The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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andy24's picture

Construction of my authentic woodfired bread oven

jims's picture

Valentine Braided Bread

Happy Valentine's Day! This bread is based on the challah in Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Bakers Apprentice". It is 14" across. Will find out this evening how it tastes.

Bob S.'s picture
Bob S.


Over-proofing is often blamed for collapse in the oven. This is not always the case, as will be illustrated in this posting. A fully developed dough with good gas retention properties will not collapse in the oven, but will instead grow enormous in size. Baking this loaf was an experiment in extreme over-proofing, and an investigation into the causes of collapse in the oven.

The experimental loaf was formulated and baked the same way as Buttermilk Twist White Bread (Re-mix Method), only the loaf was not twisted. Optimum proof height was reached in about 70 minutes, but proofing was allowed to continue for an additional 50 minutes, giving a total proof time of 120 minutes. The maximum dough height reached 5” (127mm), which is about an inch higher than normal. Oven spring was tremendous, and the final baked loaf was well over 6” high.

So, it is established that over-proofing causes excessive loaf volume. But what about collapse? Offered below are two quotes from Baking Science and Technology by E. J. Pyler:

“Overproofing is recognized by loaves possessing pale crust color, coarse grain, poor texture, unsatisfactory keeping quality and undesirable flavor caused by excessive acid development. In the case of green or weak flours, it also results in poor loaf volume brought about by a collapse in the oven.” (Second edition, p 676)

Green flour is flour that has been freshly milled.

“Freshly milled flour that has not received artificial maturing treatment will generally give variable baking results and produce bread that is inferior in volume, texture, and grain to bread made from the same flour after a period of storage.” (Second edition p 352)


1) Fully developed dough made with strong flour will cause excessive volume if over-proofed.

2) Using weak flour (such as all-purpose) when strong flour is called for may cause collapse if a loaf is over-proofed.

3) Freshly milled (or “green”) flour may give inconsistent results. Over-proofing is likely to cause collapse in the oven.

4) Storage (under the proper conditions) improves the baking quality of flour.

5) When using freshly milled flour, due care should be exercised to avoid over-proofing.

 The next two photographs show the dough immediately after being panned:

After 70 minutes, the dough is ready for the oven: 

After 120 minutes, the dough is overproofed, and goes into the oven:

Immediately after baking: 

And after cooling:


CambodiaDweller's picture

Baking Bread Overseas, Low Oven Temp only Suggestions?

I recently moved to Cambodia and was enthused to have an oven - I thought my avid bread baking days were over.  Unfortunately, said oven only seems to heat to about 300 degrees.  Thus, the bread always collapses and is very dense.  Any suggestion on ways to successfully bake at a such a low temperature or is it a lost cause?  Many thanks!

scottv's picture

my first sourdough recipe - thoughts

Tell me if I have my thinking correct on making a recipe:

take 30g of refrigerated starter (100% hydration) out on Wed AM and add 30g water and 30g flour = 90g starter
on Wed PM (after 12 hours) add 90g water and 90g flour to 90g starter = 270g starter
put 270g starter in fridge

on Saturday AM, take 270g starter out of fridge and put 10g of the starter into a clean bowl and add 10g water/flour and put that back into the frige for next week

mix 260g of starter with 400g of flour and 220g of water with 10g of salt = 880g dough
do a stretch and fold, wait 10 minutes
do a stretch and fold #2, wait 10 minutes
do a stretch and fold #3, wait 10 minutes
shape into boule or batard and proof for 2 hours


How does this sound?



Littlebrooklyn's picture

My first sourdough

After one failed attempt and problems with my starter I finally got a loaf out of the oven.  I cut the top with scissors instead of using a blade as last time the whole loaf sank when I used the blade, although I think it was more down to overproving last time, but didn't want to risk it this time.  I hope it tastes okay!



ashleymariethom's picture

Help with scoring to get that busted-open look?!

Hey Guys,

I was wondering how to get that beautiful 'lip' that so many artisan loaves have where it's been scored in the top? I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but every time I bake a new loaf- where I've scored it just plumps up perfectly even to fill the gap, leaving the crust of the loaf perfectly even, instead of having that awesome "busted open" look. 

What am I missing?!


Muskie's picture

Water pH and strength of gluten

My water is from my well. While I have a softener, I don't use it, my water isn't hard or soft.

But every attempt at 100% hydration doughs have left them too sticky to stretch and fold. I've tried a few different types, rise at 72F, 92F, 36F...all result in dough balls I cannot work (unless I add more dough). Is it the softeness of my water?'s picture

Natural dough preservatives

I'm coming out with a line of baked goods and really want to stay all natural. Is there an all natural solution to prolong the shelf life of bread? I've heard vitamin C would help, but want to make sure. Any help at all is appreciated!


shopkins1994's picture

Any folding experts out there?

Hi Everyone. I was wondering if someone could answer a few questions about folding. When a recipe calls for X folds, how many times do you do a complete "fold" of the dough per fold? Most articles I have found on folding pull the bread at four sides but they don't say how many times to do this per fold. For instance, do you pull all four sides, flip it over and pull another four sides again, and repeat a few times? Or do you literally pull the four sides once and you are done with that fold period?

Also, when you fold, do you only pull four sides or do you pull more? It seems to me that pulling it in multiple smaller portions gets the entire round folded better and allows you to slide your hand all the way to the top of the piece to stretch it. Any help you can offer is very appreciated.