Gummy Bread- How did Everything Go Wrong and How to Fix It


We’ve all been there. You work your dough, kneading it, mold it to your preferred shape, put it into the oven. The house fills with the aroma of freshly baked bread, you finally slice the loaf and… plop. the bread comes out gummy and full of crumbs.
why is this happening?

Gummy bread is the result of several reasons. here are the top 5:
1.Too much moisture in the dough
2.Not enough heat in the oven
3.Too much gluten
4.Under-baked bread
5. Bread has been baked too soon after shaping / under proofed

Let’s dive into each of these reasons and see how you can avoid or correct the situation

1. Steaming

Steaming is one of the most crucial steps when baking bread.
In the first few minutes of the bake, the surface of the bread must be kept moist and pliable. This is the time you get the initial spring out of your oven that helps your bread rise and gelatinizes the starch in the flour and gives the crust a shiny appearance.

To make sure you accomplish these two process right, use a lower hydration percentage (60-70%) and dont steam the bread for to long

What you don’t want to happen is to steam your bread for too long: In that scenario, you will end up cooking the bread rather than baking it in the dry oven heat. What you want to do is steam the bread for a minute and then release the steam a couple of minutes later. After all, in a matter of a few minutes, the bread stops rising anyway. The rest of the time the bread is baked and browns. 

The baking part of the process is not less important but the first few minuets are crucial.

2. Gluten

Gummy or chewy are not foul words. There are loaves of bread that aim for that kind of texture. Take into account that the higher the gluten content the chewier and gummier the crumb (texture) will be. Some flours are lower in protein than others like French flour or all-purpose flours for example. Higher protein flours generally have a higher gluten content in them like bread flour or strong flour. So, if you dislike the gummy texture you might want to go with a blend of flours that will have a lower protein content. You still need that gluten in the bread so don’t just use all-purpose flour as it won’t have the necessary amount of gluten in it. play around with these blends until you find your perfect combination.


3. Oven Temperature

Its recommended to use a baking stone, preheat it to give the loaf a push in the right direction which also seems to stop the crumb being dense at the bottom. most loaves are soggy at the bottom because they’ve not had enough heat but you can go around that by using a hot stone or a steel baking plate or using a crockpot. 

If you are baking a dough that is not rich ( dough that does not have any sugars, fats like butter or oil and eggs ) then preheat your oven to 250 °C or 480 °F

When your bread is proofed and the oven has reached the desired temperature load the bread and then you can reduce the heat to 210 °C or 410 °F and bake it at that temperature.

If you are baking a dough that is rich especially that has sugars in it, you would need to bake at a temperature of around 175 °C or 350 °F. You should increase the heat by about 15 – 20% before loading the bread into the oven just to take into account the loss of heat when opening your oven door.

Using a Thermometer

Gummy or sticky bread is often the result of an undone bread. One of the ways to avoid this problem is to use a  thermostat to check the internal temperature of the loaf. when the bread reaches the temperature
of 180 to 200°C for soft bread fully-baked bread. for aesthetic reasons, it’s better to stick the thermostat on the side of the bread ( but in the middle of the loaf) so the hall in the bread won’t be seen. leave the thermostat in the bread until the temperature stops climbing. 

Fixing Undercooked Bread

There are 2 situation really:

1.The bread is not set before the oven is turned off – in this case there isnt really anything you can do- its a lost cause. you can try to bake it further but dont put to much hope into it.

2. If the bread is undercooked you are in a much better place. you can simply put it back in the oven ( even if it had a chance to cool down) and bake for about 10-20 minutes at 176C or 350 F and complete teh baking process. It wont be perfect but at least it wont be soggy, sticky and underbaked

4. Bake to soon after shaping

when you bake under proof bread, you are creating a situation where the gluten doesn’t have enough time to do its job, meaning it doesn’t stretch, quite the opposite: it rips. what happens is the gases won’t escape evenly through the loaf and the pressure of it will cause the gas to burst out at the weakest points of the loaf the result being a bread that gummy and dense – not at all what we wished for . what can we do to devoid this kind of a situation?

Don’t take any shortcuts:
let the dough proof as much as it needs to, be sure to follow the recipe. don’t be in a rush to put it in the oven or else you will have a loaf dense as a brick in your hands.

you will know the dough is fully proofed by simply by pocking it. if the dough feels firm and your finger leaves zero impression it means that the dough needs more time to aerate. on the other hand, if your finger leaves a permanent mark on the dough or the loaf feels extremely soft- it means its over proofed. What you want is your finger to leave a mark and have thedough push back slowly almost to its original shape.

Scoring matters: Always remember that in addition to making your bread picture perfect scoring provides a valuable service to loaves during baking. the scoring allows the access water in the loaf to escape more easily, This is especially important if your bread is a bit under proofed and has too much moisture in it.

Oven temperature is too hot. Sometimes we can be too eager to provide that initial blast of heat for our loaf in the first few minutes of the bake that we seem to forget that overheating can cause real damage.
when the oven temperature is too hot it can cause real damage and make the crust form way too soon, not allowing the dough to reach its full volume.


5. let your bread cool longer

This is one of the most common mistakes and one of the major causes of gummy bread. letting your bread cool longer may sound simple but it can work magic. you can do a little experiment: make two loaves exactly at the same time and under the same conditions. then leave one loaf for 2-3 hours and the other one a bit longer and see if it is still gummy. There should be some chew to the bread but it shouldn’t feel wet .

In the end, we aspire for the perfect gelatinized structure. It gives the bread the mouthfeel most of us like. So please let your bread cool for at least 3-4 hours before cutting into it ( I would go for longer ). This little tip will work wonders for you. Trust me on this.

conclusion

In the end, reaching the texture of the bread you wanted will require a little trial and error until you can isolate the factor that makes your bread feel gummy and dense. I have been there myself and all I can do is to encourage you on your journey for the perfect bite. good luck!

Amit

Hi, my name is Amit. I started baking at a young age at my father's bakery. I hope I can answer some of your questions and hopefully you will find some hidden gems to help you out with your home baking skills.

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