Difference between good crumb and perfect crumb – Sourdough
The two loaves below are both made using the same recipe and the same flour; 100% white rollermill. I want to show the difference between a good very acceptable crumb and a perfect crumb for a white wheat loaf, sourdough. As soon as you start mixing other flours such as rye to the recipe it will effect and change the characteristics of the crumb, essentially you have a denser crumb. Here I’m not talking about that type of crumb, nothing wrong with rye or other interesting grains but I want to discuss the purpose of common wheat, its outstanding ability to retain gas and the resulting aeration this gives to the crumb, the very reason our ancestors selected, cultivated and prized common wheat.
Don’t judge a loaf by the outside, it may look pretty but have an awful crumb and another very important factor: don’t judge its crumb by the large holes. I have already mentioned before how I’m not impressed with large holes in the crumb and I don’t really get some baker’s obsession with wanting a crumb consisting mostly of gaps. Whenever I look at a crumb be it my own loaves or a photo of someone else’s I’m looking at their medium/small size holes because they’re the ones that will give me an indication of the aeration in that crumb. Good aeration in a crumb results in a good mouthfeel, and it’s the medium/small size holes responsible for that not the big holes.
The first loaf I have below is a crumb that is good but still too tight, not what I’m looking for when I judge a crumb from this type of loaf.
Around the large holes I want to see bigger medium/small size holes.
These little holes (circled below) should be medium size holes more like…
…these size holes.
Another part of the crumb where the holes should be larger.
When I cut a loaf open and see this crumb then I’m happy.
The immediate noticeable difference in the crumb is just how many more medium size holes there are.
And around those medium size holes there’s plenty of tiny holes which are not noticeable until putting the crumb up close for inspection.
The lens in my camera is not good enough to show up really close the very small holes but you can just about see in the circled area below every tiny part of the crumb is covered by small and tiny holes.
The anticipation when cutting a loaf - will it have the desired crumb?