Sourdough bread will not rise
Can anyone help - my bread will not rise enough?
I regularly bake bread to a recipe originating from the island of Malta. It is a type of sourdough bread.
It tastes delicious but week by week my loaves are getting flatter, as after the 2nd rise the dough just will not rise to from a proper loaf shape. Soon i'll be eating bread the shape of a large thick pizza!
The Maltese bread recepe is published elsewhere on this board. After the dough is made (using some fresh yeast and a portion of sourdough from the previous day's loaf), and kneaded, the recipe says leave the bread to rise in a bowl in warm place for 2-5 hours. This it does OK.
Then when transferring the loaf to a baking tray (and the receipe says "at this stage do NOT knead or knock back") it collapses . I then leave it , again as per the recipe, for 45 mins to double in size (which it does, but sideways not upwards!) before baking.
So any ideas why on the 2nd rise it does not form into a proper loaf shape?
1. Is it the yeast? (Have tried fresh yeast, dried yeast and dried active yeast - all same result)
2. Is it the flour ?(have tried various varietes of strong white flour, from the cheapest Sainsbury's to the premium Allison and Hovis types and even Italian Tipo 00 flour)
3. Should i support the sides of the loaf on the 2nd rise?
4. Is it the temperature of the British winter (I am in UK) i.e. because the ambient kitchen temperature is lower at this time of year, the bread tends to rise less ( but i do put it in the airing cupboard to rise, temp around 25degC)
5. Is it the sourdough - should i start again with a fresh batch, as the one i am using is now around 4 months old i.e. every time i bake, for the last 4 months, i have kept a bit to make the next loaf. I have been freezing it for 3-4 days at a time when i do not bake.
Any suggestions gratefully accepted.