The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Farmers Ground Organic Flour~ Cracking during final fermentation and little rise HELP!

Robin D's picture
Robin D

Farmers Ground Organic Flour~ Cracking during final fermentation and little rise HELP!


I am in need of serious help. I have just recently been called to bake with all organic flour at my current job. I am using Farmers Ground from Ithica NY. The dough is a wheat and rye blend, I'm not sure what is going wrong. After mixing it has full development with the window pane test however the dough is breaking apart during its final fermentation after shaping. When I was finally able to achieve some rise without cracking, it had little to no rise in the oven. It tastes great, but is way too dense. I'm not ruling out that technique can be the issue here, although it is easy to pin all my problems on my organic flour.

Also, I have barley malt extract. Is this diastatic malt? I'm using red star active dry. I am a mess, please help



Robin D's picture
Robin D

Farmers Ground is based out of Trumansburg NY!

golgi70's picture

Maybe we can help.  Sounds like your fresh milled grains are fermenting faster than your old flour and adjustments need to be made.  The more details you share the more helpful folks here can be to help you solve issues.  

Ithica is Gorges



breadbythecreek's picture

Ithaca!  I went to Trumansburg Central School!  Beautiful country!

Robin D's picture
Robin D

Nice! I hear its beautiful, would love to visit sometime. You must have been right by the finger lakes.

Robin D's picture
Robin D

Here is the recipe and timeline, all flour is from Farmers Ground, and the yeast is Red Star Active Dry, though I may be switching to Saf Instant Red Label soon. 

For the pre-ferment, total weight 625g;

whole wheat flour 80%  301.31g

bread flour 20%   75.31g

yeast .97%  3.63%

water (67 degrees F) 65%  244.75g

That is mixed together, fermented at ambient (somewhere around 65-70F) for an hour then refrigerated overnight. 


Bread flour 79.11%  1254.02g

Rye flour 20.89% 331.07g

Yeast .46%  7.34g

Salt 3.18% 50.40g

Barley Malt Extract (Syrup) 1.32% 20.92g

Honey 3.95% 62.58g

Pre-ferment 39.43% 625g

Water (about 67F) 65% 1030.31g

Sunflower Seeds (8% of dough weight) 270g

Once the preferment is at about 60F, mix with all the liquids and yeast, then add the dry and incorporate on low speed (on my hobart thats speed 1). Then mix on medium (speed 2) for 8 minutes, the window pane is at full development. Then mix in the sunflower seeds, another 2 minutes on speed 2. The dough is 77F at this point. 

Fold and bulk ferment 30 minutes at ambient, and again twice more before final shaping, in the test stage I have been making 950g loaves. 

When using this recipe with conventional flour, it final proofs for about 1hr - 1.5hrs at ambient before I refrigerate it to be baked the following morning. However with the organic flour, about 30 - 40 minutes in, and nowhere near the size as the conventional loaf for the same time, they begin to crack apart and deflate.

The next time I mixed, I refrigerated half the loaves after 30 minutes into the final fermentation, before it had time to crack, but there was little to no rise in the oven the following morning and the loaves were dense. The other half I baked immediately and had the same results.

The oven is a  standard restaurant convection oven, my next batch I will switch to a conventional oven, preheated to 500F then dropped to 400F after steaming. My steam method is throwing water on rocks and chain as suggested by Bouchon (fantastic crust and oven spring results with this method, again, with conventional flour). 


Robin D's picture
Robin D

Someone had suggested a shorter bulk ferment, any thoughts? Also, would that mean shorter time between folds, or folding less? 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in the preferment.  I'm assuming a typo as .97% sounds better but still strikes me as high being close to 1%.   I would reduce or check the math on the original recipe.  Compare to others.  I would expect a much lower amount closer to 0.2 %.

How fine is the rye flour?  Can you see chips of bran?  If so, try soaking it in some of the recipe water along side the pre-ferment. 

Robin D's picture
Robin D

Yup, that is a type, it is .97%, 3.63g. Originally the recipe was at .3%, honestly can't remember why it was altered but good point, I will revert back to .3 on the next mix. The rye flour is fairly fine, no chips of bran, but I don't see it hurting to soak it anyway. What are your thoughts on including the rye in the pre-ferment with the wheat flour in place of the bread flour, would that adequately soak the rye as well?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

only.  Changing only one thing at a time.  

Adding the rye to the preferment might be begging for too much fermentation just like the raised yeast amount. The only reason behind soaking rye now would only be to reduce phytic acid.  20% rye is more like flavouring.  

Robin D's picture
Robin D

*typo** sorry about that

jameskcohen's picture

Does anyone know the protein content of Farmer Ground Half White Flour? Also, why is it called "half" white? What's the other half? Thanks.