The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread not rising second time?

rob_85's picture

Bread not rising second time?

Hi all, 


New to this forum as I'm having a little trouble with my bread baking! (obviously!!)


Having started my paternity leave I thought id spend some time indulging a new hobby, but I'm having some trouble getting a loaf that im happy with...


first of all, here is my recipe as detailed as I can get it...


Straight from the back of the hovis wholegrain flour bag...


500g hovis wholegrain flour

25g butter (i use stork- could this be a problem?)

1 1/4 tea spoons salt

2 teaspoons sugar

one 7g sachet allinson easy bake yeast

350ml warm water


so i add the butter to the flour and rub in with my fingers before adding the salt and the sugar. I tend to prove the yeast by adding it straight to the 350ml warm water (no specific temperature, just warm to touch...), before adding it to the mix.

I then form it into a dough with my hands before kneading for 5 minutes in my kenwood mixer with dough hook attachment.

once kneaded, i leave the dough in the mixing bowl to rise for 2 hours covered with a wet tea towel, making sure its out of the draft and in a reasonably warm place.

It usually doubles in size and makes me very happy at this stage... but then I turn it out into my bread tin, slash the top, and leave it for around 30 mins... in this time it barely rises at all!

In the meantime pre-heat my fan oven to 230 degrees, and to stop the crust forming too soon when it goes in I boil the kettle to pour into a baking tray in the bottom of my oven to try and produce a little steam... though the fan oven makes this tricky...

so when the bread is ready to go in, I make my steam and get it on the middle shelf as quick as I can and bake for 30 mins... i do seem to get some good spring, but when cooled i always end up with a dense doughy brick!! what am I doing wrong?? :(


Any help appreciated!!!



MangoChutney's picture

Your dough is evidentially basically done rising after two hours.  I would check after one hour next time, and if it looks nicely risen, put it into the tin to rise for the second time right then.  If it is not ready at one hour, keep checking.  It may be rising to more than double and then falling before you catch it at two hours.

If you have a second bread tin of identical shape and size, you may be able to invert it over the first in order to prevent the crust from being dried by the oven fan during the time when oven spring is occurring.  That is what I do.  I also pour just a little water onto the top of the dough before putting it into the preheated oven.  This provides moisture, inside the two pans.  It should just be enough to moisten the top and maybe a mls in each corner.  This is not exact!

Your dough is 70% hydration (350 gm water/500 gm flour) which makes a wetter dough than might work best for you.  Try 325 mls of water next time, and see if that works up into a good dough for you.  That would be 65% hydration.

I'm not certain about the amount of butter.  I don't use so much fat in mine, but I can't say if that is a problem or not. 

rob_85's picture

thanks for the quick reply- ill give it a go and let you know how it goes!! Thanks in advance from me and my wife if its a success!!!

whoops's picture


I am also a recently new baker. I was looking for a simple, easy whole wheat bread recipe that was easy to use for sandwiches. I found a recipe at all, tweaked it some, and since the first loaf I have had nothing but excellent results! I wish I could say the same for my sour dough, but here is my recipe as I use it (I think you are using celsius vs my fahrenheit, to which I can not for some reason convert- the formula will not stick in my head, and it is a by volume recipe not by weight, so it might be a bit challenging to convert-maybe some of these kind folks here can help with that!)

5 cups whole wheat flour

2 .25oz packages active dry yeast

1/3 cup honey (though I saw comments on the recipe page that others used sugar in equal amounts or molasses with good results)

3 cups warm water(110degrees F) ( I am not terribly picky about temperature, I just make sure it is not too hot and not too cold)

3 tbsp butter, melted

1/3 cup honey

1 tablespoon salt

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

6 tbsp vital wheat gluten

melted butter for brushing on the top of the loaves when they are out of the oven


In a large bowl mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 c honey. Add the 5 cups of whole wheat flour and stir til just combined. Let sit for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.

mix in the 3 tbsp melted butter, 1/3 c honey, and salt. Stir in the remainder of the flour and gluten( I do it all in my KA mixer, first with the paddle and switching to the dough hook as it gets thicker and heavier) Knead until dough has good gluten development (About 5-7 minutes with my KA mixer on the slowest speed) depending on your environment you might need more or less flour. I have consistently needed just the 3.5 cups.

place in well greased bowl, turn once, and allow to rise until close to doubled.

Turn on to counter, gently degass, divide into three equal pieces. Shape for loaf pan ( I use 9 in x 5 in pans) and place in pan. cover and allow to rise until dough has topped pans by 1 inch ( Mine usually do not get quite that high)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees ( my recipe says that is 170 degrees c) bake for 25- 30 minutes. Bread will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom when done. Remove from pan, brush melted butter on the top of the loaf, and allow to cool on rack completely.

I have tried varying the amount of gluten I used, and sometimes I forget , honestly, how many tbsps I have already put in the dough. I think I have used as little as 3 and as much as 8. I think it is mostly about 5-6. The last time I made it, I did not knead for as long with my KA and did a modified S &F (tried to do the French fold, but it didn't work well for me after the second time, as the dough was already pretty well developed).

