Great tasting sourdough, but the crumb is tough

My sourdough breads have been turning out well, except the crumb is tough and chewy. I’ve been using hydrations of around 65%, but I’ve noticed a lot of the recipes here call for really high hydrations. Is that the key to the problem? Maybe my final proof isn’t long enough? I would really like the bread to come out with the crusty, tender loaf I read about.


Yes, 65% is on the low side. My pizza dough is in that zone and has olive oil to add tenderness. Try going up a few % points of water at a time and see how it handles and the resulting texture.

Hydration is a big part of the “artisanal” crust and crumb that I think you are looking for.

For myself, even with high hydration, I found that a longer proof (bulk, not final) lightened up my crumb. BUT, to go longer in the bulk, I do much of it in the refrigerator so it is a long, slow bulk.

I think @Fermentada suggestion of adding a bit of hydration to a recipe you have been having some success with is a good idea. I would also recommend the No Knead Sourdough recipe on this site. If you decide to try it, review the video and go for the results, texture-wise, as described and shown. It is a pretty straightforward recipe and I believe a good recipe to try handling higher hydration dough.

Additionally, Demystifying Sourdough Bread Baking is an enlightening article on the many components of sourdough bread baking.

How high is the protein % of the flour you’re using? If you’re using very strong bread flour then try using AP flour or a mix.