The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why, Why Do My Loaves Always Flatten!

Vicious Babushka's picture
Vicious Babushka

Why, Why Do My Loaves Always Flatten!

I made Hamelman's "Sourdough Seed Bread"

Followed the instructions except added 7gr of active dry yeast to the final build in order to bake on the same day.

Here is the schedule:

Saturday night 7:30pm built the pre-ferment
Sunday 8:00am built the final dough, left to bulk ferment
Sunday 11:00am did stretch & fold
Sunday 11:30pm did another stretch & fold, divided into 4, rested 10 minutes, did final proof in bannetons
Sunday 3:00pm removed loaves from bannetons while heating oven stone to 450.
Sunday 4:00pm OVEN TIME

ON NOES WHAT HAVE I DONE. The loaves collapsed from the time they were removed from the bannetons to being put into the preheated oven.

This happened EVERY TIME except when I bake challah, which always come out nice and high.

So what is the problem? Should the loaves be left in the banneton until exactly the moment to put into the oven? This seems to be when they flatten out. I am so careful to be delicate so that they don't collapse.

Help me please.

BobS's picture

Generally one removes the loaves from the bannetons and scores immediately before putting the loaves in the oven.

But I think that your loaves are likely already overproofed when you remove them from the bannetons; letting them sit around for another hour while the oven preheats makes things worse. You need to get the oven preheated sooner and use the finger poke test, described here to determine when the loaves are correctly proofed and should go in the oven.

Janetcook's picture

Yes, leave in baskets until your oven is hot.  Turn on your oven when you know there is about an hour left for your proofing time.  

Based on your schedule above I would suggest turning your oven on at 2:00 PM so that it is hot when the dough is ready to be baked.  

If your dough ferments more quickly and your oven isn't hot yet you can put the loaf into your refrig. to stop it from over proofing BUT leave it in the banneton until you are ready to put it into the oven.

Another option is that you bake using a cold oven rather than a pre-heated one.  Do a search and you will find ideas on how to do this.

I prefer using the refrig. rather than using the cold oven method so I can't give you any suggestions…

Hope this helps.


golgi70's picture

you've added commercial yeast and extended the bulk ferment by 30 minutes. This should be shortened if anything. Also your final proof time is much too long. I'd guess the loaves were ready San hour sooner. None the less the crumb looks pretty good. Shorten your fermentation times and let the dough  tell you when it's ready. 


BreadBro's picture

Yeah, those loaves are way overproofed. 7 grams of yeast will raise that bread quite quickly. 

dabrownman's picture

if it looks like over proofing will happen, which i suspect is your problem too,  is to stick the loaves in the fridge immediately while the oven heats up.  This will put a chill on them an kep them from spreading so much when immediately slashed and put in the oven,  In your case you might want to put them in the fridge an hour before you start the oven.  85% proofed is what you are looking for and no more.  Once you get the timing down -no more worries.

Looks great otherwise.

Vicious Babushka's picture
Vicious Babushka

Obvious using commercial yeast to speed up the process, duh, speeds up the process. So how long should the final rise take? 45 min.?

Donkey_hot's picture

This very much depends on your ambient temperature.  Unless you are in a controlled environment, a good idea is to look at your dough, not your watch; and  really learn how to see, touch, smell, and know each time when your loafs are ready for baking.  And, of course, your hot oven should be waiting for you, and not the other way.

dabrownman's picture

Yeast in SD reproduce at 2.5 times the rate at 79 F then they do at 64 F.  So summer and winter temps can reallly make a big difference in proofing times atambient temnoeratures.  Times really don't work for bread baking very well - t lest not for me.  i find it much better better to go by what the dough looks and feels like instead.  This is why folks get proofing boxes for startersm levins and dough - so that they can better control the time it takes and have better consistancy.   The reason folks put commercial yeast in SD bread is to speed things up so they can control the time to bake better.and some feel it gives a better rise and srping in the oven. 

My kitchen went from 88 F just a couple of months agto to 62 F this morning .  Things take about 3 times longer now and why the heating pad is in the kitchen :-)  The great thing is that with SD,- usually more time means better tasting bread.  In the summer I usually retard the bread right after gluten development and shaping for 12 hours in the fridge at 38 F. It usually final proofs over that time to 85% perfect for baking the next day.  Now by cutting back the levain amount and proofing outside overnight at 45 - 50 F I should get a near identical proof in 12 hours - but it might take a couple of bakes to figure it out.

So the answer to your qustion is - it depends on what the temperture is to a great degree and some experimentation  will help yu figure it out.

Happy baking Nasty Grandmaw!  Great handle by the way!.

Vicious Babushka's picture
Vicious Babushka

I found this page while searching for answers. I am new to this sourdough which I understand requires a longer proof time, but if I am adding regular yeast to the final build then I should treat it like a regular dough and not a sourdough.

For some reason I do not have this problem when I am baking challah (an enriched dough) or rye, even sourdough rye.

But it is definitely a learning curve and it will take more trial & error. I am glad to have found this site with so many helpful baking enthusiasts.

I hope everyone has a delicious Thanksgiving!