The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread rising too long?

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cgward's picture

Bread rising too long?

Hello, I found this site and signed up a few months back, have appreciating browsing and learning new things.  This is my first post! 

Yesterday I mixed up some whole wheat dough, thinking I'd have enough time to finish the whole process before going back to work in the afternoon.  After I set the dough to rise, I realized I wouldn't, so I folded the dough back down just before leaving.  When I got home (almost three hours later) the dough had risen considerably, but I still wasn't able to see it through, so I folded it back down again and then headed out.  Two hours later (about 9pm) I got home and was finally able to divide up the dough into pans and then bake it.

In all the dough spent about seven hours in about 78 degree temps.  Would anyone here even consider going ahead and baking the bread at that point?  Can bread 'spoil'? 

Thanks in advance!


Cooky's picture

In my experience (admittedly limited), the only breads I find going south from excessive rising are sourdoughs. Which can get gummy and unmanageable if left alone too long.


Regular doughs seems more forgiving, if you just refold them when they get overgrown. If anything, the extra rising time seems to improve the flavor.



G-man's picture

I smiled a bit with the last line.

A dough that ferments for too long will eventually turn into alcohol. "Spoiled" dough is just beer waiting to happen.

Longer rise times lead to more flavor. Whenever you hear of a poolish or a biga, that's what is happening. It's very common to mix some flour, water and yeast, let it sit overnight, and then mix that in to more flour and water and yeast and salt to make a bread dough, which then proceeds as normal.

You can kill off yeast if you let it ferment for long enough that it produces enough alcohol to kill itself. There are specially bred strains of yeast that brewers use to produce beers with higher alcohol content. That will take a while, though, I believe.

Chuck's picture

...but I still wasn't able to see it through, so I folded it back down again and then headed out...

If you haven't got the time right away, but your dough is threatening to rise too much, just stick it in you refrigerator. (Search for "retard" to learn more about this common technique.)

cgward's picture

Thanks for the replies everyone.  I think it did start to ferment a little, but as it was the whole batch and not just a small portion, that might be why the flavor was just a little unpleasant.  Not quite the aftertaste I like.  However, it's edible and won't go to waste.  I would've put it in the fridge but it was 16 loaves worth!