The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dense Compacted Bread!!!

guyshahar's picture

Dense Compacted Bread!!!

Hi Everyone


I started making Sourdough bread a couple of weeks ago.  I do not tollerate gluten, but came across an "All Natural Bakery" Spelt Sourdough bread in a local shop.  I couldn't resist trying it, and it was WONDERFUL.  Of course, I paid for it with 3 days of suffering, but I decided to make this for my wife (who also loved it) and to try a gluten free sourdough bread for myself.

For the Spelt one, I found directions on an excellent Australian site called the "Sourdough Baker".

Now, I have made a successful Spelt starter and a successful starter with brown rice flour (to make the gluten-free bread)/  They both smell great and rise fine.

I have made 4 spelt loaves and one gluten free loaf (using a combination of rice, potato, tapioca, gram and sorghum flours), and they have all had the same problem:  They rise fine during the period that they are left out on the counter, but no further when they are in the oven, and they come out with a great smell and taste, but very dense and so difficult to eat and heavy on the stomach.

Would I be right in thinking that the problem is not the starter, as there is a lot of growth in the dough before I put it in the oven?  To the latest spelt loaf, I even added a little honey, sugar and live yoghurt to the dough to see if that would help the rise, but it didn't make any difference.

This is a summary of what I am doing, which may (or may not) help to identify the problem.

1 - Putting around 150ml of lukewarm water in a bowl.

2 - Mixing in around 80-90g of starter and then 300g of white spelt flour, until it is a lump of dough.

3 - Leaving for an hour

4 - Adding and mixing in the salt (the dough is much stickier now)

5 - Leaving in a warm place for around 10 hours (the dough rises considerably during this time)

6 - Putting it by hand into the bread tin.

7 - Leaving it in a warm place for 2-3 hours - it rises back up during this time.

8 - Putting it in an oven with a bowl of water at the bottom and the sides sprayed.  Leaving for 10 minutes at 200 degrees.

9 - Taking the bowl of water out, reducing the temperature to around 160 degrees, and leaving it for a further hour or so.

Does anyone have any idea why my bread isn't rising????  Any help would be grately appreciated.

Best Wishes



tjkoko's picture

Temperatures of 200F and 160F kill yeasts, even SD yeasts.  So, lower the temperatures that the yeasts can better tolerate.

Kuret's picture

I hope that the 200 and 160 is celcius because I think he/she is baking the bread at tht temperature.

for a great gluten free bread check out:

that bread seems to turn out really good. I do not think that sourdough is the best choice when making gluten free bread or even that making gluten free "non flatbreads" are desirable without using strange addins. However try rolling glutenfree dough out really thin and then docking it with a fork before baking it for 2-4 minutes on 250C, and then cooling under a towel. That should give you a pretty decent flatbread that you can spread with butter and ham etc and then roll it up into a "rolled sandwich".

Gabriellem01's picture

I am no expert on baking breads, but I am wheat intolerant, so I use Spelt for most of my baking.  My experience in using Spelt is that it loses its elasticity faster than wheat flour (bleached or otherwise).  Many of the recommendations I have read is that when using Spelt you should skip the extra steps in kneading down and allowing another rise.  So if the recipe calls for doing a three step rise process - pound down, rise, etc., to skip the third pound down and rise.   See if that helps. 

I have also added Xanthan gum to give it a bit more "glue" to hold it together.  White Spelt makes lighter tasting and less filling bread, while whole Spelt gives you a heavier loaf just as wheat vs. white flours do.

I would love to have any Spelt recipes anyone would like to share - breads or otherwise.