The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Newbie problem: good first rise, not so good second rise

judithh's picture

Newbie problem: good first rise, not so good second rise

I am still new to yeast baking, and am not sure what I may be doing wrong.  I have started by trying to make a basic sandwich bread, and have used both the whole wheat bread recipe and the anadama break recipe in BBA.   With both of these recipes,  I get a very good first rise, after kneading the dough, as it definitely doubles in bulk.  However, after shaping the loaves, I don't seem to get a good second rise:  instead of doubling again, so that the dough "crests" the sides of the loaf pan, mine will rise about 50%, so I get tasty but flattish loafs.  Definitely not high enough to make sandwiches! 

I have checked the temperature of the water I use, and I'm pretty sure I'm not killing the yeast (SAF instant yeast) with hot water.  I find that I usually have to add about 1/2  - 3/4 cup more flour to the dough than the recipe calls for when kneading it, as it will otherwise be extremely sticky.  (I knead by hand). Could the additional flour make such a difference?  Is there something I could be doing wrong when shaping the loaves that is prevening them from rising?

How do I get a nice second rise for a taller loaf?






pmccool's picture

One is that the doubling you witness is actually more than doubling.  If the dough is in a bowl during the first rise, it may be tripling or more before it looks doubled.  When you then shape it and set it for the second rise, it may just be out of food and not able to double in the pan.  Try letting it rise in a clear/translucent container with straight sides so that you can mark the starting point and the doubling point.  When it gets to the doubling marker, you'll know that it is ready for shaping and hasn't overfermented.  

Another is that the quantity of dough isn't enough to fill the pan.  For a typical sandwich style bread, the dough should fill the pan about half way or a bit more when first placed in the pan.  As it doubles in volume, it will crest above the rim of the pan and then expand somewhat more in the oven during baking.

The additional flour probably isn't the problem.  It may make the dough somewhat stiffer, which would slow down the expansion, and produce a drier, crumblier bread.

Best of luck with your future bakes.


Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

If you're working with whole wheat flour, the addition of some vital wheat gluten could help.

Here is a list of other dough enhancers

Here is a recipe for making your own mix of dough enhancers

the recipes are near the bottom of that thread.