigerator rise the bubbles in the dough should still be intact. Preheat your oven with a stone on the middle rack to 475 degrees. When the oven is nice and hot take out your cold dough, slash it as normal and bake per recipe directions. Allow to cool and serve.

More in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and our other books.

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

663 thoughts on “Q&A Dense or Gummy Crumb

    • Cyrus: Using less whole wheat does tend to make things crispier. WW flour has wheat germ oil in it; that softens the crust result. Jeff

  1. i just made the sandwich bread for the first time. it rose great for the hour and 40 minutes on the counter (i used fresh/not refrigerated dough for this one.) when i slashed the top, the dough collapsed and really didn’t rise much in the oven. what did i do wrong?!

  2. I want to make your standard whole wheat bread, this is featured on the Amazon.com video. But I want to use KA white whole wheat, and KA bread flour. What adjustments would I need to make? I usually weigh the flour instead of measuring.

    Thanks

    • Hi Bill,

      You can switch out white whole wheat for the regular whole wheat and use the KAF instead of the all-purpose. You will most likely only need 2 tablespoons of the vital wheat gluten, and will have to see if you need to increase the water by a couple of tablespoons. I have not tried this combination myself, so this is only a guess. You may want to start with a half batch to see what you think.

      Thanks! Zoë

  3. I would love to know what the secret is to making a loaf of free-form artisan bread (ie not in a loaf pan). Every time I try this, the bread spread out so that the final outcome is a loaf of bread that is about 1 and one-half inches high! Is there a form or something that bakers use to keep the bread from spreading like this?
    Thanks for any help you can provide.

  4. I have dough that is one week old and the last loaf out of the batch seems very wet and smells a little fermented. Is it going to make a good tasting loaf?

    • Hi Carrie,

      I have eliminated that issue by poking a very small hole in the lid of my bucket. The fermentation is a build up of the gas from the yeast, which is very normal for the dough and not at all an issue. Some people are more sensitive to this smell and taste. I poke the hole in my lids to prevent this and yet Jeff never has noticed it in his dough???

      Thanks, Zoë

  5. I am getting ready to try the buttermilk sandwich bread, and had a question about the buttermilk. I know the storebought buttermilk is cultured, but what I have to use is actual buttermilk left over after I’ve made butter. (I freeze it in ice cube trays and then thaw as needed for baking) Will this kind of buttermilk have the same effect as store bought? Thanks!

    • Cathy: We have no way to test that kind of product, but I’m guessing it will work beautifully. Please let us know how you make out with it. Jeff

  6. I use home ground white winter wheat and my bread doesn’t rise as I’m expecting.. Baking a lot out of the “healthy” book. Can you give more details on the refrigerator rise? I have tried it and it works great but need more info/details, I think…

    • Beth: Your problem is with the home-ground wheat– it performs very unpredictably, and in general, because of the coarse grind, you get less rise. Longer rise-times help, but I haven’t specifically tested this w/refrigerator rise. Have you seen the post on did on this at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1165 ?

      Have you looked at the material in chapter 4 (Tips and Techniques)? Esp re: page 48? Jeff

  7. I have made 4 batches of the basic recipe from book “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.” I have not had an eatable loaf as yet. The Crust is hard and the inside is sticky and gummy. I have tried baking on a stone with boiling water in the broiler pan and again with steam hot tap water, baking on a stone and spraying the crust, checking my oven temp, raising the temp and using a bagette pan rather than the stone with and without steam. Am I the only person who is having this much trouble?

    • Peggy: We really haven’t gotten this problem , so something’s up. First, let’s confirm which version of the recipe you’re using– some versions that have appeared on the web have errors. Do you have the book ?

      Most people find the answer to dense crumb problems on page 47-48 of that book…

      • Peggy: One other question– any chance you are using bleached flour for the white flour we call for?

  8. I am trying to perfect your gluten free “boule’! It is so heavy, but has a really good flavor and suggestions on the heaviness of the loaf?

  9. Zoe,

    Thank you that really helped. I was using the rice flour to shape. Also, I tried to infuse with sundried tomatoes and parmesan cheese, another with kalamata olives, another with cranberries. Would you suggest not trying that? I am supplying a natural food store with this bread….so I have to get it so perfect! I love love love your cookbooks as do my customers and family.

