The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bad Start? Loaves wont rise!

Mylissa20's picture

Bad Start? Loaves wont rise!

Has anyone used the recipe for whole wheat sourdough from the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book?  I am a first time sourdougher and thought I would try this one first because it looked fairly simple, but my loaves would not rise! I had to let them rise 2 to 3 times the usual time to get them to the proper "spongy" stage where they are ready to be deflated.   In the end, my loaves were thick, heavy, and almost unpleasantly sour (I thought this last part might be attributed to the high concentration of bread-per-bite since the loaves did not rise well).  Help! do you think my start is bad? I can't tell because the making of it is so different from other tutorials I've seen, but I honestly wouldn't know the difference anyway. :)

pmccool's picture

a few things I can suggest:

- if your starter is relatively young (under a week), it just may not be ready yet.  Is it a stiff, dough-like starter, or a wetter, batter-like starter?  How long does it take to double in volume, and at what temperature?

- sourdough is inherently slower than commercially yeasted dough, at any temperature.  As a rule of thumb, you might expect that it will take at least twice as long to double as a commercially yeasted dough; maybe even three or four times as long.

- sourdough is very sensitive to temperature.  My starter, in my kitchen with temperatures in the low to mid-60s, takes from 5-8 hours to double.  If temperatures are in the mid to upper 70s, it takes 3-5 hours to double.

- whole wheat makes for a more-sour flavor.  Read Debra Wink's exellent 2-part treatise on sourdough on this site to get a better understanding.  The most unappetizingly sour breads I have made were predominantly whole wheat.

I hope this gives you some useful ideas to consider in your context.