The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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hamletcat's picture

Not getting the rise or oven spring

I've been trying to bake no knead bread.  And it comes out lovely.  Good crumb, taste and crust BUT I am not getting much of a rise.  After 24 hours it pretty much is only about 1.5 x the size of the original dough and there is no oven spring at all.  Lots of holes, it just seems to be too dense.  The recipe I am using says that the original dough should expand 2 - 3x the original size and I am just not getting that.  Also the oven spring isn't there either.  I am preheating my casserole dish but there is no spring.  The bread is the same size as the dough was going in.  

PaddyL's picture

Getting ready to try bread in my tiny oven.

I've taken my starter out of the fridge and it's doing it refreshing thing on the work table in the kitchen.  Tomorrow, I will make bread and some sticky buns.  The recipe usually makes 4 loaves.  Now, if the loaves do not fit in the oven, one of my neighbours will get a frantic phone call.  I don't think I'll have any problems with the sticky buns.

Chausiubao's picture

Croissant dough makes a great pan loaf

About a week ago, I decided to make some bread, and for whatever reason, I chose to use croissant dough as the base for my project that day. I was going to mix in some nori in one loaf, and then dried shredded pork into the other one in an incorporated, russian braid shaped pan loaf (complicated I know).

But what I found that day was that the texture and toothsome quality of the bread (made from croissant dough) was surprisingly similar to a lot of Chinese-style pan breads. More recently, I threw together a straight croissant mix with no incorporations just to get myself back into the swing of things. And this was the result.

Strangely enough, the hydration for this recipe utilizes both milk and water, one wonders why you wouldn't just use one or the other. But I suppose using all milk would dry out the dough (since theres more water, gram for gram, in water, then milk), and just water wouldn't give the particular flavor elements in milk that dairy adds to baked goods. So what we come to is a mix.

Its a direct, straight mix, so theres no pre-ferments or two stage mixing, you just throw it all in the bowl together and mix it until its done. Of course since the kitchenaid mixer is a planetary mixer, the liquids should go in first.


This dough is so stiff it doesn't need any folds, just round it up and let it ferment for about 90 minutes.

Now my pan loaves are 600g pieces, which is probably around 21 oz. But since I'm not baking them in pullman pans, I like to keep them reasonably squared off by dividing each loaf into four pieces putting the pieces all together in each loaf pan. For that reason I shape the individual pieces into batards.


Just another 60-90 minutes (and eggwash) and they're ready to go into a 350F oven for about 20 minutes!


jvlin's picture

Donut help - browns too quickly? Maybe some bread experts can help me out please?

I'm testing a new donut recipe that browns too quickly in the fryer. I fry at 375 degrees, which is the recommended temperature for donuts. I use flour, butter, sugar, cornstarch, eggs, baking powder, yeast, and water. Hydration content is about 70% after calculating 75% of the eggs.

I know many of you are not donut experts, but I think that there is a lot of overlap between donuts and bread. What are some things that can cause browning too quickly? Low hydration? Butter solids instead of oil? Sugar? The main thing I use sugar for is the instant yeast. Should I not use any? I'm only using 20g of sugar for 4g of yeast.

Thank you so much! I appreciate it.

ElPanadero's picture

Mythbusters - Grain Yeast or Air Yeast?

There has been a lively debate on other threads with varying views on whether the process of creating of a new Sourdough Starter is taking primarily, yeasts and LABs from the flour itself or from the air in your kitchen/environment.

At present I am firmly in the camp that supports the grain organisms, and whilst I accept there are all matter of yeasts, bacteria and particles in the air, I don't believe they contribute in any significant way to the initial creation of a starter.

To determine the truth I have begun an experiment.  In this experiment I have set up 2 separate mixes of flour and water.  One will be kept in a sealed small jar, the other will kept in a wide open bowl exposed to the air.  The latter will use what I am going to call "dead flour".  To explain:

I have taken equal amouts of rye flour (freshly ground), A and B.   Flour A I have dry fried at high temperature in a saucepan for a few minutes whilst stirring well.  For good measure I then microwaved it for 1 minute.  My intention here is to kill any and all naturally occuring yeasts and bacteria in the flour itself.   I then mixed this "dead flour" with a little water to make a pastey mix, placed in a bowl and will now leave it open to the air.  I will be stirring it regularly and adding nothing to it except a little more water if it shows signs of drying out.

As you can see I am giving the "Air" starter every chance by leaving it exposed next to my grain mill.  My kitchen ought to have far more airborne flour particles than most kitchens as the mill kicks out plenty of dust.

The second candidate, the "Grain Starter" I simply took freshly milled rye flour and water and mixed to the same pastey level and placed in a small kilner jar which I have now sealed with its screw top.


I will NOT be feeding either starter.  I will simply leave them as they are and see if either will develop any activity in the following days.  I will update this thread with results accordingly as time passes.  If it becomes necessary, i.e. if neither starter shows any sign of activity, I will start feeding with the same the usual quantites of dead flour / live flour and water.

A possible flaw in this experiment is that the "dead flour" in which I hope to have killed the yeasts and LABs may not now constitute "food" in the normal sense having been heated, though I am hopeful that it is still fine.   If anyone believes it won't be able to be fed upon by any airborne yeasts then do let me know.