    Leslie

  10. Leslie:

    Ah, that’s helpful. All those additives will weigh down a gluten-free dough, which doesn’t have dough strength to begin with. See what you think after you drop that. Jeff

  11. Hi guys!
    I just baked up my first boule from the ABi5 book… and while the taste is great, the loaf is pretty dense. I am pretty sure I know what I did wrong. (Stupidly, I tried to mix it some it after the initial rise- it looked like it wasn’t fully mixed at the time, so I tried to mix it a bit more- essentially pushing out all the precious gas). Seeing how dense my 1 lb ball of dough was, I let it rise on the counter for a good 2 hours before baking, which might have helped.

    My question is- is there anything I can do to help out the rest of the dough that is in the fridge? Take it out and let it rise again on the counter and then stick it back in the fridge? Thanks in advance, and thanks for a great book… HBi5 is on my wish list for x-mas!

    • Hi David,

      What kind of flour are you using? Brand? Is it possible that your dough is a bit dry, which is why it was difficult to get it all mixed together? This would also cause a denser loaf.

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. Hi Zoe,
    Thanks- I used KA AP. I prefer to measure by weight, but was trying to do the scoop and sweep for the first time, so it’s definitely possible that it was too dry. I noticed there wasn’t a lot of gluten formation when I was taking the dough ball out- it basically just broke off, no knife required. The loaf was edible (couldn’t be too bad- it is all gone now), but definitely very dense. Also, I used my cuisinart mixer for around 90 seconds at a low speed. Was that too little?
    Thanks for your help-
    David

    • Hi David,

      This should be an easy fix. King Arthur is fantastic flour, but it is much higher in protein than regular unbleached all-purpose flours. This means it absorbs more water than other flours, which requires you to add more water. We usually have you add up to 1/4 cup more water. Here is a post that explains this more: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=140

      For the remaining dough in this batch I would add a bit more water and then let it sit for a couple of hours to allow the dough to absorb the water.

      Thanks and enjoy your bread! Zoë

  13. page68ofArtasin requires 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of carmel color. Can I make it and how. I live in mexico so it is a challenge to order from King Arthur. Or is it necessary or can I use brown sugar. We have a very good hand made local brown sugar here.

  14. Love the books – well done. I’m giving some to friends for Christmas to help them get the bread bug too. I need some help though please! I tried making the soft white American bread recepie on p204 of the Artisan book. First rise was 2 hours, second rise was overnight in the fridge (about 7 hours) and then baked at 180C for 40 mins. The result was a spectacular golden brown well risen loaf, but it tasted like Granny’s scones! (nice scones by the way, but scones and not soft white hot dog rolls). Any advice please? Thanks.

    • Hi Wayne,

      Does the reference to scones mean that the bread was too sweet? Give me a little more description and I can help you figure out which dough to make.

      Thanks, Zoë

  15. Hi Zoe. The bread wasn’t sweet per se, but ended-up dense and heavy with the palate and texture of a scone. It didn’t end-up with a “light and fluffy” crumb like you’d expect from something like a hot dog roll. I didn’t use any speciality flour – just the average supermarket plain flour we get here – maybe that’s the reason I get the scone feel/taste?

    • Hi Wayne,

      Our breads may be a bit denser than you would expect with a store bought hot dog bun, but it sounds like you got something much denser. I would say that you need to let your dough rest longer before baking, this will give it a lighter crumb. You may also prefer some of the enriched doughs, such as the brioche. They have an even softer crumb.

      Thanks! Zoë

  16. Hey guys, I got your ABin5 book for christmas and I’ve already made 2 master recipes, a light whole wheat batch and I just baked a brioche this morning. I’ve enjoyed your method and technique so far and since we consume massive amounts of bread in our house I will be doubling the recipe when I get the hang of it (4 batches in 5 days!). I want to get the sourdough characteristics that you talk about but one batch only lasts two-three days in our house! I will also be saving some of my older dough and mixing it with the water/yeast/salt in the next dough. I’m hoping this will help build character without having to let it sit for a week+.

    I had fairly dense crumbs as first, but when I let it proof for 90 minutes instead of 40, this seemed to solve it for the most part. I have two questions for you.

