The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Overfermented? insufficient gluten development?

leslieruf's picture

Overfermented? insufficient gluten development?

For this bake I wanted to use the Bob's Red Mill hot cereal mix that I had in the freezer.  Inspiration from Danni3113  who has made some great porridge mix breads.

8 am mix

Hot cereal mix  117 gm 

170 gm boiling water.

Cover and leave on bench until I got home 

2 pm autolyse 1 hour

466 gm bread flour

203 gm water - too dry so added another 50 gm, total 253 gm

Edit: include cereal mix in autolyse

3 pm

Add 12 gm salt and 

 262 gm 100% hydration rye levain and knead. 

A bit worried about sticky dough so added scant tspn gluten (a questionable move I think) and a good tspn honey as I thought maybe dough could do with a touch of sweetening.  

Dough was sticky and slack but I continued with 4 sets slap and fold/stretch and folds every 30 minutes. Room temperature 22°c at start of Bulk ferment

8 pm dough doubled so divided in two, preshaped and rested for 15 minutes.  Final shaping then into fridge overnight.

7 am today popped them into preheated DOs in the oven 15 minutes lid on at 230°c 18 minutes lid off.


At same time did a 1:2:3 loaf (back loaf in photo) with a mix of bread flour 70%/ multigrain flour 20%/spelt flour 10%. similar time frames except it used a bread flour levain and took longer to bulk ferment. Dough required 50 gm more water and was a pretty firm dough.  Baked after the porridge loaves.


Well, that gave me 2 totally different looking loaves.  Were the porridge loaves over fermented?  they spread and didn't get the oven spring I hoped for! or was dough strength just not enough to support ovenspring?   

 Crumb shot  comparison

the other two loaves

Crumb is good, so I just don't know....... 



isand66's picture

I would say over proofed.  I had a recent one that was very similar result.  I'm sure it still tastes great though.

leslieruf's picture

that was my first thought. surface was just not as smooth (if you can say that about this sort of bread) and as I scored it spread a lot :(  Tomorrow I will try some for lunch.

thanks Isand66 - good to know that someone who makes such lovely breads as you do can also have one do this!

Happy baking


Danni3ll3's picture

I have mine set at 36-37F so it is pretty cold. I had problems with over proofing when it was set at 40-41F. Otherwise, it looks like you followed my procedure pretty closely. 

Oh one more thought, when you shaped it, were you rather firm with the dough? My final shaping really deflates the dough to about half what it is during the first gentle shaping and testing. Mini Oven is the one that inspired me to be much firmer with the dough as opposed to Forkish who seems to treat it with kid gloves. 

leslieruf's picture

Just measuring it now - top shelf 40°F and it is set at the coldest setting.  We have an older fridge in the shed, so maybe tomorrow I will go measure that one!

I suppose I am not really firm although I usually deflate bigger bubbles. I am probably between the two methods.  maybe next time I will do it two ways and see how much difference it makes.

thanks for the ideas Danni.


IceDemeter's picture

From the crumb, it looks like it just barely overproofed.

I think that the porridge grains already have more of the favourite foods for the yeasts, and adding them as already partially broken down by the cooking just makes it an even better food source for them.  The whole grains add extra acid, too, so any whole-grain porridge adder should speed up fermentation of the dough.  It might not be as obvious that the fermentation is faster, though, since the extra physical weight of the larger pieces should keep the overall volume growth to less than what you'd see on a straight flour dough.

I don't have the skill that you or Ian or Danni have, so haven't managed to consistently catch a room temp bulk ferment at the right time to get it shaped and in for a retarded proof (I consistently manage a badly overproofed loaf when I try).  I've been going with retarding the bulk ferment, shaping cold, and then being able to keep an eye on the final proof.  It's been giving me better results so far...

From the looks of your usual stunning 1-2-3 loaf, it obviously isn't an issue with your starter, or your timing, or your skills --- so it's gotta be the porridge changing the look and feel on you!  I think you might find that not letting it increase so much in volume on the bulk might be all that you need for a perfectly proofed result on the next one.

Overall it looks like it was a great bake - and a delicious learning experience.  Can't wait to see the next one!

Best, Laurie


leslieruf's picture

as crumb seems fine, just the slackness and appearance just prior to baking.  You raise a couple of points though.  For this I used  the rye starter that I acquired from a niece in Switzerland on our recent trip.  So whilst I have baked with it before I am not as familiar with it as my normal bread flour starter.  The levain builds were not noticeably quicker, but then I wasn't really paying attention. Life got in the way and I had to refrigerate both levains for a day, although I did top them up...... 

I almost always bulk ferment on the bench until doubled although the appearance of the dough through the container also plays a part.  so maybe it was a combination of the fridge being marginally warm and maybe I should have cut the bulk ferment back a bit!

There is always more to learn...

thank Laurie and bake happy