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I've made sourdough bread numerous times, however, I sometimes find hard parts in the center of the loaf.

Whenever I cut into a baked bread (after rest) - there appears to be hard parts towards the centre of the load (seems like lumps of flour).

I'm wondering if anyone might know what this might be (and should I bake or proof the loaf for longer to eliminate this?)

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This looks like an excessive amount of flour worked into the dough when shaping - the spots do absorb humidity from the surrounding dough, but remain dense and hard.

To prevent this, be mindful of how much flour you add to your bench and how you shape your loaf. Especially with rather wet doughs, the impulse to flour generously to prevent it from sticking is obviously there. And while you can and probably want to flour what’s going to be the outside of the loaf, you should be careful about not working the floury parts to the inside. There are a few different methods how to solve that, if you search for shaping especially wet dough, you will find various methods that can also be used for medium hydration doughs. For example, Foodgeek has a nice video where you can see the shaping of a boule completely without bench flour and a batard with minimal flouring.

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  • thanks for this! – Denis Tsoi Apr 22 at 14:34
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The only time I've seen that in bread is when I tried to add salt after the flour and water were already mixed; the salt didn't mix in evenly, leaving bits where it inhibited the yeast activity. Make sure you thoroughly mix all the dry ingredients together before adding liquid.

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  • Side note: Some advanced bread recipes add salt only later on in the process. Dissolving the salt in a tiny bit of liquid (set aside from the earlier stages) can be a good way to handle it. – Stephie Apr 22 at 14:49

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