    My crumb in the whole wheat loaves is not dense or gummy at all but the holes are fairly uniform in size (1/4” or so). I also noticed that the holes in my master recipe bread were larger at the edges and smaller/denser towards the middle. Why might this be? I understand why a part whole wheat loaf will be denser than the white loaf, but why the difference in hole sizes?

    Secondly, I’ve read a lot of the posts/FAQ here and wondered about something. It seems some are having success at allowing the bread to proof in the fridge for and extended period of time instead of on the counter for 40+ minutes described in the book. I know the taste and texture benefits of letting a loaf proof in the fridge, but isn’t the dough already in the fridge “proofing” constantly? In other words, what is the difference between proofing a shaped loaf on parchment paper or proofing it in a container unformed? Aren’t these two techniques the same? I thought that proofing on the counter kind of kick starts that yeast to produce some gas right before it goes in the oven. Thanks!

    • Paolo: The non-uniformity in hole size is a characteristic of the artisan style– a rustic effect. Longer resting time may help you achieve larger holes throughout.

      2nd question: you’re proofing a SHAPED loaf in the fridge. The stuff proofing “all the time” is going to have its gas bubbles compressed in the shaping process, and that can’t be put into the oven unless you rest till it comes close to room temp.

      There’s very little ongoing gas production in the later stages of our storage process– you’re depending on conserved gas and that’s what’s different in our method. Jeff

  17. Hi! I got ABin5 for Christmas and yesterday I tried out the master recipe for the boule using Pillsbury Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (my first time baking yeast bread) and it was chaos! The dough rose only slightly after 2 hours and was super sticky to work with, finally producing a really chewy dense crumb in the middle with more open crumb near the crust. That being said the taste was excellent.

    I was wondering if the fact that I live in Panama has anything to do with it, as I followed the recipe to the letter. Our normal tropical climate is 80 to 90 degrees with about 75% humidity… Also, do i need the additional steam in the oven if the overall humidity in this country is high?

    Thanks!!!

    • Carolyn: We’ve found all sorts of unpredictability with flours purchased overseas, even if they seem to be the same brands as are available in the States, and I’m not sure why that is. Assuming you’ve seen our Videos (tab above) and your dough is really wetter than what we have in the videos, you just need to decrease the water a bit. Quarter-cup? See what happens.

      Also can work a little flour into the too-wet stuff, allow to sit for two hours before using.

  18. Hi, I made a great loaf of cinnamon raisin bread with 100% white whole wheat, fresh ground (except for cloaking). I’ve been enjoying playing around with your recipes and adapting mine (I have both your books). My question is possibly more one for any bread baker but I figure you guys are game-and well experienced! When we sliced our bread (thoroughly cooled) the cinnamon areas were separated from each other some, leaving some holes and letting the raisins fall out. Do I need to roll it tighter? Did it rise too long? Any other suggestions? The loaf did not seem particularly over risen otherwise, though it was nice and light for whole wheat. I have plenty of practice making a nice light loaf using rapid rise style techniques and gluten flour but wanted to make the switch so I could make bread without kneading or a mixer. Hopefully this has not already been answered in the comments. I did read them but eventually my eyes glazed over. :) Thanks so much!

  19. Hello, I have recently purchased the HBin5 and am attempting to make the Master Dough recipe. I sometimes have a hard time making things from a book initially because I do not have a tactile way to tell how its supposed to turn out.

    When I made the dough the first time I think it was drier that it was supposed to be and it produced a very dense loaf with small holes. I have changed the unbleached AP flour I am using to a non-KAF and switched to the KAF white whole wheat. I still think this batch is not as wet as its supposed to be either. I did the scoop and sweep method in measuring the flour.

    I tried to look at the videos on the site for a good shot of how its supposed to look after mixing, but the ones I found showed it only for a quick second. Is there another video I may not have found or could you possibly post something with a longer look at how it is supposed to be.

    Thank you for your time and I am really looking forward to baking my own bread with confidence.

