The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

proofing time

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sannimiti's picture

proofing time

hi, good morning. i just started baking bread again yesterday, cheated and bought a sourdough from our local organic bakery. it's very good and strong.

anyway, i used my standby recipe from the bba, basic sourdough bread, once made just plain and once made with 30% millet and pumpkin seed addition (thanks for teaching me baker's percentage!). i also spiked it with 1--1/2 tsp. yeast, as pr suggests. as i tend to let my breads overrise i reread the chapter on prroofing and ove nspring. the plain sourdough had wonderful oven spring so did the boule i made from the yeasted dough. but the rolls made from the yeasted are delicious but little bricks that didn't rise in the oven as well. i carefully scaled 80 gr pieces which is what the bakery mentioned above uses for their rolls. the don't add dough enhancer, still their rolls are big and light. i poked all of the breads/ rolls with a finger to determine wether the dough was proofed enough. they all tested done(dough sprang back).

proofing time has always been the guesswork in baking for me so maybe someone can explain it a little more to  me . i'd appreciate this a lot!


goodday,  sanni 

mcs's picture


Proofing time can be determined by a lot of different factors. A couple of things that make dough proof faster are:

-warmer water during the mixing phase

-warmer temperature during all of the fermentation stages

Assuming that you're happy with the recipe and the dough was 'the right consistency', next time I would try mixing warmer water (lukewarm on the back of hand) and maybe folding it twice on the bulk fermentation stage, if that's how you work that dough. For example, mix it, let it rise for 45 min, fold, rise for 45 min, fold, rise for 45 min, then shape. At the first fold, you'll be able to see if your dough is making any progress. I don't know how large your recipe is, but 1.5 tsp yeast should be good for around 4 lbs. of dough.


KipperCat's picture

i poked all of the breads/ rolls with a finger to determine wether the dough was proofed enough. they all tested done(dough sprang back).


Hi Sannimiti, this could be your problem. The dough is proofed enough when the dough doesn't spring back. There are 2 times to use the finger poke test in making bread - kneading and proofing.

- When kneading, the gluten is fuly developed when the indentation springs back quickly.

- When proofing, the dough is ready to bake when the indentation doesn't fill back in. One difference is 100% whole wheat doughs, which should fill back in very slowly when ready to bake. If any loaf falls at a gentle poke, it is over-proofed.

sannimiti's picture

thank you both for clearing this up for me!! never thought i could be so basically wrong. anyway, it's my b-day today and wow! i've got some time to bake and a some firm starter coming to room temp on the counter to try out your tips!

megamont's picture

Great advise from the guys in the above posts.

Don't forget to maintain the same "temperature"  in what ever you do, as temperature will control "time" and the end result.

Every "bakehouse" has a set temp. for their dough or starter including proofing time.



megamont's picture


50 + years ago the bakehouse at the top of my street where my brother was apprenticed had a base or "bench-mark figure" for that bakehouse of "147".


Water + flour temperature combined = 147.

This allowed for the heat of the bakery, heat of mixing bowl, and a host of other varients to produce a dough tempreture of 79°.


If flour tempreture was 81° then the tempreture of the water to be added was calculated thus;

Water temp. = 147 minus 81 = 66°.