The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Yeast loaves losing shape during baking

roseyeskova's picture

Yeast loaves losing shape during baking

Hello everyone!

I've been lurking on the site for about 18 months now (ever since I was given Peter Reinhart's Bread Bakers Apprentice and developed an obsession for artisan bread), and have finally plucked up the courage to ask for some advice from the wonderful community here.

I have been using a sourdough starter (he's called George) to make bread almost every day, and I'm generally really proud of my loaves.



But for the past few days I have been trying to branch out into regular yeast bread, and they just aren't coming out right. I just got a loaf out of the oven that went completely flat during baking- I don't think I have been getting enough surface tension into the dough while shaping them? This one was shaped freeform on a baking tray, but even when I do the final proof in a banneton my yeast  loaves tend to always go flat in the oven. I stretch and fold as I normally do for my sourdough loaves, and kneaded this one by hand for about 15 mins until the dough reached the windowpane stage. I shaped it according to Reinhart's instructions (usually I do my sourdoughs slightly differently- I flatten, fold the corners then the ends into the centre, bring one side in, then fold the other side over the top and pinch at the seam), and follwing his recipe I didn't slash the top as I usually would have.

The crumb structure is just passable, but the texture is too dense, and despite the shape it took too long to bake so the crust is quite hard and a bit thick imo. The strange thing is that I'm really happy with my enriched sweet yeast buns (lemon buns, Finnish cinnamon buns, cream buns)- they hold their shape well and have the right soft texture.

At a bit of a loss about where I'm going wrong- do sourdoughs and yeast loaves require a totally different technique? Or am I just making some stupid mistakes?

Thanks for your help. Rose


Note: I used Peter Reinhart's Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire recipe, but used a mixture of 300g wholemeal bread flour and 125g white bread flour (sorry for metric- I'm in Australia)


13.5 oz bread flour

4 oz milk

6 oz water

.38 oz salt

.33 oz instant yeast

1.5 oz brown sugar

1 oz cooked rice

1 oz honey





Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

after baking sourdoughs for a period of time, my inner clock was geared toward longer rises and the faster doughs got away from me and over-proofed until I started using a timer with a loud alarm for the bulk rising.   That or using a lot less yeast in the recipe.  

You've been romanced by George.  :)

If you are using the same recipe one with sourdough and the other with yeast, you will find you might have to add a little bit more water to the one with yeast.  Sourdoughs tend to get "wetter" with time so the mixed dough starts out drier.  My bet is that you are letting the dough rise too long in the bulk stages.  That's where I'd make my first tweak.