The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why won't my dough rise much?

christinepi's picture
christinepi

Why won't my dough rise much?

I've baked a number of loaves now with Jim Lahey's No Knead method, white flour and whole grain. The crust and flavor are superb; but one thing that never seems to happen is an appropriate rise. No matter how long I let it rise (up to 24h at 70 degrees), the dough never doubles in size, is rather flat and also won't darken, like it says it would in the book. The finished product never has these wonderful big holes inside like on his photos and is somewhat dense as well as pretty flat.  I do everything according to the recipe (second rise 2 hours, preheat cast iron pot, take lid off after 30 minutes etc). So what gives?

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Seems for whatever reason, your yeast is not performing as it should. Is your your yeast fresh? Is it being killed by the water(too hot, or too chlorinated).


What type and brand flour are you using? It's possible your choice of flour is not suitable for breadmaking(too soft)?

christinepi's picture
christinepi

I use Arrowhead Mills organic unbleached white flour (not pastry flour, not all purpose) and also their stone ground whole wheat. The yeast I use is dry active organic by Rapunzel and I haven't had it for more than a few weeks. The water I use is our own well water which isn't chlorinated, and it's on the cool side. Maybe I should try a different dry yeast just to see? Or just more of the one I have? 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

For comparisons sake, you might buy a packet(or 3) of commercial instant yeast. Then you could have a standard to compare. Good luck.

nicolesue's picture
nicolesue

Always check the production date of the yeast, not when you but it. If the yeast is not fresh, it will not happen. I've had countless dense loaf b'cos I was using the same pack of stale yeast. Also, if you're keen to try instant yeast, make sure to get those that are vacumn pack (for freshness). I've been told on TFL that people keep their yeast in the fridge (some freezer) - I do the same now, seems to work best - especially during the hot weather.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Use more Active Dry than Instant in a recipe if it calls for instant.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/faqs/baking/yeast

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Neither of the two types of Arrowhead Mills flour you use are treated with malted barley or fungal alpha-amylase according to their ingredients labels. If the natural alpha-amylase in the flour is low--it usually is--poor yeast activity results,, due too little starch being converted to sugars. Also browning relies, in part, on sugars, so both symptoms you report point to too little alpha-amylase in the flour.


If you can find it, or have a baker friend that has it, try adding a tsp. per 3 cups of flour of diastatic malt powder. It should improve both deficiencies.


David G.

christinepi's picture
christinepi

Is this because organic flours aren't treated in general? Do you know of any organic flours that ARE treated?


By "browning" you refer to the darkening of the dough BEFORE it goes into the oven? Because the finished product is plenty brown.


 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

King Arthur Organic AP is malted.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I've never seen a recipe discussing dough "darkening" during bulk fermentation, I don't own Lahey's book, and I make bread using traditional techniques. Nonetheless, although your loaves brown during baking sufficiently, I still recommend trying adding diastatic malt flour to Arrowhead flours.


See LindyD's post in this thread below.


I don't especially seek out organic flours; I can't tell you those that are treated.


David G

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I'm baking almost exclusively with organic flours and didn't encounter any such problems.


 

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

I bake almost exclusively with KA non-organic flours and get excellent results. I doubt that flour is your problem. Try a different yeast with room temperature water.


Michael

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I've used unmalted organic AP flour (Heartland Mill and Arrowhead Mills) and found that it didn't rise as well, compared to a malted flour.  Once I added diastatic malt powder, it improved. 


Heartland Mill states the following on its website:



Many yeast-risen breads, sourdoughs, and pain au levains will be improved by the use of our malted UBAP. Most lean, artisan-style doughs require malted flour for peak performance.



Maggie Glezer, in Artisan Baking, recommends adding 1/2 teaspoon of diastatic malt per one cup of flour, noting that symptoms of enzyme deficiency include sluggish fermentation and inadequate rise.


Ciril Hitz, in Baking Artisan Breads, suggests adding a small amount of diastatic malt to any flour on the premise that the additional fermentation results in a better rise and flavor, as well as helping retain freshness.  


I think the additional of malt is especially important when retarding dough for long periods, say 20 hours or more.  But you do have to be careful because too much DMP will cause problems.  Best to start in small increments.


DMP can be purchased through KAF.  I keep mine in an airtight container in the freezer.