The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I can't get it right...............

longwinters's picture

I can't get it right...............

Hi, I am totally new to the forum but find it quite exciting.  I have a real desire to bake good bread, but have been a hopeless failure.  I seem to be able to follow directions, the 1st rise goes well, but after that it all falls apart.  Cannot seem to get a decent 2nd raise and my bread usually comes out too heavy and flat.  It will never raise above the level of the bread pan. 

New yeast, warm water  etc...the only thing I don't have is a 70 degree house.  We keep it around 65 in the winters. 

Can anyone show mercy to the Flat Bread King?



vince hav's picture
vince hav

well i surely cant help ya seeing how im slill a rookie but thought id say welcome to a great site. i have askd questions here and have gotten great thurough answers. i love reading how knowlegdeable these members are about bakeing. i never thought about bakeing being so seemingly complicated with all the temp and times and yeast and sugars an so forth all haveing a part to play in how things turn out but they explain things very simply but well. good luck with your bread tho. vince

Paddyscake's picture

Could you give us the recipe?..I'm sure we can help you.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And do tell us if you have RO (reverse osmosis) water.

longwinters's picture

I've used recipies off of the King Arthur bag, bread cookbooks and the internet.  It is always the same.  I use a Kitchen Aide stand mixer.  Warm the mixing bowl before using thinking that might help. 

Like I said, our home temp is set for 65 degrees, but I have even warmed the oven and then put the dough in there to raise.

Is my dough too heavy?  Don't know how it could be when following recipies exactly.  I don't understand how flour, salt, yeast and water can be so complicated.



spsq's picture

I used to think that yeast needed warm warm warm - turns out it was overkill.  Pun intended!

Hopefully you're bowl's not too warm, and I don't care what any recipe says about warming an oven - the oven light is ALL you need in a cool house.

ehanner's picture

It will help tremendously if you can be specific about what you are attempting.

In general the desired dough temperature should be around 72-74F. This is a critical detail for the yeast and activity level that rises the dough. You need an instant read thermometer that will verify the temp.. It is far easier to maintain a 70ish temp rather that try to raise the temp with a warm spot in the kitchen. Adjust your water temp so the combination of flour and water will fall in the 72F range. This is important.

I suspect your dough is cooling down after the first rise and going dormant or at least slowing way down. Find a spot in the house that is 72-80F that you can place your fermenting bowl in. I use the small cabinet above the refrigerator. The compressor throws out a lot of heat in the back and during cold months, that's the perfect place to rise dough.

Try that and get back to us with the recipe. There are a number of things that be causing this but that's a place to start.

One other thing. Are you weighing your ingredients or measuring with a scoop?


longwinters's picture


Yesterday afternoon I made the poolish.  1 cup King Arthur bread flour, 1 cup water and 1/4 tsp yeast.  I put it in a plastic bowl and covered it with some clingy wrap stuff.  It then sat on the counter overnight.  The mean temp in our house is about 67 degrees.

Last night I thought maybe it was getting a draft or something, so I put the bowl in the microwave.

This morning I started reading your responses (thank you so much!!) and came to 2 choices.  Put the bowl on our free standing gas fireplace (which is probably about 80 degrees on the top) or in the oven with the oven light on.

The fireplace is warmer, but would be much warmer on the bottom of the bowl so it would be uneven heat.  The oven while not as warm, would be constant all around the poolish. So its in the oven.

I have no other plans at this time for what to do later this afternoon to make it a rustic type loaf baked in a cast iron dutch oven. 

So here I am a sponge.....waiting to absorb your further direction.............

Oh, I measure the ingrediants, do not weigh.