    Michele

    • Michele: All the videos we have are on the tab above… but it seems pretty clear that your dough is too dry with the particular flours you are using (KAF can do that, more protein that reg flours). Just increase the water by 1/4 cup and see what you think. Let the dough rest a full 90 minutes after shaping, more if your house is cold, then get back to us if things don’t improve. Jeff

  20. Thanks for the reply Jeff,

    I made another batch of dough last night and it appears adding a bit more water did the trick, at least for the initial rise. I am planning on waiting till tomorrow to bake the first loaf but have a feeling it will go better. Michele

  21. I’ve tried the recipe several times & it just won’t rise for me. It’s dense, heavy & pretty flat, I’ve been making the whole wheat version.
    However, my home is kept pretty cool, finding a “warm place” for the bread to rise is just not an option here…..is that where I’m going wrong & if so is there any “quick fix”? I have RA & Fibromyalgia so finding a no knead bread I can actually make that causes me no pain would be a blessing. Thanks for reading…
    Vikki B.

    • Vikki: Assume you’ve tried everything on this page? Which recipe, from which book, are you using?

      Makes a difference because the 2nd book uses vital wheat gluten which lightens things up and promotes a better rise for high whole grain breads. The first book’s 100% whole wheat version (w/o VWG) can be over-dense for some of our readers. Jeff

  22. I was using the recipe from Artisan Bread in 5, replacing 1 & 1/2 C flour with whole wheat…..my bff has the book & shared the recipe with me. I’m actually waiting on my copy of the other book, can’t wait to get it!!
    If being dense was the only issue, it would be fine. But I just can’t get it to rise & I’ve used 2 diff kinds of yeast…not sure why

    • Hi Vikki,

      The culprit is changing the recipe to WW flour. Unfortunately, they can not be interchanged without also changing the amount of water in the dough. WW flour absorbs way more water so your dough is going to be too dry and therefore dense.

      When you get the book you will see there are lots of recipes with WW flour, also our second book Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day has many more whole grain recipes.

      Thanks, Zoë

  23. I have a question regarding the refrigerator rise. Will this technique work with the buttermilk bread dough used to make a cinnamon loaf? I would love to shape this the night before and have a fresh loaf first thing in the morning. The 1 hour and 40 minute rest time prevents me making this for weekend breakfast.

    Thanks for your help! I love your site and the book!

  24. I have now made the master recipe and the peasant loaf. I am very happy with the recipes yet I have one problem. I am not getting a crust on the bottom of the bread. The bread is cooked through but it is as though it was sitting on a cool pan instead of baking on a hot stone. I am putting the stone in at the start of the preheat but it is not giving me any color on the bottom of the bread. Is it supposed to be this way or is there a problem with my stone. I use the stone often and it is well seasoned; is this causing it to keep to much moisture between the stone and the bread?

  25. Thanks for the info on the stones. I may need to preheat longer, which saddens me a little because my husband wants me to avoid too much oven time due to the energy cost.
    I have one other question. Will stainless steel bowls affect the dough in anyway if used for storage. I read the section on containers but did not see that answered. I did buy a 10 qt plastic tub for the master recipe but wanted to use my pampered chef ss mixing bowls for some of the specialty doughs. I assumed glass was ok to use but because of the insistence of using plastic in the book that other forms of bowls could be iffy.

    • Hi Patricia,

      You can also crisp up the bottom crust by taking it off the stone and putting it directly on the oven rack for the last 5 minutes of baking.

      Stainless is just great for storing the dough.

      You will want to butter the stoneware loaf pan very well. You can even put a sheet of parchment on the bottom to insure the loaf won’t stick.

      Thanks, Zoë

  26. Just remembered one other question I wanted to ask. I typically use stoneware loaf pans when baking traditional kneaded sandwich bread so that it is done all the way thru with out burning the crust. How does the stoneware loaf pans preform with the high moisture recipes. Is sticking going to be too much of an issue with this type of pan.

  27. I have both of your books and even my husband has learned to bake your breads. I just bought some coconut flour – do you have suggestions on how to use it in one of your bread recipes – maybe with some granola added in?

    • Joy: It has no gluten and will contribute to over-density if overused. Also not sure how much water it absorbs, will take some trial and error to keep things at a good consistency (see our videos above). Which of our recipes are you trying to swap it into (which book, what page number)? Jeff

  28. hi again,
    I just rewatched your You Tube videos and am wowed by all the different bread and sizes. I cannot get a large freeform loaf. If i use more than a grapefruit sized ball of dough it just spreads. Could my dough be too wet? Thanks

  29. Hi, have both your books. Ran into a problem with the Limpa, too dense, from ABin5. I am wondering if it would help to add some vital wheat gluten since it does have rye flour and seeds? Please help. Love your books and look forward to your pizza book. Jean

    • Hi Jean,

      It is a rather dense loaf, but that is the nature of the loaf. If you want a lighter version and have already tried letting rest a bit longer, then adding vital wheat gluten may be a good test. You may also need to increase the water to make sure the dough isn’t too dry, which will also cause the loaf to be dense.

