The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

new and looking for help with whole wheat bread that just doesn't rise how i'd like it to

knit fast die warm's picture
knit fast die warm

new and looking for help with whole wheat bread that just doesn't rise how i'd like it to

hello, i'm new to these parts and new to bread baking... i'm looking for a bit of help


i made the recipe located here:

i made half of the recipe, since i only have one loaf pan.

the first time i made it, it was great. last night, i realized i was running out of time, so after i mixed everything, i put the dough in the fridge to retard the rise. this morning, i took out the dough and let it come to room temp and put it in the oven (turned off) for it to rise again. i then formed the loaf and lightly brushed the loaf with olive oil to top it with a little ground flax seed. when i brushed it, it deflated a bit, but i was sure it would come back by the time it was ready for the oven. well, nothing

i baked it, and it didn't give me an oven spring :(

what did i do wrong?


thanks in advance for any help

wassisname's picture


First, adding a night in the refrigerator to a recipe not originally designed for one may not get you the loaf you are expecting no matter what you do.

But, maybe try this next time:  The night in the refrigerator functions as the first rise, so there's no need for two rises the next morning.  After you let the dough come up to room temp shape it and pan it, then give it it's final rise in the pan as usual.

It may not be perfect, but hopefully it will be a little closer to your usual result.


knit fast die warm's picture
knit fast die warm

i see what you mean, marcus.

for this recipe, i'll try to stick to the original instructions... but if i need to retard the initial rise, i'll skip the second rise.

at least this loaf is tasty and edible, unlike a brick i baked a couple of weeks ago.

thanks for the insight

AW's picture

It might be the recipe. If you like try a recipe that I put on here. It's my friend, Ben's recipe.

Chuck's picture

You probably already did this, but as it isn't mentioned explicitly, I'll bring it up anyway:

When retarding or long-proofing a dough in the refrigerator, be sure to cover it with something watertight. Given the chance, a refrigerator will suck water out of anything left in it overnight. A dough that started out as 75% hydration could end up as 65% hydration. Keep something like a couple big plastic bags on hand for this purpose (even clean garbage bags work).

knit fast die warm's picture
knit fast die warm


you're right, i didn't explicitly say it, but i had covered it.

i think it's time to go back to following recipes to the letter, while i read more about the science of bread making... before i experiment again

Chuck's picture

... i think it's time to go back to following recipes to the letter ...

It depends....

Despite its obvious advantages, it seems to me using the refrigerator to "retard" a dough only started appearing in recipes in cookbooks published in the past few years. There are so many many recent developments and greatly revised (even sometimes "opposite") techniques in bread baking that obtaining a "new" bread cookbook is often quite useful.

Whenever you use an older recipe, you'll have to "adapt" it for fridge retarding, as you can be pretty sure it won't mention it on its own (although there are a few sorta exceptions - for example Julia Child gives a table of retard times at different temperatures including refrigerator temperature).

foodslut's picture

In spite of all my reading of the "usual suspect" books, it never occurred to me that even though I spray the surface of the dough w/cooking spray & cover with cling wrap, it'll STILL dry out in patches.  I didn't realize the fridge could suck out THAT much water - thanks!

Chuck's picture

Hmm...  I guess I should be hyper-careful about writing my posts. Oil and plastic wrap seem pretty airtight to me. I'm now working on understanding more exactly how my words could be interpreted to suggest refrigerators could suck water out of even oiled and plasticed doughs. (The only problem I know with "oiled and plastic wrapped" is if in the morning  there's a "gap" around the edges between the plastic wrap and the container.)