The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

oven spring

LT72884's picture

oven spring

Just curious why do breads made with whole wheat and white flour tend to have low oven spring. My bread always tends to flaten out ward during the rest period. the recipe is pretty simple

5.5 cups flour

2 cups white ap flour


1 packet yeast

1/4 cup vital wheat gluten

and 4 cups luke warm water


i let it double in size for about 2 hours and then shape into boulle shape and then rest for 40 min. pop it on the stone at 450 and bake for 35 min. never goes any higher than what it was after the rest time. i tried to put cross marks in it but it flattened one loaf and it never rose again. haha.


thanks guys

Caltrain's picture

What are you letting the boule rest in? If it's just free-form out on a flat surface, then that could be the culprit. Try placing it in a bowl or basket lined with a heavily floured sheet of linen cloth. The added support will keep the loaf from spreading out while resting.

Try searching around for "proofing baskets" here. Some people use specially designed baskets (called bannetons or brotforms) for this purpose, but realistically you can improvise with any appropriately shaped basket and some linen cloth. Here's a blog with an example.

LT72884's picture

Thanx so much. i just let it rest on the peel. Im following ABin5 for the master recipe from HABin5.

but wont transferring it to the peel from the p[roofing basket or bowl  be to intense and cause it to sink? Im not sure how to get it out of the bowl and onto the stone. i dont like to use parchment paper. i just like to put the bread right onto the stone






LT72884's picture

do i mix the dough and let it rise in the basket or do i let the dough rise and then shape it and place in the basket? Oh and how big of a bowl do i use for this process. sorry but i have no idea what im doing


thanks guys

flournwater's picture

While I dislike repeatedly beating this drum, it's incredibly good advice so here it comes.

You have no idea what the hydration level of your formula is when you use the bulk measure method.  Get a scale; even an inaccurate one is better than none at all.  At least they're usually inaccurate to more or less the same degree for one ingredient as another.

Watch the dough, not the clock.  If you wait until it looks like it has doubled in size you're probably overproofing.

Shape your dough carefully.  Careless handling at the shaping stage can generate a lot of nasty results.

LT72884's picture

i do own a scale but my problem is, the book has it in volume so that kinda defeats the purpose of the scale for this recipe. haha. i mean, i could measure it and then weigh it. haha. not trying to be ignorient but i have no idea how to fix the recipe if it was written volume.

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

I encourage you, the next time you make the recipe, to weigh the ingredients as you make it and record the weights.  Then you can adjust or repeat the recipe more confidently.  Doesn't take much time at all.  If, while making the recipe, you find that the dough needs more water or flour, be sure you weigh what goes in so you know.  The way I have done this is to weigh a small container of flour or water, make the recipe adjustments, and then weigh the container at the end, so I know exactly how much I additional flour or water was added.  Then I can add that adjustment to the recipe.

I do use volumetric measurements for yeast and salt, or anything small like that under 10 grams, as I don't trust my scale to be that accurate for such small measurements.

Mary Clare in MO

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

i tried to put cross marks in it but it flattened one loaf and it never rose again.

This was too long proofed or it was allowed to rise too long.  Proof for a shorter time or switch to cold water in the recipe if you like longer rises.   Should this happen again (the falling flat part) reshape the dough and let it rise again, the crumb will be finer but it won't be as flat.  Free form loaves are hard to judge when doubled because they expand in more directions than panned loaves.  More accurate is a "poke test."   This can vary slightly depending on the flours and liquids amounts used.

In the posted recipe, is the 5 cups flour   whole wheat flour?

I take cup recipes and measure using my cups and the scale.  Record the grams in pencil in my cookbook and go thru the whole recipe.  When I do have to adjust something, I can add or subtract grams easily and then repeat the recipe more accurately.  (I will also round up and down to 5g for the flour & water amounts.)   I can also then figure the hydration.   Easy to do.   :)

LT72884's picture

Dough! i forgot to mention that it is whole wheat. But my proff time was only 30 minutes on the peel. I think it could have been that the dough was dry and even the razor had a heck of a time cuttin throught the top of the dry dough. It was dry cuz i had a we bit of extra flour on the top.

I really want to try a proofing basket but im affraid as soon as i invert it onto the peel, it will just sink down. Im trying to get my bread to look like the professional bakeries that use the revent steam ovens. Im using my scunci steamer that im hooking to the vent of the oven to inject steam. hahaha.

Ok im gonna weigh everything now. haha.


thanx guys