      Thanks, Zoë

  30. I had been wanting to start making bread and I heard Lynne Rossetto Kaspar recommend your book. So I bought it and followed the instructions for the basic boule, but I failed! My bread did not rise before baking, nor did it rise in the oven! The taste was good, but it was very small, heavy and dense. When I saw this FAQ section I tried letting it rise in the fridge overnight. It was a little better, but still small, heavy and dense.

    I am using unbleached Trader Joe’s flour and I think I did a good job scooping and sweeping, so what else could I be doing wrong?? Do I need to start over, or can the dough I have left sitting in the fridge still be salvaged??

    Thanks!

    • Hi 66olds,

      Are you baking at high altitudes? This will results in a bread that is similar to what you describe.

      If your kitchen or refrigerator is particularly cool you may need a bit more rising time before you bake the bread. The refrigerator rise is a good start, but then perhaps let it sit on the counter while your oven is preheating.

      If you are using a thick stone you may need to allow the stone to preheat longer to come to full temperature, sometimes up to 40 minutes for really thick stones. This will help to conduct more heat and give your bread a better oven spring.

      The dough will not rise much before baking, but should have a nice oven spring.

      One last thought is to make sure you are not cutting into the bread when it is still hot or the loaf will be gummy. It needs to cool completely to be set in the middle.

      Thanks, Zoë

  31. I just got your HABin5 and LOVE it! But I did have a question. So far I’ve made one master recipe batch. When I pulled the dough out to make my last loaf today I saw that there was quite a bit of water pooled in the container, about 1Tbs. I poured it off but the dough was still extra wet (I patted the surface dry gently). It seemed to rise the same as the other loaves I made. Is this weepiness normal? I mixed the batch about 5 days ago. I kind of felt like the batch was a little too wet all along–the loaves just seemed a touch denser and flatter than the pictures you show here–but I’m not sure yet what I’m looking for. I thought you might have some insight into whether my dough is in fact too wet or if this amount of wetness is normal. Thank you!

    • Hi Jen,

      The weepiness is normal for a dough that has not been used for 5 days! The excessively wet dough may be an issue of the type of flour you are using or the way you are measuring. What kind of flour do are use? Are you using the scoop and sweep method of measuring?

      Thanks, Zoë

  32. You guys are awesome–thanks for answering! I weighed the ingredients. I did use a locally milled WW flour though, which was definitely a coarser grind than the stuff from the store. Maybe that was the difference. I had the final loaf in the oven when I made my last post, and I do feel like it rose a bit more this time. I let it rise about 15 minutes longer than usual and I wonder if that made a difference.

    Thanks again for your excellent advice. I have another batch of dough in the fridge for experimenting tomorrow. :)

    Jen

    • Hi Jen,

      Yes, that is exactly the issue. The freshly ground flours have amazing flavor and are wonderful, but behave differently than commercially ground flours. Because they are coarser, they do not absorb as much water and don’t develop as much gluten. Many people who are using these flours have been increasing the amount of vital wheat gluten in the recipe and having very good results. Try adding 2 or 3 more tablespoons and see if you are getting a better rise. Letting the dough rest longer will also be helpful.

      Thanks, Zoë

  33. One of my retirement goals was to learn how to make artisan bread. I got your books from the library and have been having a blast experimenting (…and eating, of course!). I have ordered both books and look forward to their arrival.

    When baking two loaves at one time, should I increase the amount of water I pour into the pan in the bottom of the oven?

    Thanks for your help.

    Pat Hogue
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

  34. I have bought Five Minute Bread (UK) and have found that I get a great first rise and then the dough falls back in the fridge to the same size as pre-rise. When I take it out and put it in a loaf tin it doesn’t rise at all and I get almost none in the gas oven either. I am using the cheapest supermarket plain flour (unbleached i assume as I believe bleached flour is illegal over here). Should I use bread flour or simply a more expensive plain flour?

