Closed Crumb Bread

Posted on November 2nd, 2010 by Bread making machines in Bread Making Resources

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Closed Crumb Bread

The crumb of the bread is a term that referrs to the part of the loaf underneath the crust.  Closed crumb and open crumb are terms used by bakers to describe the density of the bread beneath the crust.

Understanding Open Crumb Bread
Open crumb breads, in general, are produced using natural yeast starters.  They tend to have much higher water content than closed crumb.  In addition, open crumb bread will have a much larger lace pattern than a closed crumb loaf of bread.  Take for example, French and Sourdough breads – they are very likely to have open pockets within the crumb.  The open pockets (or open crumb) are generally the result of additional amounts of air trapped within the dough during the kneading.  Finally, open crumb breads tend to be chewy and light.

Creative Commons License photo credit: treehouse1977

Understanding Closed Crumb Bread
The majority of commercially baked breads are closed crumb breads.  They are not made using natural yeast starts but instead, are made using commercial yeast products.  The crumb of a closed crumb loaf is more likely to be denser than that of an open crumb loaf of bread.  A closed crumb loaf is more likely to weigh more than an open crumb loaf will. When bitten into, closed crumb bread will be softer and somewhat denser that its open crumb counterparts.

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In addition to the standard loaf, wheat or white bread which tends to be closed crumb breads, there are several other types.  For example, quick bread recipes that remind you not to over mix or over stir the dough – if you over stir a muffin or pancake mixture, you run the risk of producing overly chewy and rubbery muffins and pancakes. Over-mixing the dough will add extra, and unnecessary, air to the mixture resulting in a much looser crumb.

Your bread selection, whether closed crumb or open crumb, should truly depend on your planned usage.  If you plan on using your bread for toast or sandwiches then it makes little sense to have an open crumb bread.  A chicken salad sandwich using open crumb bread may be a little a messy.  If you are looking for a more rustic sandwich, with large slices of cheese and ham perhaps, then open crumb bread may be the most suitable.  For the average household  however, closed crumb breads is generally the better choice – for sandwiches or for toasting.

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Related posts:

  1. Peasant Bread
  2. Olive Loaf
  3. Epi Bread
  4. The History of Bread
  5. Multigrain Bread

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