How does a gummy loaf form? It’s a question I get asked a lot, so I decided to share some answers and possibilities here. Your sourdough is dense and gummy due to a number of reasons:
A problem with the uneven heating in your oven can be to blame for a gummy sourdough. In the case of bread that bakes nicely on the outside but is gummy or moist on the inside, the outside was baked too quickly.
If your baking results aren’t as good as you’d like, reduce the temperature and bake for a bit longer. Take notes along the way as you experiment to find the sweet spot.
You can also get a damp loaf if you use too much water. You might want to try mixing your flour with less water. Can your loaf fit in your pan?
You will not be able to fully bake your loaf if the pan is too small and your loaf does not have enough space to expand during baking.
It is possible to produce a gummy interior by underbaking. Don’t be afraid to bake longer.
When the loaves are wide and flat with small holes on the outside and slightly damp on the inside, the proof may have exceeded.
You can still enjoy a warm slice of fresh bread by cutting into a loaf before it has cooled enough.
It will turn gummy from the steam and will not be at its best; I leave my loaves for many hours before I slice into them.
I get a light, dry texture, and they are light and dry. However, if you can’t wait, then go ahead, but don’t forget this.
Are there any inclusions you have added? Was there any liquid added to the dough that you didn’t expect?
You should catch your loaves while they are still crispy and store them in something that will repel moisture if you live somewhere humid and have baked your lovely loaf and left it out for several hours to cool.
Can You Eat Gummy Sourdough?
It is not recommended to consume gummy sourdough bread since it can be unappetizing and may have been incorrectly prepared.
If the bread dough isn’t proofed long enough, too much moisture, an immature starter, or the bread dough is not given enough time to rise will cause the bread to come out gummy.
The best way to prevent gummy sourdough bread is to reduce the water content, feed your sourdough starter, proof the dough for the right amount of time, use the right oven temperature, or let the bread cool for longer.
Under Fermentation Is The Main Cause Of Gummy Sourdough Bread
Home bakers most commonly experience gummy sourdough (dusty, moist crumb) when baking sourdough bread.
In the oven, the bread didn’t puff up and the interior is moist and dense.
It is possible to have gummy sourdough from an inactive or too young starter, or from underfermentation.
Underfermentation (shortening the bulk fermentation time) is often to blame for gumminess.
The most common causes of this (they can both be present) are:
- There is still a long way to go for your sourdough starter to mature and you need to take steps to strengthen it.
- Yeast and bacteria have not been able to do their jobs effectively because you did not let your dough bulk ferment for long enough.
There are a number of ways to fix gumminess, depending on which of the above caused it:
- Allowing your sourdough starter to mature (it typically takes between 14 and 30 days before it becomes viable).
- It is important to strengthen your sourdough starter (particularly if it has been in the fridge for some time or is consistently doubling).
- Allowing your dough to rise and ferment properly by extending your bulk fermentation time.
How To Avoid Gummy Sourdough Bread
I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you avoid that undesirable gummy texture and produce a stellar sourdough every time.
1. Opt for Lower Hydration
Hydration plays a crucial role in the texture of your sourdough. If you consistently find your loaves turning out too gummy, consider reducing the hydration level of your dough.
High-hydration doughs tend to produce a more open crumb, but they can also lead to a gummy interior. Experiment with lower hydration levels until you find the sweet spot that works for you and your preferred sourdough style.
2. Develop Gluten Properly
Gluten development is key to achieving the desired structure in your sourdough bread. To prevent a gummy texture, make sure you sufficiently develop the gluten network in your dough.
This can be achieved through various techniques, such as autolysing, laminating, kneading, or folding.
Allow the gluten to form and strengthen during the fermentation process, ensuring a good structure that will contribute to a well-textured crumb.
3. Patience is a Virtue: Proof Long Enough
Don’t rush the proofing process. Allowing your sourdough to proof for an adequate amount of time is crucial for achieving the desired texture.
A longer proofing time gives the yeast and bacteria in your sourdough starter ample time to work their magic, creating a light and airy crumb. Be patient and resist the temptation to cut corners – your taste buds will thank you for it.
4. Bake And Cool With Care
The final steps in the sourdough-making process are just as crucial as the initial ones. Make sure to bake your loaf for a sufficient amount of time, allowing the crust to develop that delightful golden-brown color.
Once out of the oven, exercise patience once more and resist the urge to cut into the loaf immediately. Allowing your sourdough to cool completely before slicing will help maintain its structure and prevent the interior from turning gummy.
What To Do With Gummy Sourdough?
If your sourdough bread is gummy, there are several things you can do to fix it. A large amount of moisture in the dough is often the cause of gummy sourdough bread.
In order to solve this problem, you can reduce the water content, feed your sourdough starter, proof the dough for the right amount of time, use the correct oven temperature, or let it cool for a longer period of time.
In addition to making the gluten stretch, reducing the amount of water can preserve gas, making the bread less dense and gummy.
In addition, you can freeze the dough overnight and bake it in a Dutch oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
My Final Thoughts
A gummy loaf can be caused by any of these factors. Making notes is always a good idea when you are trying to find your solution through an elimination process and changing one thing at a time.
The only thing you can do if everything else fails is to make toast. Put your slices of bread in the toaster and toast them up.
Hopefully this helps!