UPDATE Sun 23rd Feb

It is now 2-3 days into the experiment.  Neither starter has been fed at all since the first day.  The "Air Starter" has been stirred regularly and left cited by the grain mill.  The grain mill has been used throwing out plenty of grain dust.  Nevertheless, the air starter shows absolutely no signs at all of activity, no bubbles, no change in volume.  It looks like this:

The "Grain starter" on the other hand shows significant signs of activity and has risen within the jar as can be seen below:

Both starters have been left at the same room temperature, neither have been fed, both have been stirred, nothing more.

I suspect that in the next 2 days the Grain starter will have risen even more.


ragbeara01's picture

Heavy Sourdough White Loaf


My white sourdough loaves (baked in a 4lb tin) are of a heavy consistancy and appear to be "just about baked" within the recipe time + 5 to 10 mins. I note that most pics show an aerated  and therefore a "lighter" loaf and wonder if there may be an obvious solution to this heavy crumb.

The loaf is on the strong sour side (nice for me) and slices well after leaving overnight.

Xenophon's picture

Sourdough 30% maize flour with toasted sunflower.

I have about 2 kg of maize (corn) flour lying around.  Of Indian origin but as it has no gluten anyway I didn’t risk running into the typical complications associated with Indian flour (high nominal protein content but very low quality gluten due to bad milling).


Anyway, I wanted to combine this with my faithful wild yeast rye starter as leavening agent.  Contrary to what’s described in most recipes, I built a preferment (100% hydration poolish) using 50 gr. Starter and 100 gr. Maize flour, not bread flour.  Was amazed to see that this actually ferments easier than wheat flour (shorter inertia period and, other factors being equal, quicker fermentation).




- 50 gr. 100% hydration rye sourdough starter

- 100 gr. Maize flour

- 100 gr. Water at 20 centigrade.


Final dough:

- All of the pre-ferment.

- 250 gr. Strong bread flour

- 50 gr. Coarsely ground whole wheat flour

- 50 gr. Toasted sunflower seeds

- 6 gr. Lo-salt*

- 175 gr. Water at 21 centigrade



- Mix starter, water and cornflour, allow to ferment in a loosely lidded bowl at room temperature (21 centigrade) for 12-15 hours (I did it in 12 hours)

- Add other ingredients except salt, mix at speed 1 until combined, autolyse for 20 minutes

- Add salt, knead at speed 2 for 5 minutes, followed by 5 minutes at speed 3.  The dough will come together but be somewhat slack/sticky.

- Bulk ferment in a lightly oiled bowl for 1 hour at 25 centigrade or until doubled

-  Fold, shape, place in a well-floured banneton or baking tin.  Free shaping might not be optimal because the dough is a bit slack.  Let rise for another hour or until doubled at 24 centigrade.

- Deposit on baking mat, spray with water, apply poppy seeds if desired.  Slash

- Bake for 10 minutes with steam in a 220 centigrade oven, then reduce temperature to 190 and bake for another 35-40 minutes until browned and hollow sounding.**

- Remove and let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.


*:  Lo-salt contains about 66% potassium instead of sodium but conventional salt works equally well, adjust quantity to taste, 6 gr. Looks like an acceptable minimum.

**: Maize flour appears to retain water to a larger extent than traditional wheat flour, a full bake but at slightly lower temps is essential I think.

The bread turned out well, good oven spring and well developed crumb structure.  Slightly more moist that when using 100% wheat flour I’d say, hence the importance of a full bake.  Colour is creamy yellow, good, well developed taste with the corn bringing some sweetness but without overwhelming the whole.

As always, humble apologies for the low quality picture :-)



WoodenSpoon's picture

Barley&Amaranth Sourdough

This bread consists of

                                  445g KA BF, 54%

                                   99g Amaranth flour, 12%

                                   206g T85 wheat flour, 25%

                                   150g 100% hydration Levain (flour 9%, water 9%)

                                    66g barley, 8% (dry weight) then scalded/soaked

                                    626g water 75%

                                   16g salt 2%


This bread is great tasting, real earthy, kinda smells like wet hay, I attribute that to the amaranth, or maybe its the barley, maybe its both.

andychrist's picture

First Attempt in the Reco Bagel Baker

The Reco/Romertopf Bagel Baker I scored on eBay was delivered just in time to go in the oven and pre-heat while I shaped, let rise, and boiled the bagel rounds that I had previously prepared from an apple & beet SD rye levain boosted with cherry raisin YW to which was added AP, BF, VWG, caraway, fennel, coriander and dill, and of course molasses and salt. I don't keep cornmeal so just covered the freshly boiled rounds in as much poppy and sesame as would stick. Immediately after plopping them in the Romertopf I lowered the temp from 500 to 400 degrees, baked for 15 minutes on one side, 10 on the other.  Think I could have gotten away with just leaving them in the Baker for 20 minutes without flipping, they seemed to have baked evenly at the 15 minute interval. Also ordered a NOS Bagel Baker from another vendor that should be arriving tomorrow; hope that one comes with the instructions because I can't find any online.

mrmajeika's picture

Need some ideas for type of bread and flavours

I am studying a baking course and I have an assessment on bread. I need to make either 18 white bread rolls, 3 different shapes, six of each. I can use any fillings and flavours. OR I can make two different loaves again with any flavours i wish.

I was thinking to possibly do the loaves and make one loaf of coriander, olive and onion, which is a paul hollywood recipe, and maybe make a focaccia for the other one. Or I can do the bread rolls and i have an idea to make one lot like a chelsea bun shape and fill with anchovies, olives and ,and maybe garlic but not sure what to do for the other two types

Does anyone have any ideas of what i could make and whether rolls or loaves would be better. I need to serve them in a creative way so if anyone has any ideas for that also i would be gratefull. Thanks