The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Loaf too small for pan, despite being on weight.

Tinuz's picture

Loaf too small for pan, despite being on weight.


I have recently started baking again, and seem to have run into a small problem. I bought a new 10.5" by 5.5" by 3" one and a half pound loaf pan. Now, I am using the Whole Wheat honey-buttermilk recipe from the recipe section of this website, and have tried with 1.5 pounds as well as 2 pounds of dough. Neither seemed to fill the pan the way it should for a sandwich loaf, i.e. above the rim across the loaf pan. 

Now, the rise times for this loaf seems a little excessive (2.5 first, 1-1.5 second, and then post shaping), and as a result oven spring is minimal, as is the final rise. 

So, my question, is the weight appropriate for the loaf pan, and should I reduce rise time? Or should I increase the weight and keep the rising time the same?



richkaimd's picture

Rise time, because it is dependent on a number of factors, not the least of which is the metabolic activity of living organisms, is dependent on ambient temperature.  So it's crucial to know the temperature of wherever you let your dough rise.  Do you wait until the dough's risen to almost double for double rising breads?  Ignore what the recipe says.  On a hot summer day, rising takes my loaves half the time it does on a cold winter day.  I've waited 8 hours for certain doughs, especially for sourdoughs.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

The loaf pan is a 1.5 pounder.

I own a couple of them myself, but actually prefer using the smaller 8 1/2 inch ones.

When I use 1.5 pounds of dough, it performs as expected.

Those times are acceptable if it's a sourdough loaf; but, if it's commercial yeast, that seems a bit excessive. I'd try a different recipe.

If anyone is looking for these bigger loaf pans (they're not so easy to find), I bought mine here:


Chuck's picture

Many items in the bread world (pans, bannetons, etc.) are sized "1 pound", "1.5 pound", and "2 pounds". The terms don't mean a whole lot more than "small", "medium", and "large"; the relationship to actual dough weight is somewhat hazy. In other words, don't worry about it.

How's the texture and the flavor? If they're right, you can just make a larger dough using the same procedure and times, and it will work fine. If they're not right -especially if the bread is "too dense"- it seems likely that something else besides loaf size is wrong (for example is your yeast old and could be half-dead?). My suggestion in that case is to find and fix the real problem before trying to deal with the loaf size issue.

The rise times you report seem reasonable for this particular recipe (100% whole wheat, rather small amount of yeast). Several years back the fashion was to make bread dough rise as fast as possible (often by putting a lot more yeast into the recipe than is used these days). But it turned out the quest for very fast rises sacrificed flavor, that longer slower rises taste better. In other words, your expectations may need resetting. Even after accounting for the general shift though, this particular recipe with its only 0.6% yeast, is likely to be quite a slow riser. Is that okay? (If it isn't okay, you may need to change recipes.)

(100% whole wheat can be rather tricky. It will probably work, but it may not be the best "first loaf".)

Tinuz's picture

So the 'pounds' measurement doesn't mean much, eh? That's good to know, I thought it was a touch big, but I usually go through a 1.5 pound loaf in a few days, so I figured I'd need that. Anyway, it hardly matters, as I eat quite a bit of bread. 

My yeast could be a bit old, but it seems to proof just fine. Also, the rise seems fine, nothing wrong with it, but after rising to nearly triple size, then double size and double size again, it just seems there is nothing left for the yeast to eat (no quick snack, anyway). Maybe my yeast is too active? Whatever, the case, the results are excellent, which is why I am reluctant to tinker with the recipe. They say "never change a winning team", but what if your team is always placing second?

Anyway, I will take away the second bulk fermentation, and let is rise longer after shaping. Let's see what that does. I will report back after that ;)

Finally, It is not exactly my first loaf, I started baking when I lived in the US as the bread over there is atrocious (seriously, that stuff is a crime against humanity). When I moved to Belgium, the widely available bread was better, and I had less time, so baking fell by the wayside. Anyway, I have a year of experience, about two years ago. 


naschol's picture

I use 1.5# of dough in an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 pan ( 3 to 3 1/2 cups flour) and 2# of dough in a 9 x 5 pan (4 cups flour).  So, I would say that if you are going to use those pans, you probably need more dough.

Here is a thread on 10" pans -