The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help! Lack of oven spring

starfin1's picture

Help! Lack of oven spring

I'm hoping someone may have some advice on oven spring.


I make a multi-grain sandwich bread and it has no oven spring to it.  It ferments great, it proofs fine to double, though it doesn't feel like other proofed doughs when poked, it still feels firm even if I accidentaly let it go too long.  It is a pretty stiff dough, and contains white (18oz), whole-wheat (5oz) and rye (4oz) flours, a variety of grain berries and seeds, honey and brown sugar.  I can post the exact recipe if that would help.  I bake it in pans and do not slash it.


I get great oven spring with other breads I bake in my oven both lean and rich doughs, so I don't think it's an oven problem.


Could it be solved simply by upping the water?  This is my first thought.  Would the quantity of rye affect the structure of the bread that much at its current amount that it would affect the oven spring?  Or could I not be developing the dough enough?  It doesn't pull any kind of window, but I wouldn't expect it to with the whole-wheat, rye and grains.  Or is it the lack of slashing?  It doesn't explode out the sides at all.


The loaf tastes great, but I would just think it should do something in the oven.


Any thoughts would be welcome.  THANKS!

starfin1's picture

I just cut into the loaves I baked today and they are too dense which leads me to believe I didn't proof long enough, even though they were well doubled but still had that weird too stiff feeling when poked.  But sometimes they are not horribly dense and still no oven spring.

pmccool's picture

Please post your formula and technique.  That will make the diagnosis easier.  Other than "too stiff", how else would you describe the finished bread?  Dry?  Crumbly?  Something else?


starfin1's picture


Cracked rye 1 oz

Spelt berries 1 oz

Wheat berries 1 oz

Rolled oats 1 oz

Amaranth seeds 1 oz

Flax seeds 1 oz

Wheat bran .5 oz

Water 6 oz



Bread flour 18 oz

Whole-wheat flour 5 oz

Rye flour 4 oz

Brown sugar 3 oz

Salt .75 oz

Instant yeast .5 oz

Honey 2 oz

Milk 8 oz

Water 8 oz


I do it straight dough with the overnight soaker.  My mixer doesn't enjoy bread so I mix it by hand and it is quite sticky (from the flax and rye?) thus I have to keep dusting the counter with flour.  By the time it is developed it is a stiff sticky dough that does not pull a window.  I ferment it to double, divide in half and form two loaves by flattening into a rectangle folding the edges to the center and rolling up.  I used to ferment-punch-ferment-form but I noticed it wasn't doing anything in the oven and thought I was letting it go too long with two rises and a proof.  So I cut the second rise, but no difference.


When proofed, it doubles (I've even let it go beyond that) but when poked the indentation does not remain like other doughs I have worked with.  The surface of the loaf feels like it's ready, but just below the surface my finger meets resistance from the dough.  It's like the inside of the loaf isn't as proofed as the outside.


The finished loaf is typically on the denser side with some irregular cells (though no huge bubbles), usually has some air pockets just under the crust and is kind of chewy.  It is not crumbly or dry.


Hope that helps!



doughboy82's picture

how long do you prove it for?

im just wondering if it is a yeast problem, meaning that after proving you have fully exhausted the yeast (coz .5oz to about 33oz of cereal isnt alot is it) and with the high content of sugar maybe reconsider the yeast level.

try .75oz, just an idea?


starfin1's picture

Thanks dougboy!

I may try adding a bit more yeast.  I tried an experiment when I made the loaf last week, I cut the rye flour (replacing with more whole wheat), cut the honey (because I was out), and added a couple ounces more water.  I also resisted the urge to add more flour during kneading and just dealt with the sticky hands.  I also scored the tops of the loaves.  Low and behold they turned out beautifully.  The dough fermented beautifully for 1.5 hours, I even had to punch it half way through.  And they also proofed beautifully to more than double and felt right when poked.

I'll have to try to do what I did again to make sure it wasn't a fluke.