For example:

enter image description here

My breads seem to be turning out dry instead of looking like that. (I use whole grains typically; does that matter?)

I have read that using higher hydration helps. Does the glossy look just come from extra moisture in the bread?

  • Well, I'm pretty sure the pictured bread is not whole grain, or not to any significant degree. – Ecnerwal Dec 9 '16 at 15:49
  • @Ecnerwal I know that, I was just giving an example of what I mean by "shiny". – user52037 Dec 9 '16 at 16:22
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    I generally avoid 100% whole grain, as it's a considerable problem to make it behave well, IME, and there other battles I'd rather fight. As a rule, the dough needs to be much wetter than a "normal" flour dough to work well (which makes it annoying to work with, for me), and your gluten development is being cut into by all the bran flakes. So 'd guess wetter, but I don't really consider shine or bake 100% whole grain much, so someone else who does may have an answer. – Ecnerwal Dec 9 '16 at 17:25

I don't know the theory behind it, but I have some guesses because I sometimes get it and sometimes don't. I usually get this effect with very developed gluten. And by that I don't just mean a large amount of gluten, it is entirely possible with non-bread flour. I suspect well hydrated starch may be part of it too. So, try recipes with longer rising times, for example a no-knead recipe.

I am not saying that no-knead is the only way, but so far, it is the method which has been most consistent in creating it for me. So, it is worth getting it to work that way, before you start experimenting with others. Also, I can't remember if I have had it with darker flours, but I agree with the comments, white flour is most likely to behave well, and should be your starting point.

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    Although I haven't seen anything specific on the science of this, I'd guess this is right. There's something about long fermentation that changes the gelatinization of the starch and leads to that glossy interior. Aside from no-knead recipes, I might recommend recipes that use a pre-ferment of some sort. – Athanasius Jan 20 '17 at 17:54

Try resting your dough overnight.

I recently read an article that talked about resting a popover batter overnight, and there was a picture that showed the specific difference - larger bubbles and the crumb showing was very, very shiny.

Obviously we are talking about dough for making bread with, not batter, so it won't be quite the same... but that specific transformation should still occur, since I'd guess it has to do with hydrating starches or further gluten development during the overnight rest. The article is here, by the way, the interior picture relating to the overnight rest shows why I thought of it when I saw your question. Very shiny.

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