The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Doing something consistantly wrong

chuckitheparrothead's picture

Doing something consistantly wrong

I've finally figured out that I must be doing something wrong.  Every recipe I've tried turns out the same exact way - duds during the second rise.  I have used both a KitchenAid mixer (which I've burned up) and now (today) an Eletrolux DLX. 


I'll list both recipes.  That might help with any diagnosis of the problem.

This is the first one:

Old Fashioned Oatmeal Bread

  •   2 packages active dry yeast
  •   2 cups warm water
  •   1/3 peanut oil or other delicate flavored oil..or butter
  •   2 teaspoons salt
  •   1/2 cup brown sugar
  •   2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  •   2 1/2 to 3 cups whole wheat flour
  •   2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • dried fruits and nuts as desired

Soften the yeast in 1/2 c warm water for 5 minutes.  Add the sugar, 1 c of the flour, 1 c of the whole wheat flour and the rest of  the water.  Mix well and allow to stand for fifteen minutes.

Mix in the salt, the oil, the oats, and the rest of the flour until a soft dough is formed.  Dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn out on lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Dough will be sticky. Knead in dried fruit and nuts if desired.

Place in an oiled bowl, turning to oil all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or so, until doubled in bulk.

Punch down and form into 2 or 3 loaves. Place in oiled pans and allow to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.  Brush with egg yolk wash if desired (1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp. water) and sprinkle oats over the top.  Bake at 375 for 40 minutes,


It rose beautifully the first time.  I punched it down then made 2 loaves.  I did not, and consistantly do not, get a nice high rise more than 1/2 and inch over the pan rim.


Since this is such a long post now, I'll post the white bread recipe I used if someone wants to see it. 


Many recipes, white bread, wheat bread, a mixture of each,  three houses, two states, hand kneeding, mixer with dough hook, mixer with roller/scraper  none of them rise during the second rise.  What am I doing wrong?




Chucki the Parrothead

Dragonbones's picture

How full were the pans when you put the dough in, and how high does the dough get after 45 min, after 90 min, after 2 hours, and after 3 hours? 

After what % rise in the 2nd rise did you bake it, and how much oven spring did you get?  How did the crumb turn out?

There are others here better qualified than me to give advice, but my first thought is, do you have enough gluten to support that heavy stuff? If I were adding whole wheat AND oats AND heavy items like nuts and dried fruit, I would try changing that all-purpose flour to bread flour or even high-gluten flour (given the ratios you've got). 

I'm not sure why a first rise would succeed and a second one fail, though. Hey experts, could that have anything to do with the limited amount of gluten relaxing so that it's no longer able to support that weight?

chuckitheparrothead's picture

I would question all that you have also if it was only this particular recipe.  But I get results like this for every single recipe I try. 

I wil answer your questions since they all start out in the pan about the same.  The pans are 8"4".  The douhg looks to be between 1/4 and 1/3 full when I first shape the loaves.  After about 90 minutes it usually has risen to the edge/rim of the pan.  Generally if I wait about 2 to 2 and a half hours I'll get between half and one inch above the rim of the pan.  Some times though it has stopped rising by then. 


No noticible oven spring most of the time with any of the breads I've made.  I thought that was a myth until I came hear and read about it today.  But I think I might have actually gotten some this evening with the white bread. And I've got to find out exactly what "the crumb" means before I can tell you.

Would photos help?

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

If you never get any oven spring and they stop rising completely then you are waiting too long. If you have a pretty normal room temp, say 65-75 degrees, then 90 minutes to 2 1/2 hours is way too long on the proofing stage. Try only proofing until it comes up to the edge of the pan, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Crumb is the inside of the bread. The holes and the cooked dough.

Dragonbones's picture

Photos usually help, yes. But in your case, if you're going from as little as 1/4 or 1/3 full to cresting to the top or beyond the top of the pan, I would imagine that you have already reached the full potential of the loaf! I fill mine to half or so and bake when they get to the top; then since the yeast still has some oomph left, it can give me oven spring in a hot preheated oven with steam, so the loaf is nice and tall.  So I think you're underfilling and overproofing, actually.

You'll get the best oven spring when the dough has only risen 50-75% in the second rise and the oven is very hot, with steam. If you overproof (letting it rise to more than double) before baking it, you probably won't see any oven spring.

By crumb I mean how is the inside of the bread? Are you happy with the light, bread-like sponginess and air holes inside?  Or is it too heavy and dense, like a brick?

If you're happy with the lightness of the result, then all you have is a scaling problem (amount of dough to pan). Increase the recipe a bit to fill the pans more, or use smaller pans, or bake fewer loaves.

