The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Kneading bread?

Nicole's picture

Kneading bread?


this is my first time making bread alone, and the first time had the guidance of my mom so it turned out well then. Unfortunately, I think I over-kneaded the bread and it won't rise. It's been in the oven rising for 1 hour, should I leave it to rise a little while longer or is it a lost cause? It did rise a very little bit, but not double in size like it's supposed to. The recipe I'm using, for an oatmeal bread, calls for it to rise for 1 hour, knead it again, let it rise for 1-1 1/2 hours again, form balls and place in pans, then let rise 1 more hour before baking. Any suggestions?

pmccool's picture

It will rise fairly quickly, maybe in less time than your recipe would indicate, if the temperature is in the 75-85 dF range.  If it is cooler than that, it may rise more slowly than the recipe would suggest.

Over-kneading is a pretty low risk for most home bakers, especially if you kneaded by hand.

How about posting your recipe and process so that folks can be more specific with a diagnosis?  If there is a significant quantity of oatmeal in the dough, that might contribute to a slower rise.  

That said, I'd let it keep going until it doubles.  You might want to skip the second rise and go straight to shaping after the first rise, since the dough already appears to be sluggish.  

Good luck!


alabubba's picture

You may want to check the yeast. Buy some fresh and try again.

Nicole's picture

Hey, I did let it rise for longer and did knead it again. This time it seems to be rising better than before. I'm rising it in the oven, and turned on the oven for a brief moment before putting it in to rise, just so that the oven was warm. So I don't think it was a temperature problem. It might be the yeast, I've had it for almost a year and the expiry date wasn't up yet, but that could have been the problem.

Here's the recipe:

2 cups oatmeal
3 cups boiling water
¼ margarine

Mix together and let cool to lukewarm

Dissolve 1 tsp sugar in 1 cup luke warm water
Sprinkle 1 ½ tbsps yeast into water and leave for 5 minutes.

Add ½ cup molasses and 1 tbsp salt to oatmeal mixture and stir together

Add about 8 cup flour (4 whole wheat flour, 4 white) and stir together, knead (8-10 mins) and form into a ball. Grease the sides of the bowl.
Put in oven for 1 hour to let rise.
Knead bread again, form into ball once more and let rise 1-1 ½ hour, till doubled in bulk.
Roll into balls and put in greased pans.
Let rise 1 hour more.
Put in oven at 375 for 30-35 minutes.

Mom's been making this recipe for years so I don't think it's the quantity of oatmeal, but you never know. Maybe it's the kind of oatmeal I'm using or the kind of whole wheat flour? Thanks everyone for their input!


trailrunner's picture

I have used that same recipe many times. If you didn't let the oatmeal cool off enough you could have killed the yeast. Never hotter than 90-100 degrees . Also when you proofed your yeast with the pinch of sugar it should have foamed way up in the cup. If it didn't then there is your culprit. I have never needed to heat the  dough to get a good rise even in really cool 60's in the house. So there are some things to check on. Hope this helps on the next adventure. c

Nicole's picture

Thanks, I think it might have been the yeast. I didn't quite "sprinkle" the first 1/2 tbsp that I put in the water, and it seemed to clump up a little. The bread did turn out good in the end, and after I kneaded it for the second time it rose much quicker and quite a bit more than the first time. I'll definitely keep all of these tips in mind when I make it the next time!

copyu's picture

This sounds like a "fresh (cake) yeast" recipe to I close?

If so, I can see no way that the yeast will last a year, even if refrigerated or frozen...[Don't ask me how I know!]

I still have a couple of ounces of fresh yeast in my freezer from about 4-5 months ago, but I'd have to do a LOT of experiments before I'd try to bake with it.

Let us know, please. Thank you!




andrew_l's picture

Hi. If it is your first time making bread alone, I'd try using a really simple, basic recipe while you get the feel of the dough and learn how it reacts. And I don't think you can get simpler than a plain white loaf with no butter, oil, molasses etc - just the four key ingredients of flour, water, yeast and salt. 


Once you've got that one sorted - experiment like mad! But the simplest one really gives and idea of how dough can work.


Do you know Richard Bertinet's book, "Dough"?


Good Luck!