My family, who groaned when  I said no more store bought bread, eat this up like crazy. Other friends and relatives are now begging me to either make it for them or asking for the recipe. It is not fancy. But if you want home made goodness with some of the feel and texture of store bought, this is for you. I use all organic flour  and honey. I did use sugar once in place of the honey, and it was ok, but it seemed to me that it was better with honey- but that could be my mindset. The sugar loaves went just as fast as the honey. It also freezes well and refrigerates well. We have had problems here lately with the heat having the bread mold very quickly if left at room temp, so I keep one loaf out, and place the other two in a plastic bag in the fridge. I did once, try making 2 batches, thinking I would only have to bake every 2 weeks, and froze the other three loaves (wrapped in foil, then in a plastic bag) but the hubby found them in the freezer and simply ate more!

Good luck!




jaywillie's picture

Time is not usually a reliable measure of how your dough is rising. Check it after 45 and again at 60 minutes (first rise), and if it is 1.5 or 2 times its original size, it's ready to be panned. Particularly if your kitchen is warm (is it summer where you are?), two hours may be much too long. In winter, it may be too short. 

Also -- don't slash your loaf until after the second rise. Slashing is the last thing you should do before you bake. Panned loaves don't really have to be slashed, although it's not going to hurt and it's a nice look.


All at Sea's picture
All at Sea

... a loaf made with 100% whole wheat flour is a little more of a challenge than one with some white flour

Wholewheat requires a little extra work to develop the gluten - so after your mixing is done, best try a windowpane test, to check on the gluten formation. (The Search facility on this site will give you lots of info on window-paning).

Also, you might want to try an autolyse. That is to add the water to your flour and mix thoroughly. Then leave the dough to sit (covered) for 30 minutes. This will start the gluten formation for you and give you a head march on development. Then you add the other ingredients. Don't worry about proofing the yeast - I regularly add active dried yeast to autolysed dough without dissolving it in water first - just sprinkle over and then work it in as usual.

This might be too much information for you at this stage, but later you might like to investigate incorporating a pre-ferment into your procedure. In essence, this means fermenting a portion of the flour, water and tiny amount of yeast for several hours, before adding the remainder of the ingredients. This helps to give an airier crumb to wholewheat loaves. Something to look into when you feel ready.

"It usually doubles in size and makes me very happy at this stage... but then I turn it out into my bread tin, slash the top, and leave it for around 30 mins... in this time it barely rises at all!"

Yes, it does sound as if you've exhausted the yeast by this time. As suggested, check on your dough as it rises in the first (bulk fermentation) rise. It won't hurt to only allow it to get to 150-175% risen before pre-shaping, bench rest and then final shaping in the tins. What ambient temperatures are you making bread in? (If it's hot - then the yeast will work faster than if it's cold). Another approach, and one I'd highly recommend is to use a little less yeast. Say 1/4 teaspoon less. But you still have to keep an eye on it, so it doesn't stay too long in bulk fermentation period.

"i do seem to get some good spring, but when cooled i always end up with a dense doughy brick!! what am I doing wrong?? :("

Just to add - you might want to bake the loaf a little longer. (I find I need more like 40 minutes to bake that size of dough at those temps you quote). But if you're overproofing the dough (and its failure to give a second rise suggests that is the case) - then doughy, dense brick you will get - alas!

Lastly, wholewheat flour is thirsty. I wouldn't cut back on the water, if anything, once you get the proofing and gluten development licked, I'd actually be looking to add extra water as I worked the dough. 70% hydration is fine, but if properly incorporated, adding a little extra water as you go, till the dough feels lovely and supple and silky, (but not soggy or sticky) - will give you a lighter loaf. I'd be looking to add just another 25-30 grams at first, and see how that panned out But must stress, don't add this at the beginning, only as you work the dough, little by very little.

I would also recommend getting your hands dirty! By that, I mean after mixing with your machine, try working the dough by hand - Richard Bertinet's technique (search box will give you lots of info on that, too) - will give you a wonderful feel for gluten development and a greater understanding of your dough.

You're embarking on a lovely road of exciting and very rewarding discovery - a few frustrations along the way will only make the inevitable improvements and successes all the sweeter.

Good luck and have fun!

All at Sea

CelesteU's picture

I find the method you describe a little odd for bread, especially for wholegrain bread.  Wholegrain bread tends to be dense due to the bran in the flour--it interrupts the gluten strands and thus won't rise as high.  So I'm confused as to why the recipe would tell you to rub butter into the flour at the beginning of the recipe.  This "cutting in" of the butter is a pastry technique, not a bread methodology.  By coating some of the flour with the fat, you are further reducing the flour's gluten-forming potential.  This can definitely impact your second rise.

Try adding the butter (softened or melted) after you've kneaded the dough a bit, make sure you've kneaded long enough for the dough to pass the windowpane test.  Reduce your initial rise to 1-1.5 hours, and see how that second rise goes....

All at Sea's picture
All at Sea

... forgive me for mentioning, but I think you'll find that Richard Bertinet might take issue with you over your "cutting in" of the butter is a pastry technique, not a bread methodology." statement.

He specifically advocates rubbing in butter, say, for his sweet dough recipes. Oil he also adds at the initial mix phase. To be honest, I've added butter or oils both in the initial mixing stages - wholemeal or white flour doughs alike - and sometimes, instead, after the preliminary mix. I realise this may constitute as dire heresy to admit, but personally, I have been hard pushed to note a significant difference in either gluten development or the finished product. (Alas, we Philistines are a contrary breed!)

All at Sea