 If you hadn't said that the dough rose so much during your 2nd rise, then I'd be asking whether you were properly shaping the loaf, which involves creation of surface tension and not just 'shape'.


Yerffej's picture

You are waiting way too long to put the pans in the oven and the loaves are over proofed by the time you bake them.  Read up on how to tell when dough is properly proofed.  The topic has been covered many times in these forums.


chuckitheparrothead's picture

Tell me what to put in the search feature to get to the the particular threads that will help.  I won't bother anyone with questions that way.

Leesky's picture

You say you're using active dry yeast. Is it Rapid-Rise?

It is my understanding that the rapid rise only gives you one rise, which is great for certain recipes but would not work for a loaf that calls for rising twice.

Could be that.

chuckitheparrothead's picture

It is Fleischman's dry active yeast.  It is the only kind I can get locally.  I'm in a bit of a rural area.  If I was to order some online where would be a good place to get a different brand? 


Come to think of it, the yeast is the ony thing that has not changed.  The Fleischmans is all I've ever been able to get.  I'll see about getting a different brand.


Thanks for you help.

flournwater's picture

1.  Until you weigh your ingredients you will never know if the problem  lies in the ratio of one ingredient to another.

2.  Looks ot me like you're initial rise period is too long.

3. " Punch down and form into 2 or 3 loaves" most often means to degass modestly, not to flatten the dough so much that all the CO2 is forced out.

4.  Your pans should be warmed to 75 - 80 degrees before placing the dough into them

5.  You should cut your dough, using a dough scraper or similar tool, and avoid tearing it apart.

6.  "I did not, and consistantly do not, get a nice high rise more than 1/2 and inch over the pan rim"

Does this describe oven spring or the final proofing experience prior to loading it into the oven.  How much does "1/2 inch over the pan rim" represent in terms of total rise?  For example, if your dough filled half the pan and rose to 1/2" over the rim it would represent more than double in mass.  How full are the pans when the dough is first placed in them.?


chuckitheparrothead's picture

I've often wondered about weight.  I do sift before measuring, but have never weighed ingredients.  Will you recommend a good scale?

I'll cut the first rise down.  I've always risen dough by the clock instead of by the size of the dough. 

Oh, I've never really been sure.  I've really always almost kneaded the dough a second time similar to the first knead.

Never thought to have the pans warm. I'll do that next time.

I've never cut the dough (slash the tops) because I've always been afraid it would deflat and I'd loose what little bit of rise I had.


Final proofing before putting it in the oven.  Once it is in the oven I generally get nothing for oven spring.  1/2 inch over the pan rim takes anywhere from an hour to two hours, maybe more. 

Yes if my dough is first in the pan and rises 1/2 inch over the rim it does more than double.  I've never thought about it before that way.


So looks like I'm over rising on the first rise, deflating way too much on the punch down and over rising again on the second rise because I'm waiting for more than the yeast can give me.  That is why I'm not getting the elusive oven spring.  The yeast has nothing left.  Correct?

Dragonbones's picture

Yes, that's correct. And you're not filling your pans enough. If you only have enough dough to fill two pans 1/4 full, then you should be putting all that dough in just one pan. If you want two pans, double your recipe.  Ty filling pans half full then bake when it's almost but not quite at the top. Or fill to almost 2/3 full, and bake when at or only a 1/2" over the top. Somewhere in that range.

 Throw away your clock. Watch the amount risen, not the time. Chances are if you cut your yeast in half but give it roughly the same amount of time you're doing now, you'll be closer to the mark. Make sure the oven is very hot (during 2nd rise, preheat to maximum temp for an hour, then after putting the pans in, lower the temp to your desired temp.

Slashing the top 1/4 to 1/2" deep won't deflate the loaf if you've only let it rise 50% so far. It may deflate it if you've overproofed (let it rise too far).

I agree with others that you should weigh your major ingredients (but spoon measures will still be best for tiny things like yeast); and don't knead after your first rise, just gently punch down to remove large pockets of gas and redistribute the food to the yeast. Shape well, getting good surface tension. You can search the video section here to find one on shaping.

qahtan's picture

don't know if this is any help but this is my dough going into the pans, see where it comes up to in pan.       this the dough risen ready to go in oven, see rise,,,     this is the baked loaves.

chuckitheparrothead's picture

I can see a difference in your dough in the pan and mine.  And I certainly don't have the height you have just prior to baking.

alabubba's picture

Your recipe calls for 2 packages of yeast. I think that is alot for a 5 cup recipe.

with that much yeast I would expect your bread to rise in about 45 min.

Try reducing to 1 package and throw away your clock, Watch the dough, it will tell you when its ready.