The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rising--once, twice, three times?

alpenrose's picture

Rising--once, twice, three times?

I am still having a difficulty getting my mind around the concept of rising. For example today I did Cook's Multi Grain recipe. My KA is not working as well as it should so I took the dough out after about 4 minutes and then kneaded for 4 minutes more on the counter. Put dough in bowl to rise which it did. First question: why can't I just put it in pan to rise and then bake? Why is it necessary to take out of the bowl and knead some more and then put it in pans to rise--never does get as high again. I know I must be doing something wrong with the hand kneading, but I am following all the videos I have seen. I don't think I am kneading too hard the first time. The second time I just dump it out of the bowl and then cut it into two loaves and try to tighten the skin and put it in the pans. No oven spring.  Any thoughts?  

pmccool's picture

So many implicit and explicit questions in such a simple-sounding inquiry!  Let's try this, shall we?

Generalization #1 - Gluten forms when two proteins in flour, glutenin and gliadin, come in contact with water.

Generalization #2 - The mixing/kneading process, whether done by machine or by hand, vigorously or gently, has more to do with organizing the gluten network and less to do with gluten development (see #1).  And no, a few minutes of manual kneading aren't apt to harm the dough unless the flour contains very little (like pastry flour or rye flour) or very fragile (like triticale or spelt flours) gluten.

Generalization #3 - More mixing/kneading = finer, more even crumb texture with smaller bubbles.  Less mixing/kneading = coarser, more open crumb with bigger bubbles.

Generalization #4 - Bread can be made from dough that has risen anywhere from zero to three times (or even more), so long as food is readily available to the yeasts in the dough.  Primary differences are texture and flavor in the finished bread.  Zero rises = flatbread or flat bread or bricks.  One rise = coarser, more random crumb texture with possibility of gaping holes; potentially more crumbly.  Two or three rises = more even distribution of bubbles in crumb, probably smaller bubbles than one-rise bread.  One rise too far = dense, gummy, pale loaf with little or no oven spring (or even collapse from previous expansion).

Generalization #5 - Longer fermentation time, whether via multiple rises or a longer, colder rise, produces more flavorful bread than that made with a shorter fermentation time.

Generalization #6 - The act of degassing, whether by "punching down" or by stretch and fold, or by pressing out the larger bubbles, or by a few strokes of kneading, has the effect of bringing the effectively immobile yeasts into contact with more food which leads to more gas production for the next rise.  It also evens out bubble sizes and can even, if using a stretch and fold technique, strengthen the dough by aligning the gluten strands into a more organized network.

Generalization #7 - A well-shaped loaf is better equipped to produce a large expansion while being baked than a poorly-shaped loaf.

Generalization #8 - A loaf baked in a pan typically has a lesser amount of oven spring than a loaf baked directly on the hearth or on a baking stone.

Generalization #9 - A loaf that has been allowed to ferment too long (over-proofed), will not produce oven spring no matter how well shaped or kneaded.  See #4's reference to "one rise too far".

Generalization #10 - A loaf that has not fermented long enough (under-proofed) may exhibit little or no oven spring, or may have such explosive oven spring that the loaf tears open along weak points.  True for both panned and hearth-baked breads.

Generalization #11 - The "too long" and "not...long enough" statements in #9 and #10 have very little to do with clock time.  The real measurement is volume, usually something approaching a doubling from original volume to ready-to-bake volume.

Not being in your kitchen to see what's going on, I don't know which of those might apply to your bread.  I'd guess that one or more of them are in play, though.


charliez's picture

Thanks so much for all these points Paul.  I am a beginner too and they answered more than two questions I had regarding rising.  

deva's picture

Thank you so very much for going over these fine points.  Now onto finding out more about oven spring

lyra's picture


As another beginner, thanks so much for walking through all that. I was wondering about this myself the other night after punching down some dough for a second rise.

Is there a good tutorial on this site somewhere for stretch and fold? I see many mentions of it, but I haven't yet stumbled over a clear "here is how you do it" explanation. I found this forum post about stretch and fold with a video link which I bookmarked to watch later. Perhaps that will have my answer!


pmccool's picture

Mark Sinclair, aka mcs here on TFL (ooh!  look at all the TLAs!), owns The Back Home Bakery.  He has posted some free tutorials on his web site.  Watch the one titled "Kneading and Folding" for a good example.  You can also order a DVD of additional tutorials from Mark.  He does very well at explaining and demonstrating various techniques.

You can also click on the Videos link at the top of the screen for additional videos that have been posted here.  Or, use the Search function at the left-hand top of the page with the search term video to find even more.



clazar123's picture

Excellent description of information that took years for me to learn! And some of it just recently!!

alpenrose's picture

Paul--Thank you SOOO MUCH !  I will print it and keep it !

Yerffej's picture


I want to comment that not only did you give a stellar response here but for those with little experience in bread baking,  Paul has created an excellent reference sheet that you should print and keep nearby while baking.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

All your rise times will be much slower and the rising will take a great deal of patience on your part.  With 69°F a two hour rise at 75° will take maybe 4 hours or even 6.  You will need a way to gauge slow rising.  A bowl shape is hard to judge, a container with straight sides and markings makes it easier.   

It can easily be that the dough rising corresponds to your hand warmth, helping the dough rise.  After the dough is left in the bowl and has cooled off and returned to 69°F room temp, the rising slows down or appears to stop.  You have to give it more time.  I assure you that cool rising can be done, it just takes a lot of patience and a spread-out baking schedule.   Yeast like it warm.  

You might want to switch to a cooler climate starter like rye with a small amount of added wheat.  


pmccool's picture

You will probably find one or more exceptions to every one.  Still, I'm happy if it is of value to you as you bake.


Simisu's picture

with the thanks on this one, it is indeed very helpful and i´m sure i´ll be coming back to it for reference quite a few more times!


Annette Rana Webb's picture
Annette Rana Webb

Thanks Mark!