    • Bruce– the dough never attains its maximum rise again– that’s normal for stored dough. But are you saying that the baked result is leaden, heavy, and without any air holes? Our method depends on oven spring for more of its expansion than proofing. Test oven temp with something like http://bit.ly/czmco2 on the US Amazon site, I’m sure similar product available on Amazon UK.

      Have you checked the tip on page 39? All the tips on our FAQs page above (“Dense crumb…”).

      Don’t ever “punch down” our dough after its initial rise.

      If you’re using bleached flr, switch to a better product. If not, may have to change proportions a bit– use less water if the dough’s too wet, which will be the case if flour’s bleached. See our videos above to check that your final dough result looks something like ours. Jeff

  35. Further to the above I have just read that while it is illegal to use most bleaching agents to make flour in the UK, it is NOT illegal to import bleached flour from the EU or from the USA via the EU! So, I MAY have been using bleached flour but the ingredients do not say it is bleached (nor do they say it is unbleached!)

  36. Thanks for the advice. I am now using a higher protein flour (bread flour) simply because I couldn’t find out if any of the rest was bleached or not! The mix I’m using is much drier too. I suspect, me being a cake baker, that when you said a wet dough, I mis-interpreted you and went cake dough wet! Having watched the videos and seen you able to pick up the dough and cut it with scissors I have added slightly more flour and got one wholemeal loaf in the oven rising like crazy! The last two white loaves were great even after the dough for the second was a week in the fridge.
    Thanks again!

  37. My master recipe is coming out a bit dense too so I’m going to try to modify my sweep and scoop method.
    My main concern is, although I am getting a nice rise and the bread taste good (minus the big air bubbles) it has a bitter taste. It was noticeable after 3 days but pretty overpowering by 1 .5 week. What can be causing this? I am using unbleached all-purpose. Thanks!

    • Hi Sara,

      What brand of flour are you using?

      Do you have your bucket vented at all? I poke a small hole, the size of a small nail, into the top to allow the gases to escape. This may solve the bitter taste. You may also just prefer the taste of the dough before it has fermented that much. You can always freeze it after a week to prevent further fermentation.

      Thanks, Zoë

  38. Hi Zoe,

    Thank you for responding to me so quickly! I am using Gold all purpose, which is the brand you recommend I think? I did have my husband drill a tiny hole on the lid of the cambro container before I made the batch. I thought perhaps it was due to the amount of yeast as I did not get that bitter taste in the no knead method/recipe, although I did use King’s all purpose for those. I was surprised at how bitte that last loaf was, I thought it was only happened with old whole wheat flour. Anyway, thanks for the suggestion of using sooner, although I was really looking forward to having access to fresh bread for 2 weeks versus having to do the no knead method for each loaf! Love your book!

    • Hi Sara,

      You can always form the loaf at 7 days or whenever you prefer the taste and freeze the loaf. It still eliminates some of the work, but you will have to let it defrost and then let it rest.

      You can also try the batch with less yeast if you prefer that flavor. http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=85

      Thanks, Zoë

  39. I bought your book from amazon and was very excited to try a recipe since my family loves bread. Unfortunately, my first go ’round has been a disaster. The recipe was easy enough to follow, and I followed it meticulously. It easily doubled in size before I put it into the refrigerator overnight. But on baking day, when I went to take out a grapefruit sized piece, I found the ‘dough’ so wet that even after dusting liberally with flour, it got stuck all over my hands and counter. Even so, I tried to push through and handle it as little as possible and form it into a loaf, but when I put it on the baking sheet, it just flattened into a puddle of goo. I scraped it off, added quite a bit more flour, and had to knead the flour in. I still had a wetter bread dough than I was used to, so this time I put it on a sheet of parchment paper instead of the corn meal and let it ‘rise’. Once again, it flattened out, though not as badly as before. I have it in the oven now and am afraid that it’s not even going to be edible. The recipe I tried was your Deli-Style Rye on page 58. I know, from reading all of the accoladed you’ve received that this can’t be the normal first time experience or no one would ever bake from your book again, but I’m at a complete loss. I didn’t leave out any ingredients and I measured them all very carefully prior to using them. Help!!

    • Hi Randall,

      Did you use the scoop and sweep method of measuring the flour? It sounds like your dough was too wet, which is often caused by spooning the flour into the measuring cup, which results in too little flour in the recipe.

      There is also a chance your flour is a low protein brand and that too will result in a wet dough.

      Thanks, Zoë

  40. Hi..
    I really appreciate your infectious passion (for a ball of flour and water!) and your generosity in sharing it with us.
    I too am struggling to achieve much oven spring and hope I can solve it by preheating the oven longer (I have tried your other suggestions including minimal handling and an overnight 2nd rest in the fridge).
    Room temp seems to be something you don’t address directly. Where I live, room temp is frequently 30degCelcius (86degF) with high humidity. I wonder if this is my problem?
    Also, do you plan to publish a book in metrics? I am finding translating cups,temps and weights a major distraction…even tablespoons are different.
    Thanks,
    Kathryn
    PS your website is outstanding. I would not have thought to order your book if I hadn’t stumbled across your site.

  41. I’ve tried two times now to make the 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich bread in the first book, and my loaves do not seem to rise very much (the baked loaf is only about 2.5 inches high). I’ve tried allowing the refrigerated dough to rest longer than the suggested time but have not seen improved results. I regularly bake other breads without problems. I’d love to make this my go-to bread recipe if I could get better results. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Hi Katie,

      What brand of whole wheat are you using? Some of the coarser flours don’t have enough gluten to create the structure the bread needs to rise.

      Thanks, Zoë

  42. It’s been a busy week! I just now remembered to check back — thanks for the response! I was using either Gold Medal or Pillsbury whole wheat flour, I’m not sure which. Ideally, how high should the bread rise in the pan after baking?

    • Hi Katie,

      Those are both flours that we recommend and have a decent amount of protein, which help the bread rise. But, 100% whole grain breads will never has as much rise as ones with some white flour. You may prefer the texture of the 100% whole grain breads by adding a bit of vital wheat gluten! Here is a post that explains what it is, but you can use it in your 100% dough as well, just add a few tablespoons of extra water per 1/4 cup of vital wheat gluten.

      Thanks, Zoë

  43. Thank you! I will definitely try the vital wheat gluten, and the posts about baking with whole grains were really helpful. I’ll keep pursuing that perfectly baked loaf!

  44. Hi
    I made the second batch of dough last Friday. The loaf from this dough was different from the first dough. It was not as sticky as the first so I was able to shape the loaf quickly. I rested it for overnight and ate a slice this morning and was very disappointed. It was dense and looked almost wet (or raw) with very small holes. The loaves from the first dough had very nice big holes. I measured carefully and rested the dough 48 hours (after letting it rise for a few hours on the counter and moved it to the fridge). I also let a shaped loaf for 1.5 hours before I put into the oven. The only thing I failed to follow is that I poured the cold water into a pan in the oven. Did it cause a problem? Please help.

  45. I have been enjoying using your method for over a year now with great success and variation. The one problem that I am having is a band of no crumb area only a few mm thick towards the bottom of the loaf. Do you know what might casue this and how to avoid it. Thanks!

    • Hi Rand,

      Are you using a baking stone? If so, you may need to let it preheat longer, especially if it is a thick one. The longer preheat will give your bread more oven spring and often prevents this issue.

      Thanks, Zoë

  46. Hi,
    How do I make sure that I am not overhandling the dough when mixing in the water. Our bread always tastes great but sometimes I feel as if I am mixing it too much to make sure all the dry ingredients are mixed.
    Also, is there anything we can do to increase the crumb size in the whole wheat recipe? By comparison, the white bread recipe has much bigger crumb.

    Thanks
    Elle

    • Hi Elle,

      When you are first mixing the dough you can’t really over handle it, but it just doesn’t require the extra work. You only need to be gentle and careful not to over handle the dough once it has risen and you are shaping the loaf, at which point you will knock the gas bubbles out of the dough.

      What whole wheat dough are you making? From ABin5 or HBin5?

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Hi Elle,

      Are you making a recipe that is 100% whole grain or is there a portion of white flour? The 100% whole wheat loaves do tend to be a bit denser and it is difficult to get an open crumb. Some people have had good luck adding more vital wheat gluten and a bit more water. Try an additional 3 tablespoons VWG and 1/4 cup water.

      Let me know if that makes a difference.

      Thanks